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 2014 Wine Ratings

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Australia

White

89 Peter Lehmann H&V Chardonnay 2012, Eden Valley ($20)

This is not your parents’ Aussie Chardonnay! Planted on rock soils, in the cool Eden Valley, this wine is all about restraint and elegance. Huge citrus, apple, honey and minerals are supported by cinnamon and vanilla notes from partial barrel aging. The crisp personality, 12% alcohol and long finish make this well suited for grilled salmon or roasted chicken.  (ES)

Red

89 Peter Lehmann Layers Red 2011, Barossa ($17.95)

A definite crowd pleaser! From a cool vintage comes this GSM plus Tempranillo blend. Dark plum, sweet cherry, strawberry and raspberry mesh with the oak flavours of vanilla, cocoa and spice. Rather full bodied, the texture is soft, and there is very good length. Ready to drink, preferably with boeuf bourguignon or lamb chops. (ES)

Canada

White

91 Hillebrand Showcase Series Wild Ferment Oliveira Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, Lincoln Lakeshore ($36)

This impressive Chardonnay doles out toast, honey, apple, fig, citrus, honey and caramel qualities. It is full bodied with excellent length and a fine spine of acid. Pair with butter poached lobster. (ES)

88 Rosehall Run The Finisher Liquoreux 2013, Prince Edward County ($17.95/375ml)

This playfully named dessert wine is a blend of 85% Ehrenfelser and 15% Muscat. With 70g/l of sugar (think Auslese), fresh acid, and a profile of peach, honey, white flowers and spice, this dessert wine is a perfect foil for foie gras or fresh fruit custard desserts topped with an apricot glaze. (ES)

88 Peller Estates Private Reserve Chardonnay 2012, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($18.95)

Apple, citrus, white flowers, honey and hints of tropical fruit are all in play in this medium bodied, refined wine. There was no malolactic, so there is fresh acid as well as very good length. (ES)

88 Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2012, Beamsville Bench ($28.75)

Yes, there is oak, but it is kept in check by the fruit, producing a mix of caramel, honey, vanilla, peach, pineapple, citrus and sweet apple. Medium to full body, there is sound acid and a lengthy aftertaste. (ES)

88 Soutbrook Triomphe Chardonnay 2012, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($22.95)

The ripe and round Chardonnay has seen 50% oak. That said, it is not overt, rather the fruit and wood are in balance, producing a lifted nose of pear, pineapple, grilled peach, apple, vanilla and caramel. It is mid-weight with a lengthy aftertaste and good acidity.  Ready to drink. (ES)

86 Coyote’s Run Gewürztraminer 2013, Niagara ($14.95)

Coyote’s first ever Gewürz is a textbook sample. Peach, rose water, orange blossom, honey, cinnamon and pineapple find themselves on a medium bodied frame. Dry, there is moderate length and uplifting acidity. (ES)

Red

90 Rosehall Run The Certain Ratio 2012, Ontario ($29.95)

The grapes for this Meritage were sourced from PEC and Niagara. The ratio is 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 21% Cabernet Franc. Full-bodied, concentrated and layered; the tobacco, dark cherry, plum, olive, spice, mocha and vanilla flavours are underpinned by loads of ripe, yet unobtrusive tannins. It should age well for the next eight years. (ES)

90 Coyote’s Run David Sheppard Vintage 30 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($36.95)

This one-shot release was created to commemorate winemaker David Sheppard’s 30th harvest in the Niagara wine business. It is full bodied and backwards, and at this early stage, plum, vanilla, spice, and cassis are present. The tannins are elevated, so two options exist. The first, if you wish to drink now, is to pair with an extremely rare cut of beef.  The second, as well as my personal preference, is to cellar for three years and then drink until 2025. (ES)

89 Coyote’s Run Red Paw Vineyard Merlot 2012, Four Mile Creek ($24.95)

A huge bouquet of damson plum, sweet cherry, mocha, vanilla are all present in this 14.5% alcohol wine. It is ripe and concentrated with the sweet fruit on the palate meshing with a light herbal note. There is a long finish and firm tannins, so hold for two years and then drink until 2020. (ES)

