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Home Wine Ratings May 2016 Wine Ratings

May 2016 Wine Ratings

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92 Cave Spring Riesling Icewine 2014, Niagara ($49.95/375ml)

Medium golden colour with a gorgeous personality of peach compote, honeycomb, spice, apple juice, melon and lime. Concentrated, the sweetness is offset by brilliant acidity. Long finale. (ES)

91 Creekside Sauvignon Blanc Backyard Bubbly 2013, Creek Shores ($24.95)

Fuller-bodied and fruitier than most Pinot/Chardonnay based bubbles! That said, this is the best SB sparkling wine I have ever tasted from Ontario.  Guava, blackcurrant juice, lemon verbena, grapefruit, lime, passion fruit and hints of yeast are present on the nose and palate. Excellent length, fresh acidity and 13.5 % alcohol rounds everything out. A must try! (ES)

90 Bachelder Niagara Chardonnay 2013, Niagara ($24.95)

Texture, balance and elegance all wrapped up in a delightful package. Peach, citrus, golden apple, honey, vanilla and pineapple are built on a medium-bodied frame. Lingering with just the right amount of freshness. Pair with swordfish steaks topped with beurre blanc. (ES)

90 Cave Spring Riesling The Adam Steps 2014, Beamsville Bench ($24.95)

Fermented via natural yeasts, this Riesling exudes a perfume of peach, honey, white flowers, banana and anise while the plate adds grapefruit, nectarine and lime. Off-dry, brisk acidity and lovely length. It should age well over the next decade. (ES)

88 Cave Spring Riesling 2014, Niagara ($14.95)

Cave’s entry off-dry Riesling delivers the goods in the 2014 vintage. Expressive, there is smokey minerals, peach, lime, apple and petrol. Refreshing, with a long lime finale. (ES)

88 Eastdell Estates Black Label Viognier 2013, Ontario ($17.95)

Here you find a refreshing Viognier with aromas of peach, white flower, orange blossom and hints of pineapple. A perfect patio wine or serve with chicken satay or fish tacos. (ES)


90 Cave Spring La Penna 2011, Beamsville Bench ($39.95)

Cave’s appassimento (think Amarone) wine is made entirely from Cabernet Franc grapes which were air dried for nine weeks before pressing and fermentation. Even though the label says 14.5%, it is closer to 15.5%. A profile of plum, mint, chocolate, dark cherry, vanilla, coconut, tobacco and spice meets up with a long aftertaste. Ready to drink now or until 2021. (ES)

89  Cave Spring Cabernet Franc Estate 2013, Beamsville Bench ($29.95)

Fullish, this Cab Franc is hugely floral with tobacco, cassis, raspberry, vanilla, earth, green herbs and cocoa. Fold in the tannins and 14.5% natural alcohol and there is enough structure to cellar over the next five years. (ES)

88 Cave Spring Gamay 2014, Niagara Escarpment ($15.95)

Packs a lot of flavour for the price.  Strawberry, cherry, plum, earth and black pepper. Mid-weight with a soft mouthfeel and just the right amount of juiciness. Superb length and ready to drink. Pasta Bolognese or charcuterie would be solid choices with this wine. (ES)

88 Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Block 12-140 Syrah, Twenty Mile Bench ($24.95)

Put this red in a carafe for a half hour and then experience a complex mix of coffee, pepper, earth, blackcurrant, plum, leather, game, vanilla. Mid-weight and ready to go with rosemary and garlic rack of lamb. (ES)

87 Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Block 11-140  Cabernet Franc, Twenty Mile Bench ($22.95)

A juicy Cabernet Franc, which has a green streak which runs through the cassis, red currant, tobacco, graphite, violets and spice. Fine length and approachable right now. (ES)

87 Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Merlot 2013, Twenty Mile Bench ($21.95)

This Merlot will be Rockway’s last from their vineyards as the vines perished in the horrible winter of  2014. Very much textbook Merlot with plum, dark cherry, raspberry, dried herbs, dried earth and anise. (ES)



88 Quinta de Curvos Afectus Alvarinho 2015, Vinho Verde ($17.95)

I am a sucker for good Alvarinho and this one certainly delivers to goods. Peach, apricot, lime, apple, mineral and floral qualities are framed by fresh acid and great length. Pair with sushi or chilled shellfish platters.  (ES)

