Evan Saviolidis

Evan Wine Savvy

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home
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 2011 Wine Ratings

E-mail Print PDF

Australia

White

87 The Insider White by Knappstein 2010, Clare Valley ($14.95)
This dry and zesty Riesling dominant wine is blended with Gewürztraminer. The colour is pale, almost watery, with a green tinge, and a pronounced nose of mineral, lime and apple that engages with hints of tropical fruit and spice. It is light bodied with very good length and a salty mineral finish. Serve it with oysters or ceviche.

Red

87 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet 2008, South Australia ($16.45)
This perennial favorite delivers the goods, once again, in its 08 vintage. With a medium body, it is somewhat jammy, with blackberries, dark cherries, licorice, menthol and cocoa all present. It is a very satisfying selection, ideal for grilled calves liver or tandoori chicken.

86 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, South Australia ($17)
Koonunga wines are always good value. Textbook aromas of cassis, herbs and some mint are all in the mix. It possesses a medium body, with some unsettled tannins. So hold it for six months and then drink it until 2014.

California

90 Brazin Old Vines Zin Monte Rosso Vineyard 2007, Sonoma Valley ($35)
This hearty Zin was aged 16 months in oak barrels. Full bodied and with over 15 % alcohol, it is a concentrated mouthful off blackberries, blueberries, spice, earth and black tea. It finishes long with supple tannins. Grab a couple of bottles for winter’s hearty fair.

Canada

White

90 Jackson Triggs Entourage Silver Series Brut Méthode Classique 2006, Niagara ($22.95)
This inaugural, vintage dated premium bubbly from JT, certainly hits the mark. The combination of the cooler 06 vintage, and aging on the lees for three years, has given the wine a ‘Champagne feel’. Toast, biscuit, apple, hazelnut and citrus mesh well with the small creamy bubbles, crisp acidity and excellent length. A tip of the hat to Marco Piccoli for a job well done!

89 Coyote’s Run Black Paw Vineyard Chardonnay 2010, Four Mile Creek ($21.95)
Medium yellow in colour, this Chardonnay has seen new oak treatment. At first, it is the oak which appears in the form of toast, vanilla and cream, but then the apple, melon, citrus and minerals work their way into the mix. Medium body, refined and linear, there is enough weight to pair with cream based dishes or richer cheeses.

89 Coyote’s Run Pinot Gris Rare Vintage 2010, Four Mile Creek ($24.95)
‘Rare Vintage’ is a limited edition wine, only made in top years. One hundred cases were made of this aromatic beauty. Its medium body serves up huge peach, flowers, honey and vanilla on the nose and banana, cream, yeast and spice on the palate. There is beautiful length, fresh acidity and a hint of bitterness, a telltale sign of a great Gris.

88 13th Street Winery White Palette 2010, Niagara ($14.95)
This aromatic beauty is a blend of seven white grapes. The primary suspects are Gewurztraminer, Musqué, Riesling and Pinot Gris. The supporting cast is Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Semillon.  Mid weight, the waves of peach, mango, nectarine, spice and flowers just flatter the senses, and the refreshing acidity just adds to its allure.

88 Coyote’s Run Red Paw Vineyard Chardonnay 2010, Four Mile Creek ($21.95)
A bouquet of toast, apple, pineapple, citrus, spice and banana are all present. It is richer in the mouth than Black Paw, with nutmeg and cream adding complexity. There is very good length and it is ready to drink now, and over the next 4 years.

88 Coyote’s Run Pinot Blanc 2010, Niagara ($17.95)
I have always been a fan of this bottling, and the current vintage lives up to its predecessors. Elegant and crisp, it is all about apple, peach, pear, flowers and minerals. It is an ideal aperitif wine, or pair it with mild brie and canapés.

88 Rosewood Chardonnay Reserve Naturally Fermented 2009, Beamsville Bench ($28)
As the name denotes, it was the ambient yeast of the winery that was used to ferment this wine. Moreover, it was aged in new barrels and given the full malolactic treatment. This has endowed the wine with toast, caramel and smoke, pineapple, honey and spice. The texture is creamy and rather full in the mouth.

87 Rosewood Sémillon 2010, Beamsville Bench ($18)
This one of the rare single varietal Semillons produced in Ontario. Have benefited from the heat of 2010, the nose is amped up with apricot jam, cherry pith, apple juice, honey, lanolin and spice. The texture is somewhat creamy and there is very good length. This is a singular juice and a great intro to the world of the ‘Semi’.

87 Coyote’s Run Five Mile White 2010, Niagara ($14.25)
Even though Riesling accounts for 57% of the blend, it is the 20% of Gewürztraminer which dominates its personality. The remainder is Pinot Blanc. An aromatic blend of peach rose water, honey and grapefruit beguiles.  The palate offers refreshing acidity as well as a spicy/grapefruit tinged finale. Pair with munster or gouda cheese. As a side note, I also tried their 2010 Five Mile Red, which is still in barrel. When released next year, it will truly impress for the price!

