New category of wine – Chablis – “the Champagne of Chardonnay”
Jean-Marc Brocard Sainte Claire Chablis 2018: $28.95, France
What do I think: They don’t call Chablis the Champagne of Chardonnay for nothing! That much more than just Chardonnay for a few bucks more. Light and crisp, full of flavors.
What the Experts say: The 2018 Chablis Sainte Claire (Organic) offers terrific depth and plenty of texture, along with clean, bracing underpinning that add both freshness and nuance without being overpowering. Lemon oil, tangerine, mango, white flowers, honey and mint are pushed forward in this decidedly bold Chablis. A whole range of more exotic, tropical notes develop with time in the glass. This is certainly intriguing.
Joseph Drouhin Chablis Drouhin-Vaudon 2019: $31.95, France
What do I think: Golden in colour with flavourful aroma to the nose, refreshing, extra dry with a solid finish.
What the Experts say: Straw yellow color; green apple, mineral and lemon aromas; medium body and dry; good length to finish.
Chateau Pesquie Le Paradou Viognier 2018: $19.00, France
What do I think: Solid in aromas, flavour and deep in colour, a very interesting taste. An ideal wine with a salad before the main course.
What the Experts say: Golden colour with silvery glints, clear and bright. Nose of white flowers, white fruits (peach). In mouth, very fresh and balanced, with citrus aromas (lemon), white fruits and a great minerality. A favourite as an aperitif, Le Paradou Viognier is one of those rare wines that can be paired with asparagus. Very elegant with grilled fishes, fried squid, scallops, it emphasizes dishes with cheese such as Parmaggiano Risotto and goes well with goat cheeses. For desserts, with apricot pie or even strawberry soups.
Carte Noire Rosé: $19.95, Provence, France
What do I think: A good friend brought this over and the next day I bought six! Learned something about Rose. The good stuff comes from Provence, France. Very pleasing in every which way!
What the Experts say: This blend of Grenache and Cinsault has long been a customer favourite, beloved for its zippy personality, ripe red berry, raspberry and Provençal garrigue tones. A delightful sipper that pairs beautifully with smoked salmon.
Huff Estates Pinot Gris: $19.95, Ontario, Canada
What do I think: A solid Pinot Grigio, probably paying a little more than you should but welcome to the Canadian Government’s silly taxes that mis treat entrepreneurs.
What the Experts say: This is a brilliant, fresh, classic cool climate pinot gris with a typical nose of peach, lemon, wet stone and herbs. It’s quite fine, juicy and tart, with some bitterness on the finish. Excellent length. It reminded me of pinot grigio from higher altitudes of Alto Adige in Italy.
Collavini Pinot Grigio: $15.00, Veneto, Italy
What do I think: Light and crisp aromas of citrus and melon, dry and light-bodied, with a balanced finish. Serve well-chilled on its own, great starter on those hot days which have now left us!
What the Experts say: Pale straw colour; citrus, light mineral and melon aromas with herbal notes; light-bodied with citrus, green apple flavours with good acidity.
High Heaven Majestic Pines Cabernet Sauvignon 2018: $19.95, Washington, USA
What do I think: A classic full bodied Cab full of flavours dominated by chocolate and caramel. Definitely would buy this one again.
What the Experts say: This is a well-made, solid take on Columbia Valley Cabernet, offering ripe dark fruit, cassis, fresh herbs and a graphite-tinged minerality. Long and fresh with pleasing concentration. A great wine for grilled portobello mushroom burgers.
Clayhouse Cabernet Sauvignon 2017: $18.95, California, USA
What do I think: You never go wrong with wines from Paso Robles. A very solid cab, and a bargain at under $20.00
What the Experts say: This Cab is blended from individual blocks selected for the nuanced variation in style that specific rows provide. Expect a silky, rich wine with lots of black fruit and toast notes. A solid value with broad appeal, it will be great with barbecued ribs.
Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay 2018: $24.95, California, USA
What do I think: Love those Russian River wines Chardonnay’s and Pinot Noirs – they lead my list from the region. A repeat offender is this one and still one of my all-time favourites.
What the Experts say: An exquisite example of cool-climate Chardonnay, this favourite features tropical fruit, roasted hazelnut, citrus and butter. Serve with grilled salmon, Camembert with crusty bread, or stuffed pork tenderloin.
Ménage à Trois Lavish Merlot 2017: $18.95, California, USA
What do I think: This one was a little off the mark for me as a Merlot. OK and inexpensive enough though not rushing out for another bottle.
What the Experts say: The latest offering from Ménage à Trois. Look for aromas and flavours of bright cassis, vanilla, smoke and coffee beans. Medium-bodied and fruity with a long-lasting finish. Enjoy with rack of lamb or grilled chicken and roasted potatoes.
Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir 2016: $39.95, Oregon, USA
What do I think: Not the kind of name on a bottle that catches my attention but certainly glad I did! Silky smooth, tasty and a great finish, a few extra bucks gets you a new dimension!
What the Experts say: This offers dark, earthy aromas with a wealth of ripe cherries and plums that flow long and plush, amid rich, evenly paced tannins and a spicy kick at the finish. Drink now [to 2025-2028]. Score – 91. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, July 2, 2019)