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Wine Reviews

August 2016 Wine Ratings

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Australia

87 Lindemans Bin 95 Sauvignon Blanc ($11.10)

A great little value! Passion fruit, pink grapefruit, tomato vine, lime and hints of fruit salad. A lively palate carries the finale. (ES)

86 Lindemans Bin 85 Pinot Grigio ($11.10)

Outclasses many Italian versions with higher price tags. Dry and vibrant, with pear, apple, lemon and hints of spice. Medium length and ready to go. (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 is perfect for this wine. (ES)

91 Domaine Queylus Chardonnay Reserve du Domaine 2014 ($34.95)

The fruit and oak mesh together creating a balanced Chardonnay with pear, apple, citrus, anise, white flower and honey qualities. Mid-weight with a great aftertaste and lovely pineapple and peach pinch at the end. (ES)

90 Charles Baker Riesling Ivan Vineyard 2015, Twenty Mile Bench ($27)

From a warm year comes this top-notch Riesling full of sweet peach, ripe apricot, lime, smokey minerals and white flowers. The bright acidity acts as a counterpoint to the residual sugar, creating a dry personality that is long lasting. Finishes with an apple note. (ES)

90 Huff Estates Riesling Off-Dry 2015, Ontario ($18)

A huge nose of mineral, green apple, white peach, honey, lime, lilac and smokey minerals leads into a palate full of juicy acidity, light sweetness and a long finale. Drink over the next five years. Great on its own or with food. (ES)

89 Tawse Gewürztraminer Quarry Road Vineyard 2014, Vinemount Ridge ($24.95)

An ultra-textbook Gewurz, which flaunts lychee, honey, rose water, orange, mango and cinnamon. Only 12% alcohol but with superb depth, definition and length. Off-dry and sound acidity make for an easy paring with Pad thai or sushi. (ES)

88 Huff Estates Pinot Gris 2015, Prince Edward County ($20)

Ripe on the nose with sweet peach, honey, cream, pineapple, spice and yellow flowers. The palate is tight and linear with an acidic lift, minerals and a spice-tinged aftertaste. (ES)

88 Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2014, Beamsville Bench ($28.75)

Toast, honey, apple, white flower, spice and green apple are all present in this mid-weight Chardonnay. Very good length with crisp acidity. Try with grilled salmon. (ES)

88 Cuddy by Tawse Chardonnay 2013, Niagara ($24.95)

Jim Cuddy, Blue Rodeo’s front man, has partnered with Tawse to create his own brand. This Chardonnay is mid-weight and features green apple, citrus, yellow peach, spice and vanilla. Splendid length with a mineral backbone and a slight creaminess round the package out. (ES)

87 Tawse Redfoot Vineyard Pinot Gris 2015, Lincoln Lakeshore  ($24.95)

Water white with a moderate perfume of honey, peach, smoke, spice, yellow apple and cream is backed up by minerality, light alcohol, vibrant acidity and very good length. Ready to drink. (ES)

87 Tawse Unoaked Chardonnay 2015, Lincoln Lakeshore ($19.95)

Chardonnay purity in a glass. Sweet apple, pear, white apple, citrus, apple and mineral. Refreshing acidity makes me want to pair with a dozen or so fresh shucked oysters. (ES)

Red

91 Tawse Tintern Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013, Vinemount Ridge ($44.95)

A new Pinot Noir from Tawse!  Even though it comes from young vines there is nothing but class and elegance in the glass. Cranberry, red cherry, raspberry, wild flowers, herbs, vanilla and spice are built on a svelte body and dusty tannins. Superb length and it should be drunk over the next 3 to 4 years. As the vines mature, quality will only get better, and personally I can’t wait! (ES)

90 Huff Estates Pinot Noir Reserve 2014, Prince Edward County ($35)

An explosive nose of sweet cherry, raspberry, rose, iodine, beetroot, spice, earth and violets. On the palate, there is cranberry, bitter cherry, fresh acidity and easy tannins. Great length, only 12% alcohol and ready to serve with braised beef or lamb dishes. (ES)

90 Stratus Tempranillo 2012, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($42)

Yes, there is no typo, this is a 100% Tempranillo from Ontario. From a warm vintage comes this fullish rendition with plum, strawberry, black raspberry, cedar, coffee, pepper and vanilla. It is dry with good grip and a long finish. Now to 2022. (ES)