Greece

White

91 Ktima Biblia Chora Assyrtiko/Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Pangeon IGP ($22.95)

This 40/60 blend starts off with a pale straw colour and then leads into a perfume of fresh cut grass, bergamot, passion fruit, white pepper, mango, green apple and honey. Once on the taste buds, the minerals and citrus kick-in, creating a long finale.  Great juice and the price is right! (ES)

90 Ktima Tselepos Amalia Brut, Arkadia IGP ($25.95)

This 100% Moschofilero, traditional method sparkling wine is my favorite Greek bubbly. It totally flatters with peach, honey, white flowers and spice qualities which become enveloped by the small pinpoint bubbles.  It is dry with a long finish and is an absolute delight with any appetizer course or celebration. (ES)

90 Ktima Biblia Chora Ovilos 2013, Pangeon IGP ($29.25)

Many believe that Greece’s finest wines are those that are blends between indigenous and French grapes. Here, you will find a marriage of Sémillon and Assyrtiko. The prior provides the weight and aroma and the later balances with freshness and minerality. Peach, red apple, mineral, honey, wax, evergreen and pineapple on the nose meshes with lanolin, spice and cream on the palate. Long aftertaste. It will age well, especially if you find the mature qualities of Sémillon enticing. (ES)

89 Domaine Gerovassiliou Malagousia 2013, Epanomi ($29.95)

Depending on your point of view, Malagousia is Greece’ answer to Gewürz or Muscat. One of the main difference between it and the aforementioned grapes is the fact that it retains acidity. Gerovassiliou’s version serves up honey, peach, spice, orange blossom, bergamot, citrus and spice qualities. Superb length makes this wine a natural partner for sushi or deep fried appetizers. (ES)

89 Domaine Gerovassiliou White 2013, Epanomi ($22.95)

This is a 50/50 blend of Malagousia and Assyrtiko, the famous white grape of Santorini, which has now been transplanted all over Greece. By blending the two, the exotic aromas of Malagousia find a home with Assyrtiko’s mineral driven, crisp personality. Peach, honey, white flowers, crushed rock and spice are all in play. Splendid length and ready to drink. (ES)

Red

91 Domaine Gerovassiliou Avaton 2011, Epanomi ($44.95)

This intriguing, indigenous blend of Limnio, Mavroudi and Mavrotragano is a big wine full of plum, smoke, violets, cherry jam, earth and mocha aromas. The palate is quite punchy with lots of tannin enveloping the raisin, red and dark fruit flavours. Excellent length and a decade of life ahead. (ES)

 

July 2014 Wine Ratings

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Austria

87 Winzer Krems Sandgrube 13 Grüner Veltliner 2013 ($12.80)

For under $13, this wine is a rock solid value as well as a great primer for those who haven’t experienced the joys of Grüner.  Spice, apple, grapefruit, white peach, white flower and bell pepper are built on a crisp, food friendly frame. Try with sauteed shrimps with lemon or grilled vegetables drizzled with balsamic/olive oil and topped with chèvre. (ES)

Canada

White

89 Redstone Riesling Limestone Vineyard South 2012, Twenty Mile Bench ($19)

Redstone is Moray Tawse’s new winery. Made from 14 year old vines, this wine is reminiscent of a ripe Mosel Kabinett. The fragrance reveals honey, lime, grapefruit and white flowers. The palate carries more citrus and mineral as well as solid acidity and some residual sugar. Fine length. (ES)

87 Southbrook White Organic Connect 2013, Ontario ($14.95)

This fun and easy drinking white, made primarily from Vidal, is off-dry, with peach, melon, citrus and apple flavours.  At under 10% alcohol, it is meant for casual sipping, appetizers or cheese platters. (ES)

86 Union Gold 2011, Niagara ($13.95)

A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauv Blanc and Gewurz. Mid weight, there is oak aging here, which adds vanilla and cinnamon to the peach, pear and apple qualities. The palate is slightly creamy at first, then the refreshing acidity weighs in on the finish, culminating on a caramel note. Well made, well priced and ready to drink. Pair with roast chicken or halibut. (ES)

