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October 2007 Wine Ratings

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90 Cave Springs Gewurztraminer 2006, Beamsville Bench ($19.95)

It is hard to find a better Canadian Gewurz than this. It offers an intense bouquet of cold cream, peaches, honey, flowers and pink grapefruit. It is full bodied, somewhat oily in texture, dry and with a spicy finish. (ES)


89 Thirty Bench Small Lot Chardonnay 2005, Beamsville Bench ($30)

A mid weight Chardonnay that weaves a web of vanilla, spice, caramel, pear and apple to a lengthy finish that is citrusy and refreshing. Pan seared skate wing with a beurre noisette/sage sauce would be sublime. (ES)


89 Cave Springs Riesling Indian Summer 2006, Niagara ($24.95)

Light straw colour with honey, apple juice, smoky/flint and apricot. It is streamlined, with a fine backbone of acidity that gives the wine lift. (ES)


89 Cave Springs Riesling CSV 2006, Beamsville Bench ($30)

A full bodied, youthful Riesling with aromas of citrus, mineral, orange pop, bergamot and apple. Off dry on the palate with lots of lemon/lime acidity. (ES)


88 Peninsula Ridge Viognier Reserve 2006, Niagara ($30)

Yes, there is oak to the wine, but it acts as a counter weight for the peach, flowers, honey, yogurt and spice flavours of the Viognier grape. Rather full bodied with a creamy texture and very good length. A Condrieu of comparable quality costs double the price. (ES)


87 Cave Springs Riesling Estate 2006, Beamsville Bench ($17.95)

Expect to find flowers, honey, apricot, bergamot and lime in this tight, young wine. Ideally, it should not be broached for a couple of years and will easily age for a decade. (ES)



91 Thirty Bench Small Lot Cabernet Franc 2005, Beamsville Bench ($35)

There are only 109 cases of this amazing wine in existence. Guaranteed by the time this rating is published, there will be a lot less. Dark cherry with a pink rim, this full bodied offering offers a sweet nose of blackberry and raspberry jam, plums, cocoa, vanilla and spice. There is excellent length and a sweet core of ripe fruit as well as some heat from 13.8% alcohol. Now until 2017.


90 Thirty Bench Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Beamsville Bench ($35)

Another great red from the winemaking team at Thirty Bench! Plums, cherries, raspberries, licorice and mint are all present in this full bodied wine. Tannin structure is there, so hold for a couple of years and drink until to 2018. Best served with grilled lamb chops. (ES)

88 Thirty Bench Red 2005, Beamsville Bench ($22)

The blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot  possess a medium to dark cherry colour and a rich bouquet of  blackcurrants, cherries, leather, plums, licorice and herbs. In the mouth, cocoa, plums and spice linger as the wine finishes with dusty tannins. Made for pot roast or roasted top sirloin. Drink over the next 4 to 5 years. (ES)


88 Henry of Pelham Reserve Baco Noir 2005, Ontario ($24.95)

 Henry of Pelham, the King of Baco, has clocked in with another great Reserve offering. Medium to full bodied with plums, cherries, wildberries, cocoa and spice. Baco’s nervous acidity shows through at the end making it well suited for wild boar or grilled quail. (ES)


88 Calamus Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Niagara ($22.95)

Let this wine breath for a half hour before serving. When open, it will showcase plum, minty/cedar, incense, violets and black licorice. The palate is somewhat “sweet” with black fruit resonating through the finish. Drink over the next five years. (ES)


86 Peninsula Ridge Shiraz 2006, Niagara ($14.95)

This is the LCBO’s first general list Canadian Shiraz. It offers aromas of plum, raspberry, black pepper and herbs. Good weight and medium length. It is ready to serve on the dinner table with roast beef. (ES)


86 Peninsula Ridge Merlot 2006, Niagara ($14.95)

Out of the bottle flows plum, cocoa, blackberries, spice and hickory. It should drink well over the next 2 to 3 years as there is some grip on the finish. (ES)


85 Calamus Red 2006, Niagara ($15)

This is the second vintage of this bottling, one that is softer than its predecessor. Cassis, black raspberry, herbs, roasted nuts and cherry are to be found in the light to mid weight wine. (ES)




87 Lindemans Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005, Coonawarra ($15.25)

Very good value! There is an undercurrent of mint which meshes together with the more pronounced aromas of blackberries, plum, vanilla, spice and leather. It possesses a medium body as well as enough tannin to take it 3 to 4 years.  (ES)

peach and citrus. Medium length, off dry and a good dose of alcohol on the finish. (ES)


