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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.

July 2013 Wine Ratings

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90 Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Grand Reserve White Meritage 2012, Niagara ($25)

This combination of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon has seen a light oak treatment. This has conjured up a complex mix of grapefruit, white peach, tomato vine, pineapple, passion fruit, vanilla and smoke on the nose. The palate adds nuances of pear, apple and spice.  It is full bodied, with bright acid and excellent length rounding out the experience. (ES)

88 Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Grand Reserve Gewürztraminer 2012, Niagara ($19.95)

Aromas of rose, orange blossom, clove, honey and grapefruit meet up with the lychee, peach, papaya and pineapple on the palate. There is a soft texture, low acidity and very good length. (ES)

87 Reif Estate Winery Riesling 2011, Niagara River ($11.75)

Peach, lime, grapefruit, honey, green apple and minerals are all present in this off dry Riesling. The acidity is high, providing freshness and a delicate finish. Drink now with Thai coconut curry or tacos el pastor.

85 Kacaba Vineyards Unoaked Chardonnay 2012, Niagara ($14.95)

Here, one will find a fairly aromatic white with a personality of red apple, pear, citrus and minerals. Drink now. (ES)


92 Falesco Montiano 2010, Lazio IGT ($47)

I first tasted this 100% Merlot wine with the 1999 vintage, and since that time, I have been a strong advocate. With 14% alcohol, there is admirable depth, and a personality of plum, cherry, graphite, spice, bitter chocolate and vanilla. Full bodied, there is elegance as well as a solid backbone of tannins. Drink over the next 15 years. (ES)

92 Marchesi di Barolo Sarmassa 2008, Piedmont ($63)

While visiting the winery this past summer, I had the opportunity to taste a vertical of their Barolos, going back to the 60s. All were in impeccable condition; a testament to the quality and longevity produced here. Sweet cherry, raspberry, earth, plum, rose and tar are all in play. Nebbiolo’s tannins and acidity make a strong appearance on the long finale. Hold for a couple more years and then drink until 2028. (ES)

92 Cantina Bolzano Taber Riserva Lagrein 2010, Alto Adige ($49)

Lagrein is a red grape native to the Alto-Adige (Südtirol in German) region in Northern Italy. It is also a personal favorite. This interpretation is black/purple and has a soaring nose of dark cherry, plum, spice, earth, herbs and cocoa. The palate presents a combination of high tannins, fresh acidity and excellent length. It will age well for 15 years.  (ES)

90 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2009, Tuscany ($35)

This perennial bang for the buck CCR offers up a bouquet of cherry, humus, leather, raspberry, dried flowers and leather. The same is found on the palate, as well as plum, earth and tar. Excellent length. Drink over the next 8 years. (ES)

South Africa


89 Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc 2011, Stellenbosch ($17.95)

This Chenin Blanc, year in, year out is a stalwart standard of quality.  This vintage spent 9 months in oak, producing lovely balance between the wood and fruit. Fresh apple, honey, pear, peach, wet wool, spice, flowers and cream are all layered on a medium bodied frame. There is ample length and refreshing acid, which rounds out the package. (ES)

90 Sterhuis Chardonnay 2011, Stellenbosch ($24.20)

This Chardonnay was aged and fermented in new French barrels. This has created a medium to full bodied mix of peach, pineapple, fig, honey, toast, cream, anise and white flowers. There is excellent length and just the right amount of acidity required for food-friendliness. Pair with filet of halibut or Chilean Seabass. (ES)

89 KWV Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay 2012, Western Cape ($15.95)

KWV’s Chardonnay offers serious bang for the buck! Peach, white flowers, honey, fig, anise and bubble gum/tutti frutti are all on the nose. The palate reveals more bubble gum as well as apple, pineapple and citrus. There is crisp acidity, very good length and a slight creaminess. (ES)


93 De Trafford 393 Syrah 2010, Stellenbosch ($70)

This Syrah unquestionably falls into the massive/extracted category. Purple in colour, it pushes 16% alcohol, and even though 50% new oak was used, it has been properly absorbed. The wine coats the mouth with glycerin as well as sweet plum, cherry, vanilla, raspberry, violets, vanilla, earth, spice and cocoa flavours. There is more than enough tannins to take it 10 plus years. Lovers of Aussie Shiraz will go ga-ga over this South African icon! (ES)

