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Wine Reviews

November 2015 Wine Ratings

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Canada

White

92 Marynissen Estates Vidal Icewine 2013, Niagara ($40/375ml)

Hugely extracted this stickie exudes intense peach, honeycomb, orange marmalade, vanilla, sponge toffee and spice. Excellent length and well suited for blue cheeses or custard based desserts. (ES)

91 Coyote’s Run Rare Vintage Chardonnay 2014, Four Mile Creek ($24.95)

If you are a lover of great Chardonnay, this is one that should not be missed. Medium to full-bodied, it is ripe with peach, cream, baked apple, pineapple, spice and lilac on the nose. On the palate, cream, vanilla, banana and minerals add dimension. Long finish, fresh acid and superb length make for a brilliant pairing with lobster or poultry. (ES)

90 Coyote’s Run Rare Vintage Late Harvest Pinot Gris, Four Mile Creek ($24.95)

Made in the style of an Alsatian Vendanges Tardives, this Pinot Gris is medium sweet with 50 g/l of residual sugar.  That said, the concentration and lowish acidity combine with the sweetnes to give the impression of something that is sweeter. Full bodied, there is enormous peach, honey, cream spice, red apple and cream. Drink with a foie gras appetizer or munster (or other wash rind cheeses) after a meal. (ES)

89 Redstone Reserve Chardonnay 2011, Beamsville Bench ($38.95)

Medium plus body, this Chardonnay was fermented via natural yeasts and spent 12 months maturing in partial new French oak. Enticing aromas of peach, toast, honey, anise, pineapple and golden apple are all present. Fresh acid, a lush mid-palate and great finale round everything out. Now until 2019. (ES)

89 Palatine Hills Sauvignon Blanc Neufeld Vineyard 2014, Niagara Lakeshore ($18)

Partially barrel fermented, this Sauvignon Blanc gushes gooseberry, passion fruit, tomato vine, fruit salad, herbs and vanilla on the nose. On the palate, peach, citrus and honey chime in. Long finish with vibrant acidity and a touch of sweetness makes for a superb pairing with crab cakes or pasta primavera topped with feta cheese. (ES)

88 Palatine Hills Riesling 2014, Niagara Lakeshore ($13)

If you are a Riesling lover, you should run to pick up this steal of adeal. Peach, lime, honey, bergamot, grapefruit and white flowers inundate the senses. Off-dry with tangy acidity and great length. (ES)

87 Marynissen Estates Pinot Gris Kasper Vineyard 2014, Niagara Lakeshore ($17)

Twelve hours of skin contact and partial barrel fermentation has created a bouquet of peach, red apple, honey, banana, cream and spice. Pineapple and yeasty flavours combine with the fresh acidity and fine length. (ES)

Red

91 Marynissen Estates Cabernet Franc Icewine 2013, Niagara ($55/375ml)

This Icewine busts out a perfume of strawberry, raspberry, guava, cassis, vanilla and herbs. On the tongue, it is pure essence of berry with a succulent aftertaste. Chocolate fondue all the way. (ES)

89 Redstone Winery Cabernet Franc Icewine 2010, Niagara ($25.95/200ml)

Ready to drink, this rock solid Cab Franc Icewine pumps out strawberry, red currant, cassis, dried cherries, and red flowers. Splendid length, soft texture and low acid make for a perfect pairing with a flourless chocolate cake. (ES)

89 Coyote’s Run Rare Vintage Cabernet Syrah 2012, Four Mile Creek ($32.95)

From one of Ontario’s best red wine vintages ever comes this singular blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon and 43% Syrah. Dark coloured, the complex nose of cassis vanilla, herbs, smoke, black cherry, black olive and violets carry over to the palate where the tannins add support. Long finish. Drink now to 2021. (ES)

89 Marynissen Estates Gamay Noir Marynissen Vineyard 2013, Four Mile Creek ($30)

A great surprise from a cool vintage. Clocking in with a natural alcohol of 14.5%, this Gamay resembles a cru Beaujolais with is plum, boysenberry, raspberry, strawberry and pepper personality. Suave tannins, fresh acid and a long aftertaste complete the package. Charcuterie was made for this wine.  (ES)

