Evan Saviolidis

Evan Wine Savvy

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Wine Reviews

Throughout the year WineSavvy Consultants will be rating wines and posting their results monthly on this page.

Come back each month and have a look at what we have come up with, and click the button to the right to see previous months of tastings and reviews.

August 2004 Wine Ratings

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91 13th Street Wine Corp Sandstone Chardonnay Reserve, Niagara ($27)
13th continues to produce one of Niagara's most fruity and concentrated Chardonnays. Fresh baked peach pie, caramel, tropical fruit, citrus and honey soar out of the glass. The palate is dense with cream drenched biscuits, caramel and yeasty flavours. Acid is low with a touch of residual sugar and superb length. Drink over the next 3 to 4 years. (ES)

86 Henry of Pelham Off Dry Riesling 2003, Niagara ($14.95)
The 03 HOP Off Dry is water colour with a nose peach, white flowers, honey, tutti frutti gooseberries and lime. The palate is extremely refreshing with a peach/lime aftertaste. Would be great with civiche. Drink until 2008. (ES)

85 Angels Gate Sussreserve Riesling 2003, Niagara ($14.95)
Naturally sweet grape juice has been added to balance off the racy acidity of the wine. Very uplifting with peach, lime, white flowers and a touch of honey on the backend. Now to 2008. (ES)

85 13th Street Wine Corp. Funk Riesling 2002, Niagara ($16)
Crisper than previous vintages with a nose of peaches, orange blossom, flowers and grapefruit. Medium persistency and drinkable until 2008. (ES)

84 Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay Musqué Estate Bottled 2002, Niagara ($15.95)
This, the first Musqué from CDC is moderately aromatic with a nose of peach and flowers. The palate is dry and lingering with honey, peach and spice flavours and a crisp finish. Drink now. (ES)

89 Angels Gate Angels III 2002, Niagara ($35)
The 3rd release of A3 lives up to the quality of its predecessors. Medium bodied, the blend is 50% Merlot with the remainder being equal parts of both Cabs. Plums, black cherries, chocolate and coffee are all in the house. Long finish, somewhat thick and ripe tannins. From 2005 to 2011. (ES)

88 Angels Gate Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Niagara ($23.95)
Cassis, plums, herbs and vanilla come together in the bouquet. On the palate the cassis comes through as well as the vanilla. Very good length and supple tannins. Now to 2011. (ES)


87 13th Street Wine Corp. Cabernets Merlot Funk Vineyard 2002, Niagara ($20)
A little closed at the time of tasting but chocolate, coffee, plums, black cherries and raspberries worked their way out of the glass. Medium to full bodied with a peppery, tobacco and raspberry palate. From 2005 to 2010. (ES)

87 13th Street Wine Corp. Merlot 2002, Niagara ($25)
A black cherry, raspberry, floral bouquet with a sweet mid palate laced with chocolate and cherries. Tannins are supple with very good length. Now to 2009. (ES)


86 Jackson Triggs Proprietors' Reserve Merlot 2002, Okanagan ($12.95)
A jammy Merlot made in a down under style, but when compared against a comparable Aussie on price, this wine wins hands down. It is definitely one of those good old buy by the case purchases. Ruby/purple colour with a nose of chocolate, plums, black cherries, violets and smoke. Medium bodied and medium length. Drink over the next 2 years. (ES)

85 Chateau des Charmes Cabernet-Merlot 2002, Niagara ($14.25)
The wine displays Chateau's "tell tale" red wine nose of bell pepper/cigar/spice which is interwoven with cassis, plums, vanilla and red currant. Dry with soft tannins and an easy finish. Drink over the next 2 years. (ES)


93 Chateau LaRame 2001, Ste Croix du Mont ($34.75/ 500ml)
Much has been hyped about the dessert wines of Bordeaux in 2001. This wine comes from a lesser known appellation near Sauternes and is an absolute killer, especially for the price. Full bodied with oodles of apricot, peaches, honey, spice and coconut. Drink until 2018. (ES)

