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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.

January 2011 Wine Ratings

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89 Jackson Triggs Gold Label Fumé Blanc 2009, Niagara ($23.95)
Even though the label states Fumé, it is the fruit of the Sauvignon Blanc that overshadows the oak. Pungent green pineapple, ammonia, passion fruit, grapefruit and honey inundate the senses. There is loads of crisp acidity with a slight creaminess and spice due to the barrel aging. (ES)


88 Wayne Gretzky Estate Series Riesling 2009, Lincoln Lakeshore ($18.95)
Peach, minerals, flowers, lime and apple sauce are layered on a light bodied frame full of fresh acid and some noticeable sweetness.  It is reminiscent of a Rheingau Kabinett. It has a lengthy finish and is ready to drink. (ES)


87 Creekside Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Niagara ($13.95)
At this price, this Blanc offers a solid bang for the buck. In the glass, the wine is light yet flavorful, singing of banana, fruit salad, lime, grass and grapefruit. There is very good length and crisp acid, making it a perfect foil for hors d’oeuvres. (ES)


86 Pondview Riesling 2009, Niagara ($16)
An intense bouquet of lime, peach, minerals and flowers is followed by fresh acid on the palate and flavours of grapefruit and lime. This wine is bright, with just a hint of sweetness and Medium in length. (ES)


85 Pondview Gewurztraminer Riesling, Niagara ($14)
This blend is 65% Gewurz and 35% Riesling, making for a persona of flowers¸ peach, honey and lime. The palate is spicy and there is a lingering finish. (ES)




91 Creekside Undercurrent Shiraz Icewine 2008, Niagara ($45.95/200ml)
This icewine is a different creature! The best way to describe it, is as a creative blend between a Rutherglen stickie and an Icewine, having spent almost two and half years in a new barrel before being bottled. The colour is a medium rust/orange and the nose smells of licorice, plum, orange and sponge toffee. The palate is defined by spice, cocoa, pepper and crème caramel. There is excellent length with sound acid. Forget dessert, and just revel in the uniqueness of this treasure. (ES)


89 Creekside Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2007, St Davids Bench ($37)
No doubt about it, this is a serious Niagara red. Black colour, the bouquet of cassis, cherries, vanilla, violets and mint meet up with flavours of smoke and spice. Full bodied, the wine is extremely youthful and will require a couple of years before it starts to strut its stuff.  Hold it until 2012 and delight in it until 2020. (ES)


89 Pondview Cabernet Franc Icewine 2009, Niagara ($35/200ml)
Pale ruby in colour, the aromas are of raspberries, strawberries, cassis, herbs and cocoa while built on a medium bodied frame. The acid is fresh, giving balance to the sweetness. Paired with chocolate fondue, this baby will pleasure the senses. (ES)

88 Calamus Red Reserve 2007, Niagara ($18)
Calamus continues to offer solid value. Here is a delicious Bordeaux blend that offers good concentration and a personality of cassis, raspberries, spice, flowers and smoke. Tannins are present, offering midterm aging. Drink it until 2014 in order to take advantage of the fruit. (ES)


88 Creekside Undercurrent Malbec, St Davids Bench ($32.95)
In the Cahors region of France, where Malbec is grown, the moniker used to describe those wines is ‘Les Vins Noires de Cahors.’ Back home, Creekside has indeed produced a black wine, which releases raspberries, roses, cassis, spice and chocolate coated coffee bean. Medium to full bodied, the tannins arrive with authority on the finale allowing it to be enjoyed over the next 2 to 3 years, with the heartiest fare possible. (ES)


New Zealand


90 Eradus Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Marlborough ($17.95)
This listing is a new one at Vintages. It is a textbook Kiwi Sauv Blanc at an excellent price. Huge tropical fruit, honey, lime zest, herbs and grapefruit are all present creating a refreshing ambiance. It finishes long with mineral undertones combining with the fruit. It also gives Kim Crawford a run for the money. (ES)