89 Marynissen Estates Platinum Series Syrah 2013, Four Mile Creek ($35)

An impressive Syrah which was harvested at a paltry one ton per acre. Smoke, plum, dark cherry, raspberry, cassis, black pepper, vanilla and oregano on the nose meet up with purple flowers and graphite on the taste buds. Soft texture with a vibrant personality and long finale. (ES)

88 Redstone Winery Merlot Redstone Vineyard 2011, Lincoln Lakeshore ($39.95)

Plum, smoke, chocolate chip cookie dough, raspberry, vanilla, dried earth and carnations are all present in the soft and alluring Merlot. Mid-weight, with great length and suave tannins make for immediate accessibility. (ES)

86 Coyote’s Run Five Mile Red 2014, Niagara ($15.95)

This crowd pleaser is a blend of 55% Cabernet (both), 36% Merlot and the remainder Pinot Noir and Syrah. Mid-weight, there is an intense perfume of raspberry, blackberry, cassis, herbs, vanilla, spice and smoke. The palate is soft with fresh acid and medium length. (ES)

 

Red

92 Domaine Eric & Joel Durand Empreintes Cornas 2012, Rhone Valley($46.95)

This 100% Syrah offers depth and complexity. Smoke, cassis, rosemary, cured meat, iron, violets and licorice are all present on the nose. The same reciprocates on the palate as well as a cocoa/pepper elements that carry the finale. Medium body. Now until 2022. (ES)

91 Château Pesquié Les Terrasses 2014, Ventoux ($17.95)

Pesquié, the undeniable star of the Ventoux, continues to churn out impressive wines at all price points. The 2014 Les Terrasses possesses a black/purple colour and doles out violets, crème de cassis, kirsch, oregano, anise, olive and graphite. Full bodied and concentrated, the plummy tannins will ensure a decade of aging. For the price, make sure to pick up a few bottles for the cellar. (ES)

91 Château de Braude 2010, Haut-Médoc ($33.95)

This Cru Bourgeois, from the great 2010 vintage, is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. It is a textbook example with its cassis, black olive, tobacco, mint and medicinal qualities. Pick your cut of steak to enjoy with this wine. Drink until 2022. (ES)

90 Château Fleur La Mothe 2009, Médoc ($24.95)

This is a stunning value from an ultra-warm vintage in Bordeaux. Made in a modern style, there is a prodigious nose of blackberry, cassis, smoke, tobacco, black olive and anise. Suave and silky on the palate it is ready to drink now until 2020. (ES)

Germany

91 Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier Scharzhofberger Spätlese Riesling 2012, Mosel ($31.95)

From the prized Scharzhofberger comes this hugely floral Riesling with honey, lime, apricot, peach, green apple and minerals acting as backup. The crisp acidity is balanced by the sweetness giving the impression of an off-dry wine. Chill well, pour and sit back and relax. (ES)

Greece

White

91 Tselepos Santorini 2014, Santorini ($40)

Having mastered the Moschofilero grape of the Peloponnese, Yiannis Tselepos has turned his sights south, to the volcanic beauty of Santorini and its singular superstar grape - Assyrtiko! Full-bodied and concentrated, this wine’s power is held in check by brisk acidity. Salty minerals, white peach, lime and honey are abound in this dry wine. Long finish. Great now but better in 3 to 4 years. (ES)

91 Biblia Chora Ovilos 2013, Macedonia ($30.75)

Greece’s answer to a great Pessac-Léognan! Full bodied, this oaked blend of 50% Semillon and 50% Assyrtiko doles out honey, wax, lanolin, peach, herbs, vanilla, spice and huge minerals. Long aftertaste with great acidity. Halibut in beurre blanc sauce or a pork roast would be sublime with this wine. (ES)

