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August 2003 Wine Ratings

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Canada


90 Stoney Ridge Founder’s Signature Charlotte’s Chardonnay 2002, Niagara (winery, $24.95, ON )

After a couple years in limbo, SR has returned to form-and what form it is! This unoaked Chardonnay displays ripe flavors of banana, melon, pineapple and mango undertones. There is good acid and a hint of residual sugar on the long finish. Drink over the next 3 to 4 years. Try with asian grilled salmon. (ES)

87 Stoney Ridge Pinot Grigio 2002, Niagara (winery, $11.95, ON)

A delectable little Grigio with moderate aromas of peach, flowers, candied white fruit and citrus. Light to medium body with very good length and a citrus finish. Drink now. (ES)

86 Hillebrand Chardonnay Showcase Sur Lie Unfiltered 2000, Niagara (981043, $35, ON)

Some might knock this wine for having had its lees bottled within. None the less these same lees gives the wine a distinctive yeasty aroma with added scents of butter, pear, fig and tropical notes. Medium bodied with medium plus length. Not as good as the 99 version. (ES)

86 Vineland Estates Chardonnay Musque, Niagara (winery, $18.95, ON)

Moderatley aromatic with a spritzy nose of flowers, spice, pear, citrus and green apple. Medium bodied with fresh acidity a lengthy finish, ending on a spicy note. Now to 2005. (ES)

85 Vineland Estates Meritage 2001, Niagara (winery, $49, ON)

The inaugural white Meritage from Vineland displays a pale yellow colour and a bouquet of citrus, melon apple, nectarine and white flowers. On the taste buds there is some herbal and spice notes which make an appearance. Medium bodied and length and ready to drink. (ES)


Reds


90 Stoney Ridge Cabernet Franc Reserve Fox Vineyard 2002, Niagara (winery, $22.95, ON)

This Cab Franc really impresses with its extract and concentration, all the more so that it was produced from 6 year old vines. Medium to full bodied with aromas of bell pepper, raspberry, tobacco leaf and vanilla. The palate adds spicy cigar and chocolate tones, with supple tannins and fresh acidity. Drink over the next 4 to 6 years. (ES)

87 Magnotta Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Edition 2001, Niagara (winery, $18.95, ON)

Deep ruby in colour with a nose of cassis, mint, black cherry and some tobacco/weediness. Medium bodied with very good length. Hold of until 2004 so as to subdue some of the youthful puckery tannins and drink until 2008. (ES)

86 Birchwood Cabernet Merlot 2001, Niagara (winery, $14.95, ON)

This little winery off the highway in Beamsville continues to produce an array of well made/well priced wines. Medium ruby colour with a bouquet of black fruits, BBQ spice, flowers and vanilla. Light to medium bodied with medium length and supple tannins. Ready to go

85 Stoney Ridge Pinot Noir 2002, Niagara (240903, $12.95, ON)

Thirteen dollars for this bottle or $20 for an over-cropped, thin generic red burgundy-the choice is yours. Pale to medium garnet with a nose of earth, cherry, vanilla, plum and some blackfruits. Medium length and ready to please. Try with wild mushroom risotto. (ES)

84 Birchwood Cabernet Franc 2001 Niagara (winery, $11.95, ON)

On the nose, bell pepper, vanilla and spice are apparent, while the palate gives more in the way of blackberries and smoke. Flavorful with good length and a smooth finish. Drink now.

82 Magnotta Merlot Merritt Road Vineyard 2002, Niagara (winery, $9.95, ON)

A no non sense, easy drinking Merlot with flavors of dark cherry, spice, raspberry and plum. Light bodied with good length and ready to drink this summer BBQ season. (ES)

France



93 Gourt de Mautens 2000, Rasteau (862771, $46.25, PQ)

Lovers of Southern Rhone wines should hunt high and low for this star on the rise! Made from low yields, on average 1.25 tons per acre, this 100% Grenache is super concentrated with flavors of black and red fruits, spice, licorice and herb de provence. Easily bests most Chateauneufs and has at least 10 years ahead of it. (ES)


Germany

93 Gunderloch Riesling Auslese Nackenheimer Rothenberg 2001, Rheinhessen (722405, $39.95, ON)

This Auslese was one of my favorites at the German Wine Fair this past April. Packed and stacked with loads of fruit- namely apricot, peach, pink grapefruit and citrus. With 110 grams of residual sugar and vibrant acidity the wines has 10 to 15 years ahead of it, eyes closed. Think peach flan, topped with crème anglaise. (ES)