Red

90 Redstone Syrah Redstone Vineyard 2010, Lincoln Lakeshore ($39.95)

The Syrah grapes for this wine were planted back in 1999, as part of the Thomas and Vaughn winery, and where the Redstone winery is being built. An explosive perfume of pepper, raspberry, cassis, plum, cherry, tobacco and oregano leads into a weighty palate stuffed with red and dark fruits coated with cracked black pepper. (ES)

89 Soutbrook Vineyards Triomphe Cabernet Franc 2012, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($21.95)

This biodynamic Cab Franc includes 12% Merlot. There is a deep ruby colour and a complex combination of raspberry, cassis, plum, violets, cinnamon, roasted herbs and tobacco. Balance is the mantra on the palate, with moderate alcohol, good body, considerable length and ripe tannins. Enjoy this lovely wine over the next 5 years. (ES)

87 Southbrook Connect Organic Red 2012, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($15.95)

This mid weight, Bordeaux inspired red wine, features pretty aromas of raspberry, red currant, tobacco, vanilla and cocoa.  Very respectable length and supple tannins make for short term aging potential. Drink until 2018.

87 Union Squared Red 2012, Niagara ($17.95)

This singular blend of Bordeaux, Rhone and Burgundian varietals spent 12 months in French oak.  Mid weight, it doles out raspberry, cassis, cherry, herbs, pepper, vanilla and cocoa flavours. The palate is soft with the oak flavours echoing on the lengthy finale. The price is right for this wine as well as being a perfect match with steaks and roasts. (ES)


 

June 2014 Wine Ratings

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Canada

White

88 Malivoire Wine Company Musqué Spritz 2013, Beamsville Bench ($19.95)

Modelled after a Moscato d’Asti, this slightly effervescent wine beguiles with peach, honey, apples and fresh cut flowers.  Lengthy, slightly sweet and a sumptuous pour for patio sipping or cheese boards. (ES)

88 Trius WineryShowcase Riesling Ghost Creek Vineyard 2012, Four Mile Creek ($25)

This single vineyard Riesling serves up peach, pear, petrol, crushed sea shells, lime and spice. Mid weight, there is a fine spine of acidity, giving 5 to 7 years of cellaring potential. (ES)

88 Burning Kiln Winery Sweet Leaf Riesling 2012, Ontario ($24.95)

This soft Riesling doles out peach, lime, honeydew melon and white flowers. The alcohol is low, with a rich mid palate, some sweetness and considerable length.  Chill well and enjoy over the short term. (ES)

87 Burnt Ship Bay Pinot Grigio 2013, Niagara ($14.95)

I will preface this rating by saying that, as a general rule, I am not a fan of Pinot Grigio. That said, this PG is an absolute joy to drink! The pretty bouquet of banana, peach, honey and flowers give way to fresh apple, mineral and spice on the refreshing palate. Put a good chill to it and enjoy this summer/autumn on the patio or with grilled fish drizzled topped with lemon. (ES)

87 Pondview Estate Winery GR Gewürztraminer Riesling 2013, Niagara ($13.95)

Peach, honey, rose, red delicious apple, spice and tropical fruit are all in play in this off dry wine. There is  moderate acidity and decent length. Drink now with coconut curry shrimp or fish tacos topped with pineapple/jalapeno salsa. (ES)

Red

92 Angels Gate Winery Mountainview Pinot Noir 2010, Beamsville Bench ($24)

For this price, this wine immensely over delivers. Concentrated and ripe, there is loads of plum, cassis, cherry, black tea, spice and vanilla which carry onto the long finale. Suave tannins allow another 4 years of aging. Mushroom risotto and lighter game fair will be a marvelous pairing with this beauty. (ES)

91 Rennie Estate Winery ‘G’ Assemblage 2011, Niagara ($55)

This Amarone inspired red clocks in with an alcohol level of 16.5%. This was accomplished via the Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (25%) and Cabernet Franc (25%) grapes being dried for 70 days in specially climate controlled rooms, which caused a loss of 35% volume and a brix level close to 29. Aging then transpired in new and used oak barrels for 18 months. Full bodied and thick, there is a flattering profile of jam: plum, blackberry and cherry, as well as cocoa, coffee, cinnamon, tobacco, herbs and raisins. Concentrated, succulent and a long finish ensure this wine will age for another 8 years. (ES)