87 Thalia White 2014, Crete ($9.95)

Great bang for the buck from Greece’s southernmost island!  This 50/50 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and indigenous Vilana is delicate yet flavorful with apple, melon, peach, white flower and nougat aromas. On the palate, crisp acidity, fine length and minerality complete the package. Drink with hors d’oeuvres such as fried shrimp/kalamari or mild cheeses. (ES)

Rose

88 Tselepos Amalia Brut Rose NV, Arcadia PGI ($25)

Yiannis Tselepos, famous for his white Amalia Brut, made from the aromatic Moschofilero varietal is now producing a companion rose bubbly made from the local Agiorgitiko grape. Strawberry, cherry, red flowers, dried earth and herb flavours are all in play. A fine mousse, fresh acid and great length make for a perfect pairing with smoked salmon and charcuterie. (ES)

Portugal

92 Messias Colheita Port 2005 ($24.95)

A Colheita is a single Vintage Tawny Port, which by law must age a minimum of seven years in wood before being released to the marketplace. This wine over delivers for the price especially considering it is a full-size bottle. The brick red colour leads to a combination of prunes, dried raspberry, dried flowers, spice and hazelnut. Smooth and well balanced with a long aftertaste. (ES)

91 Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port 2004 ($29.95/375ml)

With the cold nights now upon us, there is nothing quite as satisfying and cathartic as a glass of Port in front of a roaring fireplace. Black as night, this single Quinta (farm/vineyard) Vintage Port is concentrated with masses of cassis, plum, kirsch, violets, mint and dark cocoa. It will evolve nicely over the next 15 years. Superb value! (ES)

United States

White

91 Talbott Kali Hart Chardonnay 2013, Monterey County ($27.95)

This wine certainly has a lot of heart! Golden apple, pineapple, mango, peaches and cream corn, butter and vanilla flatter. Ripe, it is rich on the palate with fine acidity giving a lift on the long, spice-tinged finale. (ES)

91 Robert Mondavi Reserve Chardonnay 2012, Carneros ($45.95)

Full-bodied, Mondavi’s flagship Chardonnay is a class act that is starting to show mature qualities. Peach, golden apple, pineapple, smoke, honey and mineral are all present. It is balanced, concentrated and possesses terrific length. Drink until 2019 (ES)

90 Beringer Chardonnay 2013, Napa Valley ($22.95)

This Chardonnay is always a stalwart of quality. Apple, peach, pear, vanilla and cream corn are all present in this medium-bodied chardonnay. Lengthy, it is not heavy, thanks to the fresh acidity that tidies everything up. Very versatile with food. (ES)

Red

93 Justin Isosceles 2012, Paso Robles ($117.95)

The 2012 vintage of this Icon wine from Paso Robles is a 15.5% monster that throws masses of dark fruit at you in the form of blackberry, plum, cherry and blueberry. Additionally, there are mocha, caper, mint, balsamic, vanilla and cola qualities that add dimension. Thick, almost syrupy on the palate with sublime length and enough tannins to cellar for a decade, if so desired. That said, it is in fine drinking form right now as it just keeps on giving. (ES)

91 Rodney Strong Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Alexander Valley ($59.95)

This 15% Cabernet Sauvignon is ripe, lush and velvety. It offers wall to wall dark raspberry, blackberry, plum, cassis and chocolate flavours. It is quite flattering right now, but it has the stuffing to go another five to six years. (ES)

90 Rutherford Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Napa Valley ($53.95)

An explosive nose of dark plum, cassis, mint, balsamic, licorice and vanilla are all present in this wine that shows a combination of ripeness and elegance. Long finish and ready to drink now over the next 7 years. (ES)

88 Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, California ($19.95)

An open and approachable Cali Cab with plum, dark cherry, mint, cocoa and hints of animal. A touch sweet, there is very good length and is drinking well now. (ES)

87 Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel 2012, Lodi ($19.95)

Here is a straight up, no holds barred, fruit driven Zin with a tell-tale personality of red and black jam, raisin and spice. It is ripe, but not clumsy, and will fare well with braised and bbq foods. Drink now. (ES)


 

 

