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Home Wine Ratings September 2014 Wine Ratings

September 2014 Wine Ratings

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91 Kaiken Ultra Malbec 2012, Mendoza ($19.95)

This is the best Ultra Malbec to date! The saturated black/purple colour heralds a full bodied wine which is racked, backed and stacked with plum, blackberry, fig, cocoa, smoke, violets, vanilla, earth and anise. The texture is lush with excellent length and well integrated tannins. For the price, a multiple bottle purchase is mandatory. (ES)



90 Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay 2013, Adelaide Hills ($24.95)

This is a superb follow up to the delicious 2012. Refined and complex, this Chardonnay exudes peach, pineapple, banana, red apple, honey, toast, cream, white flowers and minerals. The finish is long and the fresh acidity provides balance and definition. Lobster and crab with drawn butter were made for this beauty. (ES)


91 Nugan Estate Alfredo Dried Grape Shiraz 2012 ($26.95)

Here is something different: an Amarone inspired wine from Australia. Full-bodied and fruit driven, the plum, blackberry, black cherry, raisins, cocoa, vanilla, anise  and eucalyptus carry from the nose over to the palate, where fresh acidity,  firm tannins and a long finish join the mix. The price is right, especially considering that Italian versions of comparable quality are close to double. Drink over the next decade. (ES)

87 Nugan Estate Alfredo Second Press Shiraz ($15.95)

This Rispasso-styled wine is the little brother to the Alfredo “Amarone.” It is soft and crowd pleasing with blackberry, black cherry, prune, vanilla and dark cocoa flavours. Very good length, supple tannins, fresh acidity and a slightly sweet edge round everything out. (ES)


88 Vallone Vereto Salice Salentino Rosso 2010, Apulia ($17.95)

This 100% Negroamaro grape is a medium bodied offering which reveals plum, dried cherries, raisins, leather, violets, earth and cocoa. On the palate it is ripe, but not heavy, with some juiciness giving lift. The tannins show a dusty edge, so pair with braised veal or confit de canard. (ES)

88 D’Alfonso del Sordo Guado San Leo Uva di Troia, Apulia ($17.95)

Here is a great value aged red! Uva di Troia (the grape of Troy) is an under the radar varietal from the province of Apulia, in Southern Italy. Dark cherry, plum, vanilla, raisins, dried tomato, herbs and cinnamon make for a complex, medium bodied red. There is very good length, a tannic background and fresh acid. (ES)



89 Ravine Vineyard Riesling 2013, Niagara ($30)

Resembles a fine Mosel Kabinett. It is off-dry, with tangy acidity and a personality of lime zest, bergamot, apple, mineral, honey and peach. Very good length and 8% alcohol make for an enjoyable and easy drinking experience. (ES)

89 Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2013, Niagara ($17.95)

Tawse’s entry level Riesling once again delivers above its price point. Crisp and off-dry, it dazzles with apple, bergamot, lime and mineral. A lengthy aftertaste makes for an ideal partner with oysters on the half shell or spicy tuna sushi. (ES)

88 Ravine Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Niagara ($28)

Lime, gooseberry, nectarine, white grapefruit, herbs and minerals weave around a medium body and crisp personality. It is linear with very good length and is a perfect pairing for a grilled vegetable salad topped with goat cheese or chilled shellfish. (ES)


91 Pondview Winery Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon Unfiltered 2012, Four Mile Creek ($34.95)

Being a big fan of the 2010 version of this wine, I was hoping that the 2012 rendition would be just as glorious; well, it is! Full-bodied, yet elegant, this 14.3% alcohol wine doles out the blackberry, cassis, violets, raspberry, mocha, mint, roasted herbs and graphite qualities. The tannins are still forceful, so hold for two years and then drink until 2022. (ES)

91 Pondview Winery Bella Terra Cabernet Franc Unfiltered 2012, Four Mile Creek ($34.95)

Of all of Pondview’s top tier reds, this is the one that is the most approachable. Cassis, tobacco, cocoa, vanilla, violets, green olive, coconut and spice all come to play in this impressive Franc. It is ripe, concentrated and with enough grip to allow it age for another six to seven years.  (ES)

89 Coyote’s Run Black Paw Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012, Four Mile Creek ($29.95)

This is a seriously structured Pinot which requires a couple of years of bottle age so as to bring harmony. Dark cherry, raspberry, plum, humus, potpourri, vanilla and chocolate make for a thoroughly complex wine. From 2016 to 2020.  (ES)

88 Coyote’s Run Red Paw Vineyard Syrah 2012, Four Mile Creek ($24.95)

Plum, violets, clove, root beer, pepper and vanilla waft out the glass and onto the taste buds. Supple tannins, fresh acidity and very good length make this a fine choice for rack of lamb or roasts. (ES)

88 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($22.95)

Cassis, raspberry, herbs, cocoa, vanilla, spice are on full display in this biodymanic wine. There is some residual sugar, and a few might find it too sweet, but for me, it combines with the tannins, acidity and moderate alcohol to produce a well-balanced wine. It  should age well over the next 4 to 5 years. (ES)


90 Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Puente Alto ($19.95)

From the Maipo valley comes this polished Cabernet Sauvignon with ripe cassis, dark cherry, cocoa, menthol, spice, vanilla and dark olive qualities. Full bodied, there are lots of velvety tannins which makes me want to lay this wine down until the middle of 2015 and then drink until 2020. (ES)

United States

89 Ca’Momi Zinfandel 2012, Napa Valley ($19.95)

The 2012 vintage of this wine is a well-priced, textbook example, loaded with jam: raspberry, blackberry, cherry and blueberry. Raisins, pepper, earth and vanilla add complexity to the mix. Very good length and soft tannins assure immediate accessibility. Pair with braised meats or dry-rubbed ribs. (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