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Evan Wine Savvy

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Home Wine Ratings June 2015 Wine Ratings

June 2015 Wine Ratings

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90 Flat Rock Cellars Riesling 2014, Twenty Mile Bench ($17.15)

Gold Medal winner in the Semi-Dry Riesling category at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards. A huge bouquet of peach, honey, mandarin, bergamot, lime and mineral beguils. The crisp acidity is held in check by some residual sugar, but for all intents and purposes, it comes across as a dry wine. All I kept thinking about when drinking this wine was a huge plate of sushi and sashimi. (ES)

89 Henry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2012, Short Hills Bench ($17.95)

A textbook Niagara Riesling that bursts forth with peach, lime, apricot, pear and honey. It comes from a warm vintage, so the acids are slightly lower than usual and there is some residual sugar to balance things off. All and all, another great Riesling from the boys at HOP! (ES)

90 Tawse Quarry Road Chardonnay 2012, Vinemount Ridge ($34.95)

Organic and Biodynamic, the 2012 Quarry Chardonnay is an open an accessible offering with pear, anise, honey, yellow apple, pineapple and vanilla qualities. Medium body, there is excellent length and sound acidity. Perfect with lobster and drawn butter of grilled salmon filet. (ES)

88 Tawse Sketches Riesling 2014, Niagara ($17.95)

The new release of Tawse’s entry level Riesling is a solid offering as per usual. Peach, honey, lime, powdered candies, jasmine, crushed rock and hints of honey find themselves meshing with an electric palate of acidity. There is a hint of sweetness, which reigns everything, as well as a lengthy finale. (ES)

87 Kacaba Vineyards Unoaked Chardonnay, Niagara ($14.95)

This pure expression of Chardonnay exudes lemon, pear, green apple, white peach and smokey minerals. On the taste buds, it is mid-weight and dry with moderate acidity and a lengthy finale. (ES)

86 Kacaba Vineyards Riesling Reserve 2014, Niagara Escarpment ($17.95)

Dry, this Riesling displays moderate aromas of lime, lemon, mineral and peach. It is light and airy on the palate with fresh acidity making it food friendly. Pair with grilled sausages or a mustard and herb crusted rack of pork. (ES)


91 Trius Showcase East Block Cabernet Sauvignon Clark Farm Vineyard 2012, Four Mile Creek ($45)

In all my years of evaluating wine professionally, I have never seen an Ontario Cabernet Sauvignon with such a saturated/black colour. Then again, 2012 was an exceptional vintage for reds. This gold medal winner at this year’s Ontario Wine Award is full bodied with a personality of crème de cassis, raspberry, herbs, mint, dried earth, spice and dried cocoa. The remarkable length and ripe tannins will ensure a decade of positive evolution. (ES)

90 Kacaba Vineyards Merlot Reserve 2010, Niagara Escarpment ($44.95)

Gold Medal winner in the Merlot category at the Ontario Wine Awards - and it is easy to see why! Medium to full body, a perfume of coffee, violets, blackberries, plum, spice, chocolate, roasted nuts and roasted herbs meets up with raspberry and smoked qualities on the palate. Great length and ready to drink now. (ES)

90 Huff Estates South Bay Unfiltered Merlot 2012, Prince Edward County 2012 ($40)

I tasted this wine from barrel last year with winemaker Frederic Picard and at that time I thought that it had the potential to be the best South Bay Merlot to date. Well, I am happy to say that the final product has lived up to my expectations! Medium to full body, there is an underlying linearity and grip to the cherry, plum, cocoa, smoke, tobacco, spice and herbs flavours. Excellent length. Hold until 2016 and then drink until 2021. (ES)

89 Malivoire Gamay 2013, Niagara ($17.95)

The fresh and fruit driven Gamay doles out strawberry, raspberry, cracked pepper, fresh earth and herbs. Light bodied, there is great length. Don’t expect the power of Malivoire’s top end Gamays, but it does deliver in spades on the pleasure/quaffable scale. This wine is made for pasta, pizza and antipasto. (ES)

89 Colio Bricklayer’s Reward Old Farm Cabernet Franc 2012, Lake Erie North Shore ($19.95)

From the good folks at Colio Winery, comes this solid Franc with an enormous bouquet of smokey tobacco, raspberry, cassis, blackberry, herbs and black pepper notes. Very good length and suave tannins bode well for five years of cellaring. (ES)

88 Kacaba Vineyards Cabernet/Syrah 2012, Niagara Escarpment ($30)

The Syrah component dominates the nose with its black pepper, violets, cassis and rosemary. Afterwards, the Cabernet contingent chimes in with raspberry, roasted herbs and tobacco. There is a ripe mid-palate, with very good length and enough tannin to suggest holding until this winter to pair with braised meats and roasts. (ES)


92 Santo Wines Santorini Assyrtiko Grand Reserve 2012, Santorini ($30)

I have the highest respect for this co-op which represents close to 1000 growers as it always turns out bang for the buck wines. But now they have taken it to the next level with the introduction of this beauty, which blew me away! From 100 year old vines and aged in partial new oak, it features a golden colour and a huge bouquet of toast, peach, bay leaf, honey, golden apple, spice, resin and white flowers. The same flows over onto the taste buds where Assyrtiko’s telltale crystalline/saline acidity carries the long finale. A wild ride in the best possible sense!

