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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.



November 2018 Wine Ratings

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Argentina

89 Luigi Bosca Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Mendoza ($19.95)
Here you will find a structured Cabernet with lots of black fruit qualities -blackberries and cassis- accompanied by spice, smoke, mint/herbs and vanilla. Medium plus body with good cellaring potential. Prime rib all the way! (ES)

Canada

White

91 Tawse Chardonnay South Bay Vineyard 2015, Prince Edward County ($34.95)
Tawse trucked in Chardonnay grapes from PEC to make this fine and delicious Chardonnay. White fruit (pear, apple) and citrus find are underpinned by oak in the form of vanilla and spice. Freshness is not lacking and there is excellent length. Lobster or halibut would be divine with this wine! (ES)

87 Kacaba Vineyards Unoaked Chardonnay 2017, Niagara Peninsula ($15.95)
A pure expression of Chardonnay with pear, yellow apple, peach, white flowers and mineral. Dry, the fresh acidity and very good length. A great wine for those weeknight chicken or finish dinners. (ES)

Red

93 Thirty Bench Winemakers Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Beamsville Bench ($50)
Of all of Thirty Bench’s Small Lot series in 2016, this is my favorite. It is a concentrated, complex and powerful Cab full of smoke, coffee, cassis, plum, raspberry, sweet herbs, graphite, vanilla and spice. Excellent length. Still very much youthful, it requires three years of cellaring and will age at least 15 years. Impressive juice!

92 Thirty Bench Winemakers Small Lot Merlot 2016, Beamsville Bench ($50)
A fabulous follow up the stunning 2012. Full-bodied and rich, there is plum, dark cherry, chocolate, vanilla, herbs, and spice both on the nose and palate. The finale is long, with the chocolate qualities carrying into the sunset. It will cellar for a decade.  (ES)

92 Thirty Bench Winemakers Benchmark Red 2016, Beamsville Bench ($60)
This wine is only released in the best years, the previous two being the 2010 and 2012. It is also the wine which is the hardest to gage in its youth and usually requires 3 to 5 years of cellaring before being broached. That said, my gut feeling is that this wine will eventually be the best of the Small Lots when the time arrives. Vanilla, cassis, plum, cherry, tobacco, mint and spice are what are in play right now. Concentrated and long with masses of tannins. (ES)

91 Thirty Bench Winemakers Small Lot Cabernet Franc 2016, Beamsville Bench ($75)
Plum, cassis, raspberry, sweet tobacco, spice, graphite and vanilla are all found in this Cabernet Franc. The acid is surprisingly elevated for such a warm vintage. Combined with the tannins, it will cellar nicely for 12 years. Rack of lamb with this beauty please!   (ES)

91 Reif Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2015, Niagara Peninsula ($34.95)
A lovely Cabernet Sauvignon with a bouquet of cassis, raspberry, plum, violets, tobacco and smoke. On the palate, much of the same is found, with a minty/herbal streak running through. Great finish and can be drunk now or aged for 5 to 7 years. (ES)

90 Reif Estate Meritage 2015, Niagara Peninsula ($39.95)
A medium plus body Meritage with a bouquet of smoke, cherry, plum, cassis, spice, leather and tobacco. Lovely depth on the palate with cocoa and herbs adding an extra layer. Excellent length. (ES)

90 Tawse Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2017, Niagara ($35.95)
A delightful red Icewine with a luscious personality of guava, cassis, raspberry, cocoa and herbs. Sweet with high acidity providing definition and lift. (ES)

89 Reif Estate Merlot Reserve 2016, Niagara River ($29.95)
Merlot all the way what with the chocolate, plum, cherry, spice, coffee and earth.  Nice depth and persistence. Ready to drink or can cellar for up to 5 years. (ES)

89 Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir Speck Family Reserve 2017, Short Hills Bench ($34.95)
There is a really lovely balance here with the cherry, cranberry and mushroom qualities of the grape melding with spice, vanilla and cocoa from the oak. Excellent length with correct acidity and tannins. Confit de Canard please. (ES)

89 Tawse David’s Block Merlot 2013, Twenty Mile Bench ($49.95)
This is the last vintage ever for this wine as the vines gave up the ghost after the brutally cold 2014 winter. Medium body and elegant, maturity has set in with some savoury/leather notes weaving between the plum, cherry, chocolate, herbs and spice. Ready to drink. (ES)

89 Henry of Pelham Cabernet-Merlot Estate 2015, Short Hills Bench ($24.95)
Medium plus body, this is always a quality representation of white Niagara can do vis a vis the Bordeaux varietals. Cassis, raspberry, cherry, chocolate, smoke, herbs and graphite are all in play. Lovely balance and aftertaste. (ES)

89 Tawse Growers Blend Pinot Noir 2016, Niagara ($25.95)
Aromatic on the nose with cherry, raspberry, red flowers and earth. Spice, cassis and plum add nuance on the palate. Tannins and acidity are on the plus side of medium. Lengthy and ideal with a mushroom risotto topped with roasted quail. (ES)

