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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.



December 2012 Wine Ratings

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Australia

95 Wolf Blass Black Label 2008, South Australia ($99.95)

The 08 is a supremely impressive wine! This past autumn, in a blind tasting, it was pitted against other top Cabernet based blends from all over the globe. When the results were tabulated, it was the clear winner, besting all the Bordeaux first growths, as well as top Cali Cabs! Full bodied and distinctly Australian, the explosive nose of jam: blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and cherry, mesh with herbs, spice and cola. There is outstanding length and more than enough ripe and well integrated tannins to allow it to age for two decades. It is a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Shiraz and 5% Malbec. (ES)

92 Wolf Blass Grey Label Cabernet Shiraz 2010, Langhorne Creek ($35)

This 15% alcohol offering serves up blackberries, plums, cherries, mint, cocoa and spice on a jammy texture. There is excellent length and a tannic backbone, ensuring another 10 years ahead. (ES)

92 Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz 2010, McLaren Vale ($30)

Full bodied, the blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, peanut butter, chocolate, smoke and mint inundate the senses. The palate is jammy with loads of plummy tannins and delicious length. Pair this with some hardy winter fair, such as a braised lamb shank or an herb and pepper encrusted prime rib roast. (ES)

Canada

White

89 Tawse Sketches Chardonnay 2010, Niagara ($19.95)

The new vintage of Sketches Chardonnay is a mid weight offering with a bouquet of apple, pear, lemon, smoke and vanilla. The palate delivers much of the same, as well fresh acidity and a spicy/creamy dimension. There is very good length and some heat from the warm vintage that was 2010. (ES)

89 Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catherine Estate Carte Blanche 2007, Short Hills Bench ($44.95)

This, HOP’s first vintage bubbly, is made from 100% Chardonnay.  The 54 months of lees aging combined with the warm growing conditions of 2007 has produced a forward offering full of fresh bread, peach, apple, lemon and cinnamon. Pair with seared scallops or grilled shrimp topped with a dash of fresh lemon juice. (ES)

Rosé

90 Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catherine Rose NV, Niagara ($29.95)

Henry has taken this wine to a new level, both in packaging and quality. The new label colour scheme really pops, and for my taste, this is the best rendition of this bubbly to date. This blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay spent 30 months on the lees, creating a bouquet of biscuits, yeast, raspberry, cherry and green apple. The finish is long and crisp.  Sashimi was made for this wine. (ES)

87 Tawse Sketches Rosé 2011, Niagara ($15.95)

Here you will find a pleasant and easy drinking rosé with a perfume of smoke, roasted nuts, strawberry, raspberry. Medium length and sound acid earmark this wine for charcuterie and cheese plates. (ES)

Red

91 Coyote’s Run Rare Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Four Mile Creek ($32)

When Jeff Aubry opened his winery close to a decade ago, he said that he would never produce a single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon due to the fact that Ontario’s climate consistently produces overtly herbaceous/vegetal renditions. This was before Mother Nature handed a perfect (and rare) red wine vintage in 2010. This elegant Cab possesses a dark cherry colour and a perfume of cassis, smoke, violets, cocoa and anise. There is great length and a polished feel to the wine. Drink over the next 5 years. (ES)

91 Stratus Red Icewine 2011, Niagara ($39.85)

This singular blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Mourvèdre and 14% Syrah is  a  layered stickie, chock-full of strawberry jam, guava paste, plum compote, fig jam, kirsch, mocha, spice, coconut and red flowers. There is excellent length as well as a slight bitterness. Break out the fondue pot, melt some chocolate and head to town with your friends. (ES)

90 Tawse Grower’s Blend Cabernet Franc 2010, Niagara ($26.95)

This is but one of many impressive 2010 reds from Tawse.  Medium body, this Franc explodes with cassis, black cherry jam, spice, dark cocoa, violets, smoke and vanilla. There is very good length, ripe and well integrated tannins, and a long aftertaste. Drink over the next 7 years. (ES)

89 Henry of Pelham Reserve Baco Noir 2010, Ontario ($24.95)

This 2010 Baco Reserve is a worthy successor to the great 2009. Medium to full body, the smoke, coffee and mocha qualities from new American barrels combines with the plum, raspberry and dark cherry qualities of the grape. There is great length, crisp acidity (typical for Baco) and medium tannins. Drink over the next 4 years.

