Archive for the ‘Dry White’ Category

kiralyudvar-tokaji-furmint-sec-2010Not much I can really say to introduce this vino.  We’re seeing Furmints more and more as our palates search for something new and interesting.  And its from… Hungary!!!  Bright minerality on the nose and a richly-deep color in the glass, the palate is almost viscous.  The balance is a little off on the acidity but with the finish being so full of ripe peach and plum, it’s hardly an issue.  The longer I spent contemplating this unique vino between sips, the more I could detect echos of richness – almost like a freshly-baked loaf of bread.

A little historical research revealed the winery and royal chateau has been in operation since the 16th century!  The viticultural region as a whole has likely been producing wines for almost 2000 years!!  Visit the entry on Wikipedia to explore the full entry.

Further investigations are warranted to see if other vinos from Hungary’s Tokaj region are available here in Minnesota!

Inquire at your local purveyor to see if its available in your area.




Image credit: The Distributor. makes no claim to ownership and republishes under Fair Use Provisions for review and critique

Its Spring Break! Yay!!  So far, this term’s course load has been significantly more intense over last term.  Projects have been large and involved and each one included a verbal presentation in from of the class and in one case, before an actual client. Mid-term exams have been completed and a couple have been exceptionally challenging.  Hopefully the poor performance on one exam is balanced with the rest of the work so i can maintain my 4.0 GPA.

Along side this challenging schoolwork comes the unfortunate crashing of my computer.  Although i DO have backups of all my significant files, some of the instances are a little out of date with the ones that were lost. Sadly, this includes my wine diary.  The last entry that made it to this blog’s backup was the previous one I posted.  Everything since then – some 17 exceptional bottles of vinos’ notes lost. =[  What I did salvage from hand-written notes a scrap of napkin in my desk drawer was this note on:

Konzelmann Unoaked Chardonnay 2008:  Pineapple, tropical fruit and apple feel decently crisp. The mouth-feel is well-textured and smooth. The finish is light with white peach flavours and a solid citrus acidity. I didn’t make note of what we paired with it, but i can certainly see this beside a cajun-style blackened fish.

So this finishes my current collection of tasting notes.  No more Ontario vino for a while, sadly.  I’m not sure when i’ll have a chance to compose another entry, so do follow me on Twitter @thevinoboy.  I hope to get some ‘on-the-road’ tasting notes posted there as i’m sipping.  Should a bottle of note happen my way and i have a moment to write something more official up here, do come back and have a read.

Now, its a week off and a trip to Hawaii for nothing but R&R.



Its been a while since last I was in Ontario, so for the next little while, I’ll be focusing my palate on what’s growing right outside my back door.

As many of you may already know, Riesling is a very versatile grape with wines ranging from lip-smackingly dry to succulent and rarefied Icewine. Your vinoboy prefers the drier side of the vine.

Brilliant straw-colored in the glass. The nose is definitely citrus-forward but there’s a delicate undertone of something resembling wild roses.  The forward palate is definitely citrus-based and tangy; the floral notes reappear on the soft finish.  Yummy.

Be sure to chill this vino rather well – there’s a sourness that comes out when it gets close to room temperature.  This would be one of those times to crack out the ice bucket.

Flattened chicken convection-roasted served aside garlic mashed potatoes and almond green bean, this dry Riesling was amazing.




**image credit – The Winery. makes no claim to ownership and republishes image under fair use provisions for review and critique.

This is my very first vino from a vintner whose vines, but for a small body of water; practically straddle appellations.  Examining the viticulture map of California, I can see Sonoma Valley begins just across San Pablo Bay from San Francisco.

Sterling has labeled this vino as Central Coast so the grapes used to produce this Chardonnay are from the vineyards south of San Fran.  So there we have it – chilling in the fridge to ~14°C, grilled chicken seasoned with fresh sage & oregano, roasted smashed potatoes with Mediterranean sea salt, and sauteed haricots vert.

The deep golden color in the glass is a prelude to light scents of butter-cream, pineapple and orange.  The palate is full and mouth-filling, the tropical flavors carrying through to a decent finish, though the pale haze of muddled oak creates a complexity better suited to a mid-palate rather than an aftertaste.    LCBO ~$15/blt.

Humbly, your vinoboy places a “Recommended” check mark on it.  I am not exactly a lover of Chardonnay in-and-of-itself and tend to be extraordinarily picky. The benchmark set by V Sattui’s Caneros Chardonnay makes for quite a challenge for most other Chard’s.




