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Wine Reviews

May 2003 Wine Ratings

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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)


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)


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)


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

To prevent a sparkling wine from foaming out of the glass, pour an ounce, which will settle quickly. Pouring the remainder of the serving into this starter will not foam as much.