87 Lakeview Cellars Auxerrois Reserve 2009, Niagara ($17.95)
I like to describe Auxerrois as a baby Chardonnay. This version displays anise, apples, peach, citrus and some floral elements.

87 Lakeview Cellars Kerner Reserve 2009, Niagara ($17.95)
The Kerner grape is a cross of Riesling and the red grape known as Schiavia, famous in the Alto Adige region of Italy. That being said, this rendition is an aromatic white wine laced with flowers, peach, citrus, spice and honey.

Red

91 Fielding Estate Winery Chosen FEW, Niagara ($74.95)
The name for this premium cuvee is derived from the combination of the winery’s initials and the fact that only 7 barrels were selected. Full bodied, this wine offers incredible complexity in the form of an ever evolving bouquet of mocha, coffee, cherry, plum, blueberry, smoke, minerals, pepper, graphite and mint. The mid palate is rich and ripe, and the finale extensive. The tannins ensure drinkability over the next seven years. It is a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot and 14% Syrah.

88 Rosewood Merlot Reserve Naturally Fermented 2009, Beamsville Bench ($40)
Rosewood has churned out a delicious Merlot from the cool 09 vintage. Cocoa, plums, raspberries, herbs, hickory and spice are layered on an elegant and medium bodied frame. My only concern is that there was some burn from the natural 14.5% alcohol. Serve it slightly chilled, with a prosciutto and herb wrapped pork tenderloin accompanied with a mustard sauce.

Portugal

Red

91 Quinta do Crasto Reserva Old Vines 2008 ($36.50)
Sourced from 70 year old vines, this blend comprises some 25 different grapes. The nose yields abundant crème de cassis, violets, bbq spice and mocha fudge. The palate is ripe and emulates the nose, as well as an orange peel note. There is excellent length and firm tannins, which bodes well for aging. Hold it for a few years and drink it until 2020.

90 Prats &Symington Chryseia 2008 ($70.50)
The wine is a partnership between Bruno Prats, formerly of Cos d’Estournel, and Rupert Symington of the Symington Family. It is a hearty offering which serves up BBQ spice, smoke, plums, raspberries and licorice. Full bodied, there is excellent length, with some hard tannins appearing at the end. Pair it with braised lamb shanks in a rosemary tomato sauce.

89 Niepoort Batuta 2008 ($105)
Batuta is made from an ensemble of Douro grapes, the primary one being Tinta Amarela. It is wall to wall damson plums, spice, dark cherries, raspberries and vanilla. It finishes fresh, with very good length and an herbaceous note.

88 Quinta do Vallado Reserva 2008 ($38.75)
This opaque wine showcases a huge menthol and dark cherry nose, with hints of raspberries and licorice. The palate unfurls the cassis, menthol, herbs and licorice. It a gutsy offering which requires some rich meat to tame the tannins, so my suggestion would be to  enjoy it with suckling pig.

87 Real Companhia Velha Evel Tinto 2007 ($14.95)
This modern style Douro shows a good deal of upfront black and red fruits, all built on a medium bodied frame. Tannins and acid are all in check. Medium in length, it is well suited for grilled chouriço or Italian fennel sausage.

86 Flor de Crasto 2009 ($9.95)
This blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca is an opaque coloured red which is chock full of spice, black raspberries, dark cherries and floral aromas and flavours. It is light to medium body with a smooth texture, or, in other words, a perfect BBQ wine.

86 Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas 2008 ($17.95)
The intense nose of cassis bush and tobacco opens the door to a mid weight wine with a peppery palate. Fresh acid and supple tannins round out the experience.

Port Wine

96 Taylor Fladgate Scion ($3500)
This is a once in a lifetime experience, at a once in a lifetime price. In 2008, winemaker David Guimarens learned of the existence of two barrels of 1855 tawny port, which were part of a distinguished Douro family’s private reserve.  In 2009, the last surviving female member passed away, with no children. Her heirs, many of whom were not related, decided to sell the two barrels to Taylor. In 2010, the wine was bottled, after having spent 155 years in cask. Incredibly, there are no faults and the long hot aging process has concentrated the wine to an unbelievable depth and complexity. The dark walnut colour unfurls the red carpet in the form cherry blossom chocolates, dried fruits, spice, licorice, and dried flowers. The finish is uber long with loads of caramel, nuts and spice, as well as great acidity, bordering slightly on VA. To further put the glory of this wine into perspective, it was made from pre- phylloxera vines in the same year the famous Bordeaux classification was conceived.

96 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2009 ($100)
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.

94 Dows 1970 Vintage Port ($270)
Although maturing, this Port is ready to drink. On the nose, the fruit is dry as well as having an orange peel and nutty component. In the mouth, the fruit is more youthful, with a peppery edge chiming in on the superb finale. It should drink well for another twenty years.

94 Fonseca Vintage Port 2009 ($100)
Big, rich and full bodied, the 09 Fonseca possess a saturated colour and a bouquet of crème de cassis, plums, raisins, spice, violets, dark cherries and earth. There is a long finish and 40 plus years of longevity.