September 2015 Wine Ratings

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Canada

White

92 Cave Spring Riesling Icewine 2013, Niagara ($49.95)

Always one of Niagara’s star Riesling Icewines. Peach, apricot, lime, apple juice, pink grapefruit and smokey minerals are all in play. The tension between the sweetness and acidity is brilliant, and there is sublime length. No need for dessert with this beauty! (ES)

92 Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay 2011, Twenty Mile Bench ($65)

The “Grand Cru” of the Clos Jordanne portfolio is a full-bodied and layered offering with waves of peach, pear, apple, citrus, honey, hazelnut, toast and spice. The palate is dense, yet refined, with an underlying current of minerality as well as fresh acidity. Ready to drink.  A triple cream brie or roast chicken stuffed with mushrooms would be sublime with this wine. (ES)

91 Charles Baker Riesling Ivan Vineyard 2014, Twenty Mile Bench ($27)

Charles Baker continues to produce some of Niagara’s most profound Rieslings. This vintage is leaner but still possesses great persistency. Pale straw with a green tinge, the bergamot, white peach, lime zest, honey and lilac on the nose meet up with apple, pear and huge minerality on the palate. Long finish with zesty acid and slightly off-dry. I dream about Choucroute garnie with this beauty! (ES)

91 Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Chardonnay 2012, Twenty Mile Bench ($40)

Pale straw colour with peach, sweet apple, pear, mineral, vanilla, spice and a hint of nuttiness. There is 14% alcohol, smooth texture and excellent length. Nice balance. No need to cellar as it is ready to drink. (ES)

90 Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay, Four Mile Creek

Only seven barrels of this impressive Chardonnay were produced. A medium golden colour leads into a layered bouquet of coconut, butter cookies, honey, anise, golden apple, Bosc pear and white flower. On the palate, it is all about minerality, citrus, spice, toast and green apple melding with high acidity and a long aftertaste. Pair with grilled salmon topped with an herb cream sauce. (ES)

89 Malivoire Wine Moira Chardonnay 2011, Beamsville Bench ($39.95)

Banana, peach, tutti frutti, cream, spice, honey and vanilla are present on a medium-bodied frame. The alcohol plays well on the palate, with a creamy texture and excellent length, echoing spice, sweet corn and minerality. (ES)

89 Malivoire Wine Mottiar Chardonnay 2012, Beamsville Bench ($29.95)

Reminiscent of a top Puligny! The green apple, mineral and citrus on the nose meets up with smokey minerals, spice, vanilla and toast on the palate. Elegant and poised, there is sound acidity and great length.  (ES)

89 Cave Spring Riesling The Adam Steps Estate Bottled, Beamsville Bench ($24.95)

This is Cave’s take on a Mosel Riesling Kabinett, with its lower alcohol and slightly higher residual sugar. Fermented via natural yeasts, the peach, pink grapefruit, honey, lime and apple juice are built on brisk acidity and great length. Hold for another year as this wine as it still evolving. (ES)

88 Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay, Niagara ($30)

This Chardonnay is starting to show mature notes of nuttiness and bruised apple that accompany the cream, lemon, green apple and mineral profile. Mid-weight and ready to drink. (ES)

88 Cave Spring Riesling Estate Bottled, Beamsville Bench ($17.95)

Sweet peach, white flowers, tutti frutti, spruce beer, orange rind and mineral jump off the nose and onto the palate. Off-dry, with crisp acidity and very good length, this wine will partner brilliantly with a platter of sushi/sashimi or shrimp tacos. (ES)

86 Cave Spring Dry Riesling 2013, Niagara ($14.95)

Huge lime, mineral, orange peel and honey on the nose. It is mineral driven and dry on the palate with a floral element lingering on the finish. (ES)

87 Colio Lily Sparkling Wine NV, Ontario ($16.95)

A new classy label for this stalwart Ontario bubbly that won a silver medal at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards. Made from 100% Riesling and off-dry, it features baked apple, peach, citrus and minerals. Perfect with spicy appetizers or coconut shrimp. (ES)

