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August 2004 Wine Ratings

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91 13th Street Wine Corp Sandstone Chardonnay Reserve, Niagara ($27)
13th continues to produce one of Niagara's most fruity and concentrated Chardonnays. Fresh baked peach pie, caramel, tropical fruit, citrus and honey soar out of the glass. The palate is dense with cream drenched biscuits, caramel and yeasty flavours. Acid is low with a touch of residual sugar and superb length. Drink over the next 3 to 4 years. (ES)

86 Henry of Pelham Off Dry Riesling 2003, Niagara ($14.95)
The 03 HOP Off Dry is water colour with a nose peach, white flowers, honey, tutti frutti gooseberries and lime. The palate is extremely refreshing with a peach/lime aftertaste. Would be great with civiche. Drink until 2008. (ES)

85 Angels Gate Sussreserve Riesling 2003, Niagara ($14.95)
Naturally sweet grape juice has been added to balance off the racy acidity of the wine. Very uplifting with peach, lime, white flowers and a touch of honey on the backend. Now to 2008. (ES)

85 13th Street Wine Corp. Funk Riesling 2002, Niagara ($16)
Crisper than previous vintages with a nose of peaches, orange blossom, flowers and grapefruit. Medium persistency and drinkable until 2008. (ES)

84 Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay Musqué Estate Bottled 2002, Niagara ($15.95)
This, the first Musqué from CDC is moderately aromatic with a nose of peach and flowers. The palate is dry and lingering with honey, peach and spice flavours and a crisp finish. Drink now. (ES)

89 Angels Gate Angels III 2002, Niagara ($35)
The 3rd release of A3 lives up to the quality of its predecessors. Medium bodied, the blend is 50% Merlot with the remainder being equal parts of both Cabs. Plums, black cherries, chocolate and coffee are all in the house. Long finish, somewhat thick and ripe tannins. From 2005 to 2011. (ES)

88 Angels Gate Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Niagara ($23.95)
Cassis, plums, herbs and vanilla come together in the bouquet. On the palate the cassis comes through as well as the vanilla. Very good length and supple tannins. Now to 2011. (ES)


87 13th Street Wine Corp. Cabernets Merlot Funk Vineyard 2002, Niagara ($20)
A little closed at the time of tasting but chocolate, coffee, plums, black cherries and raspberries worked their way out of the glass. Medium to full bodied with a peppery, tobacco and raspberry palate. From 2005 to 2010. (ES)

87 13th Street Wine Corp. Merlot 2002, Niagara ($25)
A black cherry, raspberry, floral bouquet with a sweet mid palate laced with chocolate and cherries. Tannins are supple with very good length. Now to 2009. (ES)


86 Jackson Triggs Proprietors' Reserve Merlot 2002, Okanagan ($12.95)
A jammy Merlot made in a down under style, but when compared against a comparable Aussie on price, this wine wins hands down. It is definitely one of those good old buy by the case purchases. Ruby/purple colour with a nose of chocolate, plums, black cherries, violets and smoke. Medium bodied and medium length. Drink over the next 2 years. (ES)

85 Chateau des Charmes Cabernet-Merlot 2002, Niagara ($14.25)
The wine displays Chateau's "tell tale" red wine nose of bell pepper/cigar/spice which is interwoven with cassis, plums, vanilla and red currant. Dry with soft tannins and an easy finish. Drink over the next 2 years. (ES)


93 Chateau LaRame 2001, Ste Croix du Mont ($34.75/ 500ml)
Much has been hyped about the dessert wines of Bordeaux in 2001. This wine comes from a lesser known appellation near Sauternes and is an absolute killer, especially for the price. Full bodied with oodles of apricot, peaches, honey, spice and coconut. Drink until 2018. (ES)

92 Chateau Le Bon Pasteur 2001, Pomerol ($89 Futures)
Bon Pasteur is the home base of Michel Rolland, the world's foremost consultant of Merlot. Plums, spice, vanilla and chocolate on the nose with black raspberry, earth, smoke and chocolate on the palate. The mouth feel is concentrated and long. Drink over the next 10 to 12 years. (ES)

90 Sociando Mallet 2001, Haut Medoc ($65)
Those who have followed my ratings know my admiration for this house. The quality is constant and even puts to shame1st and 2nd growths in certain years. Black/purple colour with a bouquet of chocolate, bell pepper, cassis and black cherries. Medium bodied with excellent length and a soft finish. From late 2005 to 2012. (ES)

90 Chateau Quinault L'Enclos 2001, St Emilion ($120 Futures)
The '01 Quinault is black/purple coloured, medium bodied offering with loads of chocolate covered coffee bean, earth and blackfruits on the nose. Medium to full bodied, the palate is all chocolate, cherries, minerals and flowers. Length is excellent. Drink until 2016. (ES)


July 2004 Wine Ratings

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95 Allegrini Amarone 2000 ($100)
Without a doubt Allegrini is one of the superstars of Amarone. The wines from 97 of to 00 are some of the most powerful and concentrated that I have ever tasted out of the north east corner of Italy. It is more like dry port than wine, with enough tannin to warrant taking out extra dental insurance. Hold off for a few years to let everything come together. From 2008 to 2025. (ES)

92 Maculan Fratta 2000, Veneto ($68)
Made in a new world/Aussie style, focusing on intense fruit. The blend is 54% Cab Sauv and 46% Merlot. The attack is jammy and delivers loads of black cherries, blackberries, plums, tobacco and roasted herbs. Long finish with some heat. Drink over the next decade.