France

93 Château Pontet-Canet 2008, Pauillac ($129)

The 08 Pontet-Canet is one of the stars of the vintage. Full bodied, there is an opaque black colour and a bouquet of toast, smoke, blackcurrants, blackberries, cherries, raspberries and vanilla. Backing it all up are some serious tannins, which necessitates 5 more years of cellaring. Drink over the subsequent 20 years. (ES)

92 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 2008, St-Julien ($169)

The opaque colour leads into a spice rack of cinnamon, anise, allspice and clove which meshes with plums, cherries, cocoa and cassis. There is solid extract and weight, but the tannins are dusty, so my suggestion is to hold until 2017 and then drink until 2030. (ES)

United States

California

94 Opus One 2008, Napa ($189.95)

Intense and layered, the plums, blackberries, cherries, vanilla, violets, graphite, spice, cocoa and mint keep on delivering on the long finale. The ample and plummy tannins are buried underneath the extract and richness, allowing the wine to age effortlessly over the next 20 years. (ES)

87 Project Paso Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Paso Robles ($17.90)

The project Paso is a fruit driven and immediately accessible wine from the warm Paso Robles AVA. Medium bodied and smooth, it churns out black cherry, dark plum, toast and cinnamon on the lengthy finale. (ES)

 

September 2012 Wine Ratings

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Australia

White

88 Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay 2011, Eden Valley/Adelaide Hills ($19.95)

The grapes for this wine were sourced from the cooler regions of Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills. Doing this has produced a refined and aromatic Chardonnay imbued with lemon zest, minerals, white flowers, pear, apple and a hint of honey. The palate is vibrant with refreshing acidity working in conjunction with the lemon, apple and pear on the long finale. (ES)

Red

89 Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz 2010, Barossa ($21.95)

The black/violet colour heralds a perfume of blackberries, crème de cassis, plums, raspberries, violets, spice and hints of tar. Full bodied, the wine is rich and mouth coating, with loads of dark fruit, mocha and spice. The plummy tannins are integrated to the point that some might not even perceive them. Drink over the next 5 years. (ES)

Canada

White

90 Andrew Peller  Signature Series Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Niagara ($30)

Here is a tropical style Sauvignon Blanc, which has seen some new oak influence .The bouquet of pineapple, honey, flowers, vanilla, yeast and parsley meets up with minerals and high acid on the palate. The long aftertaste makes me want to pair this with grilled mahi mahi topped with a jalapeno/tropical fruit salsa. (ES)

88 Trius Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2010, Niagara ($19.95)

This Chardonnay has hit its ‘sweet spot’ and is drinking beautifully right now. Peach, flowers, honey, candied apple, pineapple, vanilla and spice flow out of the glass. The medium body, round texture and lowish acid make for a crowd pleaser. Pair with halibut topped with a beurre blanc or chicken shish kabobs. (ES)

Rose

88 Trius Rosé 2011, Ontario ($15.95)

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only Syrah dominant (50%) Rosé made in Ontario. The remainder of the blend is 36% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc. On the nose, there is watermelon, ruby grapefruit, strawberry and white pepper/spice. In the mouth, the wine is slim but long lasting, making charcuterie and premium pâtés an easy call. (ES)

Red

91 Tawse Quarry Road Pinot Noir 2009, Vinemount Ridge ($34.95)

This, the first release of this wine, was made from young vines, but there is nothing juvenile about it. The bouquet doles out cherries, flowers and spice. On the attack, it is elegant and linear, but long lasting.  It drinks well now, but given the acidity and tannin, it should age well over the next 3 years. (ES)

90 Hillebrand Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc 2010, Niagara ($38)

This Cabernet Franc possesses a dark cherry colour and a flattering bouquet of plum, boysenberry, cherry, spice, vanilla and mocha. The palate is rich and ripe, while carrying long with a mocha-tinged finish. It is starting to drink well now but will continue to develop over the next 8 years. (ES)

90 Hillebrand Showcase East Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Niagara ($38)

While the Showcase Cab might be slightly more linear than the Franc, it is a more powerful offering. Medium to full bodied, the cassis, raspberries, thyme, cinnamon and violets are layered on firm tannins. The best thing to do is to hold until 2014 and then drink until 2020. Pairs beautifully with an herb and mustard crusted rack of lamb. (ES)

88 Lakeview Cellars Cabernet Merlot 2010, Niagara ($19)

This impressive Bordeaux style blend delivers black cherries, cassis, smoke, cedar, spice, licorice and vanilla. It is a medium bodied offering with a powerful finish, due to its youthfulness. It should age well for the next 5 years. A nice slab of prime rib should do the trick. (ES)