88 Thirty Bench Winemakers Red 2016, Beamsville Bench ($24.95)
A solid Bordeaux-styled red featuring cassis, cherry, vanilla, cocoa, coffee, herbs and violets. Weighty, there is very good length and lots of tannins in the background. Drink over the next 5 to 7 years. (ES)

88 Redstone Meritage 2012, Niagara ($45.95)
Punchy, this blend of 60% Merlot and equal parts of both Cabs serves up plum, dark cherry, cassis, blackberry, olive, smoke, graphite, anise and mint. It is concentrated with grippy tannins, so grill up a rib eye medium rare and go to town. (ES)

86 Kacaba Vineyards Winery Cabernet 2016, Ontario ($14.95)
A smooth drinking blend of 90% Cab Franc and 10% Cab Sauv. Cherry, cassis, raspberry, green herbs, toast and spice. Medium body and length. Ready to drink. (ES)

France

White

90 Taittinger Nocturne NV, Champagne ($69.95)
The funky purple disco ball packaging will attract many, but it is the wine inside which is the real attraction. Done in the Sec style (off-dry, 17 g/l), this Champers reveals, apple, peach, cherry and a floral personality. There is a creamy texture with high acidity which helps to temper the sweetness. It is made for spicy dishes or at the end of the meal, alongside cheeses. (ES)

88 Gerard Bértrand Réserve Spéciale Viognier 2016, Pays D’Oc ($14.95)
A textbook version Viognier with peach, apricot, honeysuckle, orange blossom, spice and fresh yogurt. Rather dense on the palate and dry with a soft end. Solid value! (ES)

87 Baron de Hoen Pinot Gris Réserve 2016, Alsace ($14.95)
Off-dry, this is an easy drinking Gris with peach, apricot, orange blossom, spice and honey. A smooth palate and fine length make for a solid pairing with butternut squash soup or Oka cheese.

Red

91 Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone Valley ($45.95)
Cherry, strawberry, plum, licorice, and some garrigue are present in this well-made and approachable CNP. There are tannins for sure, but the entry is plush and there is some sound acidity to provide symmetry. Excellent length. Drink or hold. (ES)

90 Gérard Bertrand Grand Les Aspres Syrah-Mourvèdre-Grenache 2016, Côtes du Rousillion ($18.95)
There is lots of finesse to be found in this medium plus body red from Southern France. Crème de cassis, Chambord liqueur, black pepper, baking spice, toast and vanilla are in the mix.  Refined, balanced and just the right amount of underlying grip. Drink until 2024. (ES)

Spain

89 Goru El Blanco Moscatel - Chardonnay 2017, Jumilla ($13.95)
Goru continues to produce wines which deliver above their pay grade. Rich and aromatic, it features peach, orange blossom, pineapple, honey and spice. Acidity is soft and the finale carries long. Try with mahi-mahi topped with a fruit salsa of Tacos Al Pastor.

 

September 2018 Wine Ratings

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Argentina

87 Luigi Bosca Chardonnay 2017, Mendoza ($19.95)

A weighty Chardonnay which sees fruit and oak come together, creating a melange of peach, pineapple, melon, apple, vanilla, cream and spice. Very good length with minerality and acidity carrying the finale. (ES)

Canada

91 Flat Rock Cellars The Rusty Shed Chardonnay 2016, Twenty Mile Bench ($26.95)

An overt, rich and fruit forward Chardonnay, full of banana, pineapple, honey, sweet peach, fig, honey, vanilla and spice. Rich, flavorful and ripe, the essence of this wine carries long on the palate. (ES)

91 Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2016, Prince Edward County ($29.95)

This is a ripe and creamy Chardonnay with moderate aromas of peach, pineapple, vanilla, spice, butterscotch and a slight minerality. Leans to the full end of the spectrum and has lovely density as well as persistency. (ES)

90 Bachelder Saunders Vineyard Chardonnay 2015, Beamsville Bench ($44.95)

From a small 2.5 acre vineyard comes this Chardonnay which is chock full of honey, apple, peach, yeast, white flowers and minerals. There is a touch of volatility which adds an extra layer of complexity. Cream and caramel bring the curtain down. A solid bottling, but there have been better renditions. (ES)

90 Hidden Bench Chardonnay 2016, Beamsville Bench ($29.95)

Hidden Bench has hit a home run with their entry-level Chardonnay. The wine displays honey, peach, pear, apple, citrus, yeast, cream, spice and vanilla qualities. Excellent length, lovely acidity and a brilliant match for lobster or crab. (ES)

89 Bachelder Niagara Chardonnay 2016, Niagara ($24.95)

Bachelder’s workhorse Chardonnay is a natural ferment offering which features apple, honey, citrus, lemon and yeast. Medium body with an elegant personality, featuring a spice, mineral and earth finale. (ES)

