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June 2017 Wine Ratings

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87 McGuigan Bin Series No. 9000 Semillon 2016, Hunter Valley ($14.95)
Classic Hunter Semillon with mineral, lime, lemon, lanolin and lip-smacking acidity. Chill it well and pair alongside oysters on the half shell. (ES)


88 Sohm & Kracher Lion Grüner Veltliner 2015, Niederösterreich ($19.95)
Crisp with flavours of grapefruit, apple, pear, white pepper, mineral and lemon balm. Light bodied with a lingering personality. (ES)



90 Magnotta Blanc de Blanc Chardonnay NV, Niagara ($19.95)
Off dry, this Chardonnay bubbly was made in the traditional method and thus displays some toast/yeasty notes alongside, apple, citrus and honey. Rather weighty, the palate adds spicy/tropical notes. Excellent length. (ES)

89 Niagara College Teaching Winery Balance Dry Riesling 2015, Niagara ($13.95)
Gold Medal Winner at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards. Aromatic, with copious amounts of lime, apple, bergamot, honey and mineral which carries through onto the extended finale. Pair with ceviche or chilled shellfish. (ES)


89 Malivoire Ladybug Rosé 2016, Niagara ($16.95)
There is no denying that this wine is consistently one of Ontario’s top Rosés. Mid-weight, there is a salmon colour and a personality of strawberry, rhubarb, cherry, peach, red flowers, herbs and dried earth. Delicate, but lengthy and ideal with sushi. (ES)


90 Domaine Servin Vaillons Chablis Premier Cru 2015, Chablis ($34.95)
From a warm vintage comes this accessible Chablis full of apple, white peach, citrus and salty minerals. Medium body, dry and mouth-watering acidity round out the package. (ES)

88 Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2015, Alsace ($18.95)
More octane here than in previous vintages. Aromatic, there is cream, honey, tropical fruit, sweet peach and spice. The palate shows heft, and there is a touch of residual sugar. Chill well and serve alongside Thai Cuisine. (ES)


88 Loosen Bros. Dr. L Riesling 2015, Mosel ($13.95)
Great value here! Pure, authentic Mosel, with lime, mineral, white peach and apple. Off-dry with refreshing acidity providing focus. Bring on the Szechuan cuisine!  (ES)


88 Cavino Grande Reserve 2009, Nemea
Made from 100% Agiorgitiko, this wine exudes damson plum, cherry liqueur, chocolate, brown sugar, tobacco and baking spice. Tannins are present but unobtrusive, and the flavour carries. Roast pork all the way. (ES)


94 Allegrini Amarone Della Valpolicella 2012, Veneto
At 16% alcohol, this wine features layers of plum, cherry, spice, dried flowers, cocoa and raisins. Needless to say, it is full-bodied with a long finish and enough stuffing to age a decade, at least. (ES)

92 Masi Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico Vaio Amarone Serègo Alighieri 2011, Veneto ($84.95)
Plum, cherry, spice, vanilla, toast, fig and chocolate are found in this powerful Amarone – after all, it is Masi! Lots of texture here, with an impressive aftertaste. Enticing right now, but there is easily two decades of life ahead. (ES)

92 Tenuta Sant’Antonio Amarone Della Valpolicella Campo Dei Gigli 2012, Veneto ($85)
Apparent new oak in the form of coffee, chocolate and toast weaves its way through the damson plum, prune, dark cherry and anise. Full throttle, with a brilliant finale. (ES)

91 Marziano Abbona Dogliani Papà Celso 2015, Piedmont ($20)
I am a sucker for good Dolcetto, and without a doubt, this bottling is one of the finest renditions to be found in Piedmont. Dogliani is also where they believe the grape originated. Made from 55-year-old vines, it possess 15% alcohol and an explosive combination of blueberry, plum, raisin, spice, violets and scorched earth. Drink or hold. (ES)

New Zealand

89 Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough ($18.95)
A zesty mix of lime, passion fruit, nectarine, fruit salad,  jalapeno, verbena and honey. Brisk acidity helps carry the flavours. Drink now. (ES)