92 Croft Vintage Port 2009 ($75)
I believe the Croft style offers accessibility and richness, and this is the best edition to date. Crème de cassis, plums, boysenberry and cocoa are all present. It is approachable now, but will only benefit with age. Thirty years ahead of life.

90 Samdeman Vau Vintage Port 2000 ($29.95)
Hold on to your hats, folks! This delicious Vintage Port is only $30 in the Ontario market! It is black in  colour with prunes, raisins, violets and cocoa. Soft, round and accessible, it is ready to drink now or over the next five years.

89 Quinta do Infantado Ruby Port NV ($15.95)
This is the best ruby Port available in the Canadian market! Infantado only owns ‘A’ class vineyards, and, subsequently, the quality in undeniable. Violets, cassis, dried cherries and tobacco leaf are present on the nose. Medium sweet, there is density, delineation and a lasting after taste.

88 Sandeman Aptiv White Port ($14.95)
Made from a bevy of indigenous white grapes, this white Port reveals orange marmalade, white flowers and lemon peel. It is sweet, but not cloying, so chill well and serve as an aperitif. Or, create a cocktail by mixing it with tonic and a lemon wedge.
 

June 2011 Wine Ratings

E-mail Print PDF

Canada

91 Tawse Misek Vineyared Riesling 2009, Twenty Mile Bench ($22)
The Misek Riesling from Tawse, might just be the crown jewel in their prodigious 2009 Riesling portfolio. Its medium to full body, offers great extract and persistency, as well as a peach, floral, bergamot, honey and lime character. (ES)

90 Ravine Vineyard Riesling 2009, St. David’s Bench ($28)
Minerals, lime, powdered candies and stone fruit are all present in this beautiful Riesling. Its low alcohol, combined with fresh acid and smidge of residual sugar, make it all the more attractive. Sushi anyone? (ES)

90 Hillebrand Showcase Riesling Ghost Creek Vineyard 2009, Four Mile Creek ($25)
Harvested at a meager 1 ton per acre, this is a concentrated medium bodied Riesling with a superb acid/sugar balance. Peach, honey, minerals, lime and white flowers are layered on the long finish. (ES)

89 Megalomaniac Narcissist Riesling 2009, Niagara ($17.95)
I am very impressed with Sue-Ann Staff’s Rieslings in 2009, both from her namesake winery, as well as the ones she produced at Megalomaniac. Medium body, it is a wine with bright acidity, a touch of residual sugar, and a profile of lime cordial, peach, honey and minerals. There is excellent length. (ES)
88 Angels Gate Sussreserve Riesling 2009, Niagara ($13.95)
At this price, this wine is a killer value! The nose offers up an intense bouquet of lime, minerals, citrus and white flowers. It is ripe and balanced with a long acid tinged finale, which is a fine match with the slight sweetness. A couple of bottles of this summer friendly wine will not hurt at all. (ES)

88 Cornerstone Riesling Reserve Barrel Aged 2009, Niagara ($20)
When I was first presented this wine, I wanted to write it off immediately due to the fact that new barrels and Riesling are generally two concepts that don’t work together. Well, I was wrong. This edition  is a wild ride consisting of toast, spice, flowers, honeyed peaches and cream. There is very good length with some noticeable residual.  Indeed, this is an individual wine. (ES)

87 Fielding Estate Winery Riesling Estate 2010, Niagara ($15.95)
You can always count on Fielding to make a solid Riesling, regardless of the vintage. Here you will find a ripe personality of peach, honey, flowers, tutti frutti and a touch of honey. Good weight, balance and acidity round out the mix. (ES)

Greece

White

90 Domaine Gerovassiliou White 2009, Epanomi ($19.95)
This 50/50 blend of indigenous Assyrtiko and Malagousia expresses itself in the form of flowers, peach, spice, apple and honey. Medium body, the finish carries long, with a streak of minerals working their way into the mix. Pair it with grilled swordfish and sauteed rapini, or roast pork, marinated in lemon, olive oil and oregano. (ES)

90 Domaine Sigalas Santorini 2010, Santorini ($24.95)
Paris Sigalas, the Santorini Maestro, has done it again. This full bodied acid driven white wine is wall to wall minerals and citrus. Lengthy, with a hint of tannin, there is enough weight to pair it with richer meats. As a side note, I tasted this wine as part of a vertical going back to 2001. All have been standing the test of time quite nicely. (ES)

90 Biblia Chora Ovilos 2009, Pangeon ($28)
This singular Greek white is reminiscent of a White Bordeaux. Having spent 6 months in new oak, it offers up a pungent/complex nose of green fruit, tomato vine, vanilla, honey, ammonia, linden, spice and citrus flavours. It possesses a medium body and excellent length. (ES)

89 Muscat of Limnos 2010, Limnos ($13.35)
It is my belief that there is no better dessert wine value in the marketplace. This bottling always shows a seductive profile of marmalade, orange blossom, spice and honey. Medium to full body, the flavours stretch long over the palate.  Oh, and yes, it is a 750ml bottle. Don’t miss out on this stickie. (ES)