92 Chateau Le Bon Pasteur 2001, Pomerol ($89 Futures)
Bon Pasteur is the home base of Michel Rolland, the world's foremost consultant of Merlot. Plums, spice, vanilla and chocolate on the nose with black raspberry, earth, smoke and chocolate on the palate. The mouth feel is concentrated and long. Drink over the next 10 to 12 years. (ES)

90 Sociando Mallet 2001, Haut Medoc ($65)
Those who have followed my ratings know my admiration for this house. The quality is constant and even puts to shame1st and 2nd growths in certain years. Black/purple colour with a bouquet of chocolate, bell pepper, cassis and black cherries. Medium bodied with excellent length and a soft finish. From late 2005 to 2012. (ES)

90 Chateau Quinault L'Enclos 2001, St Emilion ($120 Futures)
The '01 Quinault is black/purple coloured, medium bodied offering with loads of chocolate covered coffee bean, earth and blackfruits on the nose. Medium to full bodied, the palate is all chocolate, cherries, minerals and flowers. Length is excellent. Drink until 2016. (ES)


July 2004 Wine Ratings

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95 Allegrini Amarone 2000 ($100)
Without a doubt Allegrini is one of the superstars of Amarone. The wines from 97 of to 00 are some of the most powerful and concentrated that I have ever tasted out of the north east corner of Italy. It is more like dry port than wine, with enough tannin to warrant taking out extra dental insurance. Hold off for a few years to let everything come together. From 2008 to 2025. (ES)

92 Maculan Fratta 2000, Veneto ($68)
Made in a new world/Aussie style, focusing on intense fruit. The blend is 54% Cab Sauv and 46% Merlot. The attack is jammy and delivers loads of black cherries, blackberries, plums, tobacco and roasted herbs. Long finish with some heat. Drink over the next decade.

95 Arnaldo Capri 25 Anni Sagrantino di Montefalco 2001, Umbria ($100)
To enjoy young Sagrantino, you have to be in a Masochistic frame of mind. To be honest, I was scared to death after this opaque wine was poured into my glass, knowing what was in store. Simply put, it is a monster! Huge depth and even huger tannins. Aromas of plums, spice and vanilla are discernable at this young age. Hold of until 2010 and drink until 2030. (ES)

92 Maculan Fratta 2000, Veneto ($68)
Made in a new world/Aussie style, focusing on intense fruit. The blend is 54% Cab Sauv and 46% Merlot. The attack is jammy and delivers loads of black cherries, blackberries, plums, tobacco and roasted herbs. Long finish with some heat. Drink over the next decade.

92 Arnaldo Capri Collepiano Sagrantino di Montefalco 2001, Umbria ($40)
Here is one for you wine trivia buffs- what is the most tannic grape in the world? Answer-Sagrantino. Gentle is the not an adjective I would use for this wine, as it is fiercely tannic yet beautifully concentrated, with superb length. Drink over the next 15 years with meat, preferably rare to still mooing. (ES)

90 Fattoria di Felsina Chainti Classico Berardenga Rancia 2001, Tuscany ($60)
The nose is cherries, plums, spice and fresh bread, while the mouth is laced with humus and menthol notes. Nicely concentrated with firm tannins and excellent length. Now to 2014. (ES)

90 Zenato Amarone 2000, Veneto ($48.95)
The combination of grapes being dried for 4 months and aging in new barrels has produced a bouquet of plums, vanilla, black cherries, blackberries, chocolate and allspice. Excellent quality, the wine is ripe and long in the month with some alcohol on the backend. Now to 2016. (ES)

89 Fattoria di Felsina Chianti Classico Berardenga 2001, Tuscany ($34.36)
A touch lighter than the “Rancia.” Black fruits, spice, vanilla and toasted bread are present in this medium to full bodied wine. Drink now to 2011. (ES)

89 Fontodi Flaccianello 2000, Tuscany ($70)
This 100% Sangiovese bottling delivers cherries, buttered popcorn, cassis and earthy flavours. Medium to full bodied with excellent length. Now to 2011. (ES)