89 KWV Cathedral Cellar Shiraz 2009, Western Cape ($15.95)

Here is another terrific Cathedral Cellar offering, featuring lots of sweet fruit both on the nose and palate: raspberry, plum and cherry meld with earth, pepper, leather and cocoa. The finish is long. Drink over the next 3 years with a peppercorn NY strip. (ES)

87 Clos Malverne Le Café Pinotage 2011, Stellenbosch ($13.95)

“Coffee” Pinotage is the latest vinification rage to have taken hold in South Africa, vis a vis the countries’ signature red grape. The process, which involves placing the juice in stainless tanks, adding new wood staves and fermenting with select strains of yeast, produces dark coloured wines, with a distinct coffee aroma and less sauvage/harsh qualities. Other aromas include cassis, smoke, raspberry and cocoa. Drink now. (ES)

86 Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2012, Coastal Region ($14.95)

The raspberry candy, smoke, plum and spice are woven together on the nose and palate. There is medium length and a soft finish. (ES)




June 2013 Wine Ratings

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90 Angels Gate Mountainview Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Niagara ($19.95)

Two harvests were carried out to produce this is a completely over the top SB. The first was a regular picking of healthy grapes. The second, which was almost 2 months later, was for the picking of clusters which had dried up via botrytis. The sum of the vinification is a full bodied and viscous wine chock full of cream, honey, spice, tropical fruit cocktail, peach jam and grapefruit marmalade. The finale is long and dry. Singular juice indeed!  (ES)

89 Stoney Ridge Cellars Excellence Pinot Gris 2011, Niagara ($25)
This wine is aptly named as it is now a trifecta of excellence for this bottling; the 2011 is a worthy successor to the 2010 and 2009. Full bodied, the peach, white flowers, honey, pineapple, pear, cream and spice gush from the glass. The finish is lengthy and the palate is a ying-yang of cream and refreshing acidity. No thin Pinot Grigio here; this is an impressive Pinot Gris done in the Alsatian style. (ES)

88 Hillebrand Estates Winery Trius Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Niagara ($13.95)

Made in the New Zealand style, this wine is for you, if y the greener/aggressive side of Sauvignon Blanc is appealing. Jalapeno, fresh cut grass, grapefruit, passion fruit and fruit salad are all in play. Drink tonight with grilled asparagus topped with a parmesan cheese sauce. (ES)

88 Inniskillin Viognier Reserve 2012, Niagara River ($19.95)

Viognier is a varietal which excels with heat, and in 2012, there was an abundance. Peach, apricots, spice, banana, white flowers and honey exudes from the glass. It is mid weight with soft acid and a fruit driven finale. Drink now. (ES)

87 Château des Charmes Aligoté St. David’s Bench Vineyard 2011, St. David’s Bench ($13.95)

This is the finest Aligoté I have ever tasted from CDC. Peach, flowers, pear, apple and honey are all framed nicely by the crisp acidity and a lengthy finale. Drink with a  cheese platter or hors d'oeuvres. (ES)


90 Malivoire Wine Company Stouck Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Lincoln Lakeshore ($39.95)

Winemaker, Shiraz Mottiar, has really started to crank things up at Malivoire; case and point, this wine. A vanilla edge dances around the smoke, toast, cassis, plum, cherry, cocoa and herbs. Grill up some steaks and head to town now or anytime over the next 7 years. (ES)

90 Stratus Merlot 2010, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($32)

The dark cherry colour leads into a spice rack of a wine weaving through the plum, menthol, cherry, vanilla and toast. Medium to full body, it is approachable now, but will continue to improve over the next 5 years. (ES)

89 Southbrook Vineyards Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($22.95)

Certified organic and bio-dynamic, this Cab is complex, to say the least. The plum, cherry, raspberry, violets, coconut and vanilla on the nose meshes with nuances of cassis, spice and graphite on the palate. The tannins are ripe and give structure and age-worthiness. Drink until 2020. (ES)

