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August 2018 Wine Ratings

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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)

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)


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 with 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. Very good length. (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, vanilla are all in play in this full-bodied red. Still youthful and tannic forward, 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 requiring 2 to 3 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 need 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 the 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 and winemaker Shiraz Mottiar have 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 is juicy and chimes in with the same, alongside black pepper and cocoa. Very good length. (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)


July 2018 Wine Ratings

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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)



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!

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)


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)


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)


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)


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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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)


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)


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)


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)



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)


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)



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)



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)


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)


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)



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)



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)


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

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