90 Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Niagara ($55)

A personality of sweet fruits: plum, cassis and raspberry melds with savoury elements à la herbs and tobacco. New oak adds cocoa, vanilla and spice to the mix, creating a complex wine. Medium to full body, the tannins will allow cellaring until 2020 and possibly beyond.  Pick your favorite cut of steak to enjoy with this impressive homegrown Cab! (ES)

88 Burning Kiln Winery Kiln Hanger-The Sequel 2010, Ontario ($59.95)

Made from 100% Cabernet Franc grapes that were dried for 8 days in old tobacco kilns. Raspberry, cassis, cherry, plum, herbs and vanilla are layered on a rather full bodied frame. The tannins are firm, so cellar it for a couple of years and then serve with lamb kabobs or pepper crusted bison steaks. (ES)

87 Pondview Estate Winery Cabernet Merlot 2011, Niagara ($18.95)

Although 2011 was not a great one for red wines in Niagara, Pondview has turned in a solid offering with this wine. Clocking in with a natural alcohol level of 14.3%, this mid weight blend churns out plum, raspberry, cherry, violets, smokey tobacco, roasted herbs and vanilla. The finish is grippy, so best grill up some steak or serve with braised lamb shank. (ES)

France

White

93 Bouchard Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2012, Burgundy ($260)

This beauty was slightly closed at the time of tasting, but its stature was undeniable. Full bodied and powerful, it offers up a mélange of apple, mineral, spice, white flowers and minerals. The texture is a combination of creamy and crisp, with an oh-so long finale. Drink over the next decade. (ES)

92 Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault Genevrières Premier Cru 2012, Burgundy ($119)

Great white Burgundy, without a doubt. The oak and fruit come together to create a personality of apple, pear, yellow plum, spice, vanilla, hay and boat loads of minerals. Fullish, there is fresh acidity, providing structure and longevity. Drink until 2020 with sautéed prawns or cracked crab in a butter/lemon sauce. (ES)

Red

93 Bouchard Père et Fils Chambertin Clos-De-Bèze Grand Cu 2012, Burgundy ($406)

Yes, the price is stratospheric for mere mortals. That said, if you have the means, this is a perfumed and elegant Grand Cru full of cherry, rose, animal, barnyard, herbal and iodine qualities. The lengthy aftertaste is supported by fresh acidity and ripe tannins. This is not built for the long haul, rather, I would opt to drink over the next 5 to 7 years, so as to enjoy its soothing personality. (ES)

90 Bouchard Père et Fils Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Cailles Premier Cru 2012, Burgundy ($146)

This Pinot leans to the dark fruit end of the spectrum: plum and dark cherry. Spice, cocoa, earth and iron play into the mix as well. Mid weight, it is airy, yet long on the palate. Tannins are ripe and polished. Now until 2018. (ES)

Greece

White

89 Domaine Tselepos Moschofilero 2013, Mantinia ($19)

A youthful bouquet of peach, tangerine, banana, white flowers and honey also reveal themselves on the palate, along with lime, stoney minerals and crisp acidity. Although lithe, there is ample length. Pair with fried shrimp topped with lemon or a spiced ceviche infused with tropical fruit.

89 Domaine Gerovassiliou Malagousia 2012, Macedonia ($29.95)

Evangelos Gerovassiliou is the man who rescued the aromatic Malagousia grape from extinction back in the 70s. Personally, I describe the varietal as being Greece’s answer to Gewurz. Peach, honey, banana, citrus, flowers and spice flatter the senses. The crisp personality makes this a perfect pairing with grilled octopus topped with a Moroccan harissa sauce.