91 Robert Mondavi Reserve Chardonnay 2014, Carneros ($44.95)
Pear, pineapple, sweet peach and golden apple meet up with oak influence: cream, vanilla and spice. Taut, there is crisp acidity, with citrus and minerality carrying the finale. (ES)

91 Stag’s Leap Winery Chardonnay 2015, Napa Valley ($34.95)
This is a linear Chardonnay which reveals honey, spice, apple, pear, banana, white flowers and minerals. Elegant on the palate, it is refreshing and ideally suited for lobster dishes. (ES)


93 Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa Valley ($59.95)
From Joe Wagner (Belle Glos, Caymus) comes this overt red with lots of new oak polish. Blueberry, kirsch, raisin, chocolate and spice. Full-bodied and concentrated, it provides a mouthful of pure hedonism. Braised lamb shank would be the optimal accompaniment. (ES)

92 Treana Red 2014, Paso Robles ($42.95)
Super-ripe, jammy and oaky, this blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Syrah exudes copious amounts of crème de cassis, Chambord liqueur, kirsch, chocolate fudge and coffee. Thick in the mouth,  the tannins are buried under all the richness. Excellent length. (ES)

91 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Stags Leap District ($101.95)
This is an elegant Napa Cab with a solid vertebra of tannins.  Full bodied, there is cassis, tobacco, cocoa, spice and leather. Personally, I would hold until 2020 and then drink until 2030. (ES)

91 Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Napa Valley ($66.95)
Blackcurrant, raspberry, vanilla, tobacco, anise. It starts off with a rich texture, then the grippy tannins of the 2013 vintage clamp down on the finale.  Pair with a grilled rib steak topped with a mushroom demi-glace. (ES)

89 La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir 2014, Monterey County ($26.95)
From the cool Monterey region comes this refined Pinot. It features a bouquet of cherry, beetroot and carnation. On the taste buds, the fruit is sweet with earth, vanilla and spice adding complexity. (ES)

89 Stonehedge Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa Valley ($39.95)
A smooth and approachable Cab with black cherry, cassis, blueberry, blackberry, mint, smoke, cocoa and vanilla exploding from the glass. Rich, there are no hard edges and it is ready to go. (ES)

May 2017 Wine Ratings

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91 Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Mendoza ($19.95)

Solid value! Plum, blackberry, blackberry, raspberry, chocolate, purple flower and menthol are layered on a full body with loads of tannin to back everything up. Excellent length with enough stuffing to age a decade, if so desired. (ES)



87 Coyote’s Run Riesling Lambert Vineyard 2016, Niagara ($19.95)

From the warm 2016 vintage comes this ripe Riesling with a bouquet of powdered candy, lime cordial, sweet apple, honey, white flower and bergamot. Minerality, some sweetness and medium acidity round everything out on the finale. Serve with dim sum. (ES)

87 Coyote’s Run Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Niagara ($22.95)

Coyote’s first Sauv Blanc is a solid offering with peach, passion fruit, pear, pineapple, floral and herbal aromas which then tag of to minerality and crisp acidity on the taste buds. Very good length and ready to drink. (ES)

87 Coyote’s Run Gewürztraminer 2016, Niagara ($19.95)

No denying this is Gewurz, as the nose features a tell-tale combination of rose water, cold cream, pineapple, cardamom, honey and rose. Dry, the spice punches more on the palate and it finishes with good freshness. (ES)

87 Kacaba Summer Series Jennifer’s Pinot Gris 2016, Niagara ($17.95)

Aromatic, there is pear, white peach, jasmine and lime aromas, which combine with flavours of cream and spice on the palate. Dry, with good acidity and medium plus length. (ES)


91 Kacaba Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Niagara Escarpment ($44.95)

An impressive red with lots of sweet oak in the form of chocolate, coffee bean and vanilla, which meshes with raspberry, plum, cherry, spice, cola, roasted herbs and violets. Concentrated, ripe and full on the palate. Long finish with firm tannins. Drink until 2024. (ES)

