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September 2017 Wine Ratings

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Argentina

88 La Linda Private Selection Old Vines Malbec 2014, Mendoza ($15.95)
From the venerable house of Luigi Bosca comes this intensely coloured and perfumed Malbec full of blackberry, plum, blueberry, violets and anise. Full bodied with good density and a lingering blue fruit aftertaste. (ES)

Austria

89 Domaine Wachau Terrassen Federspiel 2015, Wachau ($21.95)
Dry, this mineral driven Riesling also flaunts bergamot, citrus, orange peel and notes of honey. There is loads of freshness which helps carry the finale. Pork schnitzel please! (ES)

Canada

White

88 Tawse Quarry Road Vineyard Gewürztraminer 2016, Vinemount Ridge ($24.95)
Peach, cream, honey, white pepper, flowers and citrus are all in play. Off-dry and ready to serve. Try with Munster cheese or tarte flambée. (ES)

88 Redstone Gewürztraminer 2016, Niagara ($21.95)
For a wine that is only 11.5% alcohol, this wine packs quite a punch. There is a slight peach colour which denotes some skin contact. Honey, rose water, anise, cold cream, pink grapefruit are all in play. Off-dry with an extended finale. Serve alongside your favorite spicy cuisine, from Indian to Asian to Mexican. (ES)

88 Pondview Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Niagara ($17.95)
This Sauvignon Blanc delivers above its pay grade. A huge bouquet of nectarine, guava, passion fruit, poached pear and grapefruit. On the palate, it is dry with fresh acidity and very good length as well as added nuances of lemon balm and minerals. Oyster time! (ES)

87 Redstone Viognier Redfoot Vineyard 2015, Lincoln Lakeshore ($24.95)
This wine features classic Viognier aromas of banana, apricot, fresh flowers, honey, cream and anise. Medium body, crisp acidity and great length. Drink now. (ES)

87 Pondview Estate Winery Riesling 2016, Niagara ($17.95)
Made in an off-dry style, this is a crisp Riesling which features lime, green apple, white peach, powdered candies and minerals. Fine length and well suited with pork dishes. (ES)

87 Henry of Pelham Fumé Sauvignon Blanc Estate 2016, Short Hills Bench ($19.95)
Pale yellow, there is a bouquet of fresh cut grass, lemon balm, grapefruit, spice, honey, vanilla and white flowers. Dry, there is very good length and a soft finale. (ES)

86 Pondview Estate Winery Viognier 2016, Niagara ($17.95)
A lighter style of Viognier with aromas of peach, honey, banana, flowers, spice and cream. Crisp and ready to drink. (ES)

Red

89 Tawse Unfiltered Redfoot Vineyard Gamay 2016, Lincoln Lakeshore ($28.95)
A delightful Gamay with a profile of plum, strawberry, black pepper, dry earth and flowers. A lifted palate and easy tannins make for an excellent match with charcuterie and terrines. (ES)

89 Redstone Cabernet Franc Redstone Vineyard 2013, Lincoln Lakeshore ($39.95)
A deep ruby colour leads into a bouquet of cassis, plum, tobacco, licorice, herbs, violets and dark cocoa. Fullish, it is concentrated, and the aftertaste lingers. A job well done from a difficult red wine vintage. (ES)

88 Tawse Quarry Road Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2016, Vinemount Ridge ($34.95)
An elegant frame supports Cherry, raspberry, rhubarb, beet root, iron, vanilla and spice. Fresh acidity and suave tannins add support. Magret de canard would be bliss! (ES)

88 Tawse Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2013, Lincoln Lakeshore ($32.15)
Typical cool-climate Franc notes of cassis, raspberry, tobacco, graphite, violets, cocoa and green notes. Elegant, there are fine grained tannins and freshness. Ready to drink, with braised meats and stews. (ES)

87 Pondview Estate Winery Merlot Reserve 2015, Niagara ($22.95)
Plum, dark cherry, herbs, cocoa and baking space appear in this easy drinking Merlot. The tannins are supple and there is a dash a mint on the finale. (ES)