USA

White

92 Beringer Vineyards Private Reserve Chardonnay 2012, Napa Valley ($45)

I have become a big fan of this wine since winemaker, Laurie Hook, has toned down the oak level. Still full-bodied and full of flavour, the peach, pineapple, honey, apple and toast on the nose meet up with banana cream pie and spice on the long finale. Drink over the next 5 years, preferably with a salt and pepper grilled salmon filet or a chicken breast topped with a jalapeno/tropical fruit salsa. (ES)

90 Stags’ Leap Winery Viognier 2011, Napa Valley ($36.95)

Not flamboyant like some V-wines, but it is varietally correct with its peach, apricot, nectarine, banana, honey, spice and white flower character. There is even fresh acidity and a mineral undercurrent, which perks things up and adds sophistication. Ready to drink. (ES)

90 Robert Mondavi Winery Fumé Blanc 2012, Napa Valley ($22.95)

As the label denotes, this is a dry Sauvignon Blanc (with the addition of 13% Semillon). Furthermore, it is an aromatic beauty with nectarine, verbena, gooseberry, lime, fresh herbs and minerals. Lengthy on the finish with refreshing acidity. Ceviche and fresh water fish were made for this food friendly bottling. (ES)

89 Beringer Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, Napa Valley ($19.95)

This quality of this Chardonnay continues to impress, especially for the price. Bosc pear, sweet apple peach, honey, anise, cream, vanilla and minerals are framed on a medium body. There is fresh acidity and superb length. Just make sure to put a good chill to it, so as to subdue the 14.5% alcohol. (ES)

Red

94 Robert Mondavi Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Napa Valley ($139.95)

I tried this wine 5 times over the period of one month, and every time the wine scored the same. Powerful, concentrated, intense, rich and layered were but some of the descriptors I used. Full bodied, the dark fruit comes at you from every direction, followed by mint, violets, cinnamon, cocoa and vanilla. Needless to say, the finale is super long, and there is a boat load of tannins which will ensure 3 decades of aging. (ES)

93 Beringer Vineyards Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Napa Valley ($150)

This iconic, black/purple Napa Cab is starting to sing at the top of its lungs. Blackberry jam, cassis, dark cherry, vanilla, cinnamon and earth just flatter the senses. Full-bodied and concentrated, the textured mid palate and firm, yet unobtrusive tannins will ensure another 15 years of life ahead, at least. Impressive juice indeed. (ES)

92 Stags’ Leap Winery Ne Cede Malis Petite Sirah 2010, Napa Valley ($89.95)

Not for the faint of heart, this purple/black coloured monster reveals layers of black fruit, violets and spice. Powerful and extracted, there is a rich personality with loads of tannins and a long finish. Drink until 2030. (ES)

90 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Napa Valley ($49.95)

This combination of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot and 3% Franc is a medium bodied offering with a personality of plum, cherry, raspberry, savoury herbs, smoke and spice. Excellent length and supple tannins make for immediate drinkability. Rack of lamb was made for this wine. (ES)

89 Stags’ Leap Winery Petite Sirah 2011, Napa Valley ($40)

From a cooler vintage, this Petite Sirah reveals lots of hickory on top of blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, violets and vanilla. There is depth, but the finish is on the dry and hard side. Protein is required here, so grab a rib steak, crust it with salt and pepper and cook it to medium rare. (ES)

89 Ca’Momi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Napa Valley ($19.95)

This Nap Cab represents excellent value! On the full side, this fruit driven wine shows a seductive nature of blackberry, cassis, raspberry, toast, cocoa and herbs. The palate shows ripe, almost sweet fruit, medium tannins and very good length. It should age well over the next 5 years. Make sure to pick up a couple of bottles for the wine rack. (ES)

 

May 2014 Wine Ratings

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Canada

White

92 Exultet Estates The Blessed Chardonnay 2012, Prince Edward County ($40)

It is safe to say that owner/winemaker Gerard Spinosa is making the best Chardonnay in Ontario as this is the 4th consecutive vintage of this wine to capture a gold medal at the Ontario Wine Awards. Luxurious, it pumps out loads of buttered popcorn, hazelnut, cream, mineral, banana, pineapple, red apple and spice. There is excellent length, medium acidity and enough stuffing to evolve over the next five years. (ES)

90 Rosehall Run Estate Chardonnay 2012, Prince Edward County ($29.95)

This full bodied and concentrated Chard spent 16 months in oak, of which 25% was new. The result is a combination of peach, pineapple, red apple, honey and smoke with a long mineral/spice driven aftertaste. Drink until 2020. (ES)

90 Closson Chase Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2012, Prince Edward County ($29.95)

The CCVC is a luscious Chardonnay which shows a heavy oak influence in the form of hazelnut, toast and spice. Combined with the sweet peach, pineapple, red apples and minerals, it makes for a wine that will appeal to both new and old world wine lovers.