92 St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Ockfener Bockstein Auslese 2001, Mosel (720904, $44.60, ON)

Distinctivley yeasty on the nose with apricot, flowers and slate through in for good measure. Lots of vibrant acidity offsets the 70 g/l of residual sugar in the wine. Excellent length and with a great future ahead. Now to 2015. (ES)


91 St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Ockfener Spatlese 2001, Mosel (718791, $22.60, ON)

Very pale yellow colour with a citrusy, floral, peach jam and yeasty nose. The palate adds some tropical nuances. Medium bodied with a lingering finish and loads of zippy acidity. Now to 2012. (ES)


91 Anselmann Siegerrebe Spätlese 2001, Pfalz (722041, $13.75, ON)

An incredible value from Germany. Made from the singular Siegerrebe grape, it is reminiscent of a Gewurz with its fragrance of peach, flowers, honey and cloves. The wine is medium bodied, with some sweetness, which is buttressed nicely by the acidity and has a long fruity finish. Buy it buy the case! (ES)


91 Künstler Riesling Auslese (Gold Cap) Hochheimer Holle 1998, Rheingau (726513, $37.25, ON)

Showing its age, as witnessedby the petrolium overtones, along with apricot, peach, honey and minerals. In the mouth the wine has lots of vibrant acidity with citrus, mineral and creamy flavors. Now to 2015. (ES)


88 St. Urbans-Hof Riesling QbA Ockfener Bockstein, Mosel (945535, $17.55, ON)

Almost water in colour with peach, citrus, flowers apple and minerals flavors. Light bodied yet packs weight and length. Drink until 2007. A refreshing wine for those 30° days in the middle of summer. (ES)

 

 

June 2003 Wine Ratings

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France

91 Chateau Barde Haut, St Emilion (738104, $59, ON )

This opaque black colored wine was slightly closed at the time of tasting. Ripe with aromas of black cherry, cassis, vanilla cream and hazelnuts. Medium to full bodied with supple tannins and a long finish, it exemplifies the style of the 99’s and is an absolutely delicious wine to consume over the next 10 years. (ES)

Italy

90 Rosso del Conte Tasca d’Almerita 1999, Sicily (741124, $45, PQ )

A big Sicilian wine packed with flavors of plum, cherry, spice and sultana raisins. Rich and ripe in the mouth, this low acid wine has excellent length and a somewhat viscous texture. Not as big as the 94 but darn close. Drink over the next decade. (ES)

89 Chateau Lagrezette 2000, Cahors (972612, $21.75, ON)

With all the hoopla around the 2000 Bordeaux, most people are over looking the South West. The region, which benefited from much of the same weather as Bordeaux offers great values in 2000. Big and burly the wine is as dark as a black hole with aromas of plum, vanilla, cherry, blueberry and pain grille. Easily 10 years ahead of it and for the price-a case in the cellar won’t hurt! (ES)


Canada

White

91 Cave Springs Riesling CSV 2002, Niagara (566020, $24.95, ON)

I was totally blown away by the quality of this wine when it first hit my lips. Later, winemaker Angelo Pavan told me that he thought 2002 is probably the best Riesling vintage since 1989. Still young and a bit tight, and might even move up in score when released later this year. Peach, pear, floral and lemon/lime flavors are readily apparent with lots of zippy acidity and excellent length. Now to 2012 and maybe beyond. (ES)

90 13th Street Wine Corp Chardonnay Sandstone 2001, Niagara (winery, $25 approx, ON)

It has now been three years straight that the Sandstone Chard has come away with a 90+ plus score. Still young but the nose is on target with caramel, tropical fruits, peach, smoke, flowers and vanilla. Excellent length with a creamy texture and a spicy finish. Drink now to 2008. (ES)

89 Cave Springs Chardonnay CSV 2000, Niagara (529941, $35, ON)

Scheduled for release late summer or early autumn. The wine displays caramel, citrus, vanilla, green apple and fig aromas working in unison within the glass. Full bodied with classic Cave acidity in the way of citrus/ apple flavors dancing on tongue, giving the wine a lengthy finish. Drink until to 2009. (ES)

88 Harvest Estate Riesling 1999, Niagara (winery, $9.95, ON)

Winner of the best Riesling Award and runner up in the Best White Wine category at this year’s Cuvee Gala. Mosel like, with aromas of petrol, citrus, flowers, minerals and uniquely enough, some mint undertones. Nice aacisd/sugar balance with very good length, all this for under $10. (ES)