88 Trius Red 2010, Niagara ($22.95)

For the number lovers out there, the ’10 rendition of this wine is a blend of 43% Merlot, 35% Cab Franc and 22% Cab Sauvignon. Mid weight with supple tannins, there is cherry, plum, vanilla, cocoa and spice in the mix. It is drinking well right now and it will hold the course for another 3 years. (ES)

California

White

89 Treana White 2009, Central Coast ($29)

This blend of Marsanne and Viognier has seen new oak. Full bodied, the perfume of peach, honeysuckle, pineapple, banana, cream and spice enthralls the senses. Full bodied, the palate is thick and oily with a great aftertaste. (ES)

88 Liberty School Chardonnay 2009, Central Coast ($18.95)

The grapes for this medium bodied Chardonnay were sourced from the cool regions of Santa Barbara and Monterey. Aromas and flavours of cream, pineapple, red apple, peach, spice, white flowers and honey are all in play. The lingering finish and crisp acidity provides food versatility and lift. (ES)

Red

91 Treana Red 2009, Paso Robles ($39.95)

The grapes for this blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Syrah were sourced from the warm Paso Robles AVA.  After which, it spent 14 months in French barrels, of which 50% were new. This has translated into a plush red, with an opaque black colour, and a profile of toast, vanilla, blackcurrant, raspberries, dark cherries, violets and pepper/spice. Excellent persistency and well integrated tannins will ensure another 7 years of longevity. (ES)

88 Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Paso Robles ($19.95)

This well-priced Cab has a definite savoury streak which weaves through the cassis, dark cherries, plums, violets, cocoa and spice. The supple tannins, moderate alcohol and fruit driven finish makes for a thoroughly enjoyable glass of wine with hamburgers or pot roast. (ES)

Greece

White

89 Santo Wines Santorini Assyrtiko 2011, Santorini ($16.95)

Santo is the only co-op on the island of Santorini, and by law, all growers are members. That being said, they are focused on quality, rather than quantity. This wine speaks of the volcanic terroir of the island: huge salty minerals, combine with green apple and meyer lemon. The depth and richness of the wine suggest a pairing with oven-roasted pork loin with artichokes or grilled octopus drizzled with herbs and olive oil. (ES)

Red

86 Katogi&Strofilia Katogi Averoff 2008, Macedonia

This elegant blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Agiorgitiko smells of cherries, cassis, bell pepper and earth. It is mid weight with very good length. The tannins are smooth, so it is ready to drink, preferably with grilled quail or smoked cheddar sausages. (ES)

 

August 2012 Wine Ratings

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Canada

 

White

93 Bachelder Chardonnay Wismer Vineyard 2010, Twenty Mile Bench ($44.95)
Hot on the heels of his fabulous ‘09 Chardonnays, Thomas Bacheleder has just released his even more impressive 2010s. This single vineyard Chardonnay from Niagara’s benchlands offers up impressive complexity, concentration and length. Full bodied, a perfume of white flowers, pineapple, cream, vanilla, anise, citrus and red apple echoes across the palate. The crisp acidity provides definition and food friendliness. Pair with butter poached lobster or a washed rind cheese, à la époisse. Drink from 2013 to 2018. (ES)

92 Tawse Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2010, Twenty Mile Bench ($45.95)

This has always been my favorite Chardonnay from Tawse. The ’10 vintage, with all its heat, has produced a fuller and rounder wine, than recent vintages. Medium to full bodied, it is the oak which dominates at this early stage: vanilla, smoke, caramel, spice and cream meshes with apple/ pear purée and pineapple. The mouth is creamy and round with excellent length and a long, smokey aftertaste. (ES)

91 Bachelder Chardonnay Saunders Vineyard 2010, Beamsville Bench ($44.95)

Bachelder’s other single vineyard Chardonnay from Niagara is a slightly more restrained version. The medium straw colour segues into a bouquet of smoke, toast, cream, apple and pear. The palate features much of the same, as well as a spicy finale and refreshing acidity. Drink between 2013 and 2017. (ES)

89 Tawse Quarry Road Riesling 2011, Vinemount Ridge ($23.95)
The Vinemount Ridge appellation is quickly becoming the new ‘sweet spot’ for Riesling production on the Bench. Medium bodied, this wine is still reserved. That being said, there is lime, mineral, green apple and peach on the nose and palate. There is some residual sugar, but the perception is that of a dry wine, due to the crisp acidity. Drink over the next 5 years. (ES)