87 Sokol-Blosser Meditrina Red Blend NV, USA ($19.95)
Here is a unique blend which encompasses grapes from the three famous wine states on the west coast of the Unites States. The Zinfandel comes from California, the Pinot Noir from Oregon, and the Syrah from Washington.  So what does the sum of the parts equate to?  It is a dark coloured offering with a smooth texture and a personality of berry fruit, spice and flowers. This is your quintessential pizza and pasta wine. (ES)






89 Irony Chardonnay 2009, Napa Valley ($19.95)
I have always been impressed with the quality of this bottling, year in year out. The current vintage offers up a nose of vanilla, toast, honey, apple, fig and peach. In the mouth, there is a creamy texture and flavours of spice, apple, tropical fruit and fresh cream. The finale is lengthy. (ES)



87 SKN Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley ($16.95)
Here is a solid all purpose Napa Cab that won’t break the bank. Scents of blackberries, cassis, violets, earth, cocoa and tobacco smoke are built on a medium bodied frame. There is very good length, with tannins present, but are not obtrusive. Buy a couple of bottles for the BBQ season. (ES)


87 Sebastiani Merlot 2006, Sonoma County ($18.95)
From the cool Pacific coast, AVA of Sonoma Coast, comes this easy drinking Merlot. A mixture of chocolate fudge, damson plum, sweet cherries and smoke is present. On the finale, a touch of barnyard makes an appearance.  Drink it now. (ES)


November 2010 Wine Ratings

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91 Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery Riesling Icewine 2007, Twenty Mile Bench ($50)
This wine is sublime…an absolutely sublime stickie! Honey drenched peaches, apple sauce, pear purée and lime cordial are built on a full bodied frame. Even though there are 280 grams of sugar, the wine is not cloying, as the elevated acid gives the wine lift and definition. (ES)


90 Inniskillin Pinot Gris Legacy Series 2009, Niagara ($34.95)
Bruce Nicholson has hit the mark with his third release of a Legacy wine. This time around, the wine chosen to bear the name is a Pinot Gris from the excellent white wine vintage of 2009. Light yellow colour with a peach tint, this aromatic offering reveals layers of smoke, honey, lanolin, peach, cinnamon, baked apple and cream. The 14% alcohol is held beautifully in check by flavours of peach, orange, apple, mango and cream. The length just carries on and there is just a hint of sweetness also.  Only 130 cases made were made of this wine. It is one of Niagara’s best renditions of this varietal to date. (ES)


90 13th Street Essence Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Niagara ($34.95)
This medium bodied beauty offers aromas of tropical fruit, gooseberries, melon, tangerines, and herbs. There is concentration and length, with perfect balancing acidity. It will show best with food, so pair it with a fresh water fish, such as pickerel in an herb/butter sauce or fresh goat cheese wrapped in chives. (ES)


89 Jackson Triggs Silver Series Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Niagara ($17.95)
This beauty is a dead ringer for a kiwi version, but at a more affordable price. An intense nose of passion fruit, gooseberries, herbs, coconut, grapefruit and fruit salad leads into a palate with depth and zippy acidity. It finishes long, with a mineral note combing with the fruit. Don’t be shy, buy a couple of bottles!


90 Tawse Riesling Quarry Road 2009, Twenty Mile Bench ($21.95)
Wowser! Yet another great Riesling from Tawse. This beauty is all about lime, minerals, pineapple, apples and hints of honeyed yellow plums. Its medium body does convey some residual sugar, but the racy acidity gives it the feel of a dry wine. With its long finale, the wine will easily stand up to any shellfish you throw its way. (ES)


90 Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery Robert’s Block Riesling 2009, Twenty Mile Bench ($21)
‘SAS’, as I like to call her, has crafted her finest Riesling to date. From 14 year old vines, this bottle delivers bergamot, citrus, peach, lime and minerals on the nose. In the mouth, honey, apples and grapefruit are thrown into the mix. It is a touch off dry with an exuberant acid that gives definition and carries the length. Drink it now until 2016. (ES)


89 Cattail Creek Collaboration Riesling Clone 49, Four Mile Creek 2009 ($25)
Collaboration is a new premium line of wines from Cattail. In 2009, four different bottlings of Riesling were created. Made from an Alsatian clone, it is super expressive in form with bergamot, pineapple, lime zest, honey, peach and smokey minerals. The mid palate shows weight and solid persistency, as well as lofty acidity.  Only 32 cases were made. (ES)