88 Malivoire Riesling Icewine 2001, Niagara (winery, $36, ON)

A delicate icewine with a bouquet of peach, apricot, red berries, honey and spice. Possesses very good length with the fresh acidity giving the wine balance and clarity. Ready to drink. (ES)

86 Jackson Triggs Chardonnay Delaine Vineyard 2001, Niagara (winery, $16. 95, ON)

A promising new offering from 3 year old vines. Not as oaky as the Grand Reserve, which allows more of the apple, citrusy flavors to show through. Medium bodied with very good length and a refreshing finish. If this is indicative of the quality to come, it is a wine to definitely watch out for. Drink now. (ES)

85 Jackson Triggs Riesling Delaine Vineyard 2001, Niagara (winery, $15.95, ON)

This other offering from the Delaine Vineyard is displaying moderate aromas of petrol, citrus and mineral. Light bodied with a peppery/citrus palate and good length. Once again from 3 year old vines. Drink now. (ES)

85 Malivoire Pinot Gris 2002, Niagara (591305, $18, ON)

Cleanly made with moderate aromatics of pear, citrus, apple and cream. On the palate the wine is light to medium bodied with roasted nuts flavors and mineral notes. Ready to drink and very refreshing. (ES)

85 Puddicombe Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2001, Niagara (winery, $15, ON)

Lindsay Puddicombe has down a fine job with this inaugural Sauvignon Blanc as witnessed by the wine’s citrus, gooseberry, celery and floral aromas. Crisp in the mouth with more of the citrus/gooseberry qualities showing through. Drink now. (ES)

85 Puddicombe Estate Muscat 2001, Niagara (winery, $9.50, ON)

Looking for a deal on a dry aromatic white wine-here is your purchase! Orange blossom, citrus and spice deliver on the nose while the palate shows more spice, cream and apple flavors, while finishing on a slight bitter note. (ES)

 

Canada

Red


91 Peninsula Ridge Cabernet Franc Icewine 2001, Niagara (winery, $54.95, ON)

Pale cherry colour with aromas of cherry, vanilla, raspberry, chocolate and grenadine. Thick texture with low acid and lots of raspberry fruit filling out on the long finish.


90 13th Street Wine Corp Sandstone Merlot 2001, Niagara (winery, $27 approx, ON)

Damn Impressive! Tasted blind you would think this to be a good St Emilion (and at half the price) with its bouquet of chocolate, cherry, plum, and herbs. Full bodied and ripe with a solid mid palate and excellent length. Lay it away for at least a year and drink until 2012. (ES)


89 Marynissen Merlot 2001, Niagara (winery, $28 approx, ON)

Last year I went on record, stating that 2001 is the year of Merlot and so far the results have been solid. The wine is by no means your friendly, supple drinking Merlot. Looks and behaves like a Cab Sauv with a black /purple colour, tightly wound tannic structure and flavors of black fruits, cherry, coffee, chocolate and nuts. Needs at least until 2006 to start showing its pedigree. Drink until 2015. (ES)


88 Pillitteri Select Late Harvest Cabernet Franc 2000, Niagara (winery, $29.95, ON)

One of the best late harvest CF’s I have tasted out of Ontario. Strawberry jam, mint, chocolate, cherry and herbs are present on the nose. Not cloying at all with very good length and a touch of bitterness at the end. (ES)


88 Malivoire Old Vines Foch 2001, Niagara (551036, $22, ON)

Malivoire continues its success with low yielding Marechal Foch grapes. Black/purple colour with a nose of chocolate, cherry, and gamey/meaty aromas. Medium to full bodied with a lingering finish, where the typical “hybrid’ acidity kicks in. Should age well. (ES)


87 Malivoire Rose 2002, Niagara (559088, $15, ON)

This year’s vintage release is made from majority Cabernet Franc and quite frankly is one of the best Rose’s I have tasted out of Ontario in a while. Dry and refreshing with aromas of cherries, red flowers and light vegetal notes. Has very good length and finishes on a chocolate note. Try with grilled salmon or tuna this summer.


