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Home Wine Ratings July 2015 Wine Ratings

July 2015 Wine Ratings

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89 Kellermeister The Funk Wagon GSM 2011, Barossa ($16.30)

GSM refers to a Southern Rhone inspired blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mataro (Mourvèdre). Full bodied, there is a rich texture and a profile of sweet cherry, raspberry, plum, black pepper, anise and earth. Soft tannins and ready to drink. Pair with baby back ribs or chorizo sausage. (ES)



90 Casa-Dea Estates Winery Eva, Prince Edward County 2014, Prince Edward County ($44.95)

This Chardonnay was made a la Amarone method and clocks in with a warming 14.9% alcohol. Sweet peach, golden delicious apple, pineapple, mango, honey, candied ginger and spice are all present. The palate is ripe and concentrated with some residual sugar and excellent length. Ready to drink. (ES)

90 Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, Prince Edward County ($29.95)

Medium yellow colour with the fruit and oak working in tandem to help create a complex wine:  pineapple, golden apple, quince, honeyed peach, vanilla, yeast, toast and spice. The mouthfeel is a combination of creaminess and acidity with the County’s telltale minerality providing a defining undercurrent. A long finale makes a perfect partner with lobster thermidor or salmon topped with hollandaise. (ES)

90 Tawse Oak Aged Chardonnay Icewine 2013, Niagara ($34.95/200ml)

Even though the wine spent six months in new French oak, any trace of wood has been absorbed by the richness of the wine. Pineapple, golden raisin, apple blossom, honey drizzled apricots and peach candy are all present. Full bodied there is freshness which keeps any overt sweetness in check. Excellent length and perfectly suited for cream and custard desserts. (ES)

89 Tawse Limestone Ridge Riesling 2013, Twenty Mile Bench ($21.95)

Made from 15-year-old vines this Riesling displays moderate aromas of lime, lemon, green apple and wet stone. The bright acid, slight sweetness and linear palate make for a fine partner with sautéed scallops or lighter cheeses. (ES)

89 Huff Estates Pinot Gris 2013, Prince Edward County ($20)

A portion of this wine spent eight months in new oak which has imbued the wine with a creamy texture that envelopes the apple, pear, white peach, honey and spice. Medium body, there is great length and enough depth to pair up against cream based dishes. (ES)

88 Casa-Dea Estates Winery Melon de Bourgogne, Prince Edward County ($18.95)

Casa-Dea has now entered the Ontario Melon market with this solid textbook offering. Almost water colour, this zesty white wine reveals green apple, pear, white flower, lemon and salty minerality. Light bodied and dry, there is very good length. Of course, the classic pairing of oysters on the half shell is what is required for this wine. (ES)


93 Pillitteri Estates Riserva Famiglia Cabernet Franc 2010, Niagara ($78)

The grapes for this Amarone-styled red were dried for 26 days before being pressed. Following fermentation, it was aged in French oak for 24 months. Needless to say, this 14.9% wine is a powerful monster redolent with blackberry, plum, dark cherry, cassis, raspberry liqueur, sweet herbs, smokey tobacco and spice. There is brilliant length and enough tannin to age for a decade - at least! (ES)

91 Culmina Hypothesis 2012, Okanagan ($39.95)

For number lovers, this blend of 57% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Franc spent 16 months aging in 70% new French oak. It is a full-bodied offering that exudes dark cherry, blackberry, cassis, plums, chocolate, spice, toast and mint/eucalyptus. It is concentrated and ripe with considerable refinement and suave tannins. Drink over the next five years. (ES)

91 Huff Estates Quarry Road Pinot Noir 2013, Vinemount Ridge ($30)

This wine is the result of a fruit swap between Huff and Tawse wineries. Huff obtained Pinot Noir from the acclaimed Quarry Vineyard in Niagara and Tawse opted for the Chardonnay from the equally prized South Bay vineyard in PEC. It is the epitome of poise and elegance with red fruit, beetroot, mushroom, mineral and vague spice are all built on a medium-bodied frame. Superb length, fresh acid and soft tannins. Drink until 2018. Oh yes, I should also mention that this is the Gold Medal winning Pinot Noir at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards. (ES)

91 Jackson-Triggs Delaine Syrah 2012, Niagara ($32.95)

It is my belief that this is the best Syrah being made in Ontario. Unlike many other renditions, which tend be over extracted and manipulated so as to appear more Shiraz like, this wine embraces its Ontario origins. Full bodied, it busts out the pepper, smoke, hickory, violets, cassis, oregano and raspberry. The tannins are smooth and the flavours echo long. (ES)

