Evan Saviolidis

Evan Wine Savvy

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Wine Reviews

Throughout the year WineSavvy Consultants will be rating wines and posting their results monthly on this page.

Come back each month and have a look at what we have come up with, and click the button to the right to see previous months of tastings and reviews.



August 2017 Wine Ratings

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Austria

88 Esterházy Weingut Leithaberg DAC Chardonnay 2015, Burgenland ($19.95)
Honey, sweet apple, spice, mineral, white flowers and cream are present on a medium body frame. Very good length and nice little discovery from Austria.  (ES)

Canada

White

92 Château des Charmes Blanc de Blancs 2014, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($32.95)
Wow! Just wow! Made from low yields and fermented in old barrels,  this wine is an absolute beauty with toast, honey, flowers, yeast, white peach, apple and cream. Full in the mouth there is good mousse and a superb finale. Perfect for celebrating the upcoming holiday season. (ES)

92 Wescott Vineyards Lenko Old Vine Chardonnay 2014, Beamsville Bench ($32.95)
Made from Ontario’s oldest Chardonnay vines which planted back in the 1950s! Golden colour with impressive richness and a good amount of oak as support. Vanilla, toast, pineapple, honey, baking spice, golden apple and cream are in play. Excellent length with bright acidity and long aftertaste.

91 Tawse Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2013, Twenty Mile Bench ($35.80)
Another excellent Robyn's Block Chardonnay! Only 12% alcohol, but there is depth and elegance combined. Vanilla, sweet apple, cream, fig, banana, white flower, earth and mineral are all wrapped together. Fine length. (ES)

90 Reif Estate Winery Gewürztraminer 2015, Niagara River ($19.95)
Alsace meets Canada. The juice spent 24 hours in contact with its skins to give more flavour and aroma. Turkish Delight is the driving force here with honey, peach, spice, mango and cream weaving in. Long finale and off-dry, so serve with Peking Duck or chili chicken. (ES)

89 Reif Estate Winery Kerner Reserve 2016, Niagara River ($18.95)
Kerner is an aromatic white grape that is a crossing between Riesling and a red grape called Trollinger. Huge peach, honeysuckle, lime, sweet apple and spice. Off-dry and ideally suited for sushi. (ES)

88 Château des Charmes Riesling Old Vines 2014, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($17.95)
Mineral, lime, apple, white peach, honey, flowers are all present in this taut Riesling. There is a dash of residual sugar, but with all the brisk acidity, it comes across as a dry wine. Pair with Choucroute Garnie or fresh water fish. (ES)

87 13th Street Winery Burger Blend Riesling/Pinot Grigio 2016, Niagara ($13.95)
Aromatic, there is peach, fresh flowers, honey, lime and citrus on the nose; this meets up with notes of nectarine and orange on the palate. Very good length, off-dry and 11.5% alcohol. (ES)

86 Huff Estates Riesling Off-Dry 2016, Ontario ($20)
Soft and smooth with mineral, citrus, white peach and honey. Even though there is 17 g/l of residual sugar, it comes across as dry due to the elevated acidity. Drink now. (ES)

86 Sprucewood Shores Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Ontario ($18.95)
A refreshing and easy drinking Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry, grapefruit, honey, fresh herbs and line. Light with medium length. Drink up. (ES)

85 Sprucewood Shores Riesling 2016, Ontario ($13.95)
Smokey minerals, peach, ginger, lime and hints of honey are featured in this off-dry wine. Crisp acidity rounds it all out. Pair with BBQ Chinese pork or spicy fish tacos. (ES)

85 Château des Charmes Aligoté 2016, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($15.95)
A soft and easy drinking Aligoté with apple, pear, banana and citrus. Good length. Chill well and serve with shellfish. (ES)

Red

91 Malivoire Small Lot Gamay 2016, Beamsville Bench ($19.95)
Besides being Winemaker of The Year at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards,  Shiraz Mottiar, is without a doubt making Ontario’s best Gamays-period! This vintage features strawberry, raspberry, plum, black pepper and purple flower. There is a sense of sweet fruit on the lips, this before Gamay’s lovely acidity sweeps everything up. Great stuff! (ES)

91 Trius Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc 2014, Four Mile Creek ($45)
Another impressive rendition of this wine! Full bodied and complex, there is cassis, raspberry, smoke, roasted pepper, violets, pencil shavings, dried earth, tobacco and chocolate. Concentrated and ripe, there are good tannins, which make me want to pair with rack of lamb. (ES)

90 Ravine Vineyard Cabernet Franc Nancy’s Block. St. Davids Bench ($55)
A beautiful Cabernet Franc with cassis, raspberry, cherry,m tobacco, baking spice, graphite and violets. Tannins are ripe, but non-obtrusive and support the medium body. (ES)