Red

93 Stratus Red 2012, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($44)

Quite possibly the best Stratus Red to date! A saturated ruby colour leads into a complex mix of blackberry, cassis, raspberry, cocoa, coconut, vanilla, violets, mint and pepper/anise. It is concentrated and long lasting with sweet fruit on the mid-palate before the firm, dry tannins make an appearance. Hold for four years and then drink until 2025, preferably with a NY strip.  A blend of all three Bordeaux varietals plus a smidge of Tannat. (ES)

89 Henry of Pelham Estate Cabernet Merlot 2010, Short Hills Bench ($24.95)

From a great red wine vintage comes this maturing Bordeaux blend. Cedar, cassis, raspberry, herbs/tobacco, dark cocoa and dried violet are all on a medium body frame. Still somewhat tannic, so drink or hold until 2020. (ES)

89 Cave Spring Cabernet Franc Estate Bottled 2012, Niagara ($29.95)

A rather hefty and complex Franc with smoke, cassis, raspberry, cedar, graphite, black olive, violets and vanilla. Still grippy on the palate, I suggest holding it for another twelve months and then drinking it until 2020. Pair with espresso rubbed steaks. (ES)

89 Malivoire Stouck Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Lincoln Lakeshore ($29.95)

Made from 27-year-old vines, this wine features a black colour with a ruby rim. Aged for 18 months in new French oak, it displays a perfume of lilac, BBQ spice, cassis, raspberry, dark cocoa and vanilla. Elegant in the mouth with great length and fine-grained tannins, steak was made for this wine. (ES)

89 Malivoire Wine Mottiar Pinot Noir, Beamsville Bench ($34.95)

Medium ruby in colour with a bouquet of sweet cherry, black raspberry, spice, dried earth, violets and anise. Good depth, with a fruit driven palate that reciprocates what is on the nose. Nice freshness, suave tannins and ready to drink. Serve with confit de canard. (ES)

89 Malivoire Wine Gamay 2014, Niagara ($17.95)

Wowser- delicious Gamay alert! Juicy, yet concentrated, the raspberry cream, strawberry, dried herbs, and white pepper are just magic in the glass.  With all of its upfront flash, it is ready to drink, with or without food. (ES)

88 Malivoire Wine Courtney Gamay 2013, Niagara ($25.95)

Somewhat tight, earth, roasted herbs, vanilla, black pepper, dark raspberry, sweet strawberry and red flowers reveal themselves. Splendid length. Drink over the next 2 to 3 years. (ES)

88 Malivoire Wine Cabernet Franc 2013, Creek Shores ($24.95)

Sings Cabernet Franc on the nose: smokey tobacco, herbs, cassis, red currant and graphite. Dark cocoa chimes in on the palate, with moderate tannins and fine length.  Ratatouille or spaghetti would be heavenly pairings. (ES)

88 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc 2013, Niagara ($21.95)

Here, you will find a refined Franc with cassis, red currant, raspberry, herbs, lavender and smoke qualities. Mid-weight, there is bright acid, supple tannins and a great finale. Ready to go. (ES)

88 Cave Spring Cabernet Franc 2013, Niagara Escarpment ($19.95)

From a cool vintage, this wine achieved an impressive natural alcohol of 14.5%. A combination of cassis, raspberry, fresh herbs/mint, smoke, vanilla and anise are featured.  On the attack, the initial perception is that of sweet/ripe fruit, before turning elegant, and finishing with fine-grained tannins. Drink over the next 3 to 4 years. (ES)

88 Cave Spring Pinot Noir Dolomite 2013, Niagara Escarpment ($23.95)

Very Cote de Beaune with all of its strawberry, cherry, iron, red flowers, spice and cocoa flavours. There is considerable refinement, with fresh acidity and soft tannins rounding out this medium bodied wine. Ready to drink. (ES)

86 Cave Spring Gamay 2013, Niagara ($15.95)

A rather pleasing Gamay which will multi-task with different menu items: pasta, pizza, charcuterie and grilled sausage. Put a slight chill to it and enjoy all the juicy strawberry and cherry flavours that work alongside black pepper, biscuit and herbal elements. (ES)