88 Cattail Creek Collaboration Riesling Clone 21 Old Vines, Four Mile Creek ($25)
Made from a German clone, the Riesling vines were first planted in 1974. Aromas of minerals, citrus, petrol and apple meet up with spice and grapefruit on the dry palate. 34 cases were produced. (ES)


88 Cattail Creek Collaboration White Blend, Four Mile Creek ($25)
This blend of 43% Sauvignon Blanc and equal parts of Gewurz and Riesling gains points for aromatics. Peach, flowers, bubble gum, citrus and honey are emulated on the palate. There is very good length and it is ready to go.




90 Jackson-Triggs Niagara Delaine Vineyard Syrah 2007, Niagara ($29.95)
This is the best version of this wine to date, having benefited from the wonderful growing conditions of 2007. The bouquet soars with chocolate covered coffee bean, cassis, coconut, violets, black pepper and leather. The same is found on the mid weight palate with notes of raspberries and smoke added in for good measure. There is excellent length and it is ready to drink now or until 2015. (ES)


89 Pillitteri Exclamation Series Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2007, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($38)
Exclamation is Pillitteri’s new premium tier and will only be produced in the best vintages. Each wine is packaged in a different and unique bottle with a metallic label.  Marc Bradshaw’s wine is indeed worthy of praise. It is a medium plus bodied offering with a complex personality of cassis, raspberries, mint/herbs, cocoa, vanilla and nutmeg. Tannins are ripe, but not overpowering, making for immediate accessibility. It should age well over the next 5 years. (ES)


89 13th Street Winery Essence Pinot Noir 2009, Niagara ($44.95)
When Jean Pierre Colas joined 13th Street in 2009, he wished to create a new premium line of wines.  Much discussion led to the birth of ‘Essence.’ The wines that will have that name will only be made in the best of years. This wine, the inaugural Pinot Noir, is a delicate offering with a savory profile of herbs and spice that meld together with cherries, cocoa and roses. The mid palate dips a little, but the finish carries the fruit. It is ready to drink. (ES)


88 Cattail Creek Cabernet Franc Reserve 2007, Four Mile Creek ($35)
The medium cherry colour heralds cassis, vanilla, peppermint and spice. Plum, cherries and flowers add more complexity in the mouth. The medium body works well with its smooth texture.  (ES)


88 Cattail Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2007, Four Mile Creek ($35)
The profile of cassis, herbs, vanilla and cocoa are supported on a bed of supple tannins and fresh acid. Its good depth enhances the duration of flavour. (ES)


87 Ravine Vineyard Redcoat 2009, Niagara ($19.95)
This Merlot dominant Bordeaux blend is your quintessential trattoria food wine, aka pasta, pizza and antipasto. Light to medium body, the dark cherry colour with bright ruby rim ushers in aromas of raspberries, cassis, herbs, vanilla and cocoa. Tannins are soft, acid is fresh, and the palate emulates the nose.





94 Forman Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley ($94.95)
Sourced from a sloped vineyard on Howell Mountain, this wine is a full bodied beauty with loads of crème de cassis, black cherries, blackberries, mint, graphite and toast. There is loads of sweet fruit and flesh on the mid palate as well as a substantial amount of tannin underneath. It will drink well until 2025. (ES)


92 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley ($79.95)
A sleek, yet powerful, purple/black coloured offering, its nose is still quite youthful and a tad closed, but cassis, vanilla, cocoa, tobacco and spice are all present on the nose and palate. Full bodied, the tannins grip the finale, ensuring a long life ahead for this beauty. Enjoy it from 2011 to 2023.


92 Ravenswood Teldeschi Vineyard Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley ($44.95)
Made from old vines, some which date back to 1913, this full bore wine offers huge amounts of black raspberries, blackberries and berry fruit jam in the glass. Throw in some spice, tobacco and vanilla and you have a perfect wine for a winter pot roast or braised lamb shanks.