September 2007 Wine Ratings

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89 Stratus Riesling 2006, Niagara ($35)

This Riesling really cranks the aromatics; peach, bergamot jam, tutti frutti, lime and minerals. The palate shows concentration and very good length as well as mouth watering acidity and a touch of residual sugar. An easy pairing for Szechwan or Thai food. (ES)

89 Charles Baker Riesling 2006, Vinemount Ridge  ($35)

To my knowledge, this is the first wine that lists Vinemount Ridge as its appellation of origin. Made by Stratus’ marketing boss Charles Baker, it is superbly aromatic with peach, bergamot, lime and minerals. The finish is lengthy and oh so delicious, with some sweetness. The only way to procure the second vintage of this limited edition wine will be on line at charlesbaker.ca, this autumn. (ES)

87 Marynissen Vidal Icewine 2004, Niagara ($29)

A mid weight “stickie” with a mix of peach, honey and apricot to be found on both on the nose and tongue. Very good length and ready to drink. (ES)

87 Jackson Triggs Sauvignon Blanc Delaine Vineyard 2006, Niagara ($22.75)

White flowers, lime and fruit cocktail are built on a crisp personality and elegant style. Pair it up with a shrimp ceviche accented with a touch of spice. (ES)

87 Palatine Hills Riesling Traminer 2006, Niagara Lakeshore ($19)

This blend of Riesling and Gewurztraminer is an aromatic glassful of peach, flowers, honey and spice. The wine has a nice concentrated mid palate as well as a spicy personality and some noticeable sweetness. (ES)

86 Jackson-Triggs Proprietors’ Grand Reserve Riesling 2006, Niagara ($17.30)

Pale straw colour. This is a lighter style of Riesling with upfront aromas of lime, peach, honey and mineral. Good length. (ES)

85 Pillitteri Fusion Gewurztraminer Riesling 2005, Niagara ($12)

This is a soft and easy drinking wine which offers a pleasant peach, honey and lime. There is some noticeable sweetness on the finish. Chill it well and enjoy it as an aperitif. (ES) 

85 Jackson-Triggs Gewurztraminer Delaine Vineyard 2006, Niagara ($22.80)

The wine starts off with a streak of rose water and tropical fruit, but it turns light and airy on the somewhat spicy finish. (ES)

85 Calamus Estate Winery Unoaked Chardonnay 2006, Niagara ($14)

A crisp expression of the Chardonnay grape that is unadulterated by any wood. Pear, apple, citrus, peach and a tinge of honey are all present in this refreshing wine. Try with smoked salmon drizzled with olive oil and lemon. (ES)

85 Reif Estate Gewürztraminer 2006, Niagara ($14.95)

A light weight Gewurz with moderate aromatics of rose, peach and spice. Ready to drink. (ES)



90 Sratus Icewine Red 2006, Niagara ($39/200ml)

This icewine is an assemblage of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. There is an interesting apple juice quality to the cherry/raspberry/plum profile. In the mouth, raisins, chocolate and more berry fruit emerge, making it a perfect partner for a chocolate mousse or any derivative of the cocoa bean. (ES)


89 Stratus Cabernet Franc 2004, Niagara ($36)

A seductive offering that flatters with aromas of cocoa, plum, vanilla, cassis, cherries and dried herbs. Medium to full bodied with a soft texture and great persistency. (ES)


85 Pillitteri Merlot 2004, Niagara ($15)

This is an honest good old fashioned everyday drinking Merlot. Plum, smoke, liquorice, earth and dark chocolate resonate through the finish. Drink now (ES)





86 Bodegas Santa Lucia Merlot ($15)

This wine is offers up a superb nose of super ripe plums, boysenberry, liquorice, vanilla and spice. It is mid weight with sweet fruit on the mid palate and medium length. Only available at Pillitteri winery.