86 Hat Trick Cabernet Merlot 2014, Ontario ($14.95)

The NHL Alumni Association has partnered with Colio Estates to produce the newest edition of this wine. Easy drinking, it doles out cassis, plum, herbs and vanilla. Grab some pizza or pasta, crack open the bottle and watch your favorite team play on Saturday nights. (ES)

Greece

90 Domaine Sigalas Kavalieros 2013, Santorini ($31)

Another great performance from Sigalas! This single vineyard Assyrtiko, made from vines over 50 years old, spent 18 months on its lees so as to give more complexity. It pumps out massive quantities of peach, pear, honey, white flowers, oregano, citrus and volcanic minerals. Full bodied, there is brisk acidity and great length, ensuring 8 years of cellaring. (ES)

90 Estate Argyros Assyrtiko 2014, Santorini ($25)

Every sip of this wine evokes memories of whitewashed homes, azure waters, bucket-list sunsets and the freshest seafood possible.  The average age of the vines used in the production of this wine were 150 years and because of this it churns out a complex mix of white peach, banana, toast, mineral, lemon and apple. High acidity, great concentration and a long aftertaste will allow this wine to age until 2022. (ES)

Italy

92 Oddero Poderi E Cantine Barolo Riserva Bussia Vigna Mondoca 2009, Piedmont ($100)

A powerful Barolo from the village of Monforte d’Alba. It features a complex personality of cherry, plum, earth, spice, cocoa, chicken broth and dried rose.  Full-bodied, with a long tannic finish, it has at least 20 years of life ahead. (ES)

92 Rivetto Dal 1902 Barolo Riserva Leon 2009, Piedmont ($80)

A Barolo which leans towards the old school style. Tar, dried earth, dried cherry, dried rose, spice, cocoa are all present. On the palate, the fruit still shows sweetness along with enough tannins that will ensure twenty years of longevity. (ES)

92 Paolo Scavino Barolo Riserva Rocche Dell'Annunziata 2009, Piedmont ($150)

An impressive Barolo that combines ripeness and judicious new oak.  Dark in colour, there is ripe cherry, plum, spice, cocoa and rose.  Nice weight, suave tannins and excellent persistency. It will only get better with time. (ES)

92 Cordero Di Montezemolo Barolo Riserva Gorette 2009, Piedmont ($80)

Hugely aromatic with cherry, plum, vanilla, earth, rose, spice and cocoa. Concentrated on the palate with magnificent length and at least two plus decades of life ahead. (ES)

 

 

August 2015

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Australia

87 Lindemans Bin 95 Sauvignon Blanc 2015, South Eastern Australia ($10.95)

For the price, this wine packs a lot of flavour. Light bodied, there is lime, grapefruit, gooseberry, pear, grass and some tropical nuance. Fine length and ready to drink, so make sure to pick up a couple of bottles. (ES)

Canada

White

92 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Chardonnay 2013, Short Hills Bench ($29.95)

Made from yields of 2 tonnes per acre and fermented in French oak, this beauty is elegant and concentrated. It reveals a multi-dimensional personality of toast, honey, apple, sweet peach, pineapple, banana, hazelnut, mineral and caper berry. Lobster or crab served with warm butter was made for this wine. (ES)

91 Hidden Bench Chardonnay Felseck Vineyard 2012, Beamsville Bench ($38)

A pale gold colour leads into aromas of peach, orange rind, vanilla cream, banana, red apple, oregano and spice. Concentrated, ripe and elegant, the palate shows more spice and cream, with sound acidity framing everything quite nicely. (ES)

90 Henry of Pelham Estate Chardonnay 2013, Short Hills Bench ($19.95)

For the price, this wine packs a lot of punch. Medium body and well balanced, the pineapple, golden apple and honey of the grape is gently caressed by oaky notes of vanilla, spice and toast. On the palate, it is ripe with brisk acid and a long aftertaste of banana cream.  It should evolve well over the next four years. (ES)

90 Stratus Chardonnay 2013, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($48)

A strong oak presence melds with sweet pineapple, ripe peach, banana, tutti frutti, earth and white flowers. Rather fullish, there is some warmth, as well as a creamy finish. Drink now.

