Archive for the ‘Semi-dry White’ Category

I’m not one for spreading rumors or giving in to peer pressure when it comes to wines, but this one was one of the most talked-about vino at a Pinot Grigio tasting event I’d attended recently. Talked about for its complete undrinkability!

We all agree that though there are pleasing aspects one would associate with a Pinot Grigio, this particular offering was more akin to a Sauvignon Blanc. (…and you all know how much i just adore sauv. blanc…)

Our host had assembled about 6 wines and an impressive FIVE dishes with which to experience the pairings’ interactions:  Chilled oysters on the halfshell, steamed swordfish with miso glaze, lavender-scented grilled chicken bites, veal roulade pinwheels, and hand-made asiago ravioli in a lightly sweet tomato sauce. Every single morsel of food was delicious beyond belief!

The nose is lightly floral with a touch of honey; the only redeeming quality of this vino.  Mouth-feel is watery and overly tangy with an unbalanced grapefruit acidity.  Blessedly short, the finish is a strange aftertaste of sour jasmine.

Can’t recommend, especially at this ~$14 price point.



**image credit:  Cellar No. 8. claims no ownership of image and reproduces under fair use provisions for product review and critique.

School starts tomorrow (22-Aug) and I begin my education into an Interior Design Degree @ DCTC. I continue to explore some of the Ontario vinos I have brought with me.

This is part two of a four-part series on some 2009 vintages and one 2008 vintage from a 118yo family-owned winery.  Started in 1893 outside Stuttgart Germany, Herr Konzelmann, a restauranteur and expert in food&wine produced his personal supply.  Four generations later and half the world away, great-grandson to Friedrich Konzelmann: Herbert, continues to produce exceptional wines on their Niagara Peninsula estate: Konzelmann Estates.

Golden yellow and rich-looking in the glass, a mild floral nose with a faint hint of (of all things!) cabbage, the palate is full yet soft.  Gala apple and ripe pear flavors carry through to a surprising buttery lift on a moderate finish.

Quite possibly the nicest semi-dry Ontario Pinot Blanc I’ve tasted in a very long time.  LCBO ~$12/btl.




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

I’m not a huge lover of Sauvginon Blanc but was so astonished by the Spy Valley 2009 that I reviewed a little while ago, trying a vintage from a neighboring winery seemed like a good idea.  I love New Zealand wine and will choose one over most other countries’ vinos. We all know that meso-climate varies greatly by even a few hundred feet; so 16miles inland from Hawkesbury along the floor of the Wairau Valley lies Wither Hills.

The nose of this Wairau Valley Pinot Gris is lusciously floral, honey and nectarines.  The body seems very full with its 12% alc/vol producing thick and long legging within the glass.  The palate is feels very rich and sweet-tasting with the nectarine foremost on the tongue.  Not quite sure I am all that appreciative of the density; the almost oily quality leaves a semi-dry smackiness on the roof of the mouth.

I sampled this vino all by itself on June 18th 2011, sitting on my balcony in the afternoon sun watching cars and motorcycles whizzing by.  Refreshing in this context, I’m not sure what foods other than spicy Asian would do it justice.  Very much like a Gewurztraminer in this aspect.

I’m sort of on the fence about its recommendation which surprises me – given my love of NZ…   Try it for yourself at the LCBO/Vintages ~$20/btl




**image credit – The Winery.  thevinoboy makes no claims to ownership and republishes under Fair Use provisions for for review and critique.

On a recent hunting expedition with a fellow vino enthusiast at my favorite LCBO, shopping list in hand; this new release from the Marlborough region of New Zealand was totally in my sights!  You all know I adore New Zealand wine, I was very eager to uncor…er…un-screw the cap.

Of the viticultural regions of New Zealand, Marlborough is probably the most well-known.  Some areas are mass-production whereas most are still using basic yet modern production techniques to best capture the terroir and varietal characteristics.

A nose of pure passion fruit that carries through the palate to a juicy finish, a hint of mineral and a bounce of spritzy excitement, not at all what I was expecting from a NZ Sauv Blanc.

At first, I felt the ker-pow of sweetness was a definite drawback, but the balance of acidity and slightly herbal note made for a gorgeous sipper to finish and cool our palates after a savory dinner of Indian Chicken Tikka Masala.