France

91 Domaine Lafage Cuvée Nicolas Vieilles Vignes Grenache Noir 2015, IGP Cotes Catalanes ($17)
This 100% Grenache comes from the Roussillon area of Southern France. Full bodied and rich, it is a sexy red with kirsch, blackberries, licorice, garrigue and olive.  Perfect with roasts. Drink until 2020. (ES)

88 Manoir de Mercy Mercurey 2014, Burgundy ($29.95)
Plum, raspberry, sweet cherry, beet root, button mushroom, licorice and red flowers waft out of the glass and onto the palate, where brisk acidity and supple tannins round out the experience. Needs some duck to make it work perfectly. (ES)

Italy

93 Ornellaia 2013, Bolgheri Superiore ($199.95)
A polished Ornellaia with a creamy texture and flavour of cassis, plum, raspberry, anise, herbs and vanilla. Full bodied, the tannins are ripe, but dusty, with an impressive finale. Cellar for a couple of years so everything folds together and then drink for another 15 afterward. (ES)

90 Planeta Frappato Vittoria 2015, Sicily ($24.95)
This Sicilian red is a supple offering with wall to wall raspberry, cherry, rose, violets, clove and minerals. There is sound acidity and velvety tannins alongside a long floral, saline aftertaste. Drink over the next 2 to 3 years. (ES)

89 Brancaia Chianti Classico 2015, Tuscany ($24.95)
A light and elegant Chianti made from 100% Sangiovese. Cherry, dried leaves, tobacco, and spice play nicely together. Lengthy with five years of life ahead. (ES)

89 Passo del Cardinale Primitivo di Manduria 2014, Puglia ($18.95)
This Primitivo (aka Zinfandel) features lots raisins, plum, raspberry, black tea, cola, cocoa, purple flowers and dried earth. Full bodied, there is a long finish and present tannins. BBQ all the way. (ES)

Spain

91 Torres Floralis Moscatel Oro 500ml ($16.95)
Torres has been making this fortified Muscat since 1946. Heady aromas of orange marmalade, citrus peel, honey drenched flowers and spice inundate the senses. Sweet, rich and soothing. Excellent value! (ES)

90 El Gorú Monastrell/Syrah/Petit Verdot 2015, Jumilla ($13.95)
This wine is a stellar value, especially if you like modern and hefty reds. An opaque purple tinged colour leads into a bouquet of blackberry, crème de cassis, spice and cocoa. Excellent length with tannins to either drink or age. Grill up some steak and go to town. (ES)

88 Señorío De P. Peciña Crianza 2012, Rioja ($21.95)
Old -School Rioja all the way with dried fruit, leather, tomato paste, herbs, cedar and cured meats. Mid-weight, fresh acid and easy-going tannins complete the package. Lamb skewers would be perfect! (ES)
 

August 2017 Wine Ratings

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Austria

88 Esterházy Weingut Leithaberg DAC Chardonnay 2015, Burgenland ($19.95)
Honey, sweet apple, spice, mineral, white flowers and cream are present on a medium body frame. Very good length and nice little discovery from Austria.  (ES)

Canada

White

92 Château des Charmes Blanc de Blancs 2014, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($32.95)
Wow! Just wow! Made from low yields and fermented in old barrels,  this wine is an absolute beauty with toast, honey, flowers, yeast, white peach, apple and cream. Full in the mouth there is good mousse and a superb finale. Perfect for celebrating the upcoming holiday season. (ES)

92 Wescott Vineyards Lenko Old Vine Chardonnay 2014, Beamsville Bench ($32.95)
Made from Ontario’s oldest Chardonnay vines which planted back in the 1950s! Golden colour with impressive richness and a good amount of oak as support. Vanilla, toast, pineapple, honey, baking spice, golden apple and cream are in play. Excellent length with bright acidity and long aftertaste.