92 Hatzidakis Santorini Assyrtiko de Mylos Vielles Vignes 2014

This single vineyard Assyrtiko spent 12 hours on its skins to give more depth before fermentation started via natural yeasts. Full bodied, it exudes yeast, golden apple, ripe peach, lemon, pineapple, toast and spice. An extended finale and thick texture make for a wine that will work with steak or lamb. (ES)

92 Karamolegos Winery Vinsanto 2006 ($40)

Simply put, this is a brilliant stickie! The deep amber colour heralds the bergamot, black tea, mint, raisins, orange marmalade and dried prunes. The 252 grams of sugar is held in check by the fresh acidity. There is one heck of a long finish, which allows for drinking by itself at the end of the meal or with baklava.(ES)

91 Argyros Assyrtiko Santorini 2014 ($21.95)

From one of my favorite producers comes this pristine white with telltale aromas of white peach, citrus, salty rock and honey. The same carries over onto the concentrated palate and is joined by brisk acidity, which puts everything into proportion. It is still tightly wound, so hold for a couple of years and then drink until 2022.(ES)

91 Hatzidakis Mavrotragano 2013

Mavrrotragano, an indigenous red of the island, only accounts for 2% of all plantings. Regardless, it is a high-quality varietal, and growers are starting to plant more. This intense rendition pumps out the dark cherry, raspberry liqueur, plum, tobacco, spice, cocoa and graphite. Concentrated and long, it will age well for 5 to 6 years. A must try! (ES)

91 Domaine Sigalas Santorini 2014 ($24.95)

Without a doubt, Paris Sigalas is a master of Assyrtiko. I had the opportunity to do a mini vertical of this wine (going back to 2008) while visiting the winery this past summer. All wines were impressive, especially the 08, which reminded me of a salty Puligny-Montrachet 1ere Cru.  The current offering is still tightly wound, but at this early stage, there is peach, mint, minerals, apples and citrus, all built on a full bodied frame. Assyrtiko’s intense acid will ensure great longevity. Hold for at least 2 years before opening and then drink until 2024. (ES)

89 Domaine Sigalas Mavrotragano 2013 ($50)

Three different pickings ensured a natural alcohol of 14.5%. The cocoa, smoke and spice from new French oak aging has meshed with the dark plum, sweet cherry, violets and earth qualities of the Mavrotragano grape. Full bodied, there is excellent length and enough tannin to age for 8 years. (ES)

90 Assyrtiko by Gaia Wild Ferment 2014 ($29.95)

Partially fermented in new French and American oak and fermented via natural yeasts, this brilliant white doles out aromas of toast, smokey minerals, cream, apple, flowers, apricot and peach. The palate contributes spice and saline acidity. Roast pork or salmon was made for this wine.(ES)

89 Karamolegos Winery Nykteri 2014 ($20)

Nykteri means ‘night-work’ and references the fact that the grapes were harvested and crushed in the evening so as to avoid excessive temperatures and ensure freshness. Karamolegos’ rendition was aged in new oak for three months and serves up a bouquet of peach, bergamot, lemon, vanilla and mineral. The palate is expansive with creamy notes adding extra depth. Splendid length. (ES)

89 Argyros Atlantis White 2014 ($18.95)

This perennial bang for the buck Santorini wine is a blend of 90% Assyrtiko, 5% Aidani and 5% Athiri. It doles out peach, honey, herbs, pear, mineral and floral notes. Elegant, the flavours echo long, with crisp acdity giving lift.  (ES)

89 Gaia Thalassitis Santorini 2014 ($27.75)

Made from 80-year-old vines, this aromatic rendition exudes minerals, apple, lemon, white flowers and pear. Tangy, there is great length. Drink over the next 5 years. Pair with a simple grilled fish drizzled with olive oil and fresh oregano. (ES)

88 Santo Wines Santorini Assyrtiko 2014 ($18)

Santo’s entry level white is the pure essence of Assyrtiko: citrus, white peach, white flowers and crushed volcanic rock. Fine length and crisp acid make for a great partner with fried kalamari or sushi. (ES)

88 Boutari Santorini ($16.95)

A straight-up, well made Assyrtiko with a perfume of peach, honey, apricot, bay leaf and lemon. The palate adds touches of white pepper, grapefruit and green elements. There is very good length and it is ready to drink.(ES)


94 Pira Vigna Rionda Barolo 2010, Piedmont ($115)

From a top notch vintage, this modern Barolo flaunts sweet cherry, plum, red flowers, anise and herbs. Once it hits the palate, the weight and tannins stand up and carry themselves with refinement, all the way to a lengthy exit. Hold until 2018 and drink for a good two decades. (ES)

92 Vietti Castiglione Barolo 2011, Piedmont ($72)

From a warm vintage comes this forward and soft (for Barolo that is) red with aromas of fraise de bois, plum, cherry, vanilla and tobacco. The palate displays a slight creamy texture with elements of earth, tar, spice and cocoa adding dimension. Excellent persistency and 15 years of life ahead. (ES)

89 Marziano Abbona Papà Celso Dogliani 2013, Piedmont ($19.75)

Dolcetto, like its Piedmontese brother Barbera, has risen from an everyday drink to high-quality juice, in the right hands. Dogliani is the birthplace of the Dolcetto grape and this rendition pumps out blueberry, dark cherry plum, spice, anise, white pepper and cola. Full-bodied, with fresh acidity and medium tannins, this wine will age for a decade if you so choose to. As a side note, while visiting the winery this past summer, I tasted a vertical of this wine, going back to 2004, and all were still incredibly vibrant. (ES)

South Africa

88 Glenelly Grand Vin Chardonnay 2012, Stellenbosch ($19.95)

A mid-weight Chardonnay that wears its oak upfront: toast, hazelnut, smoke and spice. The fruit comes in afterwards in the form of peach, yellow apple, sweet pear and ripe melon. Very good length and balanced with just the right amount of acidity giving a lift at the end. (ES)


Wine Facts

The lip of a red wine glass is sloped inward to capture the aromas of the wine and deliver them to your nose.