87 Lakeview Cellars Riesling Reserve Roller Vineyards 2011, Lincoln Lakeshore ($16.95)

The inaugural vintage of the Roller Riesling is well made and refreshing. Light to medium bodied, there is green apple, grapefruit, mineral, peach, white flowers and hints of honey. There is very good length so pair with chicken shawarma or fish tacos. (ES)

87 House Wine Co. Vidal Moscato 2011, Ontario ($12.95)

This unique blend of Vidal and Moscato fuses freshness, acidity and an off-dry personality. Combined with the low alcohol and a profile of white flowers, peach, pear, honey, lime and spice, it makes for an enjoyable aperitif wine or a foil for spicy fair. (ES)

Red

90 Coyote’s Run Cabernet Franc Black Paw Vineyard 2010, Four Mile Creek ($24.95)

Here is yet another impressive bottling from Coyote’s 2010 red line-up. Boysenberry, plum, cassis, vanilla, mocha and roasted herbs are built on a solid backbone of tannins. Combined with excellent length, it will age well for the next 5 to 7 years. (ES)

90 Coyote’s Run Pinot Noir Black Paw Vineyard 2010, Four Mile Creek ($35.95)

Of Coyote’s two single vineyard Pinot Noirs, this has always been my favorite. Having benefited from the heat of 2010, there is more ripeness and depth than past vintages. Medium to full bodied, the bouquet of cherries, raspberries, plums, anise, cocoa, flowers and mint lead into a palate best described as an “iron hand in a velvet glove.” It starts off soft and fruit driven, but then the tannins show full force on the finale. This is definitely a wine made for duck confit or boeuf bourguignon. (ES)

89 Coyote’s Run Merlot Red Paw Vineyard 2010, Four Mile Creek ($24.95)

The dark cherry colour leads into a cornucopia of plum, raspberry, cherry,  vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa, or, if you will, a textbook nose of Merlot. There is some serious tannic structure lurking beneath, making for a strong case for a pairing with braised lamb shanks or dry rubbed, slow smoked ribs. (ES)

88 Coyote’s Run Pinot Noir Red Paw Vineyard 2010, Four Mile Creek ($24.95)
This Pinot is more Beaune in style, due to the softer style and red berry fruit qualities: cherries and raspberries. Add the flowers, cocoa, plums, very good length and supple tannins, and what you have is a real flatterer of a wine. (ES)

France

88 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Vaudon 2010, Burgundy
This is a superb value in the realm of Chablis! This textbook example starts off with a pale straw colour and then heads into a mélange of lemons, minerals and green apples. There is very good length and brisk acidity, which makes you want to shuck a dozen or so oysters…and go to town!

88 Bachelder Bourgogne 2010, Burgundy ($29.95)
A good portion of the grapes for this wine were sourced from the villages of Puligny-Montrachet and Beaune. The toast, vanilla, white flowers, green apple and cream on the nose meshes with cinnamon and anise on the taste buds. There is very good length as well as a tangy aftertaste. Drink over the next 3 years. (ES)

88 Bachelder Bourgogne Aligoté 2011 ($22)

Normally, I am not a big fan of the Aligoté. That being said, the grapes for this wine were sourced from the low lands within the privileged commune of Puligny-Montrachet. Subsequently, the quality is undeniable.  The rock-hard minerality is complemented by equally rock-solid acidity. There are also some green apple and citrus nuances which add complexity. Where to purchase this wine? Well, the majority of production has been earmarked for Joe Beef Restaurant in Montreal. The rest will be distributed here and there, throughout Canada.  (ES)

United States-Oregon

91 Bachelder Chardonnay 2010, Willamette Valley ($29.95)
Peaches and cream corn, caramel, citrus, green apple, spice and flowers are built on a medium to full bodied frame. There is excellent length as well as sturdy backbone of acidity. It should age well for the next 5 years. (ES)

United States- California

89 Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel 2009 ($14.95)
For under 15$, this Zin offers excellent value! It possesses a vibrant purple/ruby colour as well as an equally vibrant bouquet of black fruits: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and cherries. Spice, vanilla, mocha fudge and herbs add dimension.  The silky finish carries long, caressing the palate with berry fruit and mocha. (ES)

 

 

