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January 2004 Wine Reviews

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France

90 Chateau Haut Marbuzet 2000, St Estephe (929075, $49 Futures, PQ)

Black/ruby colour with a bouquet of cassis, smoke and minerals. Full bodied with some rather hurtful tannin at this point in its very young life. Hold off until 2008 and drink until 2018. (ES)

Canada

White

92 Niagara College Vidal Icewine 2002, Niagara (winery, $34.95, ON)

The best "sweetie" I tasted at this year's Icewine gala. Lots of intensity on the nose with loads of peach jam, apricots, citrus and apple. Viscous with huge length and great depth. (ES)

91 Vineland Estates Vidal Icewine 2002, Niagara (370031, $42, ON)

Where many Vidal Icewines are over the top, this one stands on a pedestal of distinctiveness. Medium yellow colour with a lifted nose of vanilla bean, white flowers, citrus and peach. The mouth serves up much of the same, with a lingering finish and solid acidity to iron out the sweetness. (ES)

90 Cave Springs Riesling Icewine 2002, Niagara (447441, $59.95, ON)

Crystalline clarity and definition. Peach, flowers, petrol and lime aromas. Long finish with lots of acid sweeping up the sugar on the palate. Very classy stuff! (ES)

90 Chateau des Charmes Paul Bosc Estate Riesling Icewine 2000, Niagara (713724, $59.95, ON)

White flowers, honey, peach, pine nettles and lime aromas waft out of the glass. Not as powerful as the 97 or 99, as the cooler year of 2000 has produced a more elegant offering with higher acid, which in turn has provided symmetry to the sweetness. Excellent length and delicious. (ES)

90 Pillitteri Estate Riesling Icewine 2002, Niagara (435727, $25/200ml, ON)

A medium yellow colour precedes a bouquet of honey, pear, tangerine and peaches. It is all elegance in the mouth with wall to wall citrus flavours and loads of vibrant acidity which provides release from any heaviness. Excellent length and best paired seared foie gras. (ES)

88 Pillitteri Estate Gewürztraminer Icewine 2002, Niagara (729954, $30/200ml, ON)

One of the few Gewurz icewines that actually smells like Gewurz, not a jumble of jam. A dense nose of honey, pineapple, mango, spice and smoky notes. Thick and viscous with some acid offering relief from excess. Lingering with a clean finish. (ES)

88 Niagara College Winery Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2002, Niagara (winery, $24.95, ON)

This wine has Jim Warren's signature all over it-big bold oak, tropical fruit and tweaked for maximum output. Medium yellow colour with caramel, citrus, honey, pineapple, fig and fresh flowers on the nose. Creamy texture with very good length and some peach and citrus on the finish. (ES)

 

87 Jackson Triggs Chardonnay Delaine Vineyard 2002, Niagara (623454, $16.95, ON)

This, the 2nd release from JT's new upscale vineyard is a step up from last year's offering. Definitely an "oak lovers" Chard, with good amounts of caramel and citrus backed up by figs, green apple and citrus flavors. Medium bodied, with admirable length. The mid palate does dip a bit but the finish returns with vanilla, spice and caramel. Drink now. (ES)

85 Pillitteri Estate Pinot Grigio 2003, Niagara (349183, $10, ON)

Classic Grigio aromas of flowers, citrus, banana and nuts. Light bodied, crisp and refreshing palate and good length. (ES)

 

85 Jackson Triggs Dry Riesling 2002, Niagara (526277, $10.45, ON)

Citrus driven with flower and peach aromas adding complexity. As stated on the label it is dry with a solid acidic backbone and banana notes on the finish. (ES)

 

85 Jackson Triggs Riesling 2002, Niagara (526244, $9.95, ON)

More weighty in the mouth than the Dry Riesling due to some residual sugar. The same sweetness also provides a nice counterpoint to the acid. Drink now. (ES)

 

85 Jackson Triggs Gewürztraminer 2002, Niagara (526269, $10.45, ON)

For a lil Gewurz, it packs some punch-flowers, mango, peaches and light tropical fruit scents are found on the nose. Medium length with a clean finish and a dab of sugar at the end. (ES)

 

Red

90 Pillitteri Estate Cabernet Franc Icewine 2002, Niagara (winery, $35/ 200ml, ON)

In my mind it is Pillitteri and Jackson Triggs who constantly produce the best Cab Franc Icewines in Ontario. A pink, cotton candy colour with a nose of strawberry rhubarb pie, watermelon, carnations, and chocolate. Nice depth of fruit on the palate, great length and fresh acid provide harmony. (ES)

 

88 Pillitteri Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2002, Niagara (589093, $35/200ml, ON)

Black cherries, raspberries and caramel aromas are present in this medium to full bodied icewine. The palate offers much the same, with some tannins on the finish. (ES)

 

88 Thomas and Vaughn Old Vines Foch 2002, Niagara (winery, $14.95, ON)

Deeply colored with a nose of plums, chocolate, black raspberries, spice, smoke, vanilla and "Foch" gaminess. Medium bodied and ripe, with more plums, spice and vanilla carrying the lingering finish. Gains marks for complexity. Drink over the next 3 to 4 years. (ES)

 

87 Niagara College Pinot Noir 2002, Niagara (winery, $18.95, ON)

All the wines produced at Niagara College are made by the students, under the tutelage of winemaker/guru Jim Warren. And if this is a sign of what our young winemakers are able to produce in the future, the "heartbreak grape" does indeed have a bright future in Ontario. Refined with flowers, black fruits, cherries and mushrooms. Medium plus length with supple tannins. (ES)

 

Wine Facts

Wine is often called the nectar of the gods, but Sangiovese is the only grape named after a god. Sangiovese means “blood of Jove