90 Henry of Pelham Old Vines Baco Noir, Ontario ($19.95)
HOP continues to prove they are the Baco-masters! The heat of the 2016 vintage has produced an elegant Baco with blackberry, raspberry, smoke, chocolate, anise and scorched earth. Medium to full body with splendid length and enough tannins to allow five plus years of aging, if so desired, but it is ready to drink also. (ES)

88 Red House Wine Co. Cabernet Shiraz, Niagara ($13.95)
This wine delivers well above its pay-grade. Medium plus body, it provides a rich mouthful of plum, blackberry, raspberry, violets, tar, spice, and chocolate. There is fine length with ripe tannins and just a hint of residual sugar. Steak time! (ES)

87 13th Street Winery Burger Blend Gamay Noir/Pinot Noir 2016, Niagara ($14.95)
This wine is aptly named as BBQ fair (as well as pasta/pizza) would be brilliant with this juicy red. Black pepper, raspberry, carnation and herbs are supported by soft tannins and fresh acidity. (ES)

87 Huff Estates Merlot 2016, Ontario ($20)
Vinified in stainless steel, this Merlot delivers plum, raspberry, Bing cherry, smoke, leather and spice. Medium body, medium tannins and fresh acidity round out the package. Drink up. (ES)

86 Henry of Pelham Baco Noir 2016, Ontario ($14.95)
HOPs entry level Baco features raspberry, blackberry, cinnamon, violets, chocolate, spice and herbs which flow out of the glass and onto the taste buds. Nice depth and freshness. Drink now with grilled sausages. (ES)

France

89 Drappier Blanc de Blancs NV, Champagne ($60)
A fine Champers with honey, mushroom, toast, chalk, minerals and green apple built on a crisp frame with small pinpoint bubbles carrying the finale. (ES)

87 Domaine Laroche Saint Martin Chablis, Burgundy ($25.25)
From one of the most famous names in Chablis comes this lean and crisp white, delivering loads of minerals, green apple and citrus. Oysters please!

Italy

87 Mont’Albano Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso Delle Venezie 2015, Veneto ($16.95)
Refosco is ancient red varietal found primarily in North Eastern Italy. Raspberry, plum, vanilla, cocoa, spice, purple flower are built on a medium body frame. Medium length and a quintessential pasta/pizza wine. (ES)
 

June 2017 Wine Ratings

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Australia

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)

Austria

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)

Canada

White

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)

Rose

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)

France

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)

Germany

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)

Greece

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)

Italy

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)

USA

White

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)

Red

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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Argentina

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)

Canada

White

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)

Red

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)

Chile

Rose

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)

Red

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.

France

White

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)

Red

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)

Greece

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)

Italy

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)

Spain

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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Canada

White

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)


Red


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)


France


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)


Red


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)


USA


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)

 

March 2017 Wine Ratings

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Canada


White


92 Trius Vidal Icewine 2015, Niagara ($54)

This is the first vintage of this wine not to be aged in old wood, thus imbuing it with a more fruit driven, fresher personality. Honey, sponge toffee, brined olive, peach compote, pink grapefruit and apple juice. Long sweet finale with lovely acidity. (ES)


91 Pondview Vidal Icewine 2014, Niagara ($19.95/200ml)

Superb value alert! This stickie inundates then palate with honey, peach, pineapple, lemon, lime, smoke and pear. Excellent length and perfect by itself or with a vanilla cheesecake. (ES)


90 Strewn Riesling Icewine 2013, Niagara ($63)

Mature elements of petrol, buckwheat honey, spice, cherry pith, lime on the nose mesh with caramel, wax and candied honey on the palate. Excellent length, luscious and ready to be served well chilled. (ES)


90 Ravine Vineyard Chardonnay 2015, Niagara ($30)

This Chardonnay was barrel fermented and aged in 20% new oak which has produced a wine of great balance and flavour. Toast, honey, vanilla, honey, peach, fig and yellow apple are all in play. Medium body with great length and ideally suited for lobster or crab dishes. (ES)


88 The Hare Wine Co. Frontier Collection Riesling Icewine 2013, Niagara ($65)

An easy drinking Riesling Icewine with moderate aromas of lime, mineral, peach, apple and sponge toffee. Very good length. Try with foie gras.