92 Beringer Merlot Bancroft Howell Mountain 2005, Napa Valley ($69.95)
This wine is a sexy winner! Full bodied, the bouquet of plums, dark cherries, cocoa, earth and coffee also unfurl on the rich, glycerin laden palate. With no harsh edges and superb length, this wine will age gracefully over the next 5 to 8 years. Make sure to grab a couple of bottles for the cellar. (ES)


91 Chateau St Jean Cinq Cépages 2007, Sonoma County ($89.95)
Sourced from many different AVAs within Sonoma, this Meritage is the flagship red wine of the winery. Cassis, boysenberry, cocoa, spice, vanilla and cocoa come together on the nose of this young wine. There is excellent length as well as a medium plus body. Drink it over the next 7 years to take advantage of its exuberance.


91 Stags Leap Winery Petite Syrah 2007, Napa Valley ($50)
Even though the wine is labeled Napa Valley, the grapes are sourced from the home vineyard in the Stags Leap AVA. This is a powerful offering with a dark nose of plums, cassis, cherries, violets and spice. Gutsy, to say the least, the wine has at least 15 years ahead of it thanks to the pronounced tannins. Meat is needed, lots of meat, to tame this baby.


90 Rodney Strong Symmetry 2007, Alexander Valley ($50)
The ‘07 Symmetry is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 3% Merlot and 1% each of Franc and Petit Verdot. Aromas of After Eight mints, blackberries, violets, cinnamon and raspberries are constructed on a full bodied frame. The jammy texture is laced with dark fruits, raspberries and spice. Great persistency and structure will allow the wine to age for a decade.


89 Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir 2007, Russian River Valley ($49.95)
This mid weight Pinot opens up with dark cherries, raspberries, flowers, vanilla and cocoa on the nose. Spice, herbs, raspberries and smoke come together on the taste buds. There is a lengthy finish, supple tannins and a touch of heat. It is ready to drink now.


89 Philip Togni Tanbark Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley ($59.95)
This, the second label of Togni, is very much approachable as no press wine was used to make this wine.  All the grapes for this wine were sourced from Spring Mountain. The telltale herbal/cedar aromas of the higher elevation fruit combine with raspberries, cassis, cherries and licorice. Now to 2015.


89 Beringer Knights Valley Alluvium 2007, Knights Valley ($39.95)
This elegant blend is made primarily from Merlot (78%), with the remainder a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.  Cassis, mint and herbs, boysenberry, violets and mocha are all present.  There is good persistency with tannins popping up at the end. Drink it over the next 5 years. 

88 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir 2007, Sonoma Coast ($19.95)
Here is a straight Pinot that is fruity, friendly and ready to go. The cocoa/ coffee aromas from the oak influence mesh together with boysenberries, black cherries, flowers, earth and spice. It is flavorful, fruity and with fine length. The price is also very right.


87 La Crema Pinot Noir 2008, Sonoma Coast ($29.95)
Here is a smooth and easy Pinot which possesses a medium ruby colour. Cherries, spice, herbs, vanilla are all constructed on fresh tannins and soft tannins. And, it has a very good length.




92 Beringer Chardonnay Private Reserve Chardonnay 2008, Napa Valley ($44.95)
Sourced from Yountville fruit, this full bodied white kicks up the concentration, ripeness and oak over the regular Napa Valley bottling. Full bodied, this rich offering churns out cream, banana, apple, fig and pineapple. In the mouth there is a creamy texture, with good acid and a spice tinged finale.


90 Beringer Chardonnay 2008, Napa Valley ($24.95)
Beringer’s Napa Chardonnay is a value priced offering (in California terms). Mid weight, the aromas of banana, tropical fruit, lemon and fuji apple mesh together with subtle oak notes of caramel, vanilla and spice. It finish is lengthy and refreshing.


89 Etude Chardonnay Estate 2009, Carneros ($49.95)
This wine epitomizes the modern style of Cali Chardonnay. It is one in which elegance and subtle oak have supplanted the two by four oily style of yesteryear. Sourced from the cool Carneros region, there is definition and freshness beneath the apple, spice, vanilla, honey, minerals and yellow plums.  The lengthy finish is perfectly suited for grilled salmon in a butter sauce.