89 Antinori Tiganello 2001, Tuscany ($90)
Rather disappointing when tasted recently in Italy. Medium bodied with cherry, hummus and charred oak aromas. There is lots of tannin, but the finish is airy, so I would prefer to drink it over the next 5 years. Maybe it is just in a dumb phase, but my gut tells me otherwise. Not worth the money. (ES)

88 Fontodi Chianti Classico 2001, Tuscany ($32.47)
Medium ruby with a pink rim. Cherry, earth and vanilla on the nose with sweet cherries on the palate. Dry with nice length. Now to 2010. (ES)



90 Thirty Bench Riesling Limited Yield 2003, Niagara (winery, $19.95)

"Limited Yield" refers to a certain amount of grapes clusters removed from the vine during the growth cycle so as to concentrate the flavour in the remaining bunches. Moderately aromatic with an Auslese level of sweetness. There is a concentrated mouthful of peaches, honey, lemon, lime, minerals and green apples which envelops the crisp acid. Now to 2011. (ES)

89 Lakeview Cellars Chardonnay Reserve 2002, Niagara ($25)

The heat of the 2002 vintage, coupled with 18 months aging in new french oak has produced a full bodied Chard with a bouquet of caramel, banana, figs, citrus and green apple. The texture is creamy with spice, apples and nuts appearing on the finish. Drink over the next 4 years as the acid is low and the wine is a already enjoyable .(ES)

86 Birchwood Estates Auxerrois 2002, Niagara (winery, $12.95)

One of the most aromatic Auxerrois out of Ontario. Peaches, cream, tutti frutti and honey served up. Light bodied, but perfectly ideal as an aperitif or with a poached fish dish. Drink now. (ES)

85 Pelee Island Late Harvest Scheurebe 2002, Pelee Island ($9.00)

A nose of peaches, white pepper and honey. Sweet with good length and easy drinking. (ES)


88 Lakeview Cellars Pinot Noir Reserve Butlers Grant Vineyard 2002 ($24.95)

A fruit driven style of Pinot with a nose of cherries, raspberries, blackfruits and rich vanilla. The palate is chock full of berry fruits which are interwoven with vanilla. Now to 2009. (ES)


87 Pelee Island Winery Pinot Noir Reserve 2002, Pelee Island ($14.04)

The wine displays a deep ruby colour and a nose of black cherries, black raspberries and vanilla bean. The same is reciprocated on the palate. Dry with very good length and a somewhat firm finish. Now to 2008.

86 Birchwood Estates Baco Noir 2002, Niagara (winery, $10.95)

A good value Baco with aromas of plums, vanilla and spice. Dry with medium length and a roasted nut finish. Drink over the next 2 years.


June 2004 Wine Ratings

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89 Vineland Estates Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2002 (winery, $40, ON)

Deep ruby with a fuchsia rim. Full bodied with rich flavours of raspberry, chocolate, blackfruits, and tobacco. Hold for a couple of years as the alcohol is a bit dominant at this time. Drink until 2011. (ES)

89 Reif Estate Pinot Noir First Growth (winery, $50, ON)

A strong offering which reveals coffee, chocolate, plum, raspberry and earthy/toasty aromas. Cherry jam as well as blackberry flavours are on the palate. Tannins do appear on the back end, and as of this moment, the wine still is a bit tight, so hold off until 2005 and drink until 2011. Harvested at 2.5 tons per acre. (ES)

89 Reif Estate First Growth Merlot 2001, Niagara (winery, $50, ON)

Black fruits, earth, spice, green peas and oak dominate the nose. Length is very good with lots of fruit on the palate, namely blackberry and plums, which coalesce with a spicy finish. Drink until 2009. (ES)

87 Reif Estate Shiraz 2002, Niagara (winery, $23.95, ON)

A black purple colour wine with ripe loganberry and blackberry flavours. Acid is fresh and tannins are easy. Drink now (ES)


85 Vineland estates Pinot Noir Reserve 2001, Niagara (winery, $27, ON)

The nose and palate were dominated by alcohol. Beyond that, plums, cherries, vanilla and spice were discernable. Medium bodied. Drink now.