89 Tawse Redstone Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Lincoln Lakeshore ($40)

The 2010 Small Lot Cab is a structured red with a wonderful perfume of cassis, violets, spice, vanilla, cocoa, mint and roasted herbs. Linear in the mouth, the slightly gritty tannins clamp down on the finish, assuring at least 7 years of longevity. Grilled lamb chops were made for this wine. (ES)

88 The Foreign Affair Dream 2011, Niagara ($28.95)

This was one of the highlights of the Meritage category at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards competition. Approximately 30% of the crop was dried, helping to create a medium bodied red, as well as one of the stars of the generally average red wine vintage of 2011.  The bouquet of morello cherry, plum, smoke, violets and cocoa combines with very good length and supple tannins. (ES)



89 Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc 2010, Napa ($22.95)

The Sauv Blanc delivers up a bouquet of lime, lemon verbena, tropical fruit, grapefruit and herbs. The palate mirrors this, with added nuances of apple and passion fruit. There is very good length and a fresh finish. Pair with yellow perch in an herb/lemon sauce or a feta and yellow beet salad. (ES)


93 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Napa Valley ($77.95)

The 10 Cab Sauv boasts an impressive black/purple colour and a fabulous nose of plum, blackberry, boysenberry, toast, mint, spice and graphite. Full bodied, there is a great mid palate and superb length. My suggestion would to be hold on for a couple of years then drink until 2030. (ES)

93 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Napa Valley ($144.95)

The 09 still requires a year or two to fully blossom and smooth out the tannins.  That being said, cassis, black cherry, blackberry¸ smoke, tobacco, vanilla, spice and mocha are all in play. Drink from 2015 until 2027. (ES)

92 Signorello Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Napa Valley ($62.95)

This blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Cabernet Franc delivers loads of dark fruit: plum, blackberry and cherry. These combine with licorice, violets, mocha and scorched earth. It is full bodied, with excellent length and enough tannins to take it to 2025.

91 Simi Landslide Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley ($39.95)

This wine starts with a deep red colour and then leads into a huge bouquet of cassis, blackberry, raspberry, mocha, coffee and vanilla. The palate is nicely concentrated with a re-play of the fruit found on the nose as well as hints of mint and spice. The finish is long, with the plummy tannins giving enough structure to age a decade. (ES)


89 Argyros Estate Atlantis White, Santorini ($17.95)

This blend of Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri, from the sun-drenched paradise known as Santorini, flatters with a perfume of peach, pear, white flowers, lime, white pepper and mineral. The medium body, refreshing acidity and great length makes for a perfect pairing with grilled kalamari served on a shaved fennel, orange and olive oil salad. (ES)


April 2013 Wine Ratings

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91 Norman Hardie County Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2011, Prince Edward County ($35)

This is what a great Pinot is supposed to be: refined, pretty, perfumed and that right balance between acidity and tannin. The cherry, cranberry, red flowers and spice leap out of the glass and onto the taste buds, where an added dimension of pomegranate makes an appearance. The finish is long, helping to make this Pinot Noir the best yet from Norm! (ES)

90 Rosehall Run JCR Pinot Noir 2010, Prince Edward County ($35)

Very Volnay like! The pale ruby colour is showing a slightly faded rim, but the perfume is so beguiling: a mix of dark fruit, cherry, spice and earth. The tannins will allow the wine to age gracefully for the next 5 years… and possibly longer. (ES)

90 Rosehall Run The Swinger Syrah Cuvée County 2010, Prince Edward County ($34.95)

When owner Dan Sullivan offered to pour me a sample of this wine, I was more than a little bit skeptical due to the majority of lack luster Syrah grown and vinified in the province. Well, was I ever surprised! Medium plus body, it is an elegant and concentrated offering exhibiting a huge nose of white pepper, cassis, raspberry and sweet herbs. There is excellent length and supple tannins. Without a doubt this is one of Ontario’s top Syrahs. Drink over the next 4 years. (ES)

90 Stratus Gamay 2010, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($29)

This wine gives cru Beaujolais a run for the money! Winemaker JL Groulx treats his Gamay like a top Pinot Noir; meaning he uses classic fermentation (no carbonic) and aging in partial new oak. To further enhance quality he also picked the grapes at a super ripe 14.9% alcohol, but by no means is there any sense of heaviness. The wall to wall cherry jam, pepper, coffee and cocoa mesh with medium tannins and acidity. Drink over the next 5 years.