July 2012 Wine Ratings

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Canada

White

92 Thirty Bench Small Lot Steel Post Vineyard Riesling 2011, Beamsville Bench ($30)
Emma Gartner, Thirty Bench’s winemaker, continues her hot streak with Riesling. This is a truly impressive rendition, with huge grapefruit, lime, peach, apple and minerals. The crisp personality combines power with persistency, which will allow this wine to improve over the next decade. (ES)

Red

91 Pondview Bella Terra Meritage 2010, Four Mile Creek ($35)
The Pondview ’10 Meritage is a wine which is still extremely youthful and somewhat shy. That being said, there is great extraction and flavour: plum, cassis, mint, cocoa, dark cherry, spice and earth. The length is impressive, but the tannins are domineering at this time, so hold off until 2014 and drink until 2022. (ES)

90 Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Franc Reserve 2010, Four Mile Creek ($28)
High quality oak reveals itself in the form of cocoa, coffee and spice. This combines with cassis, raspberries, violets and roasted herbs. There is good weight and concentration, as well as great finish. Hold until 2012 and then drink over the subsequent 7 years. (ES)

90 Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Four Mile Creek ($32)
The dark cherry colour flows into a mélange of plum, mint, cherries, spice, cocoa and vanilla. Complex and full bodied, the finale is long and quite tannic at this point. My suggestion is to cellar for a couple of years and then pair with a braised brisket or roasted lamb marinated in herbs. Drink until 2022. (ES)

90 Reif Estate Merlot Reserve 2010, Niagara River ($25.95)
Reif continues to impress with their reds from the great 2010 vintage. Medium to full bodied, this Merlot reveals a bouquet of roasted plums, dark cherries, raspberries, coffee, cinnamon and spice. The palate is very suave with a core of ripe fruit. The long finish and plummy tannins will allow it to age for 5 years. (ES)

90 Reif Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010, Niagara River ($25.95)
There is a slight overripe quality to the dark fruits: cherries, blackberries and plums. Violets, vanilla, cocoa, raisins and wasabi add complexity. There is good depth, with a sweet mid palate and excellent length.  The tannins will ensure another 5 to 7 years of longevity. (ES)

Rosé

86 Pondview Cabernet Franc Rosé 2011, Niagara River ($15)
A pleasant bouquet of candied strawberry, vanilla, herbs, cocoa and flowers make this an ideal partner for sashimi and sushi. There medium length combined with fresh acidity to round everything out. (ES)

California

91 Rock Wall Wine Company Monte Rosso Vineyard 2009, Sonoma ($46.95)
Rockwell is Ken Rosenblum’s new venture. Made from 100+ year old vines, this wine serves up huge jam: cherry, raspberry, blackberry and plum. Cocoa and spice add depth. The palate is viscous, even port like, with a long finale and substantial amount of tannins. Now to 2020. (ES)

90 Rock Wall Wine Company Jessie’s Vineyard Zinfandel 2009, Contra Costa ($30.95)
This wine is named after the 93 year old farmer who tends vines that are 123 years old. Full bodied, this lush Zin exudes a beguiling profile of raisins, black tea, tobacco, vanilla and a cornucopia of jam flavours: raspberry, cherry, and plum. The palate is rich and low in acid. The finish is super long and the 16.3% does make an appearance on the tail end. No doubt, this is one of those hedonistic wines. Drink over the next 5 to 7 years. (ES)

Greece

White

95 Estate Argyros Vinsanto 1990, Santorini ($102)
This is a truly majestic wine from an equally majestic island! After the grapes were harvested, they were laid to rest under the hot Mediterranean sun for 14 days. The resulting raisins were pressed, vinified and then stored away in old wood casks for 18 years. An explosion of caramel, dried fruits soaked in honey, nuts and spice gives way to a viscous and sweet palate, with low acidity. Glorious stuff! (ES)

91 Domaine Sigalas Santorini 2011, Santorini ($21.95)
Sigalas’ 2011 Santorini shows classic salty minerals, citrus and apples. But, in this vintage, there is a peach skin element thrown in for good measure. Full bodied and concentrated, it should age well for a decade. Pair with crab cakes topped with a curry aioli or braised pork shoulder with a mushroom sauce.(ES)

89 Antonopoulos Moscholfilero, Mantinia ($18.95)
Antonopoulos produces one of Greece’s most profound Moscholfieros.  The pale water colour features a slight peach hue. The flowers, peach, honey and minerals on the nose are also echoed long on the aftertaste. Try with veal sweetbreads in a dijon cream sauce or white pizza topped with smoked salmon and crème fraiche. (ES)