88 Santo Wines Vinsasnto 2004, Santorini ($34)
Greek VinSanto is the original incarnation. It is also much sweeter that its Italian counterparts. The grapes for this wine were sun dried for 10 days, fermented and then aged in barrel for three years. This treatment has produced an amber colour and a beguiling perfume of almonds, raisins, prunes, Seville orange marmalade and licorice. The finale is long.  Serve it well chilled with strong chesses and nuts. (ES)

89 Ktima Pavlidis Thema White, Drama ($19.95)
This medium weight blend of Assyrtiko and Sauvignon Blanc possesses a bouquet of flowers, melon, minerals and lime, as well as hints of honey and tropical fruit. There is very good length as well as a crisp personality. Paired it with chilled Alaskan king crab and lemon for a delectable experience. (ES)

85 Thalia White, Crete ($8.95)
This blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Vilana offers great value. It is crisp, with peach, flowers, grapefruit and citrus. Light bodied with medium length, it will multi task as both an aperitif or with cheeses. (ES)

Red

90 Alpha Estate Red 2007, Florina ($29.95)
I tried this wine both last year at the winery, as well as this past summer, and each time it scored the same. This blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Xinomavro and 20% Merlot possesses  a saturated colour as well as a bouquet of cassis, violets, dark cherries, spice, plum and herbs. Full bodied, yet refined, the finish carries long. Pair it with roasted pork loin in a cinnamon scented tomato sauce or pistachio crusted rack of lamb. (ES)

Portugal

86 Flor de Crasto 2009, Douro ($9.95)
This blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca is an opaque coloured red which is  chock full of spice, black raspberries, dark cherries and floral aromas and flavours. It is light to medium body with a smooth texture, or, in other words, a perfect BBQ wine. (ES)
 

May 2011 Wine Ratings

E-mail Print PDF

Australia

White 

88 Little Yerring Chardonnay 2009, Yarra Valley ($14.95)
The Yarra Valley, where the grapes for this wine are sourced, is renowned for cool climate/elegant wines. That being said, the oak supports the fruit, rather than overshadowing it. Smoke, apple, figs, lemon, peach, vanilla and minerals all work in tandem. Its light body, fresh acid and linear style, makes this wine food friendly at an extremely reasonable price. (ES)

87 McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate Moscato NV ($13.95)
Here is an Aussie rendering of a Moscato d’Asti. Slightly frothy, the perfume of peaches, flowers and marmalade pulls the taster into its aura. It is sweet, with added nuances of honey and spice on the palate. Light bodied and refreshing, it is tailor made as a late evening summer sipper, or a lovely addition to homemade fruit salad. Serve it well chilled. (ES)

86 Crush Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2010 ($12.95)
Tropical fruits, apples, minerals, tomato vine and minerals are all in the mix here. Light bodied, with a bright edge, there is medium length and a mineral after note. This wine needs food, so try it with bruschetta topped with feta cheese or herb and lemon marinated pork chops. (ES)

Red                 

89 Plunkett Fowles Stone Dwellers Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Strathbogie Ranges ($19.95)
The ‘08 vintage in Australia was a great one. This example is engaged with a deep nose of blackberries, licorice, vanilla, plums and cocoa powder. The palate adds nuances of raspberries and spice. It is ripe, but not heavy, as there is freshness on the lengthy finale. (ES)

89 Kangarilla Road Shiraz 2008, McLaren Vale ($17.95)
My first experience with this wine was back in 2003, when I was teaching Sommelier in Chicago. Consistently, it is a wine that delivers maximum bang for the buck. Medium bodied, the dark plums, black raspberries, milk chocolate, earth and spice are all in the mix. There is excellent length and it is ready to drink. (ES)

88 Mitolo Junior Shiraz 2008, McLaren Vale ($14.95)
Here is a superb value red! Medium body, it offers up a mélange of ripe plums, blackberries, cherries, spice, vanilla and cocoa. With no hard edges and a sweet mid palate, it is indeed a crowd pleaser. It is also tailor made for summer BBQ’s with family and friends. Purchase a case and enjoy its delight. (ES)

87 Hardys The Chronicles Butcher’s Gold Shiraz Sangiovese, South Australia ($14.95)
Sangiovese’s freshness tempers the richness of the Shiraz.  Its medium body, along with a nose of chocolate chip cookie dough, plums, spices and dark cherries work wonderfully together. There is very good length, as well as a smooth texture. (ES)

87 Yellow Tail Reserve Shiraz 2010, South Eastern Australia ($15.95)
Yes, you read correctly. Yellow Tail has released a Reserve Shiraz. All and all, it is pretty darn good juice,  with all the eucalyptus, plums and vanilla present. Its very good length and some background tannins round out the enjoyable experience.