89 Norman Hardie County Cabernet Franc 2011, Prince Edward County ($25)

Here you will find a mélange of plum, date, raspberry, cherry, BBQ spice and cocoa on the nose and herbal elements on the palate. Mid weight, fresh in acid, medium in tannin and long on the finish, this is a very pretty wine indeed. (ES)

89 Rosehall Run Cabernet Franc Cuvée County 2010, Prince Edward County ($24.95)

Smokey tobacco, cassis, raspberry, cocoa and a slight grilled meat element combine on a medium body frame. The tannins are moderate and there is just a touch of sharp acid on the finale. All and all this is a food friendly and delicious Franc to be enjoyed over the next 5 years. (ES)

88 Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Merlot 2010, Prince Edward County ($29.95)

The wine is only made in the best years; the last vintage was 2007. Sourced from the South Bay vineyard which is the warmest growing zone in PEC, this wine reveals a bouquet of plum, cherry, toast, spice, herbs and a slight medicinal edge. There is very good length as well as a smooth texture. Drink now with duck magret or charcuterie. (ES)

88 Mike Weir Wine Meritage 2010, Niagara ($29)

This blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Cabernet Franc and 28% Merlot serves us cassis, raspberry, plum, smoky tobacco, sweet herbs and violets. There is still some youthful astringency so hold on until the end of 2013 and then drink until 2017. (ES)


89 Huff Estates Cuvée Janine Sparkling Rosé 2010, Prince Edward County ($29.95)

This inaugural rose bubbly from Huff is surprisingly dark, more red than pink. Red cherries, raspberries and earth reveal themselves on the nose and palate. There is some residual sugar but the light tannins clean everything up quite nicely. (ES)


92 Stratus Chardonnay 2010, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($55)

This wine was aged and fermented in 100% in brand new oak, but it is not a total wood bomb, in fact, the blend of wood and fruit is seamless. A bouquet of toast, vanilla, peach, pineapple, fig, honey, spice and mango repeats on the palate, with additional spicy notes meshing with the creamy texture and long finish. (ES)

91 Rosehall Run JCR Chardonnay 2010, Prince Edward County ($35)

In a blind tasting I would call this wine a warm year Meursault. The nose of smoke, vanilla, toast, peach, honey, tropical fruit and apple repeats on the palate. The long finish is supported by a combination of county limestone acidity and creaminess. Serve this up with some fresh lobster in drawn butter and revel in the sheer nirvana of the experience. (ES)

91 Exultet The Blessed Chardonnay 2011, Prince Edward County ($35)

Exultet is a small production premium producer located in the South Bay area of PEC. Their 2 previous Chardonnays have won gold at different competitions and the 2011 is a worthy successor to the royal blood line. The brilliant yellow colour leads to a complex mélange of peach, flowers, pineapple, honey, spice, figs, cream and mineral. The palate shows some creaminess as well as refreshing acidity. Pair with some runny raw milk cheeses such as époisse or chaource. (ES)

90 Closson Chase S.Kocsis Chardonnay 2010, Beamsville Bench ($34.95)

Winemaker Deborah Paskus has been making intense Chardonnay from this vineyard since the early 90s, first while working in Niagara, and now in PEC. It exudes toast, butterscotch, peach, pineapple, cream and apple. The palate is dense with great length and a spicy finish. Drink until 2016. (ES)

90 Palatine Hills Estate Winery Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay, Niagara Lakeshore ($22.95)

This is a totally overt Chardonnay which has been lavishly oaked. Medium to full body, there is wall to wall toast, spice, caramel, tropical fruit, fig, cream and apples. The acid is low, so drink up, or, as the song goes, “It is here for a good time, not a long time.” Kudos to Jeff Innes as this is his finest Chardonnay to date. (ES)