90 Two Sisters Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2012, Niagara River ($49)

An ambitious Cabernet Franc with plum, boysenberry, mint, spice, scorched earth and anise. Full-bodied and ripe, it  clocks in at 14.5% alcohol. Long lasting. Drink until 2021 to take advantage of its exuberance. (ES)

89 Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Merlot 2013, Prince Edward County ($39.95)

A dead ringer for a top Saint-Émilion and a worthy successor to the delicious 2012. A deep ruby/purple colour leads into a compelling and polished bouquet of plum, dark cherry, cocoa, coffee, leather, cloves and red flowers. There are lots of firm tannins, but my preference would be to drink it over the next 4 to 5 years. Duck confit all the way. (ES)

88 Bachelder Lowrey Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013, St. David’s Bench ($44.95)

Bing cherry, rosehip, mushroom, spice, vanilla and earth are all present in this bright in Pinot. Delicate on the tongue, the red fruit carries long. Ready to drink. (ES)

Chile

88 Miguel Torres Las Mulas Merlot 2015 ($12.95)

A great addition to the LCBO general list! Plum, blackberry, dark cherry, eucalyptus, herbs, cocoa, vanilla and anise. Medium body with a lingering aftertaste and price that won’t break the bank! Buy a few bottles of this organic wine to be served alongside pasta or pizza. (ES)

Italy

White

93 Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Dosage Zero Noir Vintage Collection 2006, Lombardy ($90)

An impressive bubbly made in the traditional method from 100% Pinot Noir grapes and aged for over eight and half years on its yeast cells. Copper colour with small pinpoint bubbles. It is bone dry, with a profile of yeast, brioche, cherry, strawberry, spice, chalk and earth. Long creamy aftertaste with brisk acidity. (ES)

Red

92 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2011, Veneto ($90)

Lighter in style than previous vintages but still of elevated stature. Full bodied, both on the nose and palate, it resonates with plum, crème de cassis, dark cherry, raisins, cocoa, anise and violets. Full-bodied and long and with the structure to age two decades. (ES)

New Zealand

White

90 Dog Point Vineyard Chardonnay 2014, Marlborough ($41.95)

Lots of verve to this Chardonnay with smokey minerals, pear, fresh apple and honey. Even though there is 14%, there is not a trace of heat whatsoever, and crystalline acidity relieves any form of heaviness. (ES)

Red

90 Archangel Pinot Noir 2012, Central Otago ($39.95)

An explosive nose of dark cherry, black raspberry, damson plum, spice, beetroot, raisins and cocoa are all present in this rather hefty Pinot Noir. It turns juicy on the palate and finishes on an alcoholic note. Beautiful length. Duck breast all the way. (ES)

South Africa

91 Bouchard Finlayson Missionvale Chardonnay 2014, Hemel-En-Arde ($39.95)

From “The Heaven on Earth” region comes this Chardonnay with a  good dose of oak in the form of vanilla, caramel and spice which envelopes the tropical fruit, mineral, honey and peach qualities. Lingers and there is a lifted finale which bodes well for food friendliness. (ES)

USA

White

91 Sonoma-Cutrer Winery Russian River Ranches Chardonnay 2014, Sonoma ($27.95)

Peach pie, pineapple, honey, nutmeg, vanilla, caramel, citrus, cream, orange peel and sweet apple are all present in this polished Chardonnay. Excellent length, crisp acidity and a spice tinged finale cap it all off.  (ES)

Red

94 Robert Mondavi Winery To Kalon Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Oakville, Napa Valley ($150)

Mondavi’s flagship red is a big, powerful Napa Cab with no harsh edges. Concentrated and ripe, there is cassis, blackberry, plum, raspberry, mint, mocha, creosote, vanilla and earth. Full-bodied with grand length and tannins to take it to 2035. (ES)

 

June 2016 Wine Ratings

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Canada

White

90 Malivoire Moira Chardonnay 2012, Beamsville Bench ($39.95)

A full-bodied, oaked style of Chardonnay with a creamy texture. Banana, spice, honey, sweet apple, cream and anise carry long into the sunset, where mineral notes chime in. Lobster in butter is what you want to serve with beauty. (ES)

90 Thirty Bench Small Lot Riesling Triangle Vineyard 2014, Beamsville Bench ($30)

Sweet apple, white peach, mineral, lime cordial, apricots, bergamot and citrus are all in play. There is excellent length and even though there is some residual sugar, the steely acidity gives an impression of dryness. (ES)

