Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Last Chance Qualifier

I'm finding that holding a World Cup of White Wine can be a tad difficult when there are only six countries, participating in the actual Women's World Cup, that produce white wines that are easily available in our local market. It is allowing me to be rather inventive in how I approach the taste-offs however.

Last week, I pitted the two countries, from each of North America, Europe and Oceania. That produced continental champions in Canada, France and New Zealand, but it left me with only three semi-finalists. In order to name a fourth participant in the semi-finals, I've decided to have a back door entry for one of last week's losing teams.

That means we're tasting wines from Germany, the US and Australia in order to pick one more country to move on in this little wine tournament. With the US and Australia maybe being known more for their reds, I might have headed into this tasting thinking that the Germans have a bit of an edge. That might seem even more appropriate with the World Cup being held in Germany and the German women being among favourites to win the Cup and their third championship in a row.

858. 2008 Export Union Piesporter Treppchen Riesling (QbA Mosel - Germany)

I couldn't find out a whole lot about this producer. I gather it must be a collective, or négotiant, that buys up fruit and produces wine - in this case for export. The wine was being featured by our provincial Liquor Distribution Board as a great buy for the summer. Generally, I'm a big Riesling fan, but I think this was a bit one dimensional in its profile - and that profile was definitely on the off-dry side of things. I think the German's home advantage might have just disappeared.

859. 2006 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay (California)

The Grand Reserve is a blend of grapes from a series of estate vineyards and varying growing conditions. Since we don't drink a whole lot of Californian wine, I don't know my Californian appellations very well, but the fruit for this wine comes from two of the state's cooler coastal regions - Monterey and Santa Barbara. I found that, for a Californian Chardy, there was a good amount of ripe fruit but I still found that there was more oak on the finish than I particularly enjoy.

860. 2008 Yalumba Y Series Viognier (South Australia)

Many writers credit Yalumba - and Jane Ferrari in particular - for re-invigourating Viognier's presence and profile in the wine world. Yalumba now produces four Viognier wines with the Y Series being more of an entry level, fruit-driven line. To the buying public, Viognier is likely opened fewer times than Chardonnays or Rieslings and, when compared to the other two varietals tonight, that unfamiliarity was perhaps understandable as the Viognier was somewhat underwhelming on both the nose and the palate - a bit surprising in itself.

I think it's fair to say that all three wines had something going for them; however, at the same time, none of the three had either Boo or I saying that we definitely need to go out and grab some more.

But we need a winner and, for the purpose of picking a "team" to move on in the World Cup, we decided that it going to be the US and Kendall-Jackson's Chardonnay. The American girls are expected to put up a good show in Germany. I guess the white wine counterparts live to see another day in our little competition as well.

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