95 Arnaldo Capri 25 Anni Sagrantino di Montefalco 2001, Umbria ($100)
To enjoy young Sagrantino, you have to be in a Masochistic frame of mind. To be honest, I was scared to death after this opaque wine was poured into my glass, knowing what was in store. Simply put, it is a monster! Huge depth and even huger tannins. Aromas of plums, spice and vanilla are discernable at this young age. Hold of until 2010 and drink until 2030. (ES)

92 Maculan Fratta 2000, Veneto ($68)
Made in a new world/Aussie style, focusing on intense fruit. The blend is 54% Cab Sauv and 46% Merlot. The attack is jammy and delivers loads of black cherries, blackberries, plums, tobacco and roasted herbs. Long finish with some heat. Drink over the next decade.

92 Arnaldo Capri Collepiano Sagrantino di Montefalco 2001, Umbria ($40)
Here is one for you wine trivia buffs- what is the most tannic grape in the world? Answer-Sagrantino. Gentle is the not an adjective I would use for this wine, as it is fiercely tannic yet beautifully concentrated, with superb length. Drink over the next 15 years with meat, preferably rare to still mooing. (ES)

90 Fattoria di Felsina Chainti Classico Berardenga Rancia 2001, Tuscany ($60)
The nose is cherries, plums, spice and fresh bread, while the mouth is laced with humus and menthol notes. Nicely concentrated with firm tannins and excellent length. Now to 2014. (ES)

90 Zenato Amarone 2000, Veneto ($48.95)
The combination of grapes being dried for 4 months and aging in new barrels has produced a bouquet of plums, vanilla, black cherries, blackberries, chocolate and allspice. Excellent quality, the wine is ripe and long in the month with some alcohol on the backend. Now to 2016. (ES)

89 Fattoria di Felsina Chianti Classico Berardenga 2001, Tuscany ($34.36)
A touch lighter than the “Rancia.” Black fruits, spice, vanilla and toasted bread are present in this medium to full bodied wine. Drink now to 2011. (ES)

89 Fontodi Flaccianello 2000, Tuscany ($70)
This 100% Sangiovese bottling delivers cherries, buttered popcorn, cassis and earthy flavours. Medium to full bodied with excellent length. Now to 2011. (ES)

89 Antinori Tiganello 2001, Tuscany ($90)
Rather disappointing when tasted recently in Italy. Medium bodied with cherry, hummus and charred oak aromas. There is lots of tannin, but the finish is airy, so I would prefer to drink it over the next 5 years. Maybe it is just in a dumb phase, but my gut tells me otherwise. Not worth the money. (ES)

88 Fontodi Chianti Classico 2001, Tuscany ($32.47)
Medium ruby with a pink rim. Cherry, earth and vanilla on the nose with sweet cherries on the palate. Dry with nice length. Now to 2010. (ES)



90 Thirty Bench Riesling Limited Yield 2003, Niagara (winery, $19.95)

"Limited Yield" refers to a certain amount of grapes clusters removed from the vine during the growth cycle so as to concentrate the flavour in the remaining bunches. Moderately aromatic with an Auslese level of sweetness. There is a concentrated mouthful of peaches, honey, lemon, lime, minerals and green apples which envelops the crisp acid. Now to 2011. (ES)

89 Lakeview Cellars Chardonnay Reserve 2002, Niagara ($25)

The heat of the 2002 vintage, coupled with 18 months aging in new french oak has produced a full bodied Chard with a bouquet of caramel, banana, figs, citrus and green apple. The texture is creamy with spice, apples and nuts appearing on the finish. Drink over the next 4 years as the acid is low and the wine is a already enjoyable .(ES)

86 Birchwood Estates Auxerrois 2002, Niagara (winery, $12.95)

One of the most aromatic Auxerrois out of Ontario. Peaches, cream, tutti frutti and honey served up. Light bodied, but perfectly ideal as an aperitif or with a poached fish dish. Drink now. (ES)

85 Pelee Island Late Harvest Scheurebe 2002, Pelee Island ($9.00)

A nose of peaches, white pepper and honey. Sweet with good length and easy drinking. (ES)


88 Lakeview Cellars Pinot Noir Reserve Butlers Grant Vineyard 2002 ($24.95)

A fruit driven style of Pinot with a nose of cherries, raspberries, blackfruits and rich vanilla. The palate is chock full of berry fruits which are interwoven with vanilla. Now to 2009. (ES)


87 Pelee Island Winery Pinot Noir Reserve 2002, Pelee Island ($14.04)

The wine displays a deep ruby colour and a nose of black cherries, black raspberries and vanilla bean. The same is reciprocated on the palate. Dry with very good length and a somewhat firm finish. Now to 2008.