88 Kacaba Cabernet/Syrah 2015, Niagara Escarpment ($29.95)

A unique blend of 66% Cabernet Franc and 34% Syrah. Tobacco, raspberry, cassis, violets, dark cherry, black pepper, herbs and vanilla are built on a medium body. Tannins are present, and there is fine length. Pair with grilled sausage. (ES)

88 Kacaba Meritage 2015, Niagara ($24.95)

Cherry cola, plum, herbs, vanilla, cocoa, liquorice and herbs work together on a medium plus body. There is a lingering personality and firm tannins. Perfect for the summer BBQ season! (ES)

88 Coyote’s Run Cabernet Franc 2015, Niagara ($24.95)

This is a pretty, red fruit scented Franc – raspberry and cherry – as well as tobacco leaf, turned earth, leather and violets. Medium body with beautiful freshness, which makes for a perfect pairing with red sauce dishes and grilled vegetables. Reminiscent of a Saumur-Champigny! (ES)



87 Errazuriz Estate Series Cabernet Sauvignon Rosė 2016, Central Valley ($13.95)

Brisk on the palate, this 100% Cab Rosé serves up strawberry, raspberry, watermelon rind, herbs and a slight floral quality. Very good length and ready to drink, especially with BBQ far. (ES)


90 Concha y Toro Winemaker’s Lot 148 Carmenère Las Pataguas Vineyard 2015, Rapel Valley ($17.95)

A superb Carmenère with loads of raspberry, cassis, plum, mint, vanilla, violets and smoke. There is a fruit-driven personality with some warmth and plummy tannins. Full-bodied with lingering flavours. (ES)

89 Aromo Private Reserve Carmenère 2013, Maule Valley ($16.95)

This wine delivers above its pay-grade. Blackberry, plum, cherry, spice, chocolate and mint are layered on a concentrated mid-palate. It is rich, smooth and finishes with excellent fruit. Ready to drink. (ES)

89 Apaltagua Envero Gran Reserva Carmenère 2013, Colchagua Valley ($18.95)

Forward and ripe with dark cherry, blackberry, plum, cocoa and herbs appearing both on the nose and palate. Fullish, with plummy tannins and a lingering aftertaste. Contains 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.



88 Légende Bordeaux Blanc 2015, Bordeaux ($17.95)

A straight up, easy drinking, entry level Bordeaux blend of 55% Sauvignon Blanc and 45%. Nectarine, pear, white flowers, citrus, gooseberry, honey and passion fruit are all in play. Chill well and serve with a cheese platter or chilled shellfish. (ES)

87 Dopff & Irion Crustacés 2015, Alsace ($14.95)

Crustacés means shellfish – a clear indication of what she paired with this crisp white wine. A blend of Sylvaner and Pinot Blanc, there is apple, citrus, melon and mineral. Chill well and drink up. (ES)


90 Château Des Landes Cuvée Prestige 2012, Lussac-Saint-Émilion ($24.95)

Made from 50-year-old vines, the textbook right-bank Bordeaux features plum, mocha, dried flowers, liquorice and earthy qualities. There is 14.5% alcohol, a broad palate, and enough tannins to ensure five more years of ageing. Solid Value! (ES)


90 Domaine Karydas Xinomavro 2012, Naoussa ($25.95)

If you tastes align with reds such as Tannat or Sagrantino, then this wine is for you. Opaque black colour, the tannins will melt the cement that holds your filling place. Plum, cherry, spice, earth and dark cocoa carry long on the finish. This wine needs protein, preferably on the medium rare side of the spectrum. (ES)

88 Boutari Naoussa Xinomavro 2014, Naoussa ($13.95)

This baby over-delivers for the price and multiple bottle purchase is mandated! Haunting aromas of dried fruit, potpourri, herbs and elevated tannins are all present!  If you are a Nebbiolo lover, this wine is right in your wheelhouse! BBQ fair all the way. (ES)


93 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno 2013, Toscana IGT ($79.95)