90 Norman Hardie County Chardonnay 2013, Prince Edward County ($39)

Classic Hardie style of reductive winemaking in play here. Currently, it is the new wood that dominates, with smokey minerals, lemon, lime and green apple snuggling up.  Bright acidity, fine length and a modest 12.2% alcohol make for a refined drop of Chardonnay. (ES)

89 Westcott Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 2013, Vinemount Ridge ($26)

Toast, peach, honey, anise, baked apple, pineapple and smoke weave together on the nose in this mid-weight white. The palate reveals a creamy texture with a spine of minerality and great length. Cream based dishes are perfectly suited for this wine. (ES)

88 Malivoire Chardonnay 2013, Beamsville Bench ($19.95)

Here you will find a balanced Chardonnay with subtle oak flavours of cream, spice and vanilla that combine with peach, honey, lime, golden apple, cantaloupe, and citrus. Very good length and ready to drink. (ES)

88 Peller Estates Private Reserve Chardonnay 2013, Niagara ($18.95)

Peach, honey, anise, cream, honey, banana and crisp acidity all work together on a medium-bodied frame. Great length and ready to drink. (ES)

88 Westcott Vineyards Unoaked Chardonnay 2013, Vinemount Ridge ($20)

Peach, baked apple, cream, tutti frutti, anise, white flowers and honey are all on display in this non-forested Chardonnay. Crisp acidity, a medium body and great length round everything out. (ES)

88 Château des Charmes Chardonnay St. David’s Bench 2012, St. David’s Bench ($19.95)

A complex nose of yellow plum, fresh sliced apple, vanilla cream, honey, lanolin and spice are all in play. Mid-weight, there is sound acidity, and it is ready to drink. (ES)

88 Ravine Vineyard Chardonnay 2013, Niagara ($25)

Some tropical notes combine with caramel, brioche, smoke, apple and citrus. Mid-weight, there is admirable depth and concentration with crisp acidity and a mineral backbone chiming in on the finale. Pair with creamy cheeses or filet of halibut. (ES)

86 Niagara College Teaching Winery Balance Unoaked Chardonnay 2013, St. David’s Bench ($14.95)

Moderately aromatic, this non-wooded Chardonnay serves up aromas of peach, honey, nectarine, tutti frutti and lemon. Medium length, refreshing and ready to drink with chilled shellfish. (ES)

France

White

95 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2005, Champagne ($205.95)

Absolutely brilliant! Comtes is Taittinger’s Cuvee Prestige and is made from 100% Chardonnay. It possesses a pale gold colour with mature notes of toast, caramel, honey, mushroom, chalk, anise and binned apple.  On the palate, there is fabulous length, with well-integrated acidity and a punchy finale. There is at least another decade of life ahead, especially if you enjoy the complexity of aged Champagne. (ES)

92 Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus NV, Champagne ($79.95)

Made of equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, all the grapes were harvested from the top villages known as Grand Crus - hence the name. A medium gold colour and a bouquet of yeast, toast, apple, cream, lanolin, banana cream, cherry and earth beguiles. There is superb length with fresh acid rounding out the experience. (ES)

88 Domaine Laroche Chablis Saint-Martin, Burgundy ($25)

A tad fuller than your typical Chablis. Green apple, lemon, chalky/salty minerals and a slight herbal element are present. Bright acid and fine length make the case for oysters or steamed clams.