 Canada

93 Colaneri Vidal Icewine 2009, Niagara ($49)
I haven’t tasted a Vidal Icewine that is this good in a long time!  Aged in acacia barrels, it is packed full of honey, peaches, apples, acacia flowers and pineapples. Full bodied, with crazy length and more than enough acid to make it non-cloying, this triumph has longevity, but my preference is to drink it in its youth, to take advantage of all its exuberance. (ES)

 USA 

White

89 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Karia Chardonnay 2007, Napa ($34.95)
Pale straw in colour, this is a refined Chardonnay, where in the oak and fruit work in tandem. Aromas of toast, honey, apple, licorice and fig combine with butterscotch, cream and apple in the mouth. The lengthy finish is back stopped by sound acid. (ES)

 Red

94 Signorello Padrone 2007, Napa Valley ($169.95)
This muscular proprietary red is a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon and the remainder equal parts of Merlot and Franc. It delivers in spades: plums, blackberries, dark cherries, tobacco, licorice and dark cocoa. Extremely full bodied, with impressive concentration and huge tannins, it should slumber in the cellar for another five years and then will easily last until 2030. Patience is required, but the reward will be sublime. (ES)

92 Signorello Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 2007, Napa Valley ($65.95)
Signorello has really hit the mark with their Cabs in 2007. The dark cherry colour leads into a bouquet of blackberries, cassis, cherries, smoke, vanilla and tobacco. Full bodied with superb length, this gem will last another decade, but can be enjoyed now, ideally with a well marbled NY strip. (ES)

92 Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley ($110.95)
I must admit a certain fondness for Daroiush. Simply put, they make great wines, year in, year out! The 07 Cab follows suit. With 15 years worth of tannins, this full bodied wine serves up plums, blackberries, dark cherries, spice, herbs and vanilla.  There is excellent length to this oh so gratifying wine. (ES)

91 Miner Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyards 2007, Napa Valley ($74.95)
Here is a complex red with mint, cassis, raspberries, blackberries, violets, spice and olives. Medium to full bodied, there is a sweet core of fruit, lengthy finale and sound tannins, which will allow the wine to age until 2019. (ES)

91 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley ($29.95)
This is a solid multi versatile Napa Cab with an attractive personality of cassis, black cherries, herbs, vanilla and chocolate. It is mid weight with great length and a price which justifies purchasing a couple of bottles for the cellar. Drink over the next 3 to 4 years.

 

April 2011 Wine Ratings

E-mail Print PDF

Argentina

90  Dominio del Plata Crios de Susana Balbo Torrentes 2010, Cafayate ($13.95)

Torrentes is Argentina’s answer to Gewurz (and/or Muscat). Aromatic, this value priced wine sings with peach, honeysuckle, flowers, citrus marmalade, incense and spice. Light to medium bodied, there is excellent length and lovely refreshing acidity. (ES)

 

89 Valle Perdido Reserva Malbec 2006, Patagonia ($19.95)

Patagonia is Argentina’s most southerly wine region, and subsequently, one of its coolest. This opaque black coloured Malbec shows layers of coffee, ripe cherries, prunes in alcohol, caramel, spice and violets. It is medium to full bodied with supple tannins and a long aftertaste. Drink it over the next 3 to 4 years. A solid value here! (ES)

 

Burgundy 

 

White

93 Domaine des Malandes Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru 2009

Here is a ripe Chablis full of apples, honey, spice and light tropical fruit accents. It is full bodied with lots of bright acidity as well as a somewhat creamy texture. All and all, it is approachable right now, but will improve for another 7 or 8 years.

 

91 Servin Chablis Vaillons 1er Cru 2009

The Servin Vaillons 1er Cru is a beautiful Chablis with aromas of white peaches, anise, apples and lemon peel encapsulating a core of minerals. Medium bodied, the crisp acidity helps to carry the wonderful finale, while at the same time giving ageability. Drink until 2017. The old adage that oysters and Chablis is the perfect match might seem cliché, but I can think of a no better partner for this wine.

90 Domaine Roux Père et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet les Chaumes 1er Cru 2009 ($38.95)

A 1er cru for under $40!  Buy it as is it is a no brainer. Ripe, it is medium bodied with vanilla, apple, citrus, minerals and stone fruit qualities. The length is excellent and it is ready to go.

 

89 Domaine Michel Juillot Rully 2009 ($28)

Rully is located in the value region of Côte Chalonnaise. Stylistically, its wines are similar to Côte de Beaunes as there is a good amount of clay and limestone in the soil. In this wine, we have minerals, apples, spice, peach, honey and citrus flavours. Medium stature, crisp acid and a solid persistency make for a great drink.

 

Red

92 Château de la Tour Clos-Vougeot 2009 ($149)

Yes, it might be pricey, but after all, it is Grand Cru Burgundy from an excellent vintage. There is an almost Californian edge to the wine as it is quite ripe with plums, raisins, dark cherries, violets, smoke and earth. Full bodied, there is a round texture and superb length. It should easily last for decade, if not more.

 

87 Maison Champy Bourgogne Signature 2009 ($19.95)

It is usually hard to find a solid Pinot at the regional level in Burgundy. But this one delivers the goods. Without a doubt, the great growing conditions in ‘09 helped. A personality of strawberries, cherries and earth are constructed on an easy drinking frame, with very good length.