89 Antonopoulos Malagouzia 2011, Achaia ($20.95)
Malagouzia is Greece’s answer to Gewurz (some say Muscat.) It is medium bodied with a perfume of peach, flowers, white pepper and honey. The length is excellent with fresh acid acting as a backstop. Pair with grilled mahi mahi topped with a jalapeno/fruit salsa. (ES)

89 Alpha Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Amyndeon
Alpha Estate’s owner and winemaker, Angelo Iatridis, learned his trade in Bordeaux. Thus, it is no coincidence that he produces some of Greece’s most polished wines. This SB is cleanly made with good weight, mouthfeel and acidity. The profile of lemon balm, citrus and herbs lingers long.  Pair with kalamari or grilled vegetables, topped with shaved parmesan, and drizzled with lemon and olive oil. (ES)

Red

90 Kir Yianni Diaporos 2008, Imathia ($50)
Diaporos is a blend of Xinomavro and Syrah. Even though it is a concentrated offering, Xinomavro’s tannins present themselves with full force, necessitating some form of braised meat or medium rare steak, so as to tame this bruiser. The bouquet is that of game, leather, cherries, tomato paste and olive tapanade. Drink over the next decade. (ES)
 

May 2012 Wine Ratings

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Argentina

91 Catena Malbec 2009, Mendoza ($19.95)

Catena’s staple Malbec is a saturated purple/cherry wine that offers excellent concentration and length. Its personality is somewhat overripe with raisins, blueberries, blackberries, and black cherries meshing with licorice, violets and cocoa.  Drink it over the next 5 to 7 years. (ES)

Australia

90 Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz Cabernet 2009, Robe Mount Benson ($34.95)

The purple/red colour leads into plums, blackberries, vanilla, cocoa powder and brief hints of mint. It is full bodied, but not overt, thanks to the fact the grapes were sourced from the cool regions of Robe and Mount Benson, in the southern Limestone Coast GI. The acid is fresh, the length is excellent and the tannins are supple. Drink it over the next 5 years.  (ES)

86 Rosemount Diamond Label Shiraz 2010 ($15.95)

The 2010 is the first vintage to use the new eco friendly/light weight glass. Smooth and easy to drink, this venerable offering doles out dark fruits, violets, spice and cocoa. There is medium length and it is ready to drink. (ES)

California

White

92 Signorello Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes 2008, Napa Valley ($51.95)

Made from 32 year old vines, this Chardonnay was barrel fermented for twenty months and malolactic was partially done, bestowing the wine a creamy texture, while still retaining acidity. Peach, apple puree, vanilla, citrus and spice are all present in this succulent wine. Drink it over the next 5 years. (ES)

Red

95 Merryvale Profile 2008, Napa Valley ($170)

The 08 Profile, the finest that has ever crossed my lips, is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Simply put, it is a gorgeous, ripe, concentrated and polished red with loads of dark berry fruit, earth, cocoa, vanilla, toast and spice. The finish lingers and lingers. Even though it is approachable, another couple of years in the bottle will further enhance its delight. Drink it from 2014 to 2030. (ES)

92 Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Napa Valley ($115)

I must admit a certain fondness for the Darioush. The wines, the gorgeous Persian palace inspired winery and the staff are all top notch. That being said, their 08 Cab Sauv is truly impressive. Full bodied and opaque, it unleashes a powerful nose of crème de cassis, blackberries, prunes, smoke, anise, cocoa and mint/cedar.  The tannins will ensure 15 years of longevity. (ES)

92 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Napa Valley ($75)

The 08 ‘regular’ Cabernet Sauvignon is a concentrated and structured wine, that pushes 15% alcohol.  Full bodied, it exudes blackberries, dark cherries, spice and cocoa. The tannins are very much present and somewhat dry at this point, so hold it for two years and then drink it until 2024. (ES)

90 Conn Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Napa Valley ($30)

Here is an approachable and fruit driven Cab with plums, blackberries and raspberries combining with the mocha, coffee and toast of the barrel. Mid weight, supple tannins and excellent length allow for immediate consumption. (ES)

