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January 2005 Wine Ratings

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94 Solaia 2001, Tuscany IGT ($145)
The 01 Solaia at the time of tasting displayed a multi dimensional, ever changing bouquet of smoke, cassis, blackberries, cherries, tobacco, violets, earth and vanilla. Full bodied with a long finish. Still young and rather tannic, it requires 4 years of aging before being broached. A good long term cellar candidate; until 2020. (ES)



91 Maleta Vidal Icewine 2001, Niagara ($24.95/200ml)
Aged 1 month in both new French and American barrels. Full bodied with peach, honey, spice and a touch of caramel. Concentrated, the palate starts thick and sweet but balance arrives in the form fresh acid. Drink over the next 3 years. (ES)

90 Pillitteri Vidal Icewine 2003, Niagara ($35/375ml)
Peach, honey and floral aromas come forth on the nose. On the taste buds, the wine is intense with loads of peach and apricot which leads into a refreshing finish.

89 Reif Riesling Icewine 2002, Niagara ($26.95/200ml)
A fruit forward, low acid Icewine with a bouquet of peach, honey, apricot and spice. The finish is lengthy and echoes apples. Drink now. (ES)

89 Lakeview Riesling Icewine 2003, Niagara ($49.95/375ml)
Apricot, flowers, apple juice and caramel are all present in this medium bodied Icewine. The palate emulates the nose, with very good length. (ES)

89 Marynissen Chardonnay French Oak 2002, Niagara ($18.95)
Of all of the 02 Chardonnay's released by Marynissen, I have a marginal preference for the French Oak version which displays a powerful nose of caramel, buttered popcorn, spice, figs and tropical fruit scents. Full bodied, the palate has a creamy, soft texture with a dab of acid and a dash of sweetness, which provides more weight. Drink over the next 3 years. (ES)

88 Marynissen Chardonnay Canton Oak 2002, Niagara ($16)
A sweet vanilla, fig, pear and toasty bouquet say hello in the glass. Medium bodied with serious ripeness, thanks to the heat wave in 02. Very good length with mild acid. Drink now to 2008. (ES)

87 Angel's Gate Old Vines Chardonnay 2003, Niagara ($23.95)
Vanilla infused crème brulée, spice, wax and green apple work there way frontward and backwards on the nose and palate. Medium bodied and crisp. Drink over the next 2 years. (ES)


90 Marynissen Merlot 2002, Niagara ($18.95)
Tasting at family wineries is a small joy to me as the owners do much of the work and are never off the clock. Example, my most recent tasting with Glen Muir (Sandra Marynissen's husband and one of the business' most down to earth guys), who on a minus degree day was in the middle of filtering and bottling in a winter coat when I came a knocking. Needless to say he was darn proud to show of his lineup of 02 wines, which are all superb. Medium to full bodied the wines are on par if not better than the 01's. Plum, chocolate, coffee, spice and black cherry are present in the dense yet elegant mouthful of a wine. Now to 2015 and a real steal at this price. (ES)

89 Marynissen Cabernet Franc 2002, Niagara ($18.95)
An opaque purple/ruby colour with a nose of raspberry, coffee, roasted herbs, maple and spice. The palate is a touch light right now but more weight should appear with bottle age The lengthy finish echoes spice and earthiness. Now to 2013. (ES)

87 Inniskillin Meritage Reserve 2002, Niagara ($16.95)
A young wine which a dark cherry colour with a ruby rim. The wine displays aromas of plum, cherries, herbs, mint, earth and vanilla. Ripe in the mouth with cherry, cassis vanilla and chocolate flavours. Very good length. Now to 2008. (ES)

87 Angel's Gate Merlot Single Vineyard 2002, Niagara ($26)
Angel's Merlot is medium bodied with a medium to deep ruby colour and aromas of chocolate, plums, spice, vanilla and bell pepper tones. Tannins are supple. Now to 2008. (ES)

86 Thomas and Vaughn Cabernet Franc 2002, Niagara ($14.95)
A light to medium bodied wine that smartly uses oak to add chocolate to the raspberry, cassis and tobacco components. Medium length and to be consumed over the next 2 years. Try with pasta in a tomato sauce with chunky vegetables. (ES)

85 Thomas and Vaughn Marechal Foch 2002, Ontario ($14.95)
A black core with a deep ruby rim. Displays a bouquet of smoke, chocolate, spice and black/red fruits. The mouthfeel is soft with a floral element thrown in for good measure. Now to 2006. (ES)


86 Dopff au Moulin Riesling 2003, Alsace ($14.45)
A drink now Riesling or hold for the next couple of years. Minerals, petrol, white flowers and a touch of peach are present in this light bodied wine. An ideal foil for shellfish. (ES)