90 Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F.Huff Sparkling 2007 ($39.95)

From a hot year comes 100% Chardonnay bubbly which spent 60 months on the lees. It is an aromatically overt wine with loads of cream, brioche, apple and spice, with a slight oxidative quality weaving through.  There is excellent length and it is best suited with cream based dishes or halibut topped with a beurre blanc sauce. (ES)

90 Karlo Estates Lake On The Mountain Riesling 2010 ($22)

Sourced from a small vineyard in eastern PEC, this wine was fermented (and aged) in old oak, using natural yeasts. This combined with the warm growing conditions of 2010 has produced a substantial Riesling with loads of peach, lime cordial, honey, and minerals. There is only a dash of residual but the ripeness might actually trick many in thinking that it is sweeter than it actually is. (ES)

89 Hinterland Les Etoiles 2009, Prince Edward County ($39)

Les Etoiles is Hinterland top Cuvée. Made via the traditional method, it spent close to 3 years on its yeast cells, imbuing the wine with a yeasty/toasty quality which flows between the apple, citrus and cherry. The palate displays a creamy personality and a delightful finish. (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 very good length to round everything out. (ES)

87 Casa-Dea Estates Dea’s Cuvée 2011, Prince Edward County ($18.95)

Made via the Charmat method, this bubbly, a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay serves up peach, lemon and apple qualities. The mousse is appealing and there is just a hint of sweetness on the finish to give balance. (ES)

87 Casa-Dea Estates Riesling 2009, Prince Edward County ($16.95)

This is an extremely zippy and austere Riesling with mineral, lime and hints of white flower. There is very good length and even though the perception is that of a dry wine due to the elevated acidity, there is some sweetness. Pair with poached pickerel or smoked salmon. (ES)

87 Lacey Estates Gewürzrtaminer Reserve 2011, Prince Edward County ($25)

This Gewurz is a perfumed offering, full of telltale aromas of peach, flowers, honey, spice and cold cream. There is even that slight grapefruit pith quality on the finish which meshes with the acidity. Drink with curried chicken. (ES)

86 Sugarbush Vineyards Riesling 2011, Prince Edward County ($17)

Here is an off-dry easy drinking Riesling which some light hints of botrytis. Notes of peach, apple, lime honey and white flowers are all present. Drink now.  (ES)


89 Ghost Pines Chardonnay Winemaker’s Blend 2010, Sonoma/Monterey/Napa ($19.95)

This chardonnay serves up a combination of tropical fruit and oak. There is density with sound acidity rounding out the experience. Pair with orange roughy in a cream sauce. (ES)


90 Domaine Huet Le Haut Lieu Moelleux 2009, Loire Valley ($38.25)

This Chenin possesses a moderate 54 grams per liter of residual sugar. Honey, wax, lime, bergamot, apples and pear are all in play. The acid is on the lower end of the spectrum due to the warm growing conditions in 2009. Chill well and serve with some blue cheese or as a summer sipper. Now until 2020.

89 Domaine Huet Le Haut Lieu Sec 2011, Loire Valley ($28.10)

This is a pure expression of dry Chenin; citrus, white flowers, honey, lime, white peach, red apple and crush rock resonate both on the nose and palate. Lifted acidity and a long finish make for a fine aperitif wine or a partner with fresh water fish. Drink over the next 6 years. (ES)


93 Chateau de Beaucastel 2010, Rhone Valley ($89.95)

This 2010 is more perfumed and does not show the dry tannins of the 09, even though there are more than enough to ensure 20+ years of longevity. Cherry, plum, raspberry, plum, smoke, pepper and violets are all present in this full bodied and high octane offering. The finish is long lasting. (ES)

87 Domaine Langlois-Château Saumur-Champigny 2010, Loire Valley ($17.95)

Tobacco, cassis, spice, violets, cherry and raspberry are all found in the 100% Cabernet Franc wine. Mid weight, it is accessible, with soft tannins rounding out the finish. Pair with a grilled veal chop marinated in oregano and olive oil. (ES)