87 Reif Estate Zinfandel 2001, Niagara (winery, $16.95/375ml, ON)

It has taken Reif 10 years of working with the grape before actually producing a Red Zin worthy of bottling. Not a bold in your face Californian rendition, but rather elegant and very much Canadian in style. The nose displays moderate aromas raspberry, chocolate, red flowers and vegetal tones, while the palate offers more in terms of flavor. Admirable density with very good length and a Frangelico finish. (ES)

 

 

May 2003 Wine Ratings

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Canada


88 Angel's Gate Old Vines Chardonnay 2001, Niagara (winery, $23.95, ON)

Smelling this wine blind would make you think it is a Riesling, with all of its petrol, citrus, floral, peach and rubber aromas. On the lips though, the wine does become more Chardesque with flavors of vanilla, cream and toasty oak combining with minerals and lemony acidity. Nice length and a clean finish. Drink now to 2008. (ES)

88 Thirty Bench Chardonnay Benchmark Reif Vineyard 2000, Niagara (winery, $25, ON)

Look no further if you enjoy a good dose of oak in your white wines. The nose and palate are choke full of caramel, vanilla, and cream with sub aromas of pineapple and green apple adding some complexity. Medium bodied with very good plus length. Try with veal oscar. (ES)

87 Henry of Pelham Medium Dry Riesling 2000 (557165, $12.95, ON)

Honey tones mix with flowers, sweet pea and fresh cream on the nose. Medium bodied with lots of vibrant acidity and very good length. Now to 2010. Should work nicely with seared proschutto/spinach wrapped pork tenderloin.

85Daniel Lenko Gewurztraminer 2001, Niagara (winery, $15.95, ON)

The nose sings Gewurz with flowers, peaches, honey, spice and some lychee. On the palate though, the wine ends somewhat abruptly with fresh acid taking over for the fruit. Ready to drink. (ES)

89 Angel's Gate ANGEL III 2001, Niagara (winery, $ 35 approx, ON)

AG's winemaker Natalie Spytkowsky has hit the mark with this inaugural Bordeaux Blend. Closed at first, but with a half an hour in the glass, chocolate, cassis, herb, raspberry and floral aromas immerged. Medium to full bodied with very good length and a hint of youthful bitterness, which should melt away with a year in bottle. From 2004 to 2009. (ES)

88 Magnotta Meritage 2001, Niagara (winery, $19.95, ON)

Great wine Alert! Very youthful with a ruby/purple colour displaying a nose of pain grille, plums, chocolate and some mint. Nice richness in the mouth with blackberry, cherry and smoke flavors. Medium to full bodied, with almost excellent length. From 2004 to 2010. (ES)

87 Daniel Lenko Old Vines Merlot 2001, Niagara (winery, $24.95, ON)

Medium to dark ruby colour with a bouquet of plums, cherry, spices vanilla and coffee. In the mouth the wine is medium bodied with cherry, tobacco and herb flavors showing. Solid length with good tannins. Hold off until 2004 and drink until 2009. (ES)

87 Marynissen Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 66 2000, Niagara (winery, $24.95, ON)

Nicely extracted, considering the challenging red year of 2000. Lots of cassis, cherry, vanilla and nut flavors. Medium to full bodied with a mid palate that gives more nuttiness and very good length. Now to 2007. (ES)

87 Creekside Cabernet Sauvignon Marcus Ansems Series 2000, Niagara (winery, $40, ON)

Winemaker Marcus Ansems has returned to Australia, hence this will be one of the last wines bearing his name. Lots of oaky authority as demonstrated by the smoke, chocolate, vanilla and spice, which currently overshadows the blackcurranrt and cherry fruit. Needs at least six months to come together. From 2004 on. (ES)

87 Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir 1999, Niagara (winery, $22.95, ON)

I was unable to stop smelling the wine when tasted with owner Paul Speck. An absolutely ethereal nose of cherry, black fruits, plums, barnyard and violets. Slim in the mouth yet rich with vanilla and pine flavors adding complexity. Think seared tuna with salt and pepper-Heaven! (ES)

85 Rockway Glen Estate Cabernet Franc 2001 (winery, $15.95, ON)

Probably the best way to describe this wine is to say Jolly rancher candies- to be precise raspberry and cherry. Ripe with low acid, the wine adds bell pepper and yeasty notes in the mouth. Ready to drink. (ES)

84 Marynissen Cabernet Merlot 2000, Niagara (winery, $12.95, ON)

A solid value from the good folks at Marynissen. Deep ruby with a nose of cherry, earth, chocolate, herbs and plum. Light to medium bodied and a moderate finish. (ES)

U.S.A.