89 Westcott Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 2016, Vinemount Ridge 2016 ($27.95)

An absolute delight to drink. Sweet apple, yellow peach, honey, cream, vanilla and spice flood the senses. There is a round/creamy texture with a protracted finale. (ES)

88 Palatine Hills Chardonnay Neufeld Vineyard 2016, Niagara Lakeshore ($24.95)

An overt Chardonnay which hits 14.5% alcohol. Wall to wall peach, cream, honey, banana, fig, yellow apple, spice and vanilla. The palate is creamy with very good length and some heat creeping in at the end. (ES)

Red

90 Arterra Pinot Noir 2016, Niagara ($29.95)

Made in an open, friendly style which will appeal to many. Concentrated and ripe, there is a fantastic nose of rose, dark cherry, plum, raspberry, vanilla and spice. Still needs another year to settle down and come together. (ES)

90 Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2016, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($38)

The warmth of 2016 has created a Franc with cassis, violets, herbs/ mint, cocoa and vanilla. Medium plus body, ripe tannins and excellent length. I think that a tomahawk steak with a rosemary butter sauce would be a phenomenal pairing. Drink over the next 6 to 7 years. (ES)

90 Stratus Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2015, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($38)

Yes, another winner Franc from Stratus! Deep ruby with a beguiling nose of crème de cassis, raspberry, damson plum, vanilla, mint, chocolate and spice. The sweet fruit palate adds nuances of vanilla and grilled herbs. Weighty and long. Now until 2024. (ES)

90 Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2016, Prince Edward County ($29.95)

Huff’s first ever Franc from the South Bay Vineyards is a real winner! It is stacked with fruit: blackberry, cassis, plum and raspberry. New oak adds vanilla, smoke and spice, helping to create a beautifully complex wine. Fresh acidity and fine-grained tannins will ensure mid-term cellaring. (ES)

Chile

89 Concha y Toro Marqués de Casa Concha Syrah 2016, Maipo ($21.95)

Lots of licorice, pepper, blackberry, raspberry and herbs are all in play in this full-ish Syrah! Great for those heavier/richer autumn meals. Drink over the next 5 years. (ES)

France

White

90 Gérard Bertrand Cuvée Thomas Jefferson Crémant de Limoux Brut 2015, Limoux ($19.95)

One of the best value traditional method sparkling wines you will find from France! Toast, peach, pear, binned apple, lemon, mushroom and spiciness are all present. The rich texture, lively acidity and protracted finale make for one fine bubbly! A blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Mauzac. (ES)

Red

89 Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir La Clape 2015, Languedoc ($18.95)

A blend of Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre. Full-bodied and structured, this red serves up cassis, blueberry, plum, cherry, spice, black pepper and red flowers. There is great length with a tannic edge which will do well when paired alongside a rack of lamb. (ES)

88 Ferraton Père et Fils La Tournée Rouge 2016, Vin de France ($13.95)

A superb value red from Southern France. This blend of Syrah and Grenache features cherry, plum, spices, violets and herbs. Smooth and drinking beautifully now. It is a wine made for weeknight dinners, alongside pasta and pizza. (ES)

87 Gérard Bertrand Fitou 2015, Languedoc ($16.95)

Fitou wines are known for their easy drinking personality and this wine exemplifies this. Cherry, pepper, red flowers and garrigue are all in play. A little chill will go a long way. (ES)

Italy

88 Bellissima Prosecco Brut NV, Veneto ($24.95)

This organic bubbly is aptly named as it belongs to Christie Brinkley. The beauty continues in the glass with a bouquet of peach, pear, apple, toast and white flowers.  Light bodied and elegant, the wine possesses great length. Pair with oysters on the half shell or sushi. (ES)

South Africa

90 Waterkloof Seriously Cool Chenin Blanc 2017, Stellenbosch ($17.95)

Made from old bush vines, which produce naturally low yields. This is a juicy Chenin which flaunts honey, melon, yellow apple, lemon, and white flowers.  Great length, and a wine that calls out for shrimp or scallops. (ES)

Spain

92 Torres Mas La Plana 2013, Penedès ($64.95)

Torres’ flagship Cabernet is a polished offering with waves of cassis, plum, olive, mint, smoky herbs and vanilla. There is depth, refined tannins and a long lasting impression. Roast leg of lamb is a sublime pairing with this beauty! (ES)

92 Torres Perpetual 2015, Priorat ($49.95)

Torres’ top-end Priorat is a structured red, made from 80 to 100-year-old vines. Plum, cherry, raspberry, thyme, cinnamon and chocolate hits the palate like a long-distance runner, with flavour, tannic strength and stamina building over time. It should age well for 15 years. A blend of 95% Carignan and 5% Grenache. (ES)