89 Thirty Bench Gewurztraminer 2015, Beamsville Bench ($30)

A textbook Gewürztraminer! An explosion of lychee, rose, honey, cardamom, sweet peach and vanilla. It is dry with a broad mouthfeel and a long honey/spiced finale. Pair with Munster or other wash rind cheeses. (ES)

88 Kacaba Riesling Reserve 2015, Niagara ($18)

Citrus, bergamot, crushed rock, white flower and white peach lead into a palate which gives an impression of dryness. Fresh acidity provides lift, and there is great length. Chilled shellfish platter please! (ES)

88 Kacaba Unoaked Chardonnay 2015, Niagara ($15)

Crisp and clean with no oak to take away from the purity of the fruit. Ripe apple, pear, citrus, lilac and minerals. Dry and refreshing with great persistency. (ES)

Red

90 Malivoire Small Lot Gamay 2015, Niagara Escarpment ($19.95)

Malivoire continues to lead the Gamay revolution in Ontario. Pepper, raspberry, strawberry, earth, red flowers and cocoa.  Excellent length and ready to drink or can be cellared for a couple of years. Serve with burgers topped with blue cheese or spaghetti topped with an Italian sausage ragout.

90 Malivoire Stouck Merlot, Lincoln Lakeshore ($40)

A minor miracle for the vintage! Harvested at less than 1 ton per acre, the deep cherry colour with purple highlights leads into a bouquet of dark cherry, plum, oregano, hickory, dill, coconut and cured meats. Full in the mouth with ripe fruit and just a hint of herbaceousness. There is abundant tannin, but I would choose to drink over next five years. (ES)

89 Henry of Pelham Old Vines Baco Noir, Ontario ($19.95)

From the Baco-masters comes this full-bodied rendition made from 30 year-old-vines.  It is chock full of dark cherry, blackberry, cassis, bbq spice and cocoa. Baco’s natural acidity streaks through the concentrated and lengthy palate. Grilled and braised meats will shine with this wine. (ES)

Rose

89 Malivoire Vivant Rosé 2015, Beamsville Bench ($21.95)

This Pinot Noir rose was produced via a direct pressing hence the orange/peach colour.  Floral, cherry, earth and spice on the nose.  Elegant and tart with a cherry fruit finish. (ES)

88 Malivoire Ladybug Rosé 2015, Niagara ($15.95)

A blend of primarily Cab Franc with Gamay and Pinot Noir acting as backstop. Twenty-four hours of skin contact has produced a vibrant pink colour. Herbal, violets, cassis, cherry, tobacco, herbal, spice and cocoa are all present. Charcuterie and smoked salmon come to mind.

Greece

White

88 Boutari Moschofilero, Mantinia ($12.95)

Boutari has it done it again, delivering a bang for the buck Moschiofilero for the masses. A perfume of banana, lemon, white peach, honey, melon, jasmine and hints of ginger leads to a light yet lengthy  palate full of refreshing acidity. At 11% alcohol it will go down easy all by itself, or even better, with sushi, (ES)

87 Thalia White 2015, Crete (9.95)

Smokey mineral, herbs, grapefruit, lemon, white peach, green apple and white flowers are all present in the delicate blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Vilana. Refreshing with great length and a structure which makes for a perfect pairing with shellfish or mild cheeses.

Red

88 Kir-Yianni Paranga 2013, Macedonia ($14.75)

This blend of 50% Xinomavro, 25% Syrah and 25% Merlot exudes black cherry, black licorice, plum, rose, roasted herbs, tar and vanilla. It is medium bodied with supple tannins and a lingering aftertaste. Ready to drink with a nice plate of pasta topped with braised sausage or veal in a tomato sauce. (ES)

87 Tsantali Rapsani 2013, Rapsani ($13.40)

From the southern slopes of Mount Olympus comes the blend of equal parts of Xinomavro, Krassato and Stavroto, which six months in oak have produced a nose of black cherry jam, roses, sweet spice, vanilla, plum, tomato paste and black olive. Somewhat grippy on the palate (which bodes well for the red meat factor) there is lifted acidity and persistency. (ES)