December 2004 Wine Ratings

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94 D'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz 2002, McLaren Vale ($49.95)

Is it possible that there is such a thing as a bad bottle of Dead Arm? Although, not as massive as last year's gargantuan offering, the 02 is still full bodied, crammed to the hilt with plums, kirsch, vanilla, spice, smoke blackberries and menthol notes. Rich with excellent length and a long life ahead. Now to 2020. (ES)



90 Chateau des Charmes Riesling TBA Paul Bosc Vineyard 2001, Niagara ($29.95)
CDC always makes one of Ontario's top Late Harvest wines and in 01 climatic conditions conspired to produce a rare noble rot version. Medium bodied with apricot, wax, petrol, lime zest, honey and spice. The mouth is a lovely balance between sweetness and acidity, with a baked apple finish. Now to 2011. (ES)

88 Pillitteri Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2002, Niagara ($18)
Thanks to 9 months barrel aging in new french oak, this is a toasty, caramel, pear, fig, cedar and vanilla Chardonnay built on a medium bodied frame. Very good length with a milky texture and fresh acid combining on the palate. Hint of nuttiness on the end. Drink over the next 4 years.


91 Unity Wine Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2002, Canada ($29.95)
The 02 Unity picks up the ball and adds serious yardage from where the inaugural 01 left off. Still closed, the wine is full bodied with milk chocolate, blackberries, mint, dark cherries and earth. Dense and concentrated with excellent length. From 2006 to 2015. (ES)

90 Jackson Triggs Meritage Grand reserve 2002, Niagara ($23.95)
Cassis, herbs, mint, raspberry, chocolate and spice come together as one in this somewhat closed wine. Tight and puckery right now it could stand to age a year or two in the bottle and be consumed until 2014. (ES)

88 Magnotta Meritage 2002, Niagara ($19.95)
The 02 is a worthy successor to the 01, which also received 88 points. A deep ruby colour and a nose of blackberry, raspberry, smoke, chocolate and dried herb notes. The palate adds vanilla, cherry and plums. Medium bodied with firm tannins and a lengthy finish. (ES)

87 Pillitteri Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Niagara ($18)
This C.S. leans more towards the herbaceous nature of the grape, but with time this will fade away, allowing more of the fruit character to emerge. Bell pepper, raspberry, spice and cassis. A tad bitter now, so hold off until 2006 and drink until 2010. (ES)

New Zealand

91 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2004, Marlborough ($19.95)
Awesome Sauv Blanc, with intense passion fruit, tomato vine, green peaches, asparagus, gooseberry and ammonia aromas. Full bodied, glycerin, long finish and mouth watering acidity. A serious step up from last year's offering and a must buy for SB lovers. (ES)



92 Chateau Guiraud 2001, Sauternes ($52/375ml)
The young 01 Guiraud is displays honey, wax, apricot, spice and caramel both on the nose and on the taste buds. Still needs a year or two to before it starts to shine. From 2006 until 2020. (ES)

88 Hugel Gewurtraminer 2002, Alsace ($19.95)
A shinning glassful of honey, grapefruit, cold cream, spice, flowers and a touch of pineapple. Medium bodied with sound acid and more spice on the palate. Drink up. (ES)


87 Chateau du Tertre 2001, Margaux ($49)
A well made Bordeaux with cherries, smoke, green tobacco, spice and cedar on the nose. Medium bodied with supple tannins and raspberry/tobacco on the finish. Drink over the next 5 years. (ES)


94 Egon Muller Riesling Scharzhofberger Spatlese 2003, Mosel Saar Ruwer (NYA)
Fabulous wine, but totally atypical for its appellation. Usually Saar wines are the epitome of austerity, but thanks the insane heat wave which hit Europe in 03, this wine comes across as an Alsatian version. Ripe with peach, citrus, honey, pine nettles flavours and almost outstanding length and some sweetness. A Long life ahead. (ES)


92 Siepi Castello di Fonterutoli 2001, Tuscany IGT ($99)
A splendid offering from of Tuscany's great producers. Black/purple with blackberry, plum, spice and chocolate aromas. Black cherry, earth and chocolate swing in on the palate. Long finish with loads of silky tannins. Drink over the next 10 years.(ES)

90 Nemo Vigneto Il Mulino Monsanto 1999, Tuscany IGT ($68.50)
After spending $35 on the 97 it is kind to hard to pay double for a wine which albeit is excellent, is still not as good as the offering from the fabled vintage. Cassis, blackberries, wood smoke, green tobacco, vanilla and leather are found in this medium to full bodied wine. Now to 2012. (ES)


90 Torres Cabernet Sauvignon Mas La Plana 1998, Penedès ($41.50)
Mint, chocolate, cherries, mushrooms, vanilla and leather are built on a frame of sweet berry fruit. Firm tannins and solid length. Now to 2014.