85 Vineland Estates Chardonnay Musque 2002, Niagara (winery, $18.95, ON)

White gold colour with a nose of peaches, flowers, honey and minerals. Light to medium bodied with medium length.



94 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 1999, Maipo (726919, $44.25, PQ)

One hell of a great Chilean red, and at under $50, it is a pleasant surprise considering the skyrocketing prices of many wines from this country. Concentrated raspberry, blackberry, anise and tobacco flavours. After swallowing, it just lingers and lingers. From 2005 to 2020. (ES)



88 Chateau Pajzos Harslevelu 2000, Tokaji ($22.25, PQ)

A fresh, cleaner style than your typical Tokaji. The wine is made solely from botrytis affected Harslevelu grapes which were cold fermented to produce a fruit driven style. Spiced apples, honey, flowers and bergamot tea flavours are present. Sweet, with very good length and high acid which provides balance. Drink now. (ES)


95 Santa Duc Cuvee Prestige des Hautes Garrigues 2000, Gigondas ($48.25, PQ)

Superb, incredible, fabulous, delicious and "must have" were some of the adjectives that came to mind after tasting this singular win. Full bodied and dense, with 20 years of life ahead. Simply put-buy this, especially if you are a Southern Rhone lover! (ES)

93 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape 2000, Rhone ($48.75, PQ)

Ahhhh-the joys of great CNP! Ripe cherries, dark chocolate, hazelnuts, pepper and garrigue aromas. Layered and dense, this wine will last 15 years, sans problème Game meats anyone!

92 Chateau Clinet 2000, Pomerol (736124, $257, PQ)

Not cheap, but then again we are talking about Pomerol from a great vintage. Cassis, cherry, earthy, blackberry and animal scents work together. Full bodied with a long, succulent finish and a minty note which I attribute to the 10% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. From 2005 to 2020. (ES)

90 Chateau Montrose 2001, St-Estephe (979880, $94.95, ON)

The 01 is a powerful wine for the vintage. It serves up a mixture of toasty oak, cassis, vanilla, animal scents and spice. Tannins are present and cellaring is suggested. Hold off until 2008 and drink to 2020. (ES)

87 Perrin Gigondas 2000, Rhone ($29.90, PQ)

If you like back pepper, black pepper and more black pepper this wine is definitely for you. Besides the black pepper (did I forget to mention that before?), the wine does offer blackcurrants and provencal herbs. Medium body and length. (ES)


New Zealand

90 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2003, Marlborough ($31.95, ON)

The most famous name is N.Z. Sauv Blanc has produced a medium to full bodied wine with a bouquet of passion fruit, citrus, tomato vine, grapefruit, lime zest white pepper and minerals. Lively acid, as usual is found in the mouth with excellent length. Uncork and serve with goat cheese and scallop stuffed phyllo purses. (ES)


92 Viader 1999, Napa Valley (904367, $141, ON)

The 99 Viader is a blend of the 2 Cabs-61% Sauvignon and 39% Franc. Deeply coloured, this concentrated wine seduces with a bouquet of blackberry, black cherries, raspberries, anise, chocolate and smoke. Rich with a long finish and a tannic frame which gives longevity. Now to 2020.