87 Boutari Agiorgitiko 2014, Nemea ($12.95)

Huge florality gives way to black cherry, cassis, cocoa, earth and clove qualities. Light with an appealing, easy drinking structure. Drink now and it won’t break the bank. (ES)

Italy

White

90 Réva Sauvignon Langhe 2015, Piedmont ($26.95)

A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris, which exudes grapefruit, passion fruit, nectarine, white peach, white flowers and herbs. Bright on the palate with fine length and a mineral-tinged finale. (ES)

Red

93 Réva Barolo Ravera 2012, Piedmont ($89.95)

The discovery of this winery at this year’s Nebbiolo Prima was one of my highlights!  Powerful, the cherry, plum, vanilla, spice, cocoa, tar, dried earth carry long into the sunset. With all the tannins, there is a twenty-year life ahead. (ES)

92 Monti Barolo Monforte d’Alba 2012, Piedmont ($50)

Made in an ultra-modern style where new oak envelopes the sweet cherry, tar, cola, anise, humus, and chestnut.  Full bodied, super-ripe, with a  long finish, lots of flavour and enough stuffing to age two decades. Purists might scoff at this wine, but there is no denying the quality. (ES)

92 Monti Barolo Riserva Bussia 2010, Piedmont ($65)

Full bodied, this modern Barolo sees a healthy dash of new oak, coming out on the other side with a  perfume of sweet cherry, vanilla, flowers, earth, tar and spice. Long on the finish with lots of polished tannins which bodes well for a great life ahead. (ES)

92 Rivetto dal 1902 Barolo Riserva Leon 2010 Piedmont ($90)

Tobacco, balsamic, potpourri, dark cherry, blackberry, anise, and minerals are layered on a firm yet lovely palate. Superb aftertaste and great longevity  – 25 years. (ES)

92 Cascina del Monastero Barolo Riserva Riund Bricco Rocca 2010, Piedmont ($95)

Opens up with a volley of cherry, spice, earth, dried rose and licorice. The palate delivers sweet fruit with a long vanilla and berry tinged finale.  Deep, balanced and refined. Start to drink after 2020 as it is still youthful. (ES)

91 Réva Barolo 2012, Piedmont ($59.95)

This superb Barolo is fragrant, revealing a bouquet of rose, cherry, cocoa, plum, fried leaves, vanilla and clove. Great length, with lots of grippy tannins which will allow the wine to evolve over the next 15 plus years. (ES)

91 Mauro Veglio Barolo Castelletto 2012, Piedmont ($65)

A well balanced Barolo with high notes of plum, vanilla, cherry, rose and dried earth. Rich and concentrated with excellent length. (ES)

91 Pira Luigi Barolo Margheria 2012, Piedmont ($80)

From the commune of Serrlunga d’Alba comes this full-bodied Nebbiolo with an intense nose of sweet cherry, flowers, plum, raspberry, vanilla and spice. Concentrated, there is great length and structure which will allow a long life. (ES)

90 Paolo Manzone Barolo Meriame 2012, Piedmont ($65)

This house continues to produce attractive wines at attractive prices. Cherry, plum, earth, spice and earth are all built on concentrated fame. Long aftertaste and lots of life ahead. (ES)

90 Renato Ratti Barolo Conca 2012, Piedmont ( $75)

A textbook Barolo full of cherry, prune, flowers, earth, vanilla and spice. Splendid length and well suited with braised lamb shanks. (ES)

90 Brovia Barolo Rocche di Castiglione 2012 ($100)

Plum, cherry, earth, spice, vanilla, game, floral and tar. Nice weight and length. Drink this wine over the next decade. (ES)

Spain

90 Goru El Blanco Moscatel-Chardonnay 2015, Jumilla ($13.95)

From Jumilla, Spain’s hotbed of value, comes this singular blend of Muscat and Chardonnay. Dry, there is great texture and ripe fruit which inundates the senses. Orange blossom, banana, pineapple, honey, red and delicious apple and spice are all in play. It is long lasting with just the right pinch of acidity. Fish tacos or Szechuan-inspired dishes are made for this wine. (ES)

USA

88 Chateau St Jean Chardonnay 2014, Sonoma County ($18.95)

A wooded Chardonnay, which is soft and creamy with smoke, honey, fruit salad, pineapple, yellow apple, smoke and spice. There is a solid backbone of acidity which alleviates any heaviness on the lengthy finale. (ES)

 