86 Couly-Dutheil La Coulée Automnale Chinon 2010, Loire Valley ($15.95)

This 100% Cabernet Franc is a textbook example. Herbs, violets, tobacco, raspberry and cassis are supported by supple tannins, fresh acid and medium length. The price is right, so grill some fennel sausage, layer it on some pasta and then drizzle liberally with tomato sauce. (ES)




February 2013 Wine Ratings

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87 Thorn-Clark Terra Barossa Merlot 2010, Barossa ($15.95)
This Merlot is chock full of cherry jam, blackberries, plum, menthol, graphite and spice. Mid weight, the palate is ripe and fruit driven with essence of cherry dancing all the way down. (ES)



91 Pondview Estate Winery Vidal Icewine 2010, Niagara ($24.95/200ml)
Here is an excellent value from the realm of Icewine. Honeyed apricots, apple juice, toast, spice, sponge toffee and honey are found in this concentrated and sweet offering. The finish is long and there is a sound acidity which brings everything into focus. (ES)

90 Riverview Cellars Vidal Icewine 2011, Niagara ($34.95/200ml)
This might be Riverview’s best Vidal Icewine to date. Honey, peach compote, pear, caramel and citrus are all in play with this great stickie. Excellent length and fresh acid rounds the wine out. (ES)

88 Château des Charmes Old Vines Riesling 2010, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($16.95)
At CDC, “Old Vines” means estate grown fruit which is a minimum age of 20 years old. The nose of this Riesling leans towards an austere mineral, lime and apple profile with slight undercurrents of peach and bergamot. Dry, fresh acidity and very good length make for a fine pairing with fried shellfish or salmon carpaccio. (ES)

87 Rosewood Sémillion 2011, Beamsville Bench ($18)
This vintage of Rosewood’s Sémillion is a lighter than last year’s rendition. Aromatically, it has the lanolin, peach and honey qualities associated with the varietal, but then a “Grüner” quality emerges in the form of white pepper and herbs. The palate exudes refreshing acidity and there is very good length. (ES)

87 Rosewood Natalie’s Süssreserve Riesling 2010, Niagara ($15)
Because of the heat in 2010, the nose is fast developing. It is the petrol quality which has taken the lead, followed by lime, grapefruit, peach and bergamot. The palate is soft with some noticeable sweetness and honey tones chiming in on the finale. Chill well and drink over the summer months. (ES)


92 Pondview Estate Winery Cabernet Franc Icewine 2010, Niagara ($35/200ml)
This is an amazing Cab Franc Icewine, especially for the price! Strawberry jam, guava paste, spice, cocoa, buckwheat honey and herbs are all layered on a viscous texture. Length is not an issue, as it carries on the taste buds. (ES)

89 Calamus Estate Meritage 2010, Niagara ($28)
Calamus’ Meritage is a blend of 42% each of Merlot and Sauvignon and the remainder Cabernet Franc. Still slightly restrained, this wine will show better in a year. Plum, cherry, raspberry, cassis, mocha, clove and herbs are built on a solid tannic backbone. Drink over the next 5 years. (ES)

90 Rosewood Merlot 2010, Niagara Escarpment ($22)
This is a pretty Merlot…so pretty, that it even won a gold medal at the annual Decanter Wine Awards. Plum, dark cherry, earth, smoke, cocoa and spice are the dominant qualities. There is also a slight floral and animal quality which trickles underneath. There is richness, suave tannins and enough stuffing to allow age it to age for another 3 or 4 years. (ES)

89 Calamus Estate Merlot 2010, Lincoln Lakeshore ($25)
Of all of Calamus’ top end 2010 reds, this is the most open and accessible. Smoke, plums, dark cherries, earth and spice are all present on the plush frame. The dark fruits carry long on the finish and the supple tannins rounds everything out. (ES)

89 Calamus Estate Cabernet Franc 2010, Lincoln Lakeshore ($20)
Smokey tobacco, cassis, black raspberry, clove, mocha and fresh herbs come together both on the nose and the palate. There is density, but no heaviness, with fresh acidity and a soft, yet lengthy finale. (ES)