90 Gallo Sonoma Two Rocks Chardonnay 2000, Sonoma, California (June release, $39.95, ON)

The subtitle to this wine should read- Gallo meets Chablis. From their newest and coolest vineyard in Sonoma comes this zippy wine, oak very toned down wine. Dry with loads of mineral, citrus, green apple and banana cream flavors. Medium bodied with excellent length and a refreshing finish. Kudos for creating this food friendly wine! (ES)

France



93 Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turkheim 2000 , Alsace (993352, $39.95, ON)

I AM GEWURZ -this wine says with authority! Displaying a bouquet of lychee nut, flowers and pineapples the wine is superipe and concentrated; yet not overblown, with added flavors of spice and honey. Great concentration and length with some residual sugar on the finish. Ready to drink but with such extract, can age 5 to 6 years. (ES)

92 Zind Humbrecht Riesling Herrenweg de Turkheim 2000, Alsace (706697, $39.95, ON)

An overripe style, from a great Riesling vintage in Alsace. Golden in colour with aromas of flowers, citrus, ripe peaches and rubber. Rich in the mouth with lots of fruit, sound acid, excellent length and sweetness on the finish. Now to 2010. (ES)

91 Pouilly Fumé Grand Cuvee Fournier Viellles Vignes 2000, Loire Valley (942961, $31.40, ON)

It has been a while since I have tasted a PF this good. Medium to full bodied with a complex bouquet of white flowers, citrus, flint, bell pepper and mineral. In the mouth the wine is balanced with a round texture, fresh minerally acidity and a long finish. Ready to drink. (ES)

91 Chateau Sociando Mallet 1999, Haut Medoc (748459, $49, ON)

The 99 vintage in Bordeaux is turning out better than expected, with the best wines showing softness, concentration and approachability, as is the case of this wine. Ripe, with aromas of smoke, cassis, chocolate and minerals. Medium bodied with the classic Bordeaux slimness in the mouth, which fills out somewhat on the finish. Drink now to 2012. (ES)

89 Chateau d'Aiguilhe 1999, Cote de Castillon (983361, $ 36.95, ON)

From the owner of the $ 500 plus a bottle Chateau LaMondotte comes this newly revamped garage wine from just outside of Pomerol. Very new wave Bordeaux with lots of chocolate, mint, cassis and coffee flavors. No hard edges with a thick texture and a lingering finish. Now to 2009. (ES)

89 Chateau La Vielle Cure 1999, Fronsac (999722, $36, ON)

This baby has lots of top grain oak as witnessed by the bouquet of espresso grounds, chocolate, cherry, cassis and earth. Opaque in colour with a lingering finish and aging potential of 4 to 6 years. (ES)

89 Chateau Talbot 1995, St Julien (726190, $96.70, ON)

A nicely maturing Bordeaux with aromas of leather, cassis, herbs and animal notes, typical of St Julien. Good mid palate, medium bodied with supple tannins and a lingering finish. Now to 2010. (ES)


Italy


95 Masseto 1999, Tenuta della Ornellaia, Bolgheri (730655, $339, ON)

Deep ruby colour with a melange of red and black fruits; namely raspberry, sweet cherry, plums and cassis, with a dose of vanilla added for good measure. Totally elegant and lip smacking good with a long plummy, anise seed finish. Now to 2020. (ES)

94 Ornellaia 1999, Tenuta della Ornellaia, Bolgheri (722470, $220, ON)

It has now been five vintages in a row that Ornellaia has been of outstanding quality. This Bordeaux styles blend shows off sweet vanilla, toasty oak, and cassis flavors. The wine caresses the mouth with no harshness whatsoever even though there are substantial ripe tannins. Drink over the next 20 years. (ES)

91 Tiganello 1999, Antinori, Tuscany (512368, $ 89, ON)

Another winner from Antnori. Slightly closed, with subdued aromas of tobacco leaf , raspberry, humus and sour cherry finding there way up the glass. Already delicious, but by giving it another year or so in the bottle, it will allow the wine to fully open up. From 2004 to 2015. (ES)

90 Sassiscaia 1999, Tenuta San Guido, Bogheri (480533, $195, ON)

Better than the 97, but is it worth almost $200? That is for you to decide. A nose of torrification (burnt, charred aromas), ripe cherries, cassis, plums and licorice. Full bodied with excellent length and lots of firm tannins on the finish. Now to 2020. (ES)

89 Cepparello 1999, Isole e Olena, Tuscany (713982, $75, ON)

Eighteen months in a combination of new and used french barrels has given this wine a distinctive smoky/vanilla quality. Add some cassis, roasted herbs, and cherry flavors and you have a very good bottle of wine, albeit not as good as the 97 version. (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