This will be the best Summer patio wine for 2011 – I guarantee!  Drink now through 2013 for ~$16/blt




**images credit – the winery – republished under fair use provision for review and critique.

Hrm…  It would seem that not all regionally blended wines from France are unique and identifiably unique.  This vino’s full handle is “Hugues Beauvignac Picpoul de Pinet 2009”. It région controlée is Coteaux De Languedoc, Sud De France.

After writing this tasting review, I tried researching the winery itself.  There are plenty of notes on third-party sites, like on WineAlign and Snooth; but nothing produced by the winemaker him/herself. The glass of the overly-tall bottle feels thick and has a couple shaped accents and punted only very slightly.

The first time ever for me trying this wine though I’ve picked the bottle up and set it back down again at the LCBO  – turned off by all the spelling mistakes on the back label.   I’m actually glad it made it into my cart this time so I know for next time to leave it alone.

The color is very pale yellow with a strange hue of silver around the edge of the glass.  The nose is lightly perfumed with no real discernible prominent note. On the tongue, there aren’t many flavors at all really other than the faintest hint of lemon, not even a detectable acidity .  The finish is somewhat minerally, sort of like sucking on a clean pebble.

This reminds me of lemon drink-mix powder mixed with too much water.

A waste of ~$10 at the LCBO.



**image credit – Google image search.  There doesn’t appear to be a website for the actual winery but I’ve found plenty of reviews once this one was finished.  They all read the exact opposite of what i experienced with this vino.  Did I get a bad bottle? If so, I seem to have the best (or worst) luck at finding the bad bottle in the lot.

I needed an easy-drinking wine to give as a gift to a co-worker who has expressed an interest in wines but hasn’t had much experience with the matter. Whenever i give wine as gifts I almost always choose an Ontario VQA wine.  I am still very shocked and saddened that most people poo-poo Ontario wine as not worthy of a glance.

Vidal is a hardy hybrid variety of grape characterized by thick green skin, mild acidity and a predictable growing & ripening cycle. The wine produced can be simple and clean with moderate residual sweetness and a balanced tartness. It is very easy to appreciate by a new wine consumer’s palate that may still be scarred by flashbacks of the piddle Dad used to serve in the 70’s when we were kids.

Though Reif Estates Winery is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the VQA appellation is “Ontario”.  All the grapes have been grown in the designated viticultural areas, the juice has been pressed,  musts fermented and wine bottled entirely in Ontario.

Pale yellow in color, this mid-weight vino has a pleasant aroma of marigold and nectarine.  A decently off-dry sweetness carries the floral essences through to the finish with hints of peach and honey as the 12%alc/vol secretly evaporates on the palate.

Get it now at LCBO ~$10/btl and enjoy through 2013.  I think I’ll buy another bottle and invite some friends over for grilled chicken with orange sauce!




**image credit – the winery. Reproduced under fair use provisions for review and critique.

Every so often, my palate craves something light and delicate.  Not just Sauv. Blanc delicate, but even more light than that.  Pinot Grigio? Pinot Gris? Auxeroi?  Light-bodied whites to be sure! This wine is produced from grapes grown in vineyards around the ancient city of Orvieto in the Umbria Region of Italy, a land rich in its wine traditions.

I wasn’t planning on any meals or snacks when I chose this wine – just something light and drinkable.  We’ve all seen the Ruffino name and agree that Ruffino IS Chianti. This vinoboy is indeed guilty of thinking the very same. Some research has revealed that this wine is a blend of up to four grape varieties: Grechetto, Procanico, Verdello, Canaiolo Bianco. The exact combination of each grape is unique with every vintage though the Grechetto is the primary ingredient.

The brilliant pale straw color is pretty in the glass as I slowly swirl and absorb the scents of daisies and delicate field flowers.  On the palate, essences of ripe pears and golden apples mingle subtle graces of sage. The finish is moderate with an almost nutty note (yeah – nuts) kinda like blanched slivers of almonds…

Fresh and light, balanced and refreshing, serve chilled all by itself for best enjoyment.  Foods as light as this wine would most certainly be simple and not overly seasoned – pan seared scallops come to mind, or fresh crab and Arugula salad.

LCBO/Vintages ~$11/btl.  A wonderfully light sipping vino.  Saluté!