91 Torres Salmos 2015, Priorat ($39.95)

Salmos is one of two Priorats produced by Torres and the one that is made for ‘early drinking’. It is also noteworthy to mention that is one of the values of the appellation.  Hearty, this blend of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah is redolent with kirsch, plum, raisins, chocolate, vanilla and anise. On the palate, red flowers and scorched earth carry the protracted finale. (ES)

 

August 2018 Wine Ratings

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Canada

Rose

88 13th Street Cuvee Rosé NV, Niagara ($27.95)

Aged two years on the lees, it is the yeast and strawberry which first greets the taster, followed by cherry, earth and spice. Pinpoint bubbles caress the palate and there is fine length. (ES)

87 Fielding Estate Winery Sparkling Rose NV, Niagara ($29.95)

A blend of 69% Pinot Noir and 31% Chardonnay. Mild aromas of strawberry, vanilla cream and toast. Pale salmon colour, delicate with a fresh finale and ready to drink. (ES)

White

91 Rosehall Run Vineyards JCR Rosehall Vineyard Chardonnay 2016, Prince Edward County  ($34.95)

A sublime Chardonnay with a perfume of pineapple, yellow apple, honey, banana, cream, smoke, vanilla and clove. Elegant with fresh acidity and quintessential PEC minerality wrapping up the package. Try with roasted chicken or grilled salmon. (ES)

88 Malivoire Chardonnay 2016, Beamsville Bench ($19.95)

Medium body with cream, pineapple, apple, pear, spice and vanilla. Easy drinking and food friendly, especially with prawns or lobster with drawn butter. (ES)

88 Fielding Estate Pinot Gris 2017, Lincoln Lakeshore ($21.95)

Contains wine from vines that are 30 years old. Huge peach and banana on the nose followed by spice and cream on the palate. Good lift and fine length. Drink with a coquille St-Jacques or mahi-mahi with a jalapeno/fruit salsa. (ES)

88 Malivoire Brut NV, Beamsville Bench ($29.95)

Aged for 52% months on the lees, this 80% Chardonnay bubbly features toast, apple, almond, white flower, green apple and citrus. Very good length with a creamy texture featuring small pinpoint bubbles. (ES)

88 13th Street Winery White Palette 2017, Niagara ($15.95)

A real crowd pleaser for sure! Off-dry with a delightful perfume of nectarine, peach, cantaloupe, wisteria and honey. Mostly Riesling and Pinot Gris with Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer acting as a backstop. Chill and serve alongside sushi.  (ES)

87 Pondview Winery Riesling 2016, Niagara ($17.95)

Bone-dry, with zippy acidity and profile of lime, mineral, white peach, grapefruit, apple and button mushroom. This is a wine which is made for food, especially oysters, so chill it down and shuck to your hearts content!

87 Malivoire Pinot Gris 2017, Beamsville Bench ($21.95)

Dry with a personality of white peach, pear, apple, almond and a touch of honey. Medium body with great length, hitting mineral and spicy notes on the finish. (ES)

87 13th Street Winery June’s Vineyards Chardonnay 2017, Creek Shores ($21.95)

The nose completely flatters in this non-oaked chardonnay: banana, jasmine, yellow apple and cream. Medium body, round texture and ready to drink. (ES)

87 13th Street Burger Blend White 2017, Niagara ($14.95)

A 60/40 blend of Riesling and Pinot Grigio. It is easy drinking with a cantaloupe, honey, lime and apple personality. There is a touch of residual and it is ready to go with cheese boards and fish tacos. (ES)

87 Malivoire Musqué Spritz 2017, Beamsville Bench ($21.95)

Made from the aromatic clone of Chardonnay (Musqué), this off-dry white has a slight spritz as the name dictates alongside peach, honey, yellow apple and white flowers. Fine length. (ES)

Red

91 Rosehall Run Vineyards JCR Rosehall Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016,  Prince Edward County ($39.95)

From my favorite PEC producer comes this terroir driven Pinot redolent with strawberry, cranberry, cherry, floral, vanilla, earth and mineral notes. There is sweet fruit on the palate with fresh acidity and suave tannins which will ensure five years of aging, at least.  Very pretty indeed! (ES)

91 Malivoire Courtney Gamay 2016, Beamsville Bench ($29.95)

Malivoire’s top Gamay is a stunning rendition in 2016, having benefited from the heat of the vintage. Dark cherry, strawberry, vanilla, cocoa, earth, tar and spice explode on the senses. Full-bodied with a concentrated mid-palate and protracted finale. Drink over the next five years. (ES)

90 13th Street Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Creek Shores ($29.95)

Kudos to winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas for turning in this top-notch Cab Sauv! Mint, cassis, cinnamon, violets, earth and vanilla are all in play in this full-bodied red. Still youthful and tannic , it requires some cellaring to let it express its full potential. Drink from 2020 to 2028. (ES)