91 Tawse Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2013, Twenty Mile Bench ($35.80)
Another excellent Robyn's Block Chardonnay! Only 12% alcohol, but there is depth and elegance combined. Vanilla, sweet apple, cream, fig, banana, white flower, earth and mineral are all wrapped together. Fine length. (ES)

90 Reif Estate Winery Gewürztraminer 2015, Niagara River ($19.95)
Alsace meets Canada. The juice spent 24 hours in contact with its skins to give more flavour and aroma. Turkish Delight is the driving force here with honey, peach, spice, mango and cream weaving in. Long finale and off-dry, so serve with Peking Duck or chili chicken. (ES)

89 Reif Estate Winery Kerner Reserve 2016, Niagara River ($18.95)
Kerner is an aromatic white grape that is a crossing between Riesling and a red grape called Trollinger. Huge peach, honeysuckle, lime, sweet apple and spice. Off-dry and ideally suited for sushi. (ES)

88 Château des Charmes Riesling Old Vines 2014, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($17.95)
Mineral, lime, apple, white peach, honey, flowers are all present in this taut Riesling. There is a dash of residual sugar, but with all the brisk acidity, it comes across as a dry wine. Pair with Choucroute Garnie or fresh water fish. (ES)

87 13th Street Winery Burger Blend Riesling/Pinot Grigio 2016, Niagara ($13.95)
Aromatic, there is peach, fresh flowers, honey, lime and citrus on the nose; this meets up with notes of nectarine and orange on the palate. Very good length, off-dry and 11.5% alcohol. (ES)

86 Huff Estates Riesling Off-Dry 2016, Ontario ($20)
Soft and smooth with mineral, citrus, white peach and honey. Even though there is 17 g/l of residual sugar, it comes across as dry due to the elevated acidity. Drink now. (ES)

86 Sprucewood Shores Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Ontario ($18.95)
A refreshing and easy drinking Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry, grapefruit, honey, fresh herbs and line. Light with medium length. Drink up. (ES)

85 Sprucewood Shores Riesling 2016, Ontario ($13.95)
Smokey minerals, peach, ginger, lime and hints of honey are featured in this off-dry wine. Crisp acidity rounds it all out. Pair with BBQ Chinese pork or spicy fish tacos. (ES)

85 Château des Charmes Aligoté 2016, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($15.95)
A soft and easy drinking Aligoté with apple, pear, banana and citrus. Good length. Chill well and serve with shellfish. (ES)

Red

91 Malivoire Small Lot Gamay 2016, Beamsville Bench ($19.95)
Besides being Winemaker of The Year at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards,  Shiraz Mottiar, is without a doubt making Ontario’s best Gamays-period! This vintage features strawberry, raspberry, plum, black pepper and purple flower. There is a sense of sweet fruit on the lips, this before Gamay’s lovely acidity sweeps everything up. Great stuff! (ES)

91 Trius Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc 2014, Four Mile Creek ($45)
Another impressive rendition of this wine! Full bodied and complex, there is cassis, raspberry, smoke, roasted pepper, violets, pencil shavings, dried earth, tobacco and chocolate. Concentrated and ripe, there are good tannins, which make me want to pair with rack of lamb. (ES)

90 Ravine Vineyard Cabernet Franc Nancy’s Block. St. Davids Bench ($55)
A beautiful Cabernet Franc with cassis, raspberry, cherry,m tobacco, baking spice, graphite and violets. Tannins are ripe, but non-obtrusive and support the medium body. (ES)

90 Henry of Pelham Old Vines Baco Noir, Ontario ($19.95)
HOP continues to prove they are the Baco-masters! The heat of the 2016 vintage has produced an elegant Baco with blackberry, raspberry, smoke, chocolate, anise and scorched earth. Medium to full body with splendid length and enough tannins to allow five plus years of aging, if so desired, but it is ready to drink also. (ES)

88 Red House Wine Co. Cabernet Shiraz, Niagara ($13.95)
This wine delivers well above its pay-grade. Medium plus body, it provides a rich mouthful of plum, blackberry, raspberry, violets, tar, spice, and chocolate. There is fine length with ripe tannins and just a hint of residual sugar. Steak time! (ES)