May 2004 Wine Ratings

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87 Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay 2003, Marlborough (991950, $18.95, ON)

An invigorating change from all those wall to wall, oaky Chardonnays. A shiny pale gold colour with peach, white flower, passion fruit and nectarine aromatics. Very crisp with a lingering, clean finish. Fresh water fish in butter and lemon sounds great. (ES)



92 Cave Springs CSV Riesling 2003, Niagara (529941, $30, ON)

Last year I stated that the 2002 was the best CSV Riesling Cave had ever produced. I now amend that statement- the 03 is the top dog. Full bodied with so much going on the nose and the palate-the wine was constantly changing from honey to peaches, to pink grapefruit to white flowers to lime-need I say more! High acid ensures a long life ahead, 10 years plus. (ES)

90 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Riesling 2002, Niagara (winery, $30, ON)

The wine screams “Mosel” in the glass. Made from 20 year old vines, this “dead ringer” exudes peaches, honey, candied fruit, lime, minerals and petrol. The mouth is mineral dominated with lime and citrus weaving around the pronounced acidity. Now to 2012. (ES)

89 Cave Springs Riesling Reserve 2003, Niagara (286377, $16.95, ON)

This is a nicely concentrated wine which offers peach, citrus, mineral and lime. Medium bodied with almost excellent length and a purity of fruit which sings on the finish. Great price. (ES)

88 Niagara College Late Harvest Vidal 2002, Niagara (winery, $14.95, ON)

Made from the 2nd pressing of the grapes which produced the 2002 Icewine-a wine which I rated 92 points earlier this year. Medium bodied with peach, apricot and floral aromas. Elegant and ready to drink. (ES)

88 Cave Springs Chardonnay Reserve, Niagara (256552, $19.95, ON)

Medium yellow colour with a bouquet of vanilla, cream, green apples and honey. Dry, medium plus bodied with a creamy texture and notes of spice, cream, fig and vanilla. Now to 2008. (ES)

87 Inniskillin Old Vines Riesling, Niagara (winery $16.95 approx., ON)

Made from 30 year vines this dry wine is surprisingly soft, due to low acid and displays a nose of peach, baby powder, lime and hints of honey. Dry, medium bodied and ready to drink. (ES)

87 Henry of Pelham Sauvignon Blanc 2003, Niagara (430546, $15.95, ON)

Henry of Pelham’s best Sauv Blanc to date. Crystalline and defined on the nose with aromas of candied passion fruit, citrus, asparagus and minerals. Crisp, refreshing and delicate on the finish. (ES)

87 Cave Springs Riesling Off Dry 2003, Niagara (234583, $11.95, ON)

I like this wine…especially for under 12 bucks! An intense nose of flint, passion fruit, lime and lemon. There is almost 20 grams of sugar to this wine but the high acidity gives the impression of a dry wine. Very good length and a joy to drink. Buy it by the case. (ES)

87 Henry of Pelham Chardonnay Reserve 2002, Niagara (252833, $13.95, ON)

Peaches, vanilla, oak and caramel on the nose with hints of honey underneath. Refined and elegant with a soft mouthfeel and a distinct minerality with undercurrents of oak and apples. Clean finish and solid value. Drink over the next 2 to 3 years. (ES)

86 Cave Springs Dry Riesling 2002, Niagara (233635, $11.95, ON)

Lime, grapefruit and slate on the nose. Dry and lemony on the finish. Drink over the next 3 years. (ES)


85 Cave Spring Gewurztraminer 2002, Niagara (302059, $14.95, On)

Pale yellow and moderately aromatic with flowers, spice, tropical fruit and cold cream. Dry and clean with hints of bitter grapefruit on the end. Age it for a year, as it should open up some more. From 2005 to 2007. (ES)


88 Niagara College Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Fermented 2002, Niagara (winery, $16.95, ON)

A great lil value in Canadian wine and one that should be stocked up in the cellar. Purple/ruby with a bouquet of sweet raspberries, blackberries, vanilla and spice. Medium to full bodied with a lingering finish. Quantities are limited so get it while you can. Now to 2009. (ES)

88 Niagara College Meritage Barrel Fermented 2002, Niagara (winery, $18.95, ON)

The purple/ruby coloured Meritage is a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot. Plums, cherries, blackberry, vanilla and chocolate are found on the nose while the palate offers much of the same. Very good length and structure to take it 5 years. (ES)