88 Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches 2008, Sonoma Coast ($24.95)
A cool climate bouquet of apples, minerals, hay and cinnamon meshes together with flavours of lemon, banana and caramel.  It is elegantly styled, with fresh acid and a touch of creaminess. (ES)


87 Beringer Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Napa Valley ($21.95)
Pale straw yellow in colour, this wine provides a subtle perfume of grapefruit, herbs and citrus. In the mouth, guava adds more depth. There is fresh acid and very good length.




95 Niepoort Vintage Port 2007, Porto ($88)
This is indeed a majestic Port but will only show its best after two decades of aging. An uber youthful opaque violet/purple colour paves the way to a bouquet of cassis, violets, orange peel, spice and cocoa. Full bodied, and very intense, the finish just carries on and on and on. All and all, it should last 50 plus years.


October 2010 Wine Ratings

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85 McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate Shiraz 2008, South Eastern Australia ($15.05)
Here’s a warm and easy going Shiraz with blackberries, raspberry liqueur, smoke and violets. Light to medium body in the mouth, it is a wine of immediate pleasure. (ES)





90 Cave Springs Gewurztraminer Estate 2009, Beamsville Bench ($16.95)
What an incredible value for Gewurz lovers! This full bodied beauty sings with peach, flowers, honey, mango, spice and orange blossom. The mid palate is viscous and there is a touch of sweetness at the end of the long finish. (ES)


89 Cave Springs Chenin Blanc 2008, Beamsville Bench ($17.95)
Chenin is indeed an underappreciated varietal. Infinitely versatile, it produces the gambit from dry to super sweet wines. This version, which is probably Ontario’s best, sings will a classic profile of apple juice, minerals, wet wool and citrus. The palate is full with just a smidge or residual sugar to take the edge off the crisp personality, making for a dry wine experience. Pair with chilled prawns or chèvre.  


88 Coyote’s Run Pinot Blanc 2009, Niagara ($17.95)
A pale water colour leads into a nose of apple, banana and melon. The palate adds more depth and complexity in the form of tropical fruit, spice, apple and peach. The finish is long and fresh. Pair with a soy/ cilantro/chili/ lime flavoured duck breast over rice noodles.


88 Château de Charmes Generation Seven White 2009, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($13.95)
This is the inaugural vintage of this wine. The name refers to how many generations of the Bosc family have been involved in the wine business- whether it was in Alsace, Algeria, or as it is today, in Niagara. A blend of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer, this super value wine offers layers of lime, peach, lychee, citrus, mineral and royal gala apple. The palate is all crisp and non-oaked. Serve anytime, as a sipper or with a meal.


87 Coyote’s Run Pinot Gris Red Paw Vineyard 2009, Four Mile Creek ($17.95)
A combination of citrus, apple, spice, melon and a hint of peach are all present in the mid weight Gris. Refreshing acid and very good length make this wine perfect for schnitzel with lemon.


87 Cave Springs Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Beamsville Bench ($17.95)
Light yellow colour, this wine has seen partial oak aging. Honey, wax, smoke, spice, vanilla, gooseberries and citrus are served up on an easy drinking structure. Try with orange roughy in a mild yellow curry cream sauce.


86 Coyote’s Run Unoaked Chardonnay 2009, Niagara ($14.95)
Are you looking for a solid all purpose Chardonnay at an equally solid price? Here is your champion! Peach, pineapple, melon, banana and a touch of honey are in the bottle. No need to wait, enjoy tonight. (ES)


89 Cave Springs Cabernet Franc Estate Bottled 2007, Beamsville Bench ($34.95)
Even after 3 years of aging, this black wine is still incredibly youthful and somewhat sinewy. It took a good 24 hours for it start to touch show its pedigree in the form of cassis, tobacco smoke, raspberries, black olives and fresh bread. It is medium bodied, with a lasting finish and firm tannins. Hold until 2011 and drink until 2018. (ES)


89 Cave Springs Merlot 2007, Niagara Escarpment ($24.95)
A perfect example of Merlot; plum, cherries, vanilla, spice and smoke, all backed up by supple tannins and fresh acid. Mid weight, there is very good length. Already approachable, it will age for another five years. (ES)