88 Strewn Winery Terroir French Oak Chardonnay, Niagara ($27.15)

Fifty percent new oak has added vanilla cream aromas to the green apple, peach, pineapple and fig. The palate shows sweet fruit qualities, fresh acidity and a spice tinged finale. Halibut, please! (ES)


87 The Hare Wine Co. Crown Land White 2014, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($18.50)

An off-dry blend of 55% Gewurztraminer and 45% Riesling. Petrol, peach, smokey minerals, flowers and spice flavours. Ready to drink and I would choose Szechuan cuisine as the perfect foil. (ES)

 

Red


90 Kacaba Vineyards Winery Terrace Vineyards Syrah 2014, Niagara Escarpment ($29.95)

This is a powerful, youthful and somewhat backwards Syrah. The colour is inky purple and there is cassis, raspberry, cracked pepper, game, leather, chocolate and oregano. Full-bodied and concentration it should evolve nicely over the next 7 to 8 years. (ES)


89 Chateau des Charmes St. David’s Bench Vineyard Gamay Noir Droit, St. David’s Bench ($17.95)

This wine always more punch than your typical Gamay thanks to the ‘Droit’ clone that CDC discovered almost 20 years ago. Medium to full body, there is plum, cherry, strawberry, raspberry and black pepper qualities. There is enough stuffing here to pair with a porcini crusted pork loin topped with a mushroom demi-glace. (ES)


88 The Hare Wine Co. Crown Land Red 2013, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($25.50)

This new winery, on Niagara-on-the Lake’s Highway 55, first offerings are a solid lot. This Cabernet Franc (70%) based blend is a mid -weight and serves up cassis, herbs, tobacco, violets and cocoa. Elegant there is depth with fresh acidity and subdued tannins. Drink or hold. (ES)


88 Stoney Ridge Excellence Merlot 2015, Niagara ($24)

Plum, cherry, raspberry, vanilla, spice and cocoa are all present in this mid-weight Merlot. Nice density, fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity will ensure five years in the cellar, but it can be

broached right now, with some duck breast or rib eye steaks. (ES)


88 Mike Weir Limited Edition Cabernet Franc 2013, Beamsville Bench ($29.95)

Winemaker, Jeff Hundertmark, has pulled off a minor miracle considering that 2013 was a difficult one for red varietals in Ontario. Plum, cassis, red currant, herbs, violets, tobacco are all present in this fresh and friendly red. Ready to drink with braised meats or charcuterie. (ES)


87 Château des Charmes Cabernet Franc Estate Bottled 2015, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($14.95)

This is a straight up, well made and well priced Franc which delivers cassis, raspberry, tobacco, herbs, olive, cocoa and spice. Medium bodied, the tannins make this a go-to wine for the upcoming BBQ season. Fine length. (ES)


USA


90 Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa Valley ($26.95)

An incredible value Napa Cab and a multiple bottle purchase is mandated! Smooth a silk, there is plum, blackberry, raspberry, vanilla, raisins and a touch of smoke in the full-bodied wine. Excellent length and ready to drink with NY strip. (ES)


89 Sextant Zinfandel 2013, Central Coast ($21.95)

For those who like hedonistic, over the top, jammy Zin, this is your ticket. Full bodied with gobs of red and dark fruit, tobacco and raisins. Concentrated with no harsh edges and ready to go with Memphis-style dry rubbed ribs. (ES)


89 Fess Parker Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills ($33.95)

A delightful Pinot Noir with cherry, raspberry, cranberry, porcini mushroom, dried flowers, vanilla, humus and tobacco. Ready to drink with salmon or roasted pork tenderloin with an herb jus. (ES)


Chile


92 Primus Carmenère 2013, Colchagua Valley ($19.95)

From Colchagua, which is prime Carmenere growing land, comes this full-bodied rendition with a distinct mix of blackberry, cassis, raspberry, tar, black olive, spice, herb, cured meats and Tahitian vanilla.  Long lasting and enough tannic backbone to age for another 6 or 7 years. (ES)


France


92 Jean-Max Roger Cuvée C.M. Sancerre Blanc 2014, Loire Valley ($27.95)

When Sancerre is done right, it is truly a thing of beautiful- case and point, this baby. Gooseberry, honey, nectarines, herbs, honey, white flowers and a boat load of minerals linger into the sunset. The brisk acidity and great depth will allow cellaring, but it is already approachable, especially when served alongside seafood. (ES)


New Zealand


White


89 Marisco Vineyards The King’s Thorn Pinot Gris 2016, Marlborough ($19.95)

Here you will find a full-bodied Gris which offers a rich mouthfeel, fine acidity and flavours of peach, cream, spice, honey, smoke and citrus. Dry with a gratifying finale. Pair with butternut squash soup or double cream brie. (ES)


88 The Ned Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Marlborough ($16.60)

Quintessential Kiwi Sauv Blanc with huge aromas of passion fruit, pink grapefruit, nectarine, honey, lime, guava and tomato vine on display. Brisk acidity and fine length round out the experience. (ES)


Red


88 The Ned Pinot Noir 2014, Marlborough

An overt Pinot Noir with a bouquet of dark cherry, plum, spice, chocolate, earth and toast. The palate is all fruit and oak-driven with lovely acidity, supple tannins and great length. Pair with grilled quail or duck breast topped with a red fruit infused demi-glace. (ES)

 


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Wine Facts

Dom Perignon (1638-1715), the Benedictine Abbey (at Hautvillers) cellar master who is generally credited with “inventing” the Champagne making process, was blind.