88 Lailey Vineyard Merlot 2002, Niagara (winery, $18.95, ON)

The 02 reveals a nose of plums, cherries, smoke, tobacco and pain grille. Medium to full bodied, the palate is concentrated with more raspberry, tobacco and smokiness with some cranberry nuances. Very good length with finely integrated tannins. Now to 2010. (ES)

87 Henry of Pelham Cabernet Merlot Unfiltered 2000, Niagara (395855, $24.95, ON)

Medium ruby colour with a nose of smoke, tobacco, black fruit, raspberry and hints of bell pepper underneath. Fresh raspberries and chocolate unfurl in the mouth with the tannins making an appearance at the end. Medium plus length. Now to 2008. (ES)

87 Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir Reserve 2002, Niagara (268391, $18.95, ON)

Henry of Pelham has made a sexy Pinot with a nose of raspberry, plums, vanilla and earth and cinnamon. Medium bodied with a solid finish and some firmness which requires a year of aging before drinking. From 2005 to 2009. (ES)

86 Henry of Pelham Meritage Cabernet Merlot 2002, Niagara (504241, $14.95, ON)

Tobacco, raspberry, bell pepper, smoke, violets. Medium bodied albeit a tad lean in the mid palate, with very good length and supple tannins. (ES)


March 2004 Wine Ratings

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95 Chateau de Beaucastel 2001, Chateauneuf du Pape (520189,$78, PQ)

After three sub-par wines in 98, 99 and 00, Beaucastel has returned to form in 2001. This is a fat, in your face wine, with loads of spice, pepper, chocolate, herbs, kirsch and black fruit jam. There are abundant tannins, but they are paved over by the concentration. Drinking now, but will continue to improve with time- until to 2025. Tasted at last year's Vinexpo in France.



93 Malivoire Moira Vineyard Chardonnay 2002, Niagara (573154, $36, ON)
Aged in French oak of which 20% was new. Pear, spice, vanilla, honeyed white flowers and cream on the nose. Full bodied, yet oh so Ann Sperling elegant with cream, spice, olive, and vanilla on the long finish, which also shows palate cleansing acid. Balanced, refined and a class act! (ES)

92 Malivoire Riesling Icewine 2002, Niagara (591321, $36, ON)
With over 275 grams/liter of sugar this is a super rich and intense Icewine- yet is light in the mouth due to the cleansing acidity. Honey macerated peaches, flowers, apricots and spice are in the mix with a long finish. (ES)

90 Stoney Ridge Charlotte's Chardonnay 2003, Niagara (winery, $24.95, ON)
The "Best White of Show" at this year's Cuvee awards and a worthy successor to the 02. This unoaked Chardonnay definitely contains a good proportion of the Chardonnay Musque clone as witnessed by the peachy/orange blossom/ floral nose. In the mouth it fills out with green apples and citrus flavours. Very good, almost excellent length. (ES)

87 Malivoire Chardonnay Musque "Spritz", Niagara (winery, $18, ON)
With 5% residual sugar and slight effervescence, this is Canada's answer to an Italian Molscato d'Asti. Orange blossom and flowers leap out of the glass and into the mouth. Very refreshing with a clean finish. (ES)

85 Malivoire Traminer 2002, Niagara (699967, $14.95, ON)
This pale, almost water coloured wine is a blend of 95% Gewurz and 5% Riesling. Lite aromas of peach, citrus, lime and mineral. Clean in the mouth with good length and a dab of sweetness on the end, but the wine is considered dry. (ES)

91 Kacaba Syrah 2002, Niagara (winery, $50 approx., ON)
By far this is Ontario's best Syrah to date! Cropped at 3/4 tons/acre and harvested at 25 Brix, the wine is black coloured, super ripe, dense, firmly tannic and full bodied. Tastes of plums, spice, raspberry, chocolate and vanilla. Having no point of reference for this type of Syrah, I can't clearly predict its lifespan, but 10 years of aging seems reasonable, possibly even more. (ES)


90 Reif Estate Cabernet Sauvignon First Growth 2001, Niagara (winery, $50, ON)
Blackcurrant, black cherry, chocolate, smoke and spice are found in this, the winner of Cuvee's best Cabernet Sauvignon. Long finish with good depth of fruit and good tannins. Drink over the next 7 to 8 years. (ES)