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Full-bodied and debonair, there is plum, cassis, Fraise de Bois, sweet cherry, tobacco, and chocolate. Long lasting and 15 years of life ahead. (ES)

92 Tommasi Amarone Della Valpolicella 2012, Veneto ($49.95)

Quintessential Amarone with its plum, raisin, raspberry liqueur, Asian spice, chocolate and earth. Full-throttle, concentrated and a fabulous finish. Drink or hold. (ES)


93 Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva 2009, Rioja ($57.95)

For purists, this old-school Rioja will rock your world. Strawberry, raspberry, cherry, cedar, tomato concentrate, balsamic, dried herbs/flowers coil together to make for one impressive red. Brilliant length, fresh acid and no hard edges make for a divine drop of Tempranillo. (ES)


April 2017 Wine Ratings

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91 Tawse Limestone Ridge North Block Riesling 2015, Twenty Mile Bench ($23.95)

White flowers, lime zest, honey, crushed rock, apple juice, peach and pineapple are all present in this rich and intense Riesling. There is lots of acidic verve on the finale, giving the impression of a dry wine even though there is 29g/l of residual sugar. (ES)

91 Tawse Quarry Road Vineyard Riesling 2015, Vinemount Ridge ($24.25)

Peach, lime, bergamot, powdered candies, minerals, flowers and pear are built on a steely core of acidity. More linear than the Limestone North Block. There is electric acidity and 32 g/l of sugar, and like its brother, Limestone Ridge, it comes across as a dry. Long lasting minerality carries the finale. (ES)

91 Tawse Quarry Road Vineyard Chardonnay 2013, Vinemount Ridge ($35.35)

Oaky, but not over the top, as the aromas of vanilla, hazelnut and spice mesh with green apple, Bosc pear and white peach. Med plus body, there is excellent length with a creamy/acidic interplay making for a delicious pairing with lobster and drawn butter. (ES)

90 Flat Rock Cellars The Rusty Shed Chardonnay 2013, Twenty Mile Bench ($24.95)

The Rusty Shed continues to over-deliver for its price point, or in other words, one of the best value Chardonnays to be found in Niagara. Toast, spice, vanilla, white flowers on the nose meet up with honey, cream, citrus, pineapple and banana on the palate. Brilliant persistency with freshness squaring everything up. (ES)

90 Tawse Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2013, Twenty Mile Bench ($45.95)

A bouquet of toast, anise, vanilla, green apple and lilac gives way to a mineral driven palate with notes of cream and spice. There is no lack of freshness here, and it carries long on the taste buds. (ES)

90 Trius Showcase Wild Ferment Chardonnay Oliveira Vineyard 2014, Lincoln Lakeshore ($36)

Banana, cream, peach, golden apple, spice and hints of hazelnut are all present in the wine. There is a rich mouthfeel, with creamy notes intermixing with freshness. Long lasting and a brilliant match with shrimp risotto. (ES)

89 Stratus Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($29)

An oaked Sauv Blanc with honey, peach, white flowers, grapefruit, fig, spice and gooseberry. There is crisp acidity interplaying with creamy notes. Great length. Try with red Snapper Veracruz-style. (ES)

88 Burnt Ship Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Niagara ($14.95)

This Sauvignon Blanc delivers above its pay grade. A huge bouquet of nectarine, guava, passion fruit, poached pear and grapefruit. On the palate, it is dry with fresh acidity and very good length as well as added nuances of lemon balm and minerals. Ceviche please! (ES)

88 Henry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2016, Short Hills Bench ($17.95)

Sweet peach, applesauce, lime, minerals, white flowers and honey coalesce around fresh acidity. Very good length. Drink now. (ES)

87 Eastdell Riesling 2016, Niagara ($13.95)

A lovely Ontario Riesling at a friendly price! White peach, lime, honey, bergamot, mineral and green apple flavours are supported by acidity. Off-dry and ready to go with Sushi. (ES)

86 Eastdell Chardonnay 2015, Niagara ($13.95)

A clean, well-made and unoaked Chardonnay with a personality of peach, sweet apple, pineapple and citrus, Dry, with some fleshiness and medium plus length. Summer fun wine! (ES)