 

87Domaine Michel Juillot Bourgogne Rouge 2009 ($23)

Here is another great little basic Bourgogne. Raspberries, cherries, strawberries and plum are all present in this easy drinker.

 

Chile

92 Concha y Toro Terrunyo Block 27 Carmenère 2007, Cachapoal Valley ($29.95)

Year in, year out, this wine is one of Chile’s preeminent Carmenères. This fact, coupled with the fabulous growing conditions in 2007, has produced a black/purple coloured wine with a huge bouquet of cassis, dark cherry, tobacco, spice, smoke, earth and vanilla. The palate is full bodied, yet refined, with great amounts of ripe dark fruits and solid tannins. It will easily last for another 5 years. At this price, it is a steal, so purchase a couple of bottles for the cellar.

 

New Zealand

91 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough ($19.95)

Kim always produces a top notch/text book Sauv Blanc, year in, year out. All things being equal, this is the best version I have tasted in a long time. It is full bodied and concentrated, with loads of green pineapple, fruit salad, lime cordial, passion fruit, grapefruit and tomato vine. The finish is long and the fresh acidity underscores it all. (ES)

 

87 Mudhouse Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Marlborough ($15.95)

Here is a solid, multi versatile, food friendly, and most importantly, great value SB. Fruit salad, passion fruit, grapefruit, grass and lime are built on a frame of crisp acidity. There is very good length as the fruit echoes on the finish. (ES)

 

Canada

White

Red

90 Château des Charmes Cabernet Franc St.David’s Bench Vineyard 2007, St. David’s Bench ($25.95)

The Bosc family has always had a deft hand with Franc, and their bottling is consistently one of Ontario’s best. The wine is a medium cherry colour and beckons with tobacco, cassis, raspberries, spice and incense. It is full bodied with excellent length. The tannins are solid, so hold it until 2012 and then drink it until 2018. (ES)

 

90 Stratus Petit Verdot 2007, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($38)

The 07 Petit Verdot is even better than the delicious 2006. It possesses a dark cherry colour and a huge bouquet of coconut, coffee, milk chocolate, smoke, raspberries, cassis and game. Full bodied, the palate is ripe with lots of red and black fruits. There is excellent length and firm, ripe tannins. Cellar until 2013 and consume until 2018. If your opt to drink tonight, think confit de canard or leg of lamb stuffed with feta cheese, toasted pine nuts and braised leeks. (ES)

 

88 Tawse Grower’s Blend Pinot Noir 2009, Niagara Peninsula ($32)

Sourced from multiple vineyards throughout the Peninsula and aged in 20% new barrels, the wine sings with a chorus of plums, black raspberries, violets¸ spice and vanilla. The palate is elegant, but still a little disjointed, so let it rest in the cellar until the end of the year and then drink it until 2014. 

 

88 Colaneri Virtuoso Pinot Noir 2009, Niagara Peninsula ($34)

Virtuoso is a mid weight Pinot with a complex of nose of plums, toast, cherries, cocoa and earth. Supple tannins and very good length round out the mix.

 

88 Tawse Sketches Cabernet Merlot 2009, Niagara ($19.95)

Here is a solid value Ontario red, with an easy drinking personality. Sketches 09 is a medium bodied offering with a deep cherry colour. The aromas and flavours are of blackcurrants, raspberries, tobacco smoke, cocoa and violets and they are all supported by supple tannins and very good length. Take it home tonight and serve it with rack of lamb or pasta in a tomato sauce, with grilled sausages.

 

White

93 Colaneri Paese Chardonnay 2009, Niagara ($34.95)

 This is a stunning Niagara Chardonnay which tantalizes the olfactory senses with honey, figs, pineapple, bananas, spice and vanilla. That same tsunami of sexiness is also found on the taste buds as well as a streak of minerality, which runs through the middle. Full bodied, there is excellent length and uplifting acidity. Drink until 2017. (ES)

 

91 Ravine Vineyard Chardonnay Reserve 2009, Niagara ($40)

Here is a superb Chardonnay with lots of complexity and elegance. Vanilla, apple, caramel, peach, and citrus are in the mix. The concentrated mid palate carries the fruit and oak on the long finish and the refreshing acidity brings everything into definition.