90 Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir Speck Family Reserve 2002, Niagara (winery, $50, ON)
The first ever Speck Family Pinot Noir is a concentrated offering with a perfumed nose of black cherries, vanilla and earth. Length is excellent with blueberries, blackberries and plums developing in the mouth and on the finish. Tannic structure will allow the wine to age gracefully. (ES)

90 Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Reserve 2002, Niagara (461699, $24.95, ON)

The extra hang time afforded by the long, hot growing season of 2002 has reduced acid levels to the point where this is the softest, least sauvage Henry Baco I have ever tasted. Black fruits, spice, vanilla and light game cross the nose and the mouth. Elegant with a lasting finish. (ES)

90 Pillitteri Estate Cabernet Franc Family Reserve 2002, Niagara (winery, $43, ON)
Winemaker Sue Ann Staf has produced a wine to rival her 1998 Gold Medal winner. Full bodied with serious structure and flavours of black raspberries, cassis, tobacco, smoke, chocolate and coffee. Sturdy tannins make for a wine that will age well. From 2006 to 2015. (ES)

89 Malivoire Single Block Gamay 2002, Niagara (winery, $25, ON)
Malivoire is the newest entrant into the Ontario world of low yield Gamay. Harvested at 22 hl/ha, only 70 cases were made of this wine. Medium ruby/purple colour with a intense nose of blackberry, raspberry, spice , vanilla and violets. Ripe and juicy in the mouth with lots of dark and red fruits, excellent length and supple tannins. If you can procure any, do so! (ES)

88 Inniskillin Pinot Noir Montague Vineyard, Niagara (633819, $24.95, ON)
At a recent tasting of Canadian Pinot vs. Burgundy, this wine stood out as a favorite by many of the tasters. Light ruby with a pink rim and a perfumed nose of black cherries, blackfruits, violets, orange peel and vanilla. Medium bodied with raspberry and cherry flavours. (ES)

88 Niagara College Merlot Barrel Fermented 2002, Niagara (winery, $16.95, ON)
The students of Niagara College and their guru Jim Warren have done it again in 2002. An overlay of oak provides chocolate covered coffee bean aromas, which weaves nicely with the plums and cherries. Lots of up front richness with a smooth finish. Drink over the next 5 years. (ES)

89 Lailey Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Canadian Oak 2002 (winery, $45, ON)
Watch out Bordeaux, you have some serious competition at half the price. Blackberries, black cherries, mint and vanilla swirl out of the glass. The wine is ripe with a sweet attack in the mouth with good amounts of fine grained tannins and great length. From 2005 to 2012. (ES)

88 Lailey Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2002 (winery, $29, ON)
Dark cherry colour with a nose of pain grille, tobacco, blackcurrant, raspberries, coffee and herbs. Medium to full bodied with liquorice, vanilla and weedy notes on the palate adding complexity. Now to 2011. (ES)

87 Cave Springs Pinot Noir Reserve 2002, Niagara (winery, $17.95, ON)
Medium ruby colour with a nose of vanilla, cherries, earth, liquorice and uniquely enough-buckwheat honey. Supple with very good length and present tannins. Now to 2009. (ES)

87 Lakeview Cellars Butlers Grant Pinot Noir 2002 (winery, $11.95, ON)
A surreal value in Pinot Noir and one which mandates a case purchase for your home. Although pale in colour, it is very much new world with a jammy texture and a nose of sweet cherries and blackberries. Very good length. Drink now. (ES)

86 Featherstone Gamay Noir Unfiltered 2002, Niagara (winery, $18.95, ON)
A raspberry, plummy, black pepper and yeasty offering with medium length and some heat on the finish. (ES)


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Wine Facts

To prevent a sparkling wine from foaming out of the glass, pour an ounce, which will settle quickly. Pouring the remainder of the serving into this starter will not foam as much.