May 2016 Wine Ratings

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Canada

White

92 Cave Spring Riesling Icewine 2014, Niagara ($49.95/375ml)

Medium golden colour with a gorgeous personality of peach compote, honeycomb, spice, apple juice, melon and lime. Concentrated, the sweetness is offset by brilliant acidity. Long finale. (ES)

91 Creekside Sauvignon Blanc Backyard Bubbly 2013, Creek Shores ($24.95)

Fuller-bodied and fruitier than most Pinot/Chardonnay based bubbles! That said, this is the best SB sparkling wine I have ever tasted from Ontario.  Guava, blackcurrant juice, lemon verbena, grapefruit, lime, passion fruit and hints of yeast are present on the nose and palate. Excellent length, fresh acidity and 13.5 % alcohol rounds everything out. A must try! (ES)

90 Bachelder Niagara Chardonnay 2013, Niagara ($24.95)

Texture, balance and elegance all wrapped up in a delightful package. Peach, citrus, golden apple, honey, vanilla and pineapple are built on a medium-bodied frame. Lingering with just the right amount of freshness. Pair with swordfish steaks topped with beurre blanc. (ES)

90 Cave Spring Riesling The Adam Steps 2014, Beamsville Bench ($24.95)

Fermented via natural yeasts, this Riesling exudes a perfume of peach, honey, white flowers, banana and anise while the plate adds grapefruit, nectarine and lime. Off-dry, brisk acidity and lovely length. It should age well over the next decade. (ES)

88 Cave Spring Riesling 2014, Niagara ($14.95)

Cave’s entry off-dry Riesling delivers the goods in the 2014 vintage. Expressive, there is smokey minerals, peach, lime, apple and petrol. Refreshing, with a long lime finale. (ES)

88 Eastdell Estates Black Label Viognier 2013, Ontario ($17.95)

Here you find a refreshing Viognier with aromas of peach, white flower, orange blossom and hints of pineapple. A perfect patio wine or serve with chicken satay or fish tacos. (ES)

Red

90 Cave Spring La Penna 2011, Beamsville Bench ($39.95)

Cave’s appassimento (think Amarone) wine is made entirely from Cabernet Franc grapes which were air dried for nine weeks before pressing and fermentation. Even though the label says 14.5%, it is closer to 15.5%. A profile of plum, mint, chocolate, dark cherry, vanilla, coconut, tobacco and spice meets up with a long aftertaste. Ready to drink now or until 2021. (ES)

89  Cave Spring Cabernet Franc Estate 2013, Beamsville Bench ($29.95)

Fullish, this Cab Franc is hugely floral with tobacco, cassis, raspberry, vanilla, earth, green herbs and cocoa. Fold in the tannins and 14.5% natural alcohol and there is enough structure to cellar over the next five years. (ES)

88 Cave Spring Gamay 2014, Niagara Escarpment ($15.95)

Packs a lot of flavour for the price.  Strawberry, cherry, plum, earth and black pepper. Mid-weight with a soft mouthfeel and just the right amount of juiciness. Superb length and ready to drink. Pasta Bolognese or charcuterie would be solid choices with this wine. (ES)

88 Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Block 12-140 Syrah, Twenty Mile Bench ($24.95)

Put this red in a carafe for a half hour and then experience a complex mix of coffee, pepper, earth, blackcurrant, plum, leather, game, vanilla. Mid-weight and ready to go with rosemary and garlic rack of lamb. (ES)

87 Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Block 11-140  Cabernet Franc, Twenty Mile Bench ($22.95)

A juicy Cabernet Franc, which has a green streak which runs through the cassis, red currant, tobacco, graphite, violets and spice. Fine length and approachable right now. (ES)

87 Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Merlot 2013, Twenty Mile Bench ($21.95)

This Merlot will be Rockway’s last from their vineyards as the vines perished in the horrible winter of  2014. Very much textbook Merlot with plum, dark cherry, raspberry, dried herbs, dried earth and anise. (ES)

Portugal

White

88 Quinta de Curvos Afectus Alvarinho 2015, Vinho Verde ($17.95)

I am a sucker for good Alvarinho and this one certainly delivers to goods. Peach, apricot, lime, apple, mineral and floral qualities are framed by fresh acid and great length. Pair with sushi or chilled shellfish platters.  (ES)

