Lovin’ the whites of summer

Andreas Haertle, Fotolia.com


A blessed country this Canada we live in. We weather storms and survive difficulties as well as any nation. We are not too big to fail. We’re lucky and fortunate too. The eastern United States remains mired in a catastrophe of heat and power outages while we enjoy an unprecedented stretch of warm temperatures, cooling breezes and blue skies. We will see a blip in the weather for the next day or two,  but by the end of the week the temperature and clear skies are slated to return and stay with us for an extended period of time. White wine sales are soaring, quality bottles evaporating and as we speak, a new wave of releases hits the shelves. Winemakers from Ontario and British Columbia continue to pump up the volume and their efforts demand attention. This (so far) phenomenal growing season of 2012 can only add to the growing legacies. There is no time like the present to opine on what to look for now in anticipation of another glorious weekend ahead.

The grape: Semillon

The history: Understudy or partner to Sauvignon Blanc in Bordeaux whites

The lowdown: Single varietal versions from Australia, especially the Hunter Valley have been impressive. This is a rare B.C. bottling of alchemic elegance

The food match: Grilled Wild B.C. Salmon under a Pommery mustard sauce

Mt. Boucherie Estate Collection Semillon 2008 (279364, $19.95, $14.99 B.C.) is exactly what the doctor ordered for those who can no longer tolerate red wine. Full-bodied Chardonnay need not be the only alternative. Porcine, butcher shop and fresh-churned butter aromas, beeswax and simmering vegetable stock too. Stand alone Semillon will rise up to fish, especially Sockeye, chicken and the other white meat. Deli-meats, especially Pingue Prosciutto would soak it up. Elongated and wraparound finish.  90

The grape: Chardonnay

The history: From Burgundy, one of the six great original wines of the world

The lowdown: Winemaker Dan Sullivan’s light touch ensures this Prince Edward County Chard is made in the vineyard

The food match: Grilled Shrimp with Citrus and Smoked Paprika

Rosehall Run Cuvée County Chardonnay 2009 (132928, $21.95) is “almost everything I need” from a P.E.C. white. Tart, mineral-driven with wood smoke and an expected but not over the top-level of brimstone. Sullivan’s street is paved with gold, and no one ever grows old.  89

The grape: Riesling

The history: Germany and Austria define mineral and petrol driven examples are built to last for a decade or more

The Lowdown: Hidden Bench is proving that the Beamsville Bench will lead the way for this versatile varietal

The food match: Pan-Roasted Whitefish and Pickerel with Lemon and Fresh Herbs

Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2010 (183491, $24.20) strikes a phenomenal balance between obvious juicy fruit opposite hidden petrol and loess. The stone struck against rock under the sun’s glare is minor in key, as is the pulverulence. This Locust Lane Vineyard Riesling entrenches winemaker Beyers in maestro’s clothing as she takes the reigns from J. M. Bouchard.  89

The Splurge

The grape: Sauvignon Blanc

The history:  Most famous as Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé in the Loire and as the signature wine of New Zealand

The lowdown: If I were to fork out 50 bills for SB, this Russian River Valley beauty would be the one. Made with 33% Savagnin Musque, A Bordeaux-clone of Sauvignon Blanc.

The food match: Duck Tacos with Spicy Hoisin and Pickled Carrot

Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (283705, $47.95) spreads like gooseberry and guava butter on fresh summer corn. Unctuous, precise, fearlessly focused and endowed with a gamut of tropical flavours. Despite all that praise it plays a bit hard to get and is a bit of a tough nut to crack. Two years wait wouldn’t hurt.  91

Good to go!

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