90 Malivoire Wismer Cabernet Franc 2016, Twenty Mile Bench ($27.95)

Strawberry, vanilla, cassis, green olive, violets and herbs are layered in this full-bodied red. It is concentrated with lots of tannins, mandating two to thre years of cellaring before been broached. A medium rare rib eye steak is the way to go. (ES)

88 Fielding Estate Cabernet Franc 2016, Niagara ($24.95)

A structured Cab Franc with lots of tannins underpinning the cassis, violets, thyme, graphite and spice and vanilla. Great length but still needs a year or two in the bottle to come together. Require something grilled, preferably along the lines of cow. (ES)

88 Fielding Estate Cabernet-Syrah 2016, Niagara ($29.95)

Even though it is an almost equal blend of Cab Sauv and Syrah, it is the pepper and smoke of the Syrah which first greets the senses. This is then followed by cassis, violets, cocoa and oregano. Medium body and fine length. (ES)

88 Malivoire Stouck Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Lincoln Lakeshore ($34.95)

A job well done as Malvoire winemaker, Shiraz Mottiar, has turned in a serious Cabernet Sauvignon from a challenging red wine vintage in Niagara. On the full end of the spectrum, there is a complex mix of cassis, chocolate, green olive, violets, tobacco, spice, cocoa and vanilla. Great length and ready serve alongside a rack of lamb. (ES)

88 Malivoire Small Lot Gamay 2017, Niagara ($19.95)

A sexy nose of cherry, strawberry, oregano, black pepper and violets carry to the palate where blue fruits enter the picture. Very good length, lively acidity and a subtle tannins structure. Perfect for  BBQ fare. (ES)

88 Malivoire Gamay 2017, Niagara ($17.95)

Always one of Niagara’s top Gamays. Lovely strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb, black pepper, herbs and vanilla. Juicy with soft tannins and ready to drink. A crowd pleaser to be sure! (ES)

87 Fielding Estate Winery Estate Bottled Cabernet Franc 2016, Lincoln Lakeshore ($39.95)

Medium ruby with a bouquet of raspberry, rhubarb, cassis, cinnamon and vanilla. The palate chimes in with the same, alongside black pepper and cocoa. Very good length with a juicy edge. (ES)

87 13th Street Winery Gamay 2017, Niagara ($19.95)

Strawberry, violets, black pepper, thyme and hints of leather jump out of the glass and onto the taste buds. Smooth, with a mouthwatering personality and suave tannins. Very good length.  Made for those pasta and pizza evenings. (ES)

France

93 Champagne Collet Blanc de Blancs NV, Champagne ($84.95)

A stunning 100% Chardonnay bubbly from the oldest co-operative in all of Champagne. Aged 5 years sur lie,  it will appeal to those who like a more mature/autolytic (yeasty) style as it features baked apple, toast, caramel, yeast, anise and nuttiness. There is lovely freshness, splendid length and loads of pinpoint bubbles. Chapeau! (ES)

South Africa

91 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2017, Hemel-En-Aarde Valley ($44.95)

From one of SA’s best Chardonnay producers comes this lovely rendition. Medium plus body with cream, baked apple, pineapple, spice, vanilla and honey. Long lasting with apple being the dominant echo. (ES)

 

July 2018 Wine Ratings

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Austria

94 Kracher TBA No.6 Grand Cuvée 2015, Burgenland ($75/375ml)
From Austria’s dessert wine producer par excellence comes this unctuous blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Welschriesling which possesses 240g/l of residual sugar. Layers of fig, nectarine, peach, pineapple, golden apple, cantaloupe and spice just bowl over the senses. Insane finale. It should age well for two decades, if not more. (ES)

92 Domäne Wachau Riesling Smaragd Kellerberg 2017, Wachau ($40)
An overt, dry Riesling with sweet peach, pineapple, melon, honey and flowers. There is a deep minerality and spice on the palate all supported by a beam of freshness. Excellent quality. (ES)

91 Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Axpoint 2017, Wachau ($40)
Full-bodied, this Gruner sings with peach, grapefruit, sweet apple, honey and banana aromas. Much of the same is found on the palate where it is joined by green notes, minerality and spice. Echoes long. Drink or hold. (ES)

88 Weingut Winzer Krems Grüner Veltliner “13” 2017, Niederösterreich ($13.20)
The LCBO’s only general list Gruner is a fabulous value and a solid introduction to the varietal if you have yet to experience it. White peach, honey, green apple, lime, white pepper, mineral and celery notes. Refreshing, dry and very good length. (ES)

Canada

White

91 Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catherine Carte Blanche Estate Blanc de Blanc 2013, Short Hills Bench ($44.95)
HOPs top end bubbly is a 100% Chardonnay which has been given the full premium Champagne treatment: hand-picked, whole cluster press, partial new oak and five years aging on the lees. Refined, it offers up toast, apple, citrus, hazelnut and honey. The mousse is fine and creamy with great length and freshness. A pure delight to drink!
(ES)