87 13th Street Winery Burger Blend Gamay Noir/Pinot Noir 2016, Niagara ($14.95)
This wine is aptly named as BBQ fair (as well as pasta/pizza) would be brilliant with this juicy red. Black pepper, raspberry, carnation and herbs are supported by soft tannins and fresh acidity. (ES)

87 Huff Estates Merlot 2016, Ontario ($20)
Vinified in stainless steel, this Merlot delivers plum, raspberry, Bing cherry, smoke, leather and spice. Medium body, medium tannins and fresh acidity round out the package. Drink up. (ES)

86 Henry of Pelham Baco Noir 2016, Ontario ($14.95)
HOPs entry level Baco features raspberry, blackberry, cinnamon, violets, chocolate, spice and herbs which flow out of the glass and onto the taste buds. Nice depth and freshness. Drink now with grilled sausages. (ES)

France

89 Drappier Blanc de Blancs NV, Champagne ($60)
A fine Champers with honey, mushroom, toast, chalk, minerals and green apple built on a crisp frame with small pinpoint bubbles carrying the finale. (ES)

87 Domaine Laroche Saint Martin Chablis, Burgundy ($25.25)
From one of the most famous names in Chablis comes this lean and crisp white, delivering loads of minerals, green apple and citrus. Oysters please!

Italy

87 Mont’Albano Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso Delle Venezie 2015, Veneto ($16.95)
Refosco is ancient red varietal found primarily in North Eastern Italy. Raspberry, plum, vanilla, cocoa, spice, purple flower are built on a medium body frame. Medium length and a quintessential pasta/pizza wine. (ES)
 

June 2017 Wine Ratings

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Australia

87 McGuigan Bin Series No. 9000 Semillon 2016, Hunter Valley ($14.95)
Classic Hunter Semillon with mineral, lime, lemon, lanolin and lip-smacking acidity. Chill it well and pair alongside oysters on the half shell. (ES)

Austria

88 Sohm & Kracher Lion Grüner Veltliner 2015, Niederösterreich ($19.95)
Crisp with flavours of grapefruit, apple, pear, white pepper, mineral and lemon balm. Light bodied with a lingering personality. (ES)

Canada

White

90 Magnotta Blanc de Blanc Chardonnay NV, Niagara ($19.95)
Off dry, this Chardonnay bubbly was made in the traditional method and thus displays some toast/yeasty notes alongside, apple, citrus and honey. Rather weighty, the palate adds spicy/tropical notes. Excellent length. (ES)

89 Niagara College Teaching Winery Balance Dry Riesling 2015, Niagara ($13.95)
Gold Medal Winner at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards. Aromatic, with copious amounts of lime, apple, bergamot, honey and mineral which carries through onto the extended finale. Pair with ceviche or chilled shellfish. (ES)

Rose

89 Malivoire Ladybug Rosé 2016, Niagara ($16.95)
There is no denying that this wine is consistently one of Ontario’s top Rosés. Mid-weight, there is a salmon colour and a personality of strawberry, rhubarb, cherry, peach, red flowers, herbs and dried earth. Delicate, but lengthy and ideal with sushi. (ES)

France

90 Domaine Servin Vaillons Chablis Premier Cru 2015, Chablis ($34.95)
From a warm vintage comes this accessible Chablis full of apple, white peach, citrus and salty minerals. Medium body, dry and mouth-watering acidity round out the package. (ES)

88 Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2015, Alsace ($18.95)
More octane here than in previous vintages. Aromatic, there is cream, honey, tropical fruit, sweet peach and spice. The palate shows heft, and there is a touch of residual sugar. Chill well and serve alongside Thai Cuisine. (ES)

Germany

88 Loosen Bros. Dr. L Riesling 2015, Mosel ($13.95)
Great value here! Pure, authentic Mosel, with lime, mineral, white peach and apple. Off-dry with refreshing acidity providing focus. Bring on the Szechuan cuisine!  (ES)