89 The Grange of Prince Edward Riesling 2012, Prince Edward County ($15.95)

Superb value without a doubt! The petrol, lime, honey, lilac, smoky minerals, white pepper and grapefruit are supported by an intense mid palate. The finale is long, and the balance between acid and residual sugar is beautifully achieved. Drink over the next 3 years.

88 Keint-He Winery Portage Chardonnay 2012, Prince Edward County ($20)

Fresh baked apple cinnamon pie gives way to orange, lemon, honey and white flowers. There is substance, verve and a rich finish which carries. Quintessential lobster wine, indeed. Drink now to 2018. (ES)

88 Rosehall Run Cuvée County Chardonnay 2012, Prince Edward County ($21.95)

This well-priced Chardonnay delivers up a Burgundian fragrance of hazelnut, toast, mineral, honey, apple and spice. A yin-yang of cream and acid carry the finale. Drink over the next 4 years. (ES)

88 Norman Hardie Unfiltered County Chardonnay 2012, Prince Edward County ($39)

This rendition of this wine is a departure from the reductive style of previous vintages. Read open, oaky and overt.  The hazelnut, buttered popcorn and spice mesh with the apple, floral and mineral qualities of the grape. A creamy texture and a lengthy finish make for a delicious drop of juice. (ES)

88 Lacey Estates Riesling 2012, Prince Edward County ($25)

Bergamot, peach, lime and mineral come together in this wine. Even though there is close to 30 grams of residual sugar, the perception is that of an off dry wine. There is ample length to round everything out. (ES)

87 The Grange of Prince Edward Winery Pinot Gris 2012, Prince Edward County ($14.95)

If you are looking for a great Chardonnay alternative, here you go! For this price, it a solid Gris with a light to medium body and a pleasing profile of peach, honey, citrus, spice and mineral. The silky mouth feel, moderate acid and lengthy flavours make for immediate drinking. Pair with a cheese platter or grilled chicken. (ES)

87 The Grange of Prince Edward Winery Unoaked Chardonnay 2012 ($16)

Medium yellow, this is alluring Chardonnay exudes aromas of apple, peach, pear and smokey minerals. The palate adds citrus, toast, caramel.  It is soft and accessible right now. (ES)

87 Chadsey’s Cairns Winery and Vineyard Riesling 2012, Prince Edward County ($23)

A charming little Riesling with punchy personality of peach, white flower, honey and lime. This flows into candied fruit, mineral and spice on the tangy aftertaste. (ES)

87 Chadsey’s Cairns Winery Gewürztraminer 2012, Prince Edward County ($23)

This lithe yet accurate Gewürz doles out a combination lychee, rose, apple, honey. It is dry with a spice tinged finish. Drink now. (ES)

Red

90 Rosehall Run Cuvee County ‘The Swinger’ Syrah 2012, Prince Edward County ($30)

This is a worthy successor to the equally fabulous 2010. Unfortunately, it is also the last vintage of this wine because the vineyard lease has been assumed by another winery.  Ruby/purple colour with a powerful Syrah nose of black pepper, blueberry, cassis, vanilla, mocha, hickory and rosemary. Concentrated, the palate shows great persistency and tannic structure to carry it until 2020. In a blind tasting of Northern Rhone wines, you would be hard pressed to pick this out as Canadian, let alone PEC. (ES)

88 Huff Estates Pinot Noir 2012, Prince Edward Couty ($30)

The explosive bouquet of cherry, raspberry, plum, smoke and cocoa leads into a ripe palate with mild acid and a slightly creamy texture. Very good length and ready to drink, preferably with porcini crusted pork tenderloin. (ES)