89 Henry of Pelham Riesling Speck Family Reserve 2016, Short Hills Bench ($24.95)
The perception her is an of a dry wine with layers of yellow apple, lemon, honey, pineapple and white flowers.  Acidity and minerality carry the finale, making for a perfect match with Alsatian Choucroute Garni or schnitzel. (ES)

89 Tawse Sketches of Niagara Chardonnay 2014, Niagara ($21.95)
From year to year, the Chardonnay is always of top quality. Made from estate and purchased grapes and fermented via natural yeasts, it was then aged in 20% new oak. Pear, apple, peach, honey, cream, vanilla and spice all play nice together. A fresh finish bodes well for pairing against scallops and crab. (ES)

88 Tawse Limestone Ridge North Riesling 2016, Twenty Mile Bench ($25.95)
Mineral, lime, bergamot, peach, honey and hints of jasmine encompass the vibrant acidity. Off-dry with fine length. (ES)

88 Cuddy By Tawse Spark Riesling, Twenty Mile Bench ($24.95)
Mature and ready to drink with apple, lemon, pear and yeasty/toasty aromas. There is a light sweetness which is off-set by the crisp acidity. Pair with shrimp tacos or warm goat cheese salad. (ES)

88 Tawse Redfoot Vineyard Pinot Gris 2017, Lincoln Lakeshore ($27.95)
Tree and stone fruit are at the core of this somewhat lighter Gris. Add in nuances of flowers, smoke, spice, and banana, and what you have is an easy drinking, food-versatile white. Dry with a crisp personality and hints of minerality finalize everything. (ES)

87 Henry of Pelham Riesling 2017, Niagara ($14.95)
Lithe, this Riesling is off-dry with lemon, lime, mineral and hints of white peach floating around. Light bodied and ready to drink, so chill and serve alongside perch or sole. (ES)

87 Château des Charmes Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($15.95)
A clean well made SB with lime, peach, fresh herbs, grapefruit and white flowers. Dry, it is vibrant on the palate with a mouthwatering finale. Ceviche please. (ES)

Red

89 Tawse Quarry Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015, Vinemount Ridge ($35.95)
Farmed biodynamically, this Pinot Noir reveals aromas of cherry cola, raspberry, wet earth, spice and vanilla. Mid-weight with a vibrant minerality on the taste buds and long-lasting. (ES)

88 Cave Spring Cabernet Franc 2016, Niagara ($17.95)
Cave’s workhorse Cab Franc is a super solid offering with blackcurrant, raspberry, roasted herbs, cherry, and purple flowers. Grill up some mild Italian sausage or dry rubbed ribs and head right to town. Drink or hold. (ES)

88 The Foreign Affair The Conspiracy 2016, Niagara ($19.95)
FA’s take on a Ripasso wine features cassis, plum, raspberry, tobacco, graphite, cocoa and vanilla. Medium plus body with lots of fine tannins and very good length. Drink over the next five years. A blend of Cabernet Franc (62%), Cabernet Sauvignon (25%) and Merlot (13%).  (ES)

88 Red House Wine Co. Cabernet Shiraz 2017, Niagara ($13.95)
From the good folks at Henry of Pelham comes this well priced and easy drinking blend. Cassis, raspberry, pepper, leather, oregano and hickory all find a home in this medium-bodied red. Tannins are smooth, and there is lovely length. (ES)

87 Château des Charmes Cabernet Merlot, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($15.95)
A Cabernet Franc dominant Bordelaise blend. Medium body with classic cassis, raspberry, cherry, plum, herbs, cocoa and spice. Lengthy with fine-grained tannins supporting everything. Solid value to be had. Pair with shish-kabobs. (ES)

Rose

87 Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé 2017, Niagara ($17.95)
A heavy reliance on Pinot Noir (85%) has created a medium pink colour with an orange tinge and flavours of cherry, strawberry, herbs, spice and red flowers. On the dry side, so pair with tuna poke or salmon tartare. (ES)

France

90 Manoir de Mercey Mercurey Chateaubeau 2015, Burgundy ($31.95)
The combination of 60-year-old-vines and the warmth of the 2015 vintage have created a Pinot Noir with punch. Cherry, raspberry, strawberry, undergrowth, spice and hints of vanilla are in play.  Try with duck rillettes or terrines.  (ES)

Italy

89 Dievole Chianti Classico 2014, Tuscany ($22.95)
A charming and straight forward CC with sour cherry, strawberry, plum, humus and tobacco leaf. Fresh acidity and mild tannins mean that pasta and pizza will work well with this red. (ES)

 

 

May 2018 Wine Ratings

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Argentina

90 Trapiche Gran Medalla Malbec 2014, Mendoza ($25.95)

Inky/purple, this is a substantial Malbec with blueberry, cassis, cherry, smoke, vanilla and distinctly spicy. Concentrated with loads of fruit and spice lingering long. Drink over the next 5 years. (ES)