**image credit: Google Image search results. makes no claims to ownership and republishes under fair use provisions for review and critique.

I’ve not sipped any bubbles since my Yuletide binge began with a ghastly Prosecco on Dec 12, 2010 and toasted the new year with Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin at the stroke of midnight, January 1st, 2011.

This special occasion is in celebration of the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I’m pursuing some international education opportunities and moving to the mid-western USA to be with my beloved partner of almost 9 years.

Why Mumm Napa?  We’re planning a winery tour for March 2012 so I thought it a good idea to explore offerings from wineries in and around the northern edge of the Napa Valley.

Once the mousse subsided, the nose is slightly yeasty, slightly spicy, and slightly floral. The dance of bubbles on the tongue assisted in delivering mid-weight mouth-feel, faint flavors of melon and lemongrass, decent acidity and a flat finish.  I was totally unimpressed with the lack of yeastiness that failed to carry through to the finish – ESPECIALLY from a vino produced in the méthode Classique.

Drinkable to be sure, but a vinoboy recommendation, not really. Pricing in Ontario, like certain Australian vinos, is injurious. I’ve seen this vino in the USA at ~$20/btl.  Here in Toronto at the LCBO, this bottle of non-vintage California Sparkling wine cost me ~$39!!



images credit – The Winery. makes no claims to ownership and republishes under fair use provisions for review and critique.

Chablis.  Sometimes referred to as the “outcast of Burgundy”, Chablis is a small region in north-central France most well-known for its mineral-rich terroir; the soil full of limestone and calcium.  The area was once covered by a vast sea, so the fossils and shells add to the calcium content in the soil. I could go on and on about just the soil in various parts of France but will leave that to one of my on-line mentors: The Wine Doctor.  Visit and explore his extensive writings on the subject and check out his sponsors.

Chablis, therefore, isn’t so much about the Chardonnay grape from which it is made, but about the earth that nurtures the vines.

Carefully chilled to 14°C whilst dinner was prepared to hit the grill.

I’ve recently acquired a taste for whole shrimp; the jus in the carapace is succulent and tastes of the sea – reminding me of growing up in the rural Maritimes. Got some live 8-10 tiger prawns from a local Asian market, dunked them in ice-cold brine to slow them down and make them clear their guts. Drained them, sprinkled with S&P and put in the fridge. (yes, they’re still alive, but very sluggish.  Got the grill really hot and laid shrimp carefully on holding them there in case any complained about their imminent consumption.

Took only three minutes each side to perfectly cook. Split off the head and suck out the jus!  Mmmm!  Creamy soft, slight tinny taste, and lightly salty.  A sip of Chablis to compliment the custardy shrimp jus.  Nice. Peeled away the shell on the tail and savored the delicate flesh clean and simple.

The crisp and light acidity of the Chablis is a great balance to the mid-weight silky mouth-feel.  Flavors of citrus, coriander and slate carry through to a dry lingering finish.  I think I’ll be adding more Chablis to my cellar for a couple year’s rest – the time will mellow the tang of the minerals and increase the undertone of spice.

LCBO/Vintages ~$22/btl  A bit pricey for every-day consumption, but with the expensive shrimp, it was worth it.  Magnifique!



**image credit – Google Image Search. clams no ownership from any source and republishes image under Fair Use Provisions for review and critique.

In the countryside northeast of Adelaide South Australia lies the Barossa Valley and the Peter Lehmann winery. This Barossa Blonde is part of the Art Series whose labels are created by local artists to represent the character of the wine within.

This Australian regional blend is a mix of Riesling, Chemin Blanc, Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc – most of which are grown in the Barossa Valley; the Sauv Blanc is from the Adelaide Hills.

Floral on the nose, this pale gold wine seems a little too zippy at first glance. The palate is juicy and tart with lime and granny smith apple. The refreshing finish is pleasing and clean, the initial zippiness actually helps the vino along.

I chose this vino to accompany a dinner of olive oil&sun-dried tomato marinated chicken breast pan-roasted with aromatics served with scented Basmati rice. YUM!

May still be in the new release section of the LCBO ~$13-14/btl.




**images credit – The Winery. makes no claim to ownership and republishes under fair use provisions for review and critique.