86 Bodegas Santa Lucia Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 ($15)

Very ripe with blackberry, plum, spice, vanilla and slight herbal/medicinal aromas. The mouth resonates with much of the same as well as supple tannins and an easy drinking finish. (ES)


August 2007 Wine Ratings

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89 Trius White 2006, Niagara ($18.95)
This is the inaugural vintage of Trius White-a wine that has been created as a companion for the long established red version. It is a full bodied blend of Gewurz, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay which flaunts peach, passion fruit, spice, mineral, citrus and honey. Excellent length. (ES)


89 Hidden Bench Nuit Blanche 2005, Beamsville Bench ($40)
A  blend of 84% Sauvignon Blanc and 16% Semillon offering  up a shy nose of gooseberries, lime, smoke, honey and asparagus. The palate opens up and adds grapefruit, citrus and passion fruit to the mix. Crisp texture and balanced. (ES)


87 Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2005, Beamsville Bench ($30)
Showcases a bouquet of peach, honey, flowers, spice and youthful vanilla/resinous oak. The palate chimes in with more vanilla, pear, smoke, spice and cream as well as a touch of heat. Drink now. (ES)


87 Riesling Sparkling 2006, Niagara ($28)
This is a charmat (tank) method sparkler that sings with peach, banana, honey and white flowers. Medium sized bubbles with lots of fresh acid. (ES)


86 Fielding Estate Viognier 2006, Beamsville Bench ($30)
Fielding’s first release of a Viognier does justice to the varietal; namely peach, floral, honey, banana and spice. It is dry and has a certain yogurt/spritzy quality on the palate as well as medium length. (ES)




92 Hidden Bench La Brunante 2005, Beamsville Bench ($70)
From Ontario’s newest super premium winery comes this dead ringer for a top notch St- Emilion. It is a blend of 60% Merlot, 20 % Malbec, 18.4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1.6% Cabernet Franc. Having spent 16 months in new Troncais oak has given the wine a smoky/roasted coffee bean quality which melds perfectly with the plum, cocoa, cherry and black pepper. Superb length. Now to 2012. (ES)


89 Trius Red 2005, Niagara ($19.75)
One of the best Trius’ ever! A very Australian styled wine with lots of plum, vanilla, coconut, cocoa and spice as well as soft mouth feel. Medium to full bodied with supple tannins, which will allow it to age between 3 to 5 years. (ES)


89 Hidden Bench Terroir Cache2005, Beamsville Bench ($35)
This Cabernet Sauvignon (60%) dominant wine possess a medium to dark cherry colour as well as a bouquet of cassis, cherry, tobacco, herbal/mint, plums and cocoa. It is totally elegant and refined with enough structure to age over the next 3 to 5 years. (ES)

88 Hidden Bench Estate Pinot Noir 2005, Beamsville Bench ($35)
A delicate Pinot with strawberry, plum and earthy/mushroom qualities emerging from the glass. It is light, yet concentrated with a soft finish. Drink now. (ES)


86 Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series Cabernet Merlot 2005, Niagara ($16.95)
It’s 106km (give or take) from Toronto  to the soon to be opened Dan Aykroyd winery, I have a full bottle of his wine, it’s half fruit -cassis and raspberry and half oak- vanilla and spice, it is dark coloured and is perfect for grilled NY strip on the patio while wearing sunglasses. Drink it. (ES)



92 Balthasar Ress Hattenheim  Nussbrunnen Riesling Auslese 2003, Pfalz ($26.95/375ml)
I tasted this at the winery this past summer. Needless to say this is a terrific dessert wine with layers of petrol, peach, apricot, honey and passion fruit. It is sweet with lots of acid to keep everything in check. Drink over the next 10 to 15 years. (ES)


90 Wegeler Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2005, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer ($29.95)
This is a delicate and airy wine with an alcohol level of 8.5%, fresh acid and a touch of residual sugar. It offers persistent aromas of flowers, minerals and citrus. Five to eight years of aging ahead. (ES)






88 Boutari Moschofilero 2006, Mantinia ($13.95)
Moschofilero is considered one of Greece’s great indigenous white varietals and I believe that it will become a calling card, much like Albarino has done for Spain.  Here it delivers aromas of peach, orange and citrus rind, tropical fruit salad and white flowers. There is good density on the palate as well as a crisp personality and very good length. Perfectly suited for grilled fish drizzled in olive oil. (ES)


86 Boutari Santorini 2006, Santorini ($14.95)
This wine is made from 100% Assyrtiko grapes grown on the volcanic soils of Santorini. It offers up a bouquet not dissimilar to that of a dry Vouvray - that being minerals and over ripe apples. Very crisp and well suited for sushi or a traditional Greek pikilia (appetizer) platter.  (ES)




87 Estate Papaioannou Nemea 2003, Nemea ($19.95)
This is a single vineyard wine made entirely from the Agiorgtiko grape. Plums, raspberries, black pepper and leather are built on a medium to full bodied frame.  The finish is length with supple tannins and a smidge of alcohol. (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.