Australia

91 Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2015, Barossa ($21.95)

Superb value! There is a good amount of oak in the form of coffee and chocolate which weaves between the dark cherry, damson plum, blackberry and eucalyptus. It is deeply coloured with firm tannins which will allow it to age for a decade. (ES)

Canada

90 Stratus Wildass Rosé 2017, Niagara ($18.95)

Cotton candy colour with an explosive bouquet of strawberry, raspberry, gooseberry, cassis, herbs and citrus. Medium plus body with refreshing acidity and excellent length. There is just a touch of sweetness, so pair alongside tuna/salmon sashimi. (ES)

Chile

89 Vina Tarapaca Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo ($17.95)

On the nose, cassis, blackberry, plum, cherry, mint, herbs, licorice and tobacco.  Medium plus body and tannins. Lengthy aftertaste. Drink until 2021, preferably with grilled tri-tip. (ES)

89 San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Maipo ($19.95)

This friendly and well priced Cabernet Sauvignon features cassis, blackberry, herbs/mint, spice, vanilla, black olive and violets. Full bodied, it starts of fleshy, almost creamy, and then the tannins appear, turning the finale dry. (ES)

France

White

86 Baron de Hoen Reserve Pinot Blanc 2016, Alsace ($13.95)

An easy drinking PB with melon, apple, citrus and notes of white flower. Acidity is medium as well as the length.  Try alongside a chilled seafood tower. (ES)

Rose

92 Luc Belaire Rare Sparkling Rose NV, Provence ($38)

Fruit driven, this bubbly from Southern France exudes strawberry, cherry, raspberry, plum, red flowers, herbs and hints of spice. Impressively rich on the palate with some residual sugar, so chill and serve alongside Indian curries or Tacos al Pastor. (ES)

91 Taittinger Prestige Rosé NV, Champagne ($79.95)

Aromatic, this Rose obtains its colour from the addition of 15% Pinot Noir red wine added to a white wine base which contains a high percentage of Chardonnay. Strawberry, cherry, apple, toast and mineral transition from the nose to the palate where a creamy texture comes in to play via the bubbles. It is all about the finesse here! (ES)

87 Chateau Bellevue La Forêt 2017, Fronton ($14.95)

Fronton is a small appellation in South West France which uses the singular Négrette grape as it’s signature varietal. Here, it is blended with Gamay to produce a dry and tangy Rose with a personality of strawberry, lemon balm, herbs and pepper.  Chill and serve with mild cheeses. (ES)

 

Red

89 Gérard Bertrand Saint Chinian Syrah/Mourvèdre 2015, Languedoc ($17.95)

From a reputed producer, this wine packs lots of punch for the price. Firm, there is plum, blackcurrant, garrigue, spice, violets and earth qualities to be found. Very good to excellent length. Grilled meat all the way. (ES)

Greece

White

91 Santo Santorini Grand Reserve Assyrtiko 2014, Santorini ($44.95)

Most Assyrtiko is vinified in the stainless steel, unwooded, purity of fruit style. That said, the wooded versions are on the rise, and in my esteem, this is the one that leads the pack, qualitatively. Full-bodied, this wine doles out, honey, salty minerals, quince, pineapple, peach, banana, and spice. There is strong Assyrtiko acidity on the palate which meshes with creamy notes. Excellent length. Lobster and cream-based dishes all the way! (ES)

88 Thalia White Sauvignon Blanc-Vilana 2017, Crete ($9.85)

The is the best yet for this wine and it an absolute no-brainer for the warm summer, especially for under $10. It is a delicate offering with banana, citrus, apple, grapefruit, gooseberry, honey and herbs all supported by crisp acidity. Chill thoroughly and drink up. (ES)

Red

91 Boutari Grand Reserve Naoussa 2012, Macedonia ($24.95)

Made from 100% Xinomavro, this wine is a dead ringer for a quality Barolo - for half the price. Full-bodied and complex, there is cherry, plum, herbs, tomato paste, tar, leather and rose. Grippy, there is high acidity, so best serve alongside beef brochettes or braised or lamb chops. (ES)

90 Mega Spileo Cuvee III Red 2016, Achaia ($18.95)

From the Peloponnese region comes this assemblage of 40% Mavrodaphne, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Agiorgitiko. Intense and somewhat over-ripe, there is cherry syrup, blackberry jam, plum, vanilla, spice, mint and laurel. It is an unmistakable style which will flatter many, especially for the price. Drink or hold. (ES)

87 Kir-Yianni Paranga, Macedonia ($13.95)

Paranga always over-delivers for its price-point. A blend of Xinomavro, Syrah and Merlot this medium-bodied red features plum, cherry, spice, black pepper, herbs and some cocoa. Very good length with enough punch to pair alongside lasagna or a meat lovers pizza. (ES)