October 2004 Wine Ratings

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90 Cave Springs Indian Summer Riesling 2003, Niagara ($23.95)
This baby delivers the goods. A mélange of pear, peach, honey, green apple and mineral flavours. Excellent length, with the 124 grams of residual sugar offset by the brisk acid. Now to 2011. (ES)

89 2003 Chateau des Charmes Gewurztraminer St Davids Bench 2003, Niagara ($14.95)
Jean Pierre Bosc continues his hot streak with Gewurz- consistently the best dry version of this varietal in Ontario. Peach, floral, citrus and spice are served up on the nose with lychee nut and roses appearing on the palate. Great length and refreshing. Drink over the next 3 years. (ES)

88 Henry of Pelham Riesling Reserve 2003, Niagara ($13.45)
Aqua colour with a nose of peach, lime zest and white flowers. Crisp with powdered candies, citrus and minerals on the tongue. Now to 2010. (ES)

88 Stoney Ridge Kew Vineyard Chardonnay 2003, Niagara ($24.95)
Carmel, citrus, green apple, honey and hints of earthiness are found in this medium to full bodied Chard. The palate is a yin yang of creaminess and acid with very good length and a hint of yeastiness at the end. Now to 2008. (ES)

87 Vineland Estates Chardonnay 2002, Niagara ($12.95)
A non-oaked version, which serves up peach, floral, citrus, cream and hints of spice. Light yet refreshing with lime, cream and spice in the mouth. Now to 2007.


87 Jackson Triggs Proprietors' Riesling 2003, Niagara ($10.25)
03 is turning out to be a great year for the Riesling grape. Example; this little wine which packs a serious punch, hitting the palate with loads of candied peach and apricot, white flowers, honey and lime zest. Zippy acid is there, but is offset by residual sugar. Great value to be drunk over the next 2 to3 years. (ES)

84 Jackson Triggs Proprietors'Gewurztraminer 2003, Niagara
Not as intense as last year's offering, but still well done with moderate aromas of peach, honey and rose. A touch spicy. Drink now (ES)

89 Magnotta Enotrium 2001, Niagara ($39)
Enter Enotrium, Canada's first ever commercial release of an "Amarone-style" wine- the grapes were left to air dry on racks for 3 weeks. The blend is 50% Merlot and the rest equal parts of both Cabs. Full bodied with a terrific nose of plums, blackberries, mint, violets, spice and vanilla and some alcohol. The palate adds coffee, chocolate and dark fruits. Long finish with noticeable heat, which is normal for this style of wine. From 2006 to 2012. (ES)

87 Jackson Triggs Delaine Vineyard Merlot 2002, Niagara ($24.95)
Black cherry with a pink rim and a bouquet of dark cherries, chocolate, blackberry, raspberry and plum. Medium bodied with a lengthy finish and a touch of heat. Now to 2008. (ES)

87 Jackson Triggs Delaine Vineyard Cabernet Merlot 2002, Niagara ($24.95)
Both red offerings from JT's Delaine Vineyard are solid wines made from younger vines, and as I have said before, the quality will only improve as the vineyards mature. The Cab Merlot is all about cassis, earth, plums, vanilla and red currants and bell pepper. Very good length, nice structure and persistency. Now to 2009. (ES)

87 Stoney Ridge Baco Noir 2003, Niagara ($14.95)
By no means was 2003 an easy year for red wine making in Ontario, but by waiting until early November to pick his Baco grapes, Lubermir Popovic has turned in a splendid effort. Medium bodied, the wine is black/purple with a nose of wild raspberries, blueberries, plums smoke and spice. Even more impressive is the fact that it doesn't display any harshness sometimes associated with hybrids in lesser years. Drink now and a tip of the hat to a job well done. (ES)

86 Jackson Triggs Prorietors' Cabernet Franc-Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Niagara ($11.95)
Deep ruby with bell pepper, spice, plums, vanilla and cassis flavours. Light to medium bodied and a lingering finish of red currants, plums, vanilla and spice. (ES)


89 Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Aconagua ($18.00)
Loganberry, boysenberry, spice, licorice and notes of vanilla are a part of this medium to full bodied wine. Dry with rich fruit on the palate and chocolate nuances, the wine will go 5 years in the cellar. (ES)


91 Chateau Montus 2001, Madiran ($28.95)
Great Madiran from the Southwest of France is an excellent alternative to Bordeaux. As it is not as well known as its more famous neighbour, prices are much more affordable. That being said-prepare to bleach your teeth after drinking this young wine. Made from the super phenolic Tanat grape, the wine is a black hole with a vortex of cassis, vanilla, leather and spice. Full bodied it needs to age about 4 years before revisiting. From 2008 to 2017. (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.