88 Huff Estates Winery Cuvee Janine Rose 2012, Prince Edward County ($29.95)

This 100% Pinot Noir traditional method rose bubbly spent 18 months on the lees, imbuing the wine with a toasty/nutty quality which melds together with cherry, cranberry, crabapple and citrus. The small creamy bubbles caress the palate on the lengthy finale.(ES)

88 Norman Hardie County Pinot Noir, Prince Edward County ($39)

A cherry explosion encapsulates the plum, earth, rose and clove flavours in this medium bodied Pinot. There is admirable density and persistency as well as a soft texture. Drink over the next 3 years. As a side note, I had a chance to try a barrel sample of Norm’s premium ‘L’ Pinot Noir. It is a truly magnificent wine which will easily score in the low 90s when released later this year. (ES)

88 Rosehall Run Cuvée County Pinot Noir, Prince Edward County ($22.95)

A delicate Pinot Noir with a pale ruby colour. The perfume of cherry, strawberry, violets and earth carry onto the taste buds.  The lengthy finish and supple tannins make for a wine that will drink well until 2018. (ES)

88 Devil’s Wishbone Pinot Noir Lake on The Mountain 2102, Prince Edward County ($29)

This ready to drink Pinot reveals chalk, cherry, spice, plum and hints of blackberry. Soft in the mouth, there is ripe fruit and soft tannins which round out the drinking pleasure. (ES)

87 Rosehall Run Cuvée County Gamay Noir, Prince Edward County ($19.95)

Here is a straightforward, no nonsense Gamay, that is made for charcuterie boards and/or terrines.  Strawberry, cherry, spice, black pepper and oregano are buttressed by lively acidity and soft tannins. (ES)

86 Waupoos Estates Winery Cabernet Franc Reserve 2012, Prince Edward County ($29.95)

Made from 3 year old vines, this Franc shows admirable cassis, plum, raspberry, earth spice and herb qualities. As for weight, it is on the lighter side, with a medium finish and supple tannins. Drink now. (ES)

 

March 2014 Wine Ratings

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Canada

White

88 Konzelmann Estate Winery Gewürztraminer Late Harvest 2012, Niagara ($14.75)

Superb value here! It is the spice factor which dominates at first sip, but then the peach, honey, mango and rose which reveal themselves. There is a light sweetness, so chill well and then serve with spicy Thai or Szechuan cuisine. (ES)

87 Ridge Road Estate Pinot Gris 2013, Niagara ($15.95)

No thin, acidic Pinot Grigio here; rather, this a flavorful, ripe style, made in the Alsatian model, featuring peach, white flowers, spice, cream and apple. The medium body, density and finish make for a delicious drop of Gris. (ES)

Red

89 Reif Estates Cabernet Franc Reserve 2012, Niagara River ($21.95)

This tasty Franc is a terrific follow up the equally delicious 2010. Full bodied, there is red currant, cassis, raspberry, anise, cocoa, herbs, tobacco, cola and graphite. The medium acidity, ripe tannins, round texture and long finish will ensure 5 to 6 years of cellaring. That said, you can also pop it open tonight and serve with a grilled veal chop topped with a herb infused demi-glace. Excellent value! (ES)

89 Cave Springs Cabernet Franc Estate Bottled 2011, Beamsville Bench ($24.95)

Elegant, this Cabernet Franc reveals a complex bouquet of cassis, cherry, mocha, vanilla, black olive, roasted red pepper, herbs and spice. The plate is linear, with impressive length and a tannic structure which bodes well for 4 to 5 years of aging. (ES)

89 Domaine Quelyus Pinot Noir Réserve du Domaine 2011, Niagara ($45)

This new winery project is a partnership of 12 Quebec businessmen. Smartly, they have hired the ever talented Thomas Bachelder, who also produces top Pinot, under his own label, from Burgundy, Oregon and Canada.  Mid weight, this refined Pinot exudes cherry, raspberry, plum, spice and earth. The tannins are soft and the acid fresh, making for a food friendly match with duck magret or a pork terrine. (ES)

89 Pillitteri Estates Exclamation Cellar Series Reserve Winemaker’s Red 2010, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($40)

This full bodied blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon spent 24 months in barrel before hitting the shelves. The final product reveals violets, cassis, vanilla, dark cherry, tobacco, anise and cocoa. The tannins are firm and based on the concentration and length, I would opt to drink over the next 6 years. (ES)

87 Cave Springs Pinot Noir Dolomite 2011, Niagara Escarpment ($17.95)

This general list LCBO Pinot is aromatic and flatters with plum, cherry, earth, spice and floral qualities. There is very good length and soft tannins. Drink now with grilled pork tenderloin or tuna steaks.