88 Calamus Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Lincoln Lakeshore ($22)
Well aware of Cab Sauv’s difficult stature in Ontario’s climate, winemaker Arthur Harder only makes a mono-varietal Cab in the warmest years. The cassis, blackberry, raspberry, spice, coffee, vanilla and herbs make for a great pairing with herb crusted rack of lamb. (ES)

88 Calamus Cosmic Red, Niagara ($19.95)
Cosmic is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13%Merlot and 7% Pinot Noir …yes, I did say Pinot Noir. That dash of the latter just gives a little lift and rounds out the experience. Cassis, dark cherries, spice, mocha and smoke all come to play. The tannins are soft and the wine is already approachable. (ES)


91 Vignobles Maynard Clos du Calvaire Châteaneuf-du-Pape 2010, Châteauneuf-du-Pape ($28.95)
This new general list (LCBO) CNP is an absolute steal for under $30. High octane (15.5%), there is plum, kirsch, raspberry, black pepper, anise, lavender, smoked meat and earth to be found both on the nose and palate. There is a rich texture, great persistency and ripe tannins. Pair with bbq dry rubbed ribs or grilled lamb chops. Drink over the next 5 years. (ES)



90 Anselmi San Vincenzo 2011, Veneto IGT ($14.95)
This blend of 80% Garganega, 10% Chardonnay and 10% Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Soave region of Veneto. That being said, it has nothing to do with the acid water offerings which are usually found on liquor store shelves; rather, it is an aromatic offering full of red apple, spiced pear, pineapple, honey and white flowers.  There is crisp acidity with apple and pear reverberating on long finish. (ES)


85 Araldica BBQ Barbera, Piedmont ($9.95)
The name here is very apropos as this wine is well suited for lighter grilled fair as well as tomato based dishes. Smooth and easy drinking, this Barbera serves up dark cherry, plum, anise and cocoa. At this price, one bottle can easily become two…or three…especially on the patio this summer. (ES)

January 2013 Wine Ratings

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94 Château des Charmes Savagnin Icewine St. David’s Bench Vineyard, St. David’s Bench ($75)
Savagnin is a rare vinifera from the Jura region in Northeastern France. In Ontario, only a few wineries actually produce wine from the varietal, and CDC is the only one to make Icewine with it…and what an Icewine it is! Full bodied and superbly concentrated, the citrus, stone fruit, honey and tropical nuances are all supported by brisk acidity, ensuring a decade of life ahead. This is a singular stickie, and one that must be tasted if you are a dessert wine lover! (ES)


92 Coyote’s Run Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé 2009, Four Mile Creek ($29.95)
This is Coyote’s first sparkling…and it is a home run! Made in the traditional method, it was aged 30 months on the lees and bottled with a crown cap. It exudes a profile of caramel, brioche/toast, strawberry, cherry and mushroom. There is excellent length and concentration with a creamy texture rounding out the experience. Drink over the next 4 years. (ES)


92 Creekside Estate Winery Shiraz Icewine 2008, Niagara ($64.95)
Only one barrel (a new American barrel that is) of this delicious Icewine was made. It starts off with toast, spice, pomegranate, raspberry, cranberry and pepper. Then, when it hits the palate, it explodes, coating the taste buds with added nuances of cocoa, vanilla, spice and blueberry, on the long finale. Pair with a slice of a flourless chocolate cake and revel in the harmony. (ES)

91 Tawse Winery Meritage 2010, Niagara ($59.95)
The 2010 rendition is a medium to full bodied offering with a deep ruby colour. The composition of 46% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon has produced a bouquet of plum, raspberry, blueberry, coconut, vanilla, baking spice, earth and toast. It is concentrated and the tannins are on the firm side, ensuring a decade of life ahead. Superb stuff indeed! (ES)

91 Peller Estates Signature Series Cabernet Franc 2010, Four Mile Creek ($40)
This Cabernet Franc, from the superb 2010 vintage, is a standout. The dark ruby colour leads into a complex nose of smoke, tobacco, cassis, blackberry, raspberry and violets. There is enough concentration and tannic structure to allow it to age until 2020. (ES)