87 Reif Estate Winery Pinot Grigio 2016, Niagara ($16.95)

A ripe Grigio, benefiting from the heat of the 2016 vintage. Peach, banana, honey and spice burst on the palate, turning dry and citrusy on the finale. Chill and serve this summer on the patio or with fresh water fish. (ES)


91 Trius Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc Clark Farm 2014, Four Mile Creek ($45)

The best Cabernet Franc I have tasted so far from the 2014 vintage. Concentrated and elegant, there is cassis, raspberry, tobacco, violets, vanilla, spice, turned earth and a hint of olive. On the fuller end of the spectrum, there is excellent length and is ready to drink now or cellar until 2023. (ES)

90 Tawse Chery Ave Vineyard Pinot 2012, Twenty Mile Bench ($48.95)

This Pinot packs quite a punch as there is lots of extract as well as elevated, dry tannins. Cherry, raspberry, plum, spice, dried earth and flowers are all in play. Excellent length. This wine needs food, so duck breast will do the trick, quite nicely. (ES)

90 Creekside Estate Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, St. David’s Bench ($39.95)

From the fabulous 2012 vintage, this robust red spent 32 months in barrel and 18 months in bottle before being released. Cassis, raspberry, violets, herbs, vanilla, dark cocoa and spice are built on 14% alcohol and masses of tannins. That said, my preference would be to drink it over the next seven years, with some medium rare beef. (ES)

89 Tawse Redfoot Vineyard Gamay Noir 2015, Lincoln Lakeshore ($28.95)

The mid-weight Gamay offers up strawberry, raspberry, plum, fresh earth and black pepper flavours. Nice depth, suave tannins and just the right amount of lift make this is a proper pairing with roast pork or rillettes. (ES)

89 Flat Rock Cellars Gravity Pinot Noir 2013, Twenty Mile Bench ($29.95)

Lovely and seductive, this Pinot beguiles with red berry fruit: cherry, raspberry and strawberry. Add red flowers, spice and herbal notes, and you have a complex wine ready to paid alongside Boeuf Bourguignon or grilled quail. (ES)

88 Thirty Bench Double Noir 2015, Niagara ($19.95)

This blend of 60% Gamay Noir and 40% Pinot Noir is Thirty Bench’s answer to a Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains – but vastly superior! Cherry, raspberry, pepper, spice, cocoa and earth are built on a soft and easy drinking texture. (ES)

88 Fielding Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2015, Niagara ($21.95)

Accessible and cheerful, this Franc features raspberry, red flowers, cassis, mint/herbs and chocolate. Medium body and ready to drink. Solid value! (ES)


88 Chateau Vrai Caillou 2014, Bordeaux Supėrieur ($15.95)

This blend of 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon offers punch for its price. Dark cherry, plum, cassis, raspberry, cocoa, anise, purple flower and herbs are present as well as pinpoint tannins. Braised lamb shanks or steak tartare would be brilliant accompaniments. Drink until 2019. (ES)

New Zealand

89 Sacred Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Marlborough ($18.95)

No denying that this is Sauvignon Blanc what with its nectarine, passion fruit, fruit salad, line zest and tomato vine. Crisp and dry with a lingering finale. Pair with halibut ceviche or chicken souvlaki. (ES)


89 Pencarow Pinot Noir 2015, Martinborough ($24.95)

Pencarow is Palliser’s soft/easy drinking range of wines. This Pinot Noir, which exemplifies said style, offers up sweet cherry, plum, liquorice, red flowers, vanilla and baking spice notes. Medium body, with good freshness and a good amount of fine-grained tannins. Lengthy with red fruit carrying the finish. (ES)


90 La Crema Chardonnay 2015, Monterey ($26.95)

On the full-side, this is quintessential Cali Chard with its nose of cream, pineapple, vanilla, mango and fig. The palate adds a creamy texture and tropical fruit as well as an interesting black olive note. There is also some heat. Great length. (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.