87 Cave Springs Cabernet Merlot 2011, Niagara Escarpment ($15.95)

For the price, this is quite a tasty drop! Plum, spice, cherry jam, vanilla and cocoa meld with a pleasing green edge on the palate. Mid weight, supple tannins and a flavorful finish make for enjoyable drinking. (ES)

87 Cave Springs Gamay Noir 2012, Beamsville Bench ($15.95)

Cave has always been a strong proponent of this varietal. The pepper, strawberry, cherry and earth combine with the fresh acidity and mild tannins, making for a lovely patio sipping/grilling this summer. Put a slight chill to it and match up with grilled sausage or pulled pork. (ES)

France

White

93 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Méal 2011, Rhone ($296.35)

Chapoutier’s top Marsanne is full bodied, like its little brother, Chante-Alouette, but offers more acidity and elegance. Made from 50 year old vines, the peach, white flowers, honey, Turkish delight, cream, tobacco and spice are a whirlwind on the senses. Loads of minerals explode on the fabulous finale. (ES)

92 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Chante-Alouette 2011, Rhone ($79.95)

This 100% Marsanne is a full bodied, biodynamic offering. Honeysuckle, caramel, truffle, wet earth, banana, almonds, cream and spice makes for a thrilling tasting experience. The acidity is on the low end, and there is superb length. If you have yet to experience a thrilling white Rhone, this wine should certainly be at the top of your list. (ES)

Red

93 M. Chapoutier Monier de La Sizeranne Hermitage 2011, Rhone ($105.50)

Not cheap, but the quality is undeniable. It took some time to coax all the aromas, but when all said and done, this beauty has a beguiling personality of crème de cassis, raspberry, pepper, smoke, graphite, violets, cocoa, oregano and scorched earth. Dense on the palate, there is fabulous length and enough tannins to take into the next decade. Drink from 2015 to 2026. (ES)

92 Domaine de Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem Côte-du-Rousillion Villages, Languedoc Rousillion ($25.45)

Chapoutier’s Midi red over delivers for the price! This blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan exudes plum, spice, cherry jam, cassis, garrigue, anise and sweet cream. Fleshy, there is a long aftertaste and enough structure to allow 6 to 8 years of cellaring. (ES)

Italy

92 La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino 2008, Tuscany ($75)

La Fiorita crafts modern style Brunellos. Their superb 08 is a dark offering with lots of concentration and depth. Plum, sweet cherry, spice, raisins and earth work long on the finish, where the tannins will ensure a decade of aging. (ES)

91 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2009, Tuscany ($60)

There is some obvious new oak on the nose. These attributes merge with the sweet cherry, tobacco, leather, licorice, dried flowers and humus qualities of the Sangiovese grape. The tannins are forward, so hold until 2015 and then drink until 2022. (ES)

91 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino 2009, Tuscany ($59.95)

One of the highlight’s at this year’s Brunello tasting in Toronto was this producer. I tried all their current offerings, and there was not a bad drop to be found. The 09 reveals cherry, flowers, humus, spice and tobacco both on the nose and palate. The acidity and tannins will allow cellaring until 2022.  (ES)

91 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2009, Tuscany ($62.50)

A refined Brunello.  Plum, cherries, spice, cocoa, cassis and tobacco create an alluring perfume. It is mid weight, as Brunellos go, with excellent length and structure to cellar for another 5 years. Grill up a nice T-bone and enjoy the moment. (ES)

 


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Wine Facts

Although “château” means castle, it may also be a mansion or a little house next to a vineyard that meets the requirements for winemaking with storage facilities on its property.