89 Tawse Winery Merlot 2010, Twenty Mile Bench ($49.95)
This mid weight Merlot is a textbook example. A profile of plum, cherry, clove, cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla are found on the nose and the palate. The tannins are suave and the finish long, making for an elegant offering. Drink over the next 4 years. (ES)

90 Coyote’s Run Rare Vintage Meritage 2010, Four Mile Creek ($39.95)
This is still an extremely youthful wine which is still closed. Currently, there is cassis, blueberry, herbs, tar, violets and spice built on a medium bodied frame. The long finish is dominated by the tannins right now, so hold until 2014 and then drink until 2020. (ES)

90 Peller Estates Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($40)
Only 24 barrels were selected for this premium bottling. Marzipan, chocolate covered coffee bean, spice, cassis, dark cherries, and plums are all found in this youthful and tannic wine. Hold until 2014 and then drink until 2020, preferably with some prime rib. (ES)

89 Coyote’s Run Rare Vintage Pinot Noir 2010, Four Mile Creek ($49.95)
This wine is a selection of the best barrels from the Red Paw and Black Paw vineyards. A beautiful Pinot nose of cherry, plum and black raspberry melds with barrel nuances of vanilla, cocoa and spice. There is medium density, supple tannins, very good length and fresh acid rounding out the experience. Drink until 2017. (ES)

89 Coyote’s Run Rare Vintage Syrah 2010, Four Mile Creek ($32.95)
According to owner, Jeff Aubry, Syrah is prone to excessive vigour, and if quality is the end game, vineyards need to be manicured constantly. In the case of this offering, CR has practiced what they preach. Mid weight, a combination of spice, pepper, hickory, cassis, raspberry and vanilla are unleashed on the senses. There is a lengthy aftertaste and enough tannin to allow it to age; my personal preference would be to drink over the next couple of years to take advantage of the exuberance. Pair with steak au poivre. (ES)

89 Tawse Growers Blend Pinot 2010, Niagara ($31.95)
Yup, another great red from Tawse! This pinot possesses a medium ruby colour with complex aromas of cherry, plum, raspberry, spice, barnyard, vanilla and smoke. Supple tannins, medium acidity and a lengthy aftertaste make for a great pairing with duck confit or braised short ribs.(ES)

88 Colio Estate CEV Small Lot Syrah, Lake Erie North Shore ($19.95)
The perfume of this medium bodied Syrah is a mélange of hickory, pepper, herbs, cassis, coconut, smoke and raspberry. It is elegant with soft tannins and very good length. Marinate some lamb chops in garlic and rosemary, hit the grill until medium rare, and enjoy the pairing. (ES)

88 Peller Estates Private Reserve Meritage 2010, Niagara ($22.95)
This blend of 44% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc and 19% Caberent Sauvignon spent 12 months in a combination of French and American barrels. Mid weight, the wine delivers a profile of cassis, spice, vanilla, raspberry and cocoa. There is very good length and a solid tannic structure. My suggestion would be to drink it over the next 4 years. (ES)

88 Peller Estates Private Reserve Pinot Noir 2010, Niagara ($25)
Here is a fruit driven Pinot Noir, with dark cherry, blackberry and plum fruit meshing with vanilla, cocoa and spice from some new barrel aging. Lengthy, supple tannins and medium acidity round everything out. (ES)


96 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2009 ($135)
Two thousand and nine was a debatable year for most shippers of Vintage Port. Some were impressed with the quality and others not.  Clearly, the good folks at Taylor have scored huge with their wines- Taylor, Fonseca and Croft. This was my favorite of their portfolio. It is a full bodied and rich wine with an opaque purple tinged colour. Violets, plums, cherries, spice and cocoa mesh together with outstanding length and 50 plus years of aging ahead of it. (ES)

94 Fonseca Vintage Port 2009 ($135)
Big, rich and full bodied, the 09 Fonseca possesses a saturated colour and a bouquet of crème de cassis, plums, raisins, spice, violets, dark cherries and earth. There is a concentrated palate, superb tannic structure and a long finish, which equates to 40 plus years of longevity. (ES)



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Wine Facts

Wine is often called the nectar of the gods, but Sangiovese is the only grape named after a god. Sangiovese means “blood of Jove