89 Tawse Meritage 2011, Niagara ($59.95)

A blend of 36% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 32% Cabernet Franc. It is the Merlot which greets the senses first with damson plum, cherry, blueberry, cocoa and spice. Afterwards, the Cabernets chime in with cassis, raspberry, cassis and roasted herbs. Vanilla and smoke from the oak ties it all together. Very good length, fresh acid and moderate tannins will ensure 5 to 6 years of cellaring, if so desired. (ES)

89 Thirty Bench Small Lot Pinot Noir 2012, Beamsville Bench ($35)

A lovely Pinot that starts off with a perfume of kirsch, plum, black raspberry, beetroot, mushroom and rose. The palate is weighty and chimes in with oak notes of cocoa and spice. Some gritty tannins appear at the end. Pair with grilled quail or duck confit. (ES)

89 Thirty Bench Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Beamsville Bench ($45)

Medium plus body, there is a complex nose of cassis, raspberry, vanilla, tobacco, bell pepper and dried earth. Linear, the wine is still tightly wound and tannic, so hold for a couple of years and then drink until 2024. (ES)

89 Southbrook Organic Triomphe Cabernet Franc 2013, Niagara ($21.95)

Mid-weight and smooth drinking, this textbook Franc doles out the cassis, raspberry, herbs, cedar/herbs, pencil shavings, violets and vanilla. Splendid length, fresh acid and fine tannins round out the experience. Pair with a pepper steak or ratatouille. (ES)


90 Errazuriz Aconcagua Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Aconcagua ($19.95)

Dark ruby, almost opaque with a purple tinge, this Cab is generous but not overt. Full bodied, there is cassis, blackberry, mint/cedar, vanilla, anise, smoke and dark cocoa flavours. There is great length with supporting tannins. A real crowd pleaser and solid value for the price. Drink until 2019. (ES)



92 Hatzidakis Assyrtiko Cuvée 15 2014, Santorini ($35)

This organic wine spent twelve hours on its skins to give more aroma and flavour and eight months on the lees to give more weight. Full bodied, it is stunning, revealing a bouquet of sweet peach, honey, pear, white flowers and candied lemon. Round and smooth in the mouth, the acidity and minerality are tucked nicely beneath. Long finale and still young; it will evolve nicely over the next five years. Pair with shrimp kabobs or pork chops. (ES)

89 Karamolegos Winery Assyrtiko Barrel Aged 2014, Santorini ($34)

Aged in new wood for six months, the mineral, citrus, peach, honey, white flower and grapefruit is supported by vanilla and cream qualities. On the palate, spiced apple and salty rocks add dimension. With its depth and complexity, I suggest pairing with grilled fish topped with lemon and olive oil. (ES)

88 Karamolegos Winery Santorini 2014, Santorini ($30)

There is an almost Grüner quality to this wine; lime zest, white flowers, grapefruit, white pepper, honey and a slight vegetal note work their way out of the glass. Brisk acidity and crystalline minerality carry the finish. (ES)


88 Agiorgitiko by Gaia 2013, Nemea ($19.75)

The Agiorgitiko grape is known for producing supple wines with moderate tannins – case and point, this wine. Aromas of cherry, raspberry, plum, tobacco and vanilla are in play. Ready to drink or hold for up to three years. (ES)


95 Vietti Barolo Lazzarito 2011, Piedmont ($150)

My personal favorite of all of Vietti’s Cru Baroli! Powerful, rich, ripe and extracted, this Barolo just flatters with all of its plum, blackberry, dark cherry, tobacco, anise, violets, vanilla and cocoa powder. The palate is already approachable, offering sweet fruit, concentration and an incredible aftertaste. Great now, but it will continue to improve over the next twenty plus years. (ES)

94 Vietti Barolo Rocche di Castiglione 2011, Piedmont ($150)

Every year, when I visit Piedmont for Nebbiolo Prima, the annual new vintage release tasting of all things Nebbiolo, I always make sure to book a side visit to Vietti. Last year, I was seduced by all their 2010s and can say emphatically that their 2011s are right on par. Rich and layered, there is dark cherry, plum, vanilla, anise, cocoa and mint. Full bodied with a crazy finish and structure to take it 25 years. Absolute brilliance! (ES)

93 Vietti Barolo Brunate 2011, Piedmont ($150)

From a warm vintage come this dark coloured Barolo, which is stacked full of cherry, plum, vanilla, earth, licorice, rose, leather and dried earth. Full bodied with grippy tannins and a superb finale, this wine still needs 3 to 4 years in the bottle and should be drunk of the subsequent two decades. (ES)


89 Luis Cañas Crianza 2011, Rioja ($17.95)

A blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Garnacha, this wine delivers ripe red fruit qualities along with rose, black pepper, earth, and roasted herbs. It is mid-weight on the palate with uplifting acidity and soft tannins. Ready to drink with red pizza or lamb chops. (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