89 Cave Springs Gamay Estate Bottled 2007, Beamsville Bench ($24.95)
This great Gamay possesses a dark cherry colour and a flattering personality of plum, spice, strawberries, pencil shavings and smoke. The finale is long and peppery with soft tannins and good acidity. Drink this with braised pork belly in a sour cherry sauce or with grilled herb and pepper marinated quail.  (ES)


88 Coyote’s Run Cabernet Franc Black Paw Vineyard 2008, Four Mile Creek ($21.95)
The good folks at Coyote’s Run have pulled off a minor success in the difficult red wine vintage of 2008. Their Cabernet Franc from Black Paw offers admirable concentration as well as a personality of plum, vanilla, cherries, herbs and spice. Fine tannins are present, so drink over the next 2 to 3 years. Kudos!


87 Coyote’s Run Meritage 2008, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($24.95)
This is a worthy successor to the delicious 2007, albeit a bit lighter due to the nature of the 08 vintage. This blend of 38% Merlot and the remainder equal parts of Cab Franc and Cab Sauv has a medium cherry colour and a bouquet of plums, cherries, raspberries, spice and flowers. The acid is high and the tannins supple. Ready to drink with pot roast or braised lamb shanks. (ES)


86 Cave Springs Gamay 2006, Niagara ($13.95)
Here is a solid value in the realm of easy drinking wines for your pizza and pasta evenings. It is all about pepper, strawberries and cherries, supported by refreshing acidity. (ES)



87 Gallo Family Pinot Noir 2007, Sonoma County ($17.95)
This is a succulent and easy drinking rendition of the heartbreak grape. The dark cherry colour leads into a perfume of red cherries, blackberries, coffee, cocoa, herbs and pepper. The palate is medium bodied with soft tannins, decent acid and a pleasing finish. Drink over the next 2 years. (ES)


August 2010 Wine Ratings

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91 Stoney Ridge Excellence Pinot Gris 2009, Niagara Lakeshore ($23)
Very Alsatian in style! Gordon Robert has churned out a phenomenal Pinot Gris. It is rich and full bodied with peach, citrus, spice, cream and orange zest qualities. There is lots of fruit on the palate as well as refreshing acidity, which works in tandem with the long finish. Pair with Chilean sea bass with a citrus beurre blanc or a white pizza topped with prosciutto, arugula and parmeggiano. (ES)


90 Stoney Ridge Excellence Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Niagara Lakeshore ($23)
This gold medal winning wine features a bouquet of herbs, citrus, fresh grass and fruit salad. It is mid weight with lots of minerals and citrus flavours carrying the long finish. Acidity is fresh, making this wine a perfect match for ceviche or grilled prawns. (ES)


90 Henry of Pelham Off Dry Riesling Reserve 2008, Short Hills Bench ($15.95)
Here is superb value in top quality Ontario Riesling. It is medium to full bodied with lots of peach, pineapple, lime, grapefruit and smoky minerals. The long finale showcases fresh acid which works in tandem with the light sweetness. I poured this with bbq’d veal sausages with dijon mustard. It was a divine experience.


90 Stoney Ridge Charlotte’s Chardonnay 2008, Twenty Mile Bench ($15)
Charlotte is Stoney’s unoaked/off dry Chardonnay, which has a cult following. It is full bodied with pear, tropical fruit, citrus and cream qualities. For this price, it is a no brainer multiple bottle purchase. Serve this wine as an aperitif or with canapés.


