I hazard to guess how many wines I tasted over the past year, but every year I find several gems that I pass along to you as I taste them. Getting ready for the holiday season, you may be considering buying wines to take to parties, or serving wines at your parties. What to buy?
Here is a list of my favourite white and sparkling wines that I tried in 2012. The wines are from here in BC and from around the world. There should be something for everyone. Enjoy!
Arrowleaf Cellars Gewurztraminer, 2011, BC ($15.99). This was my favourite white wine during a BC VQA tasting, and at such an amazing price. It had a nice light flowery, sweet spice, honey and citrus nose. Dry with medium minus body, citrus, honey and light herbal flavour. So tasty and elegant.
- Fort Berens Estate Winery Chardonnay 2011, BC ($17.99). This plus 2 reds from Fort Berens made me sit up and take notice. Such quality from a new winery in a new BC wine region: Lillooet! Pale pear skin colour. Light vanilla and apple aromas. Light body with peach flavour and a hint of oak and cinnamon. A very elegant, integrated wine.
- Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery Mistura Branca 2009, BC ($17.90). This is not a shy white wine. It is full on flavourful. A blend of 44% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Pinot Gris, 30% Gewurztraminer, and 6% Chardonnay. Deep pear skin colour. Honey and orange aromas were quite lush. Lighter bodied but very flavourful. Honey, lemon, apples, nutty and butterscotch. A dry wine, so don’t worry about sweetness here. Just enjoy it with friends.
- Harper’s Trail Riesling, 2011, BC. Watery lemon in colour. Lots of line, and some green and gooseberry aromas. High acid, medium plus body, and slightly off dry. Jalapeno pepper and lime flavours. Excellent.
Van Westen Vineyards Viognier 2010. This is probably my favourite white of the evening. It had a very nice aroma of apricots. Medium body, dry with medium acidity. Apricots, jasmine and honey flavours. Highly recommended.
- Giesen “The Brothers” Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, 2010, New Zealand Really wonderful ripe guava nose. High acidity, dry with lots of citrus and guava flavour. A definite buy!
- Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay, 2009, California ($27.99). If you cannot afford some of the Old World wine prices, why not try North American wines? Rodney Strong produces consistently good wines in my opinion. This chardonnay has a light apple and vanilla nose. Medium body, round, with quite flavourful tropical fruit, and spices of cinnamon and vanilla. Medium length.
- La Stella Un-Oaked Chardonnay, BC. It had a nice tropical fruit nose which continued to the palate. Medium body, with a nice acidic prickle; many flavours, including tropical fruit, apple, pear, and a hint of sweet cherry.
- Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Chardonnay 2009. This wine comes from 39 year old vines along the Golden Mile, with a soil of clay and schist. This wine was medium minus lemon in colour with a green tingle. Ripe tropical fruit, honey, baby powder, sweet spice and soft vanilla aromas greeted your nose. Medium minus in body, dry with light spice and long length. Primarily lemon on the palate but also some stone fruit and honey. Slightly puckering and cinnamon spice on the finish. Oak pops at the every end. This is a very elegant wine that I can highly recommend.
- Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon 2004, Australia. The wine was medium lemon in colour with a greenish tinge. Toasty oak nose with some citrus and waxiness. Light body, medium plus acidity, dry, with a very light mouthfeel. Citrus, green apple and “oaky” notes on the palate. I put “oaky” in quotes as this is not an oaked wine. The oak that you sense is actually an attribute of the Semillon grape as it ages in the bottle. This is an exceptional, elegant wine.
- Pewsey Vale Riesling, 2011, Australia ($23.99 SPEC). Nice lime, lychee and flowers on the nose. Medium minus body, light acidity with lots of citrus and stone fruit flavours. Very tasty.
Trivento Tribu Viognier 2011, Argentina ($9.99. SPEC). This was a very surprising wine for sub $10. Light orange, peach and citrus nose. Medium minus body with flowers, orange, and spice on the tongue. Dry citrus finish. A nice wine.
- Domaine Drouhin Arthur Chardonnay 2010, Oregon ($31.99). Madame Drouhin names some her wines after her children. This one is for her son Arthur. Light lemon colour, with light vanilla and tropical fruit nose. Light body with medium mouthfeel. Light tropical fruit, citrus, oak and spice flavours. I really liked this wine. It is quite complex and elegant.
- Emiliana Vineyards Winemaker’s Selection Chardonnay / Viognier / Marsanne / Rousanne 2010, Chile. This wine pours thick in the glass. Light lemon in colour with a really nice nose. Cinnamon and orange aromas greet you. Medium body with medium acidity. Sweet spices. Very fruity. Medium plus length.
Louis de Sacy Brut Original, France, NV ($49.99). This Champagne is a blend of 67% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, and 3% Pinot Meunier. The vines are located in Verzy on the hills of the “Montagne de Reims”. The winery was started by Louis de Sacy, a lawyer, born in Paris in 1654. This winery has a great heritage and it is nice to see it in BC. The wine had nice aromas of toast, honey and lemon. Dry on the palate, medium bubble, with lees, toast and citrus that finishes with apple on the finish. There is also a hint of spice. Very nice.
- Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve, France, NV ($74.99, SPEC). Another top quality French champagne. This one has an interesting nose, light intensity of honey, citrus and baby powder. Medium body, but quite full of flavour; citrus and apples, and has a mineral streak through it.
Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs, California, NV($39.99). Pale lemon with light citrus and oak on the nose. Medium body, dry, with honey and citrus flavour leading to apple on the finish. Small, fine bubbles. A high quality wine.
- Lanson Black Label, NV, France, ($64.99). Nice creamy, bready, citrus nose. Very tasty with toast and citrus up front, red apple mid palate, and some nuttiness on the finish. High acidity makes this wine very refreshing and would make a great pairing with oysters on the half shell.