88 Quinta de Courvos Loureiro 2015, Vinho Verde ($12.95)

Loureiro means laurel in English. Needless to say, there is definitive bay leaf quality which melds with green apple, peach, citrus and mineral. It is  refreshing with fine length. A perfect summer sipper and a steal for the price! (ES)

88 Quinta das Arcas Arca Nova Branco 2015, Vinho Verde ($12.95)

Great value! In typical Vinho Verde fashion, this wine is light, crisp and slightly sparkling. It is also flavorful with peach, citrus, bay leaf, white flower, smoke and apple. Very good length and ready to drink with white fish or spicy fair. (ES)

Red

88 Aphros Vinhão 2014, Vinho Verde ($25)

Aphros is widely considered the best producer of red Vinho Verde, as they pick late and eschew the tradition of capturing of CO2 (and subsequent funky aromas) in the wine via bottling before the completion of malolactic fermentation. Black/purple colour due to Vinhão being a teinturier grape, the wine exudes dark cherry, fraise de bois, raspberry, plum, spice, red flowers and herbs. Brisk acidity and tannins make for a versatile food wine with richer dishes. Individual juice indeed! (ES)

United States

White

90 Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc 2014, Napa Valley ($22.95)

Mondavi’s 2014 Fumé contains 6% Semillon, which combines with partial oak ageing and lees stirring, creating a weighty texture. Pink grapefruit, passion fruit, verbena, guava, nectarine, fresh grass, spice and cream make for a sophisticated offering. Excellent length with a lifted personality. (ES)

89 Michael David Chardonnay 2014, Lodi ($22.95)

This Chardonnay speaks to its California origins by way of the ripe fruit and new oak. Fullish, there is sweet peach, pineapple, cream, spice, vanilla, white flowers and honey. The palate reveals a combination of creaminess and sound acidity as well as great length. Pair with Chilean seabass topped with a tropical fruit and jalapeno salsa. (ES)

89 Diamond Ridge Chardonnay 2013, Napa Valley ($22)

Pear, apple, Meyer lemon, banana, anise and butterscotch are all wrapped up in a nice package. The palate is fruit driven with a creamy edge and good acidity. Lingers. (ES)

88 Cline Cellars Viognier 2014, North Coast ($19.95)

This wine captures Viognier’s perfurmed attributes of peach, pineapple, apricot, bananas, white flowers, spice and citrus. There is lifted acidity and a long aftertaste. Try with coconut based curries or Pir-Piri chicken. (ES)

88 Francis Ford Coppola Chardonnay 2014, Monterey County ($23.95)

Well made, with banana, sweet peach, spice, cream and vanilla attributes. Soft on the palate with a  fruit driven finish. Splendid length and ready to drink. (ES)

88 Tom Gore Vineyards Chardonnay 2014, California ($19.95)

This California appellation Chardonnay delivers lots of flavour for the price. Peach, pineapple, apple, honey, vanilla and spice aromas carry over to the palate where there is fine acidity and a great finale, which is punctuated by a mineral note. (ES)

Red

91 Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley ($34.95)

A full-bodied, fleshy Cabernet from the famed director’s namesake winery. Blackberry, boysenberry, cassis, violets, roasted herbs, cinnamon, smoke and vanilla are all present. Long finish nd enough stuffing to age over the next 5 to 7 years. NY strip coated with Montreal steak spice is all that is required for this baby. (ES)

90  Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Napa Valley ($69.95)

Dark in colour, full-bodied and soft texture, the cassis, raspberry, black pepper, violets, tobacco, vanilla and dark cocoa flow over the taste buds. Great persistency and ready to drink now or over the next seven years. (ES)

88 Handcraft Petite Sirah 2013, California ($17.95)

A fruit forward, jammy wine, laced with blueberry, cassis, dark cherry, strawberry, violets, spice and tobacco. Warm on the palate with good tannins and a touch of sweetness. Grilled meats are prime for this wine. (ES)

88 Cline Cellars Pinot Noir 2014, Sonoma Coast ($25.95)

A straight forward Pinot Noir with cherry, plum, spice, red flowers and vanilla attributes. Fine length, suave tannins and ready to drink. (ES)

87 Tom Gore Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, California ($17)

A crowd pleaser of a Cabernet Sauvignon with a profile of cassis, blackberry, plum, mint, cocoa, vanilla and herbs. Ready to drink with a soft personality and lingering fruit-tinged aspect. (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.