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Friday, July 9, 2010

New and Different Wines Tasted in June, 2010

1. Tokaji Yellow Muscat 2009 Puklus Cellars Hungary (+46508, $14.95
retail, 750 mL, Vintages): related to Muscat Blanc, from older vines,
done up in Late Harvest style, with that peachy complexity, medium-
bodied, but with lemons and pineapple acidity on the longer finish.
Floral aromatics. 13% ABV. Serve with later courses (fruity mains,
salads, cheeses, off-dry desserts).

2. Puklus Tokaji Aszu 3 Puttonyos 2003, +980805 Vintages Reorder for
July 10, 2010 release, $23.95 for 500 mL bottle, 13% ABV. It is intense
and terrific value, with a nose suggesting honey, yeast, dried fruit
and floral tones (especially apricots and peaches). Medium sweet, long
length, racy malic acid finish, nice and brisk. Get it while you can.

3. Colio has unleashed a new series, a sort-of-but-not-quite
counterpart to the Girls Night Out wines. This one is the "Lake &
River" series, with a canoe on the front label. The colour of the canoe
changes with the internal blend. So far, there are about five of them,
all with uniform bottlings and labels, twist tops, and regular ABV,
such as 11.5% or 12.5%. They are quite attractive, and should at least
appeal to those who don't want to be thought of as "girls". The
appellation is straightup Ontario, but they are VQA wines. The Rose
2009 (made with villard noir, pinot noir, and vidal) has no LCBO
number, and you won't find it in stores – yet. So it must be only at
the Colio stores. Expect cherries and some bubblegum snap. The Lake &
River Moonlight White 2009 (+183095) is a mélange of chardonnay and
gewurztraminer (29.5%), melons and mangos plus aromatics dominate. The
Chardonnay 2009 (+184135) is also MVC and available. The Lake & River
River Rock Red 2008 (its name should have been Rock River Red, to avoid
the double "River" back-to-back: hey guys, run these things pass me
first, no charge) has both cabernets and merlot plus shiraz (+183103).
Expect plumminess and a light oak finish. The Cabernet Franc 2008
(+183079) has more snap and varietal character to it. Priced at an
affordable $10.95 each. The back label says "Contains Sulphites" but in
a much larger typeface than we normally see with Ontario wines.
4. Stoney Ridge has a new release program. Here are some highlights –
- Stoney Ridge VQA Niagara Peninsula Pinot Grigio 2009: it may say
pinot grigio (because that is the more popular name), but the style is
pinot gris – high melon aromatics and minerals, some actual body that
you can feel, and twist top to hold it all in. Stainless steel, 12%
ABV, $17 at winery.
- Stoney Ridge VQA Niagara Lakeshore Excellence Pinot Gris 2009: nice
full body, even more so than the misnamed grigio above, some elements
of stone and orchard fruits, zesty citrus on the finish. Excellence is
a new tier for Stoney Ridge, with wines priced about $6 higher for
higher quality and restricted terroir. 100 cases, 12.8% ABV, stainless
steel, $23 at the winery.
Stoney Ridge VQA Niagara Peninsula Sauvignon Blanc 2009: fresh,
invigorating, zesty in an MVC field, nettles, gooseberry, herbs, cut
grass, and the like. 11.6% ABV, $17 at the winery.
Stoney Ridge VQA Niagara Lakeshore Excellence Sauvignon Blanc 2009:
even more stressed sauvignon blanc with minerality and herbs, from
limited terroir. Gold at All Canadian Wine 2010. 100 cases, 12.8% ABV,
$23 at winery.
Stoney Ridge VQA Niagara Peninsula Warren Classic Chardonnay 2008: as
far as I can tell, this is the former Bench Chardonnay, which produced
one of the finest chardonnays in 1995, 2004, and other years. It has
always been a fave of mine, even being a house white for the 2004. As
the former Bench, it is indeed a Warren Classic – nutty, vanilla, some
cloves from toasted oak, creamy. Oak aged in various bottles, 13.9%,
410 cases, $15 at winery.
Stoney Ridge VQA 20 Mile Bench Founder's Signature Collection
Charlotte's Chardonnay 2008: named after Founder Jim Warren's wife,
this wine is a classic un-oaked chardonnay full of plump fruit, with
plenty of apples, pears, and tropical fruits. Best in summer? 13.1%
ABV, 500 cases, $15 at winery.
Stoney Ridge VQA 20 Mile Bench Cabernet Merlot 2008: almost a Meritage,
with both cabs – 40% cab franc, 20% cab sauvignon, and 40% merlot. Aged
in small barrels. Expect a lot of red and black currants in the fruit,
still needs time to evolve. 13.7% ABV, 245 cases, $17 at the winery.
Stoney Ridge VQA 20 Mile Bench Warren Classic Pinot Noir 2007: another
straightforward but affordable toasty Burgundy-like pinot noir, with
the Ontario cranberry nose and slightly sour cherry mid-palate. Plenty
of red fruit here, still needs a year or more of cellaring. 12.8% ABV,
$15 at winery.

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