88 Quinta de Courvos Loureiro 2015, Vinho Verde ($12.95)

Loureiro means laurel in English. Needless to say, there is definitive bay leaf quality which melds with green apple, peach, citrus and mineral. It is  refreshing with fine length. A perfect summer sipper and a steal for the price! (ES)

88 Quinta das Arcas Arca Nova Branco 2015, Vinho Verde ($12.95)

Great value! In typical Vinho Verde fashion, this wine is light, crisp and slightly sparkling. It is also flavorful with peach, citrus, bay leaf, white flower, smoke and apple. Very good length and ready to drink with white fish or spicy fair. (ES)


88 Aphros Vinhão 2014, Vinho Verde ($25)

Aphros is widely considered the best producer of red Vinho Verde, as they pick late and eschew the tradition of capturing of CO2 (and subsequent funky aromas) in the wine via bottling before the completion of malolactic fermentation. Black/purple colour due to Vinhão being a teinturier grape, the wine exudes dark cherry, fraise de bois, raspberry, plum, spice, red flowers and herbs. Brisk acidity and tannins make for a versatile food wine with richer dishes. Individual juice indeed! (ES)

United States


90 Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc 2014, Napa Valley ($22.95)

Mondavi’s 2014 Fumé contains 6% Semillon, which combines with partial oak ageing and lees stirring, creating a weighty texture. Pink grapefruit, passion fruit, verbena, guava, nectarine, fresh grass, spice and cream make for a sophisticated offering. Excellent length with a lifted personality. (ES)

89 Michael David Chardonnay 2014, Lodi ($22.95)

This Chardonnay speaks to its California origins by way of the ripe fruit and new oak. Fullish, there is sweet peach, pineapple, cream, spice, vanilla, white flowers and honey. The palate reveals a combination of creaminess and sound acidity as well as great length. Pair with Chilean seabass topped with a tropical fruit and jalapeno salsa. (ES)

89 Diamond Ridge Chardonnay 2013, Napa Valley ($22)

Pear, apple, Meyer lemon, banana, anise and butterscotch are all wrapped up in a nice package. The palate is fruit driven with a creamy edge and good acidity. Lingers. (ES)

88 Cline Cellars Viognier 2014, North Coast ($19.95)

This wine captures Viognier’s perfurmed attributes of peach, pineapple, apricot, bananas, white flowers, spice and citrus. There is lifted acidity and a long aftertaste. Try with coconut based curries or Pir-Piri chicken. (ES)

88 Francis Ford Coppola Chardonnay 2014, Monterey County ($23.95)

Well made, with banana, sweet peach, spice, cream and vanilla attributes. Soft on the palate with a  fruit driven finish. Splendid length and ready to drink. (ES)

88 Tom Gore Vineyards Chardonnay 2014, California ($19.95)

This California appellation Chardonnay delivers lots of flavour for the price. Peach, pineapple, apple, honey, vanilla and spice aromas carry over to the palate where there is fine acidity and a great finale, which is punctuated by a mineral note. (ES)


91 Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley ($34.95)

A full-bodied, fleshy Cabernet from the famed director’s namesake winery. Blackberry, boysenberry, cassis, violets, roasted herbs, cinnamon, smoke and vanilla are all present. Long finish nd enough stuffing to age over the next 5 to 7 years. NY strip coated with Montreal steak spice is all that is required for this baby. (ES)

90  Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Napa Valley ($69.95)

Dark in colour, full-bodied and soft texture, the cassis, raspberry, black pepper, violets, tobacco, vanilla and dark cocoa flow over the taste buds. Great persistency and ready to drink now or over the next seven years. (ES)

88 Handcraft Petite Sirah 2013, California ($17.95)

A fruit forward, jammy wine, laced with blueberry, cassis, dark cherry, strawberry, violets, spice and tobacco. Warm on the palate with good tannins and a touch of sweetness. Grilled meats are prime for this wine. (ES)

88 Cline Cellars Pinot Noir 2014, Sonoma Coast ($25.95)

A straight forward Pinot Noir with cherry, plum, spice, red flowers and vanilla attributes. Fine length, suave tannins and ready to drink. (ES)

87 Tom Gore Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, California ($17)

A crowd pleaser of a Cabernet Sauvignon with a profile of cassis, blackberry, plum, mint, cocoa, vanilla and herbs. Ready to drink with a soft personality and lingering fruit-tinged aspect. (ES)



Wine Facts

Although “château” means castle, it may also be a mansion or a little house next to a vineyard that meets the requirements for winemaking with storage facilities on its property.