So with the impression of the direct translation of the winery’s name (Grand Gaillard = Fine/Strapping Young Lad) an indicator of the tipple thereof, I chose this bottle to renew my faith in the grape known as Sauvignon Blanc.

“Why don’t you like Sauv Blanc?!”  I’m frequently asked.

“More often than not,” I reply. “It smells too much like cat’s pee!!!  Most of the Sauv Blancs I’ve tasted of late have all been overly uric on the nose, twangy mineral on the palate and the pervasive uric essence carrying thru to an off-putting finish.  THATs why I dislike Sauv blanc

“Can’t you try to taste beyond the scent of urea and get a better understanding of the essences within?  As “the vinoboy”, we’re counting on you to guide our palates and such…”

“Ok,” I acquiesce. “I’ll try just this once more. Sauv Bl. is a quintessential and classic white wine after all…”

I am so glad I did – I have nothing but thanks to my adoring fans for this re-review:

Indeed on the nose, the urea is prevalent though with this one, there’s some floral note to it that is kinda nice.  The palate is very citrus-forward, yes, but no definite true flavor to work with.  Finish is moderate reminding the taster there was a floral note at the beginning.  Not unpleasant but certainly not a showstopper.  LCBO ~$12/blt



Image credit – Google image search results.  No ownership is expressed or implied and is reproduced under fair use provisions for review and critique.

One of the more recent additions to the recognized appellations in the Vintners’s Quality Alliance is Prince Edward County in Eastern Ontario.  Laying on an isthmus into Lake Ontario, the majority of this viticultural region is surrounded on three sides by the chilly waters of the lake as it empties into the St Lawrence river.

A surprising purchase, this Trumpour’s Mill Estate bottled, un-oaked Chardonnay from 2008 runs about $16/btl only in the Vintages section.  On a recent visit to my favorite LCBO with a fellow vino enthusiast, I was expounding on the virtues and tenets of the VQA and how this self-governing body has improved the overall integrity of the Canadian wine industry when I chanced upon this bottle on a lower shelf almost out of sight.

After the end of the War of 1812, the Trumpours settled there to build a post-war life; this significant and historic homestead from the early 1800’s houses the Granger Family’s winery. They have dedicated almost a decade or their own lives to producing great estate wines from their 600 acre farm, many of these wine award-winning!

This unoaked chardonnay displays a nose of crisp pears, Macintosh apples and dry notes of straw. These flavors carry through the palate to finish long with a rather defined mineral structure that borders on almost spicy.

Truly a unique vino – unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before.  I wanted to experience this wine all by itself, but my vino-friends insisted we try it with the Chicken a la King I had made for dinner.  The creaminess of the sauce and delicate rosemary flavor pairs remarkably well.

I’d certainly recommend this Ontario vino!




**images credit – ME!  I took this bottle portrait after we’d finished the yummy contents.  All components thereon sole property of the winery and republished under fair use provisions for review and critique.

1930 – 2010.  Celebrating 80 years, they’ve made a lot of it, sold a lot of it and made lots of money.

Back in its heyday of the 1970’s and 80’s, Baron Philippe de Rothschild was THE wine to drink with your table-side service at the finest restaurants.  It tasted like nothing else on the market at the time and even though you might not have liked it back then you still drank it because you were seen as a certified wine snob drinking ACTUAL France-french wine! WootWoot!!

I’ve been debating now for a few weeks reviewing this vino as its a very well-known winemaker, well-priced to make it accessible and everyone has tried it.  This is one of the drawbacks to a real French wine in the ~$9-$14 price range.

As with its red counterpart, this Bordeaux Blanc is a regionally-named blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon,  and Muscadelle.  In an attempt to refine my wine-tasting skills, with the help of a vino-friend; I’ve been tasting most of my new entries blindfolded.  I carefully ponder all the non-visual aspects of a vino and as I ramble and consider, my vino-friend takes notes.

The nose is obviously lemon with unripened melon-y notes. A characteristic spritzy sensation dominates the forward palate while herbaceous grassy flavors, twangs of lychee and mineral round out the palate.  The finish is short and easy-going but leans very much towards boring.

Admittedly, this IS one of Baron Philippe de Rothschild’s more junior brands, but come on! Really? To say this stuff is only barely borderline drinkable is to be overly kind.  With all the competition and product knowledge in today’s marketplace, this wine is a let-down on a Bordeaux-sized scale.



**image credit – Google Image Search.