Canada

White

89 Rennie Estate Christine Chardonnay Reserve 2010, Beamsville Bench ($35)

Rennie is a small winery in the Beamsville Bench whose wines are made by Angel’s Gate winemaker, Philip Dowell. To procure these wines, there are two avenues: on-line, or through the retail boutique at Angel’s Gate. The Christine Chardonnay, named after owner Christine Rennie, is a medium bodied white wine with peach, white flowers, vanilla, caramel, honey and banana on the nose. In the mouth, it is delicate and the acidity is on the low side. Cream, fig and spice chime in on the finale. Oh, by the way, this wine won a silver medal at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards. (ES)

88 Colaneri Fumoso Bianco Sauvignon Blanc 2010 ($25)

This wine is a dead ringer for a quality Graves/ Pessac-Léognan.  Thirty percent of the grapes were kiln dried, and then the entirety was aged in new barrels for 8 months. Aromas of grass, spice, lemon/lime, topical fruit, white pepper and apple are complemented by flavours of honey, white flowers and grapefruit. It finishes on a green note. There is very good length and it is made to pair with goat cheese/ vegetable pizza or grilled mahi mahi brochettes marinated in dijon, olive oil and oregano. (ES)

87 Stoney Ridge Unoaked Chardonnay 2009, Niagara ($12.95)

This Chardonnay is made for those who like refreshing and unwooded wines.  A fruit driven nose of grapefruit, pear, peach, pineapple and citrus are built on a light to medium bodied frame. Although dry, there is very good length, and for the price, it represents great value. Pick up a couple of bottles for summer sipping. (ES)

87 Rosehall Run Chardonnay Sur Lie 2010, Ontario ($14.95)

The 2010 Sur Lie is a smooth and easy drinking white with a profile of banana, green apple, lemon and minerals. Light to medium body, the acid is soft and the finish lengthy. Pair it with grilled scallops drizzled with a basil/chili oil or medium cheddar. (ES)

Red

91 Colaneri Coraggioso Amoroso Amarone 2009, Niagara ($50)

Colaneri’s heavy hitter was made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes which were dried for 60 plus days and then aged in new barrels for 27 months. Full bodied, certainly, it offers wall to wall cherries in every form: bing, morello, kirsch and black. Add in plums, vanilla, spice, a concentrated mid plate and excellent length, and you have one on Ontario’s most interesting wines. Drink it over the next 5 years. (ES)

90 Colaneri Unita Cabernet Franc 2010, Niagara ($25)

To date, this is the best Unita that has been produced. Thirty percent of the grapes were dried and the wine was aged in new oak for 17 months. The dark cherry colour leads to a huge nose of mint/herbs, plums, cocoa, dark cherries, licorice and violets. Full bodied, the ripe fruit is supported by equally ripe tannins. Drink it now until 2020. (ES)

89 Colaneri Corposo 2010, Niagara ($18.95)

Corposo is Colaneri’s take on a Ripasso wine. The blend is 65% Cabernet Franc, 25% Syrah and 10% Merlot. At first whiff, it is Cab Franc’s herbal nature that takes control, but soon thereafter, the plums, cocoa and cherry of the Merlot and the black pepper and cassis of the Syrah dominate. It is medium to full bodied, with a sweet core of berry fruit on the palate and a lengthy finish. Drink it over the next 4 to 5 years. (ES)

88 Rennie Estate Paradox Pinot Noir Reserve 2010, Beamsville Bench ($40)

The colour is light cherry and the perfume speaks of plums, cherries, cranberries and raspberries. Spice, carnations, earth and herbs round out the palate. It is elegant and has very good length. Pair it with a veal roast and sautéed swiss chard. (ES)

88 Peller Estates Private Reserve Cabernet Franc 2010, Niagara ($21.95)

This Franc possesses a dark cherry colour core with a red rim. Fairly aromatic, the blackcurrant, tobacco, pencil shavings and violets are built on a medium body, acidity and tannins. It is a refined offering that will drink well over the next three years. (ES)

Chile

89 Miguel Torres Las Mulas Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Central Valley ($12.95)

This organically grown SB offers supreme value! It possesses a pale straw colour with a silver lining. Aromatic, the grapefruit, tropical fruit, honey, white flowers, lime and guava meet up with a palate full of fruit salad, citrus and herbs. The finish is long and tangy. Don’t be shy, buy a couple of bottles for everyday sipping or your next dinner party. (ES)
 


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Wine Facts

To prevent a sparkling wine from foaming out of the glass, pour an ounce, which will settle quickly. Pouring the remainder of the serving into this starter will not foam as much.