Archive for the ‘Other white varietals’ Category

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Trying something new – and a great Pinot Blanc

August 22, 2009

Things have been a bit quiet around here. But I’m still enjoying great wine – I’m just looking for a different way to share my thoughts for now. So I tried something new last night.

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Wine Blogging Wednesday #35: Passionate Spain

July 11, 2007

For the 35th edition of the ever-popular Wine Blogging Wednesday, participants were asked to seek out a Spanish wine, preferably for under $10. We were also encouraged to look outside of Rioja. I love Spanish wine, and since the selection here in Winnipeg gets better each year, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get back into the WBW game.

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WBW #27 – Icy Desserts

November 8, 2006

The theme of this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday is ‘Icy Desserts‘, hosted by Kitchen Chick. Not surprisingly, there will be a whole lot of icewines being tasted for this edition of WBW. And as a wine blogger from one of the coldest cities in Canada, you’d think I would be all over this one like a black bear in a Whiteshell garbage dump (forgive the local reference).

Think again. I’m not a huge fan of icewine.

Sacre bleu! I’m Canadian (at least in part). We produce the most (and quite possibly the best) icewine in the world (with full apologies to our German friends). How can this be possible?

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Wine Blogging Wednesday #20 – Calona Artist’s Series Pinot Gris

April 12, 2006

The theme for this month’s WBW (hosted by the fine folks at Podcast: Wine for Newbies) is “Anything But Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling”. That keeps the field pretty open. Or so you’d think. Looking back over my notes, I realize that I don’t often venture outside of those three grapes. So this was a great opportunity to try something different, namely Pinot Gris. Or more specifically, a nice affordable Canadian Pinot Gris.

To veer off-topic for a bit, Calona Vineyards (from BC’s Okanagan Valley) makes a wide variety of affordable and tasty VQA wines, including one range called the Artist’s Series. This brand pairs labels painted by local artists with a number of different wines. It’s a great way for BC artists to get some wider exposure outside of their local audience. And the wines are pretty good for the price (especially their Chardonnay).

So to conclude my quest, I chose their Artist’s Series VQA Pinot Gris. While the 2004 is on the market now, I could only find the 2003 Artist Series Pinot Gris at my local MLCC. No big deal. I paid my $13.69 + tax and headed home.

In the glass, it was pale yellow with a greenish tinge. The nose? Apples. Lots and lots of Granny Smith apples. This isn’t a bad thing, but this is a wine best left to apple fans. Luckily, I love apples. My wife, who isn’t so fond of them, did not like this wine.

I began to realize where this was heading. In the mouth, I again found some crisp green apples, a bit of pumpkin pie (?) and a hint of some minerals on the (short) finish. Interestingly enough, that’s exactly what the winemaker’s notes suggested, although I didn’t read the notes until after I had tasted the wine.

On the whole, I was underwhelmed. Yes, it was very nice. And no, there was nothing wrong with it. But nothing made me want to rush out and buy another bottle. It just didn’t excite me that much.

So if one is looking for a good Canadian Pinot Gris, I would recommend the Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris (around $18-19 at most private stores) over the Calona any day. Or I’d go for the excellent Sandhill Pinot Gris ($16 at the MLCC). Sandhill was originally owned by Calona before both were bought by Andrés Wines Ltd.

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Rather Be Marsanne

July 7, 2005

Not a whole heck of a lot of wine news to report on. My wife and I have been house hunting which is both depressing and time-consuming. And I just accepted a new job. So there hasn’t been much free time to savour a fine glass of vino lately. In the midst of all this madness though, I did have time to enjoy an excellent bottle of Cline Cellars Marsanne last weekend.

We went to a local restaurant with some friends last Saturday. Out of respect for the owners, I’ll keep the exact location secret, because they allowed us to bring in our own wine – which is technically illegal here in Manitoba.

Thanks to their generosity however, we showed up with a bottle of Cline’s ‘Los Carneros’ Marsanne (2002). Our friends brought an excellent five-year old Jumilla from Spain, which was fantastic with my wild boar. But I think the Cline stole the show. In other parlance, one could say that the Cline made the Jumilla scream for its mommy.

Marsanne is an unusual white grape, which originates in the Rhone Valley of France. It’s usually found as part of a blend, and is one of the Holy Trinity of Rhone Valley whites (the other two being Rousanne and Viognier). I’ve only ever had it as a bone-dry white, but like Viognier and Rousanne, its richness prevents it from being overly crisp.

I found the nose on the Cline Marsanne to be very floral, and a bit lighter than Viognier. In the mouth, it was bone dry, but so rich that there wasn’t a lot of crispness. I’d rate it as somewhat lighter than Viognier. It didn’t have the mouth-filling richness that I expect from a Viognier, and it was a bit rougher. Nice long finish though, it lasted nearly a minute.

The primary flavour was melon, specifically honeydew. That’s exactly how Cline’s website describes the wine too, which bothers me a bit. But in this case, it’s hard to mistake it for anything else. Cline also describes apricot and honeysuckle. I didn’t pick up any apricot, and honeysuckle is one of those flavours that nobody really understands, so it covers a lot of ground.

Seriously folks. How many people sit down to a nice bowl of honeysuckle after dinner? I associate honeysuckle with a smell, rather than a taste, so I lose a little respect for people who toss it around as a flavour. It is a nice smell though, and if you wanted to be all abstract, you could extrapolate that into a taste. I don’t go around gnawing on forest floors myself, but I can recognize the ‘taste’.

Anyways, smelling vs. tasting aside, this was a amazing wine, although my experience with single-varietal Marsanne wines is admittedly rather limited. I picked it up at Surdyk’s in Minneapolis for $17 US (on sale), and it was worth every penny. I’d serve it up with an equally rich white fish. Cline recommends sea bass. In an effort to agree with their taste, but be distinct about it, I’ll be a fish snob and suggest some nice fresh BC halibut instead.

Oh, and five elusive WWB status points to anyone who owns the album that the title comes from. Ten if you can hum the tune and fifteen if you ever saw them in person.