Red

94 Château Lamartine Cuvée Expression 2011, Cahors ($41.50)

Two-thousand-eleven was a superb vintage for the region of Cahors. Powerful and concentrated, this 100% Malbec, made from 60-year-old vines exudes blueberry pie, plum and dark cherry jam, vanilla custard, earth and smoke, which carries long into the sunset.  Make sure to pick up a few bottles for the cellar. Drinkability - over the next 20 years! (ES)

90 Château Lamartine Cuvée Particulière 2011, Cahors ($22.15)

A powerful Malbec which will probably appeal more to Argentinean lovers than Francophiles. Full bodied, the wine drips blackberry, blueberry, raspberry liqueur, cherry, spice, vanilla, smoke and molasses. Ripe, there is enough tannin to allow 10 to 12 years of cellaring, but with all of its upfront personality, there is no need to wait.  Cote de boeuf all the way! (ES)

Greece

White

87 Tetramythos Roditis 2014, Patras ($16.45)

Most Roditis tends be a neutral product, but this wine kicks it up a notch with its peach, honey, apple, yeast and mineral profile. Linear, there is fine length and fresh acid. Chill well and serve with fresh water fish or oysters on the half shell. (ES)

Red

88 Tetramythos Agiorgitiko 2013, Peloponnese PGI ($16.70)

Organically grown and fermented via natural yeasts, this is a real crowd pleaser what with all of its cherry, raspberry, chocolate and spice/pepper personality. Fresh acid and soft tannins complete the package. (ES)

87 Tetramythos Black of Kalavryta 2014, Achaia ($17.40)

The Black of Kalavryta is an indigenous Greek grape that almost disappeared a decade ago. Thankfully, a handful of producers have started to repopulate in the vineyards of Achaia, located in the western portion of the Peloponnese. Stylistically, this wine reminds me of a solid Gamay with its pale colour and flavours of cherry, plum, black pepper, spice and red flowers. Soft and easy drinking, it should be served chilled, and paired with charcuterie or tomato based dishes. (ES)

Italy

92 Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo Enrico VI Villero 2011, Barolo ($90)

Full bodied, this Barolo has seen some new oak in the form of vanilla and cocoa which weaves between the tar, cherry, raisin, plum, anise, cured meats and floral elements. Rich and grippy, there is an exquisite aftertaste and twenty years of cellaring ahead. (ES)

91 Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco Riserva Camp Gros Martinenga 2010, Barbaresco ($75)

Made in a modern style, the plum, toast, cherry, tobacco and spice qualities are built on a full-bodied frame. There is a sweet mid-palate, superb length with raspberry notes echoing long. All in all, an excellent expression of the Nebbiolo grape. (ES)

91 Boroli Barolo Villero 2011, Barolo ($75)

On the nose, cherry, plum, earth, floral, spice, cocoa and earth reveal themselves. The delicate palate exudes vanilla, cherry and raspberry flavours, which are long lasting. Drink over the next 15 years, (ES)

91 Paolo Manzone Barolo Serralunga 2011, Barolo ($70)

A deep colour paves the way to a complex wine full of cherry, plum, earth, spice, cocoa, earth, vanilla and dark cocoa. There is exquisite length and a grippy finale. Hold until 2017 and then drink until 2030. (ES)

91 Manzone Giovanni Barolo Gramolere 2011, Barolo ($75)

Gramolere is a single vineyard located in the village of Monforte d’Alba. Cherry, vanilla, earth, anise, licorice, bacon fat, smoke, earth and vanilla echo long. Well made in the modern style. (ES)

90 Batasiolo Barolo Briccolina 2011, Barolo ($50)

Elegant and flavorful with vanilla, cocoa, earth, spice, graphite, cherry and pencil shavings working there way out of the glass. It is ready to drink, preferably with Osso Bucco or pot roast. (ES)

South Africa

90 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2013, Hemel-En-Aarde ($45)

Hemel-en-Aarde translates as Heaven on Earth and is a cool climate enclave in the Western Cape of South Africa. A golden colour and heavily toasted nose are the first things to greet the senses. Smoke, toast, pineapple, ripe peach, honey, leather, spice and yellow apple are all layered on a medium body full of cream and acid. Excellent length. (ES)

United States

92 Sandhi Bentrock Chardonnay 2013, Santa Rita Hills ($120)

This natural yeast fermented white shows great depth and a profile of peach, lime zest, white chalk, Macintosh apple and herbs. It is mid-weight, with fresh acidity and a long, graceful finish. (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