**image credit – the winery. Published under Fair User Provisions for review and critique.

This is a wine I have liked a lot for a long time though very seldom buy due to the huge difference in pricing between Canada (~$11/btl) and the US (~$6/btl)… It typically doesn’t go on sale very often at the LCBO so I have to be in the paying-for-it mood.

“Do you ALWAYS plan meals with wines?” I’m often asked. “Seems like an awful lot of wine to go through!” Why, yes! Yes, I do.  I typically keep four distinctly different bottles: 2 red/2 white, in my storage crate over any 2-week period.

To me, wine is both extremely special and extremely every day. I budget my wine purchasing very carefully and allow for one bottle every three or four days; once opened, a bottle typically only lasts that long anyway… I’ll have a bottle opened on Friday after work to evaluate and blog and sip at it all evening.  Having guests over or going to a friend’s place for social and meals is another opportunity to examine and take notes on wines – sometimes two to three depending on the crowd.

This wine was taken to brunch for a simple meal at a neighbor’s as we celebrated the passing-by of an out-of-town friend.  Homey and basic fare consisting of chicken-salad on Flax-seed tortilla wraps; pasta salad with veggies and a creamy dressing; my favorite butternut squash & apple soup; and slices of honeydew melon, pineapple and cantaloupe.  Everyday stuff with a commensurate vino.

A deep lustrous yellow, this slightly off-dry Chard carries typical whiffs of  pineapple and mango to the nose; the 13.5% alcohol is marginally noticeable.  The body is just medium and the tropical flavors carry through to a finish that is complimented by a hint of butterscotch smoothness.

Strooth! A rippah standby.




**image credit – The Winery Used under Fair Use Provisions for review and critique.

I’m a strange vinoboy.  No, no! Don’t try to argue with me – we all know my palate is a confused and lost thing with no sense of continuity.  My preference in vinos is primarily for dry, full-bodied whites and bold, tannic, meaty reds. We all know that wine compliments various foods and I strive to wed the wine with the meal.

One thing I’ve tried not to do is take the reviews of other more experience winos as rote until I have sampled it for myself. It is with this in mind that I decided to try a new release from September: Gray Monk Gewürztraminer 2009 from BC’s Okanagan Valley.

Most unique to this wine is an odd yellow-green hue in the glass.  A beautifully complex bouquet of Mandarin oranges and ripe plantains. Chilled to optimum serving temperature, the crisp burst on the tongue is followed by a delicate sweetness of buckwheat honey and Demerara sugar.  The classic spice of the Gewürztraminer, like a generous dash of black pepper and allspice compliment the mouth-filling ampleness of this varietal.

Traditionally served with fusion and other spicy cuisine, this is more of a conversation and sipping wine all by itself AFTER the meal.

A truly excellent vino.  ~$19/btl @LCBO/Vintages.




**image credit – Gray Monk Estate Winery.  Image used under Fair Use Provisions for review and critique.

Recently, I had attended a wine party with a horizontal/vertical Sauvignon Blanc theme. (Horizontal? Vertical? What does that mean?! Find out in the next installment of my series entitled “Grape Gatherings”!!)  Our assignment was to find Sauvignon Blancs from strange places around the world bearing strange name; regardless of the vintage.  While the name of my vino may be little distasteful for some and roflmao to others, it is hardly an accurate description of this New Zealand offering…

Orange blossom and lemon candy present themselves nicely on the nose followed by a faint hint of diesel. Don’t be put off by the whiff of petrol though, it gives a remarkable structure to the body and carries through to the finish of this off-dry vino. The mouth-feel is light with a fine twinge of spritzich to play with the dry, crisp flavors of lemonade and freshly scythed straw.

On the more-than-ample buffet table, our host had prepared a Linguine with Grilled Shrimp. This turned out to be a perfect pairing to my Cat’s Pee.  The al dente pasta was tossed in melted butter, rosemary-infused olive oil and grilled shrimp. The zing of the rosemary heightened the herbaceous quality of the vino.  My favorite dish at the party and I got to take home the leftovers!

Cooper’s Creek Vineyard’s “Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush” Sauvignon Blanc 2008 from New Zealand!  $13.00/btl @ LCBO




**image credit – Me! I took the picture with my own HP R818. You can see the flash on the shoulder of the bottle. Image was edited to remove background and resize for web posting.  Likeness and product © the winery, naturally. ~tvb