86 Birchwood Estates Baco Noir 2002, Niagara (winery, $10.95)

A good value Baco with aromas of plums, vanilla and spice. Dry with medium length and a roasted nut finish. Drink over the next 2 years.


June 2004 Wine Ratings

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89 Vineland Estates Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2002 (winery, $40, ON)

Deep ruby with a fuchsia rim. Full bodied with rich flavours of raspberry, chocolate, blackfruits, and tobacco. Hold for a couple of years as the alcohol is a bit dominant at this time. Drink until 2011. (ES)

89 Reif Estate Pinot Noir First Growth (winery, $50, ON)

A strong offering which reveals coffee, chocolate, plum, raspberry and earthy/toasty aromas. Cherry jam as well as blackberry flavours are on the palate. Tannins do appear on the back end, and as of this moment, the wine still is a bit tight, so hold off until 2005 and drink until 2011. Harvested at 2.5 tons per acre. (ES)

89 Reif Estate First Growth Merlot 2001, Niagara (winery, $50, ON)

Black fruits, earth, spice, green peas and oak dominate the nose. Length is very good with lots of fruit on the palate, namely blackberry and plums, which coalesce with a spicy finish. Drink until 2009. (ES)

87 Reif Estate Shiraz 2002, Niagara (winery, $23.95, ON)

A black purple colour wine with ripe loganberry and blackberry flavours. Acid is fresh and tannins are easy. Drink now (ES)


85 Vineland estates Pinot Noir Reserve 2001, Niagara (winery, $27, ON)

The nose and palate were dominated by alcohol. Beyond that, plums, cherries, vanilla and spice were discernable. Medium bodied. Drink now.

85 Vineland Estates Chardonnay Musque 2002, Niagara (winery, $18.95, ON)

White gold colour with a nose of peaches, flowers, honey and minerals. Light to medium bodied with medium length.



94 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 1999, Maipo (726919, $44.25, PQ)

One hell of a great Chilean red, and at under $50, it is a pleasant surprise considering the skyrocketing prices of many wines from this country. Concentrated raspberry, blackberry, anise and tobacco flavours. After swallowing, it just lingers and lingers. From 2005 to 2020. (ES)



88 Chateau Pajzos Harslevelu 2000, Tokaji ($22.25, PQ)

A fresh, cleaner style than your typical Tokaji. The wine is made solely from botrytis affected Harslevelu grapes which were cold fermented to produce a fruit driven style. Spiced apples, honey, flowers and bergamot tea flavours are present. Sweet, with very good length and high acid which provides balance. Drink now. (ES)


95 Santa Duc Cuvee Prestige des Hautes Garrigues 2000, Gigondas ($48.25, PQ)

Superb, incredible, fabulous, delicious and "must have" were some of the adjectives that came to mind after tasting this singular win. Full bodied and dense, with 20 years of life ahead. Simply put-buy this, especially if you are a Southern Rhone lover! (ES)

93 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape 2000, Rhone ($48.75, PQ)

Ahhhh-the joys of great CNP! Ripe cherries, dark chocolate, hazelnuts, pepper and garrigue aromas. Layered and dense, this wine will last 15 years, sans problème Game meats anyone!

92 Chateau Clinet 2000, Pomerol (736124, $257, PQ)

Not cheap, but then again we are talking about Pomerol from a great vintage. Cassis, cherry, earthy, blackberry and animal scents work together. Full bodied with a long, succulent finish and a minty note which I attribute to the 10% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. From 2005 to 2020. (ES)

90 Chateau Montrose 2001, St-Estephe (979880, $94.95, ON)

The 01 is a powerful wine for the vintage. It serves up a mixture of toasty oak, cassis, vanilla, animal scents and spice. Tannins are present and cellaring is suggested. Hold off until 2008 and drink to 2020. (ES)

87 Perrin Gigondas 2000, Rhone ($29.90, PQ)

If you like back pepper, black pepper and more black pepper this wine is definitely for you. Besides the black pepper (did I forget to mention that before?), the wine does offer blackcurrants and provencal herbs. Medium body and length. (ES)


New Zealand

90 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2003, Marlborough ($31.95, ON)

The most famous name is N.Z. Sauv Blanc has produced a medium to full bodied wine with a bouquet of passion fruit, citrus, tomato vine, grapefruit, lime zest white pepper and minerals. Lively acid, as usual is found in the mouth with excellent length. Uncork and serve with goat cheese and scallop stuffed phyllo purses. (ES)


92 Viader 1999, Napa Valley (904367, $141, ON)

The 99 Viader is a blend of the 2 Cabs-61% Sauvignon and 39% Franc. Deeply coloured, this concentrated wine seduces with a bouquet of blackberry, black cherries, raspberries, anise, chocolate and smoke. Rich with a long finish and a tannic frame which gives longevity. Now to 2020.


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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.