90 Stratus Gewürztraminer 2009, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($32)

Here is a text book Gewürz, if there ever was one. Supremely aromatic, the peach, rose water, mango, cold cream, cardamom and honey inundate the senses. In the mouth, it is full bodied, but elegant, as the sound acid ensures that there is no oiliness. The finish is long and echoes with what the nose doles out . Pair with a foie gras torchon topped with mango marmalade or a lightly spiced Thai salad.  (ES)

 

90 Henry of Pelham Riesling Speck Family Reserve Riesling 2008, Niagara ($30)

HOP’s top tier Riesling is one for those who are purists of the grape. No tutti-frutti wine here. This is a pure expression of terroir- lime, petrol and minerals all built on bright acid. Dry, it is a perfect match with food. My preference would be with choucroute garnie or schnitzel with a myriad of pickled vegetables. (ES)

 

89 Five Rows Craft Wine of Lowrey Vineyards Pinot Gris 2009, St. Davids Bench ($25)

This is the winner in the category of best Pinot Gris at this year’s Cuvee awards.  Not cheap, but it puts to shame many an Ontario Gris (or Grigio). Mid weight, it delivers peaches, apple, mineral, grapefruit and gooseberries. There is weight, but no heaviness, thanks to the wonderful acidity. (ES)

 

89 Colaneri Cavallone Pinot Grigio 2009, Niagara ($25)

Twenty percent of the grapes were dried (appassimento) to make this wine, making for a full bodied and oily Grigio-more along the lines of an Alsatian Pinot Gris. Peach, honey flowers and baked apple are its tag line. It may not be everyone’s taste, but it is undeniably a solid bottle of individual wine. (ES)

 

88 Flatrock Cellars The Rusty Shed Chardonnay 2009, Twenty Mile Bench ($24.95)

This extremely youthful Chardonnay it shy right now, but apples, citrus, spice, honey, toast and minerals have emerged. There is depth as well as very good length and a refreshing personality. Try it with oysters Rockefeller, or a salmon filet, in a beurre blanc sauce.

 

88 Pondview Bella Terra Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2009, Niagara ($24)

There is a wonderful balance between the oak and the fruit- each works in tandem with the other. Mid weight, the combination of apple, vanilla, spice and caramel linger on the palate. It is ready to drink, so enjoy it with chicken tikka masala or cheddar cheese.

 

88 Five Rows Craft Wine of Lowrey Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2009, St. Davids Bench ($25)

Another top white wine from Five Rows! Melon, grapefruit, lime, and mint are all in the mix. It is crisp, long in the mouth and very well made. (ES)

 

88 13th Street Winery Premier Cuvee NV, Niagara ($29.95)

Even though the wine is labeled as a non vintage, the Pinot Noir (2/3) and Chardonnay (1/3) grapes are  from the cool 2006 vintage. Thirty six months on the lees has imbued this bubbly with biscuity aromas, which combine with lemon, apple, earth and a touch of cherry. There is a fine length and a delightful creamy texture. Oysters on the half shell with this wine are a no brainer!

 

88 Cornerstone Riesling Reserve Barrel Aged, Niagara ($20)

Barrel aging has given this wine a slightly nutty edge, which combines nicely with peach jam, minerals, lime and flowers. There is a touch of sweetness, very good length and just the right amount of freshness. (ES)

 

USA

90 William Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley ($34.95)

This opaque black wine has a purple rim. The combination of crème de cassis, raspberries, vanilla, dark chocolate, spice and hints of molasses flatter the senses. Full bodied, there is excellent length as well as firm, yet ripe tannins. Drink it over the next 5 years. (ES)

 

February 2011 Wine Ratings

E-mail Print PDF

Australia
92 Elderton Ode to Lorraine Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz/Merlot  2008, Barossa ($42.95)
Lorraine is a complex lady, filling her life with plums, raspberries, herbal mint, licorice, and coffee and they are all present on her medium to full bodied frame. Tannins are present too, but they are buried under the structure. Surprisingly, the acid is fresh, making her all the more attractive, with or without a meal to accompany the occasion. (ES)


Austria
93 Kracher Chardonnay Trockenbeerenauslese Cuvee No 3 Nouvelle Vague 2000, Burgenland ($79)
If you have never experienced one of Kracher’s über delicious dessert wines, you don’t know what you are missing! Super rich, this golden amber botrytis affects stickie, flaunts honey, wax, dried apricots, marmalade, spice and candied apples. The finish is delightfully long, and, even though there is substantial sweetness, the equally substantial acidity gives the wine symmetry. (ES)


91 Salomon- Undhof Von Stein Reserve Grüner Veltliner 2006, Kremstal ($39)
Here is a superb Grüner that offers great depth and ripeness. Light yellow in colour, the aromatic nose of pineapples, honey, caramel, pepper and apples are built on a full bodied frame. The finish is very long with mouthwatering acidity, but without any sense of heaviness. Drink it over the next 10 years. (ES)


90 Salomon-Undhof Linberg Grüner Veltliner Reserve 2006, Kremstal ($35)
This Groovy is just a smidge lighter than Von Stein, but with many of the same attributes: pineapple, honey, spice and apples. Crisp acidity and excellent length will allow it to age gracefully over the next decade. (ES)


89 Weingut Nigl Grüner Veltliner Gartling 2009, Kremstal ($22.58)
I have always been a big fan of Nigl. Light green yellow in colour, the crisp personality of the wine is layered with banana, apples, grapefruit, herbs and spice. There is very good length and a medium body. Pair this with herb encrusted halibut, or grilled pork chops with asparagus, in a hollandaise sauce.