Italy

87 Fontanafredda Gavi di Gavi 2016, Piedmont ($18.95)

Gavi is always 100% Cortese, a grape known for it vibrant acidity which is most definitely found in this bottling. Add lime, apple, honey, almond and herbal elements and you have a perfect pairing with pickerel topped with a tarragon infused beurre blanc sauce. (ES)

New Zealand

89 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Cellar Selection 2017, Marlborough ($21.95)

Quintessential Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc with pink grapefruit, lime, nectarine, passion fruit and fresh peach juice. Zest acidity, medium body and a long fruity/mineral aftertaste. (ES)

Portugal

Red

91 Ramos Pinto LBV 2013 ($31.95)

An unfiltered style of LBV, the wine is opaque black/purple with a soaring bouquet of plum, blackberry, crème de cassis, raspberry, violets, raisins and spice. Concentrated, powerful and sweet, it is very much enjoyable right now but should age well for a decade. (ES)

90 Messias LBV 2013 ($25)

Deeply coloured, this LBV dishes out intense plum, blackberry, dark cherry, raisin, chocolate and spice. Rounds, mouth-filling and sweet. Excellent length and ready to drink. (ES)

88 Adegame Dory 2016, Lisboa IGP ($16.95)

This red blend from Lisbon is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Syrah and Tinta Roriz. Fresh, juicy and easy drinking there is plum, cherry, cassis, violets and black pepper. Solid length and tailored for grilled sausages or roast pork loin. (ES)

USA

White

91 Cline Viognier 2017, North Coast ($18.95)

When Viognier is done right, it is a truly ethereal experience, and Cline has hit the mark with this offering. Medium body with a beautiful perfume of banana, peach, honeysuckle, golden apple, yogurt, fresh flowers and spice. The palate doles out the same alongside a combination of cream and acidity. (ES)

90 St. Supéry Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Napa Valley ($29.95)

A delicious Sauvignon Blanc which leans towards the tropical side of the varietal. Passion fruit, nectarine, guava, pineapple, cucumber, lime and pink grapefruit explode out of the glass and onto the taste buds. There the acidity tidies everything up and helps carry the extended finale. (ES)

90 Buena Vista Pinot Noir 2014, Carneros ($29.95)

A melange of plum, earth, smoke, herbs, red flowers and vanilla flow from the glass. It is somewhat jammy on the palate with some alcohol creeping in on the grand finale. Ready to drink. (ES)

88 Josh Cellars Chardonnay, California ($17.95)

With the Josh Cabernet Sauvignon as the number one selling California Cabernet at the LCBO, it was only time before a white wine companion would be listed - enter this Chardonnay! It is a well-balanced wine with restrained pineapple, apple, peach citrus and spice. Medium body with a refreshing palate and great length. Can be sipped by itself or with food. (ES)

Red

92 Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Oak Knoll ($89.95)

Planted on rocky, well-drained soils, this Cab possesses a dark ruby/purple colour and feature a gorgeous nose of crème de cassis, boysenberry, blackberry, mint, anise and cocoa. Powerful and linear, there are enough tannins to allow  15 years of cellaring. (ES)

90 Levendi Sweetwater Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa Valley ($69.95)

Levendi means “handsome man/eye-pleasing,” and indeed this wine will please to those who enjoy jammy reds decked in oak. Full-bodied, the wine hits the senses with blackberry, crème de cassis, cherry liqueur, vanilla, smoke and mint. Full-bodied and ready to drink. (ES)

89 Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2016, Contra Costa County ($23)

I have always been a fan of this bottling! Jammy plum, blackberry and cherry fruit mesh with raisin, vanilla, chocolate and spicy undertones. There 15% alcohol punches alongside a certain richness on the palate. Excellent length.  Serve alongside a coffee crusted rib-eye, now or over the next five years. (ES)

89 Cline Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ($26)

The vineyard for this wine is situated in the cool ‘Petaluma Gap’ which is slated to become Sonoma’s next AVA. Sweet cherry, raspberry jam, plum, cinnamon and violets coat the palate and are supported by lovely acidity and smooth tannins. (ES)

89 Irony Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, North Coast ($24.95)

This multi-appellation blend from Northern California is made in a crowd-pleasing style with plum, dark cherry, blackcurrant, mint, spice, cocoa and vanilla. The tannins are suave and the fruit echoes long. Ready to drink. (ES)

87 Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, California ($16.95)

This is a multi-versatile Cabernet that won’t break the bank. Smoke, tobacco, blackcurrant jam, plum and surround notes of mint and cocoa. Very good length and ready to serve with tonight’s dinner. (ES)

87 Joel Gott Merlot 2014, California ($24.95)

A pleasant, drink up Merlot featuring plum, cherry, chocolate, vanilla and some herbal elements. The palate is four square and it is made in a style for the masses. (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.