Greece

88 Cavino Grande Reserve 2009, Nemea
Made from 100% Agiorgitiko, this wine exudes damson plum, cherry liqueur, chocolate, brown sugar, tobacco and baking spice. Tannins are present but unobtrusive, and the flavour carries. Roast pork all the way. (ES)

Italy

94 Allegrini Amarone Della Valpolicella 2012, Veneto
At 16% alcohol, this wine features layers of plum, cherry, spice, dried flowers, cocoa and raisins. Needless to say, it is full-bodied with a long finish and enough stuffing to age a decade, at least. (ES)

92 Masi Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico Vaio Amarone Serègo Alighieri 2011, Veneto ($84.95)
Plum, cherry, spice, vanilla, toast, fig and chocolate are found in this powerful Amarone – after all, it is Masi! Lots of texture here, with an impressive aftertaste. Enticing right now, but there is easily two decades of life ahead. (ES)

92 Tenuta Sant’Antonio Amarone Della Valpolicella Campo Dei Gigli 2012, Veneto ($85)
Apparent new oak in the form of coffee, chocolate and toast weaves its way through the damson plum, prune, dark cherry and anise. Full throttle, with a brilliant finale. (ES)

91 Marziano Abbona Dogliani Papà Celso 2015, Piedmont ($20)
I am a sucker for good Dolcetto, and without a doubt, this bottling is one of the finest renditions to be found in Piedmont. Dogliani is also where they believe the grape originated. Made from 55-year-old vines, it possess 15% alcohol and an explosive combination of blueberry, plum, raisin, spice, violets and scorched earth. Drink or hold. (ES)

New Zealand

89 Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough ($18.95)
A zesty mix of lime, passion fruit, nectarine, fruit salad,  jalapeno, verbena and honey. Brisk acidity helps carry the flavours. Drink now. (ES)

USA

White

91 Robert Mondavi Reserve Chardonnay 2014, Carneros ($44.95)
Pear, pineapple, sweet peach and golden apple meet up with oak influence: cream, vanilla and spice. Taut, there is crisp acidity, with citrus and minerality carrying the finale. (ES)

91 Stag’s Leap Winery Chardonnay 2015, Napa Valley ($34.95)
This is a linear Chardonnay which reveals honey, spice, apple, pear, banana, white flowers and minerals. Elegant on the palate, it is refreshing and ideally suited for lobster dishes. (ES)

Red

93 Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa Valley ($59.95)
From Joe Wagner (Belle Glos, Caymus) comes this overt red with lots of new oak polish. Blueberry, kirsch, raisin, chocolate and spice. Full-bodied and concentrated, it provides a mouthful of pure hedonism. Braised lamb shank would be the optimal accompaniment. (ES)

92 Treana Red 2014, Paso Robles ($42.95)
Super-ripe, jammy and oaky, this blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Syrah exudes copious amounts of crème de cassis, Chambord liqueur, kirsch, chocolate fudge and coffee. Thick in the mouth,  the tannins are buried under all the richness. Excellent length. (ES)

91 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Stags Leap District ($101.95)
This is an elegant Napa Cab with a solid vertebra of tannins.  Full bodied, there is cassis, tobacco, cocoa, spice and leather. Personally, I would hold until 2020 and then drink until 2030. (ES)

91 Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Napa Valley ($66.95)
Blackcurrant, raspberry, vanilla, tobacco, anise. It starts off with a rich texture, then the grippy tannins of the 2013 vintage clamp down on the finale.  Pair with a grilled rib steak topped with a mushroom demi-glace. (ES)

89 La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir 2014, Monterey County ($26.95)
From the cool Monterey region comes this refined Pinot. It features a bouquet of cherry, beetroot and carnation. On the taste buds, the fruit is sweet with earth, vanilla and spice adding complexity. (ES)

89 Stonehedge Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa Valley ($39.95)
A smooth and approachable Cab with black cherry, cassis, blueberry, blackberry, mint, smoke, cocoa and vanilla exploding from the glass. Rich, there are no hard edges and it is ready to go. (ES)
 
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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