88 Leth Grüner Veltliner Steinagrund Lagenreserve 2009, Niederösterreich ($16.95)
Here is a great introduction to the world of Grüner that will not break the bank. It is light yellow with a green tinge, and the bouquet of honey, white pepper, grapefruit, flowers and green pepper meet up with a spicy and somewhat oily palate. None the less, there is still enough acidity to backstop the finale. (ES)


86 Soellner Toni Grüner Veltliner 2009, Niederösterreich ($14.95)
For under $15, this is a no brainer, as well as a being a great introduction into the world of the ‘Groovy Grape’. It is quite youthful, showing peach, pepper, honey and minerals, and comes light bodied and  flavourful. (ES)


Canada
Rose


90 The Grange of Prince Edward County Brut Rose 2008, Prince Edward County ($34.85)
By far, this is the county’s best bubbly to date, and possibly Ontario’s best sparkling Rosé.
Two years of aging on the lees, have given the wine a yeasty overtone which combines with strawberries and earth. In the mouth, the same yeast and strawberries combine with cranberry fruit. It is delicate with very crisp acid and excellent length. Kudos to winemaker Jeff Innes and Grange!


Red


89 Tawse Van Bers Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2008, Lincoln Lakeshore ($47.95)
Year in, year out, this is one of Ontario’s best Cab Francs. In ‘08, because of challenging growing conditions, the grapes were harvested on November 25th, with a natural alcohol content of 13.5%. The perfume of flowers, pencil shavings, cassis, tobacco, raspberries and vanilla seduces the taster. In the mouth, it is elegant and refined, with lots of fine grained tannins. Drink it over the next 5 years.


89 Peller Estates Signature Series Cabernet Franc 2008, Niagara ($38)
Here is a real flatterer! Lawrence Buhler has produced a solid Cabernet Franc from the difficult red vintage of 2008. Wonderfully elegant, the perfume is a mélange of raspberries, cassis, cocoa, coffee and sweet tobacco, and is built on a medium bodied frame. In the mouth, there is a sweet core of fruit, soft tannins and provides a long finish. It is ready to drink with your favorite cut of steak or lamb chops, marinated in garlic and Greek oregano. (ES)


88 Tawse Grower’s Blend Pinot Noir 2009, Niagara ($32)
Sourced from multiple vineyards throughout the Peninsula, and aged in 20% new barrels, this wine is a chorus of plums, black raspberries, violets¸ spice and vanilla. The palate is graceful, but still a little disorderly, so let it sit in the cellar until the end of the year and then drink it until 2014.  (ES)


85 Union Red 2009, Niagara ($13.95)
Here is an unpretentious quaffable red that is meant for your typical spaghetti and meatball dinner, or with some Italian charcuterie, with rustic bread and olive oil. Light-bodied, this smooth and juicy blend of Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Merlot serves up strawberries, cassis and pepper. It is ready to drink. (ES)


France


91 Chateau Certan De May 2006, Pomerol ($145)         
This medium bodied Pomerol possesses a youthful black center with a ruby rim. The bouquet reveals cooked plums, cassis, ripe cherries, spice and toast. Flavours of earth, red flowers and coffee chime in on the long finale. It is ready to drink but will last another decade, or more.


87 Chateau Le Pey Cru Bourgeois 2008, Medoc ($17.95)
This wine is a great intro to the realm of petit Chateaux Bordeaux. Made from a blend of Cab Sauv and Merlot, it delivers the goods in the form toast, spice, tobacco and dark fruits. There is very good length and enough tannin to allow it to work with your dinner steak or chop. (ES)


Germany


90 Rheichsgraf Von Kesselstatt Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett 2007, Mosel ($19.95)
From one of the most prized vineyards of Mosel, and from a top vintage, comes this elegant Riesling. Not as powerful as some, the quality and length are still undeniable, with mineral, lime, peach, honey and petrol all present in the mix. Drink it now if you enjoy the fruit, or age for up to 12 years if you enjoy the mature qualities of a solid Mosel. (ES)


Italy


89 Cecchi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2007, Tuscany ($24.95)
This Vino Nobile shows great balance between the concentration, tannin and acid. Medium body, its personality of plums, cherries, spice, dried herbs and wet earth make it a match for rich roasts or braised lamb shanks. It finishes long and will age well for a couple of years. (ES)


Portugal


87 Real Companhia Velha Evel Tinto 2007, Douro ($14.95)
This modern style Douro shows lots of upfront black and red fruits, all built on a medium bodied frame. Tannins and acid are all in check. Medium in length, it is well suited for grilled chorico or Italian fennel sausage. (ES)


USA
California


88 Ghost Pines Merlot 2007, Napa/Sonoma ($19.95)
Made from almost equal parts of Napa and Sonoma fruit, this Merlot is everything that you want from the varietal-plum, with blackberries, black cherries, spice, coffee and cocoa all built on a medium bodied frame. Ripe, rich and easy to drink, it offers immediate gratification, or will age pleasantly for couple of years. (ES)

 


Page 13 of 25

Wine Facts

The lip of a red wine glass is sloped inward to capture the aromas of the wine and deliver them to your nose.