89 Ravine Vineyards Riesling 2008, St Davids Bench ($28)
The 3rd vintage of this wine follows in the steps of its predecessors. Made from 20 percent botrytis affected grapes, it is reminiscent of a Rheingau Kabinett for its peach, lime, honey and apples. The 8% alcohol and fresh acid gives an impression of airiness. Very good length. (ES)


88 Ravine Vineyards Chardonnay Musqué 2009, St Davids Bench ($14/375ml)
This off dry Musque is a touch spritzy. With its light body and flavours of honey, apple, peach and pear, it is a perfect aperitif or cheese wine. There is a lengthy finish and fresh acid. (ES)


88 Stoney Ridge Pinot Grigio 2009, Niagara ($17)
This is a light bodied yet flavorful Grigio with pleasing aromas of banana, peach, citrus and minerals. The palate shows much of the same, as well as sound acid. Very good length. (ES)


88 Tawse Quarry Road Vineyard Chardonnay 2008, Vinemount Ridge ($34.95)
As usual, the gang at Tawse has turned in another solid Chardonnay. The combination of oak and fruit is well achieved. Toast, caramel, spice, green apple and vague tropical qualities are all present. The finish is lengthy with lots of fresh acid. Pair with a creamy brie or mimollette. (ES)

87 Calamus Estate Riesling Semi Sweet Riesling 2008, Vinemount Ridge ($15)
This mid weight Riesling delivers a perfume of peach, melon, grapefruit, flowers and shades of pineapple. There is a lengthy finale as well as some noticeable sweetness which is back stopped by crisp acidity. Roast pork stuffed with dry apricots is the way to go with this wine.


86 Calamus Unoaked Chardonnay 2008, Niagara ($14)
Pear, peach, apple and citrus are present in this soft and easy drinking wine. Slightly creamy on the palate, the wine offers good value, so grab a couple of bottles for your next cheese platter. (ES)


86 Rosehall Run Chardonnay Sur Lie 2009, Ontario ($14.95)
Minerals run up, down, back and forth in this wine. Add in citrus, apple, a touch of honey, as well a crisp personality,  and you have a winner with oysters. (ES)


85 Birchwood Estate Fresh Sauvignon Blanc /Chardonnay, Ontario ($11.95)
‘Fresh’ is a new line of wines from Birchwood. The name refers to both the new look as well as the uplifting nature of the wines. This wine is indeed fresh, with clean flavours of citrus, apple, pear and herbs. Good length, good value and ready to drink. (ES)



85 Stoney Ridge Warren Classic Pinot Noir 2007, Twenty Mile Bench ($15)
Pale colour with brick tones, this light bodied wine offers dark fruits, spice and floral elements. Good length and ready to drink.


South Africa


87 Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap 2009, Western Cape ($13.95)
Very good value! This blend of 65% Syrah, 32% Mourvèdre and 3% Viognier is an easy drinking offering with savory qualities of herbs and pepper, as well as dark berry fruit and flowers. Soft tannins and fresh acid makes for a perfect partner with coq au vin or grilled bison filet. (ES)


87 Juno Arthouse Shiraz/Mourvèdre 2007, Coastal Region ($14.95)
Spice, licorice, flowers, earth, smoke, plum and leather are found in this consumer friendly wine. There is very good length, sound acid and calm tannins. Try with cajun seasoned pork chops or antipasto platters. (ES)


July 2010 Wine Ratings

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89 2027 Fox Croft Vineyards Riesling 2009, Twenty Mile Bench ($24.95)
Kevin Panagapka, the owner of this one man band virtual winery continues to impress with his single vineyard Rieslings. Bergamot, minerals, lime, grapefruit and minerals are built on loads of fresh acid. Dry, this wine will show its best with food, so serve it with fresh oysters or veal cutlets topped with a lemon/butter/caper sauce. (ES)


88 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Riesling 2007, Short Hills Bench ($30)
This version of HOP’s top Riesling Cuvee shows mature aromas of petrol, as well as peach, lime, minerals and some honey. On the palate, the minerals come to bear with citrus and lime flavours. It is dry with a very good length. (ES)


87 The Good Earth Vineyard &Winery Inc. Riesling 2009, Niagara ($20)
The Good earth, originally a pre-eminent cooking school in Niagara, has now been reborn with a winery. Their inaugural Riesling possesses a water colour and a bouquet of lime, grapefruit and minerals. The fresh acid and very good length round out the experience of this light wine. (ES)




91 Domaine Sigalas Santorini 2009, Santorini ($24.95)
Without a doubt, Paris Sigalas is the master of Assyrtiko. I had a chance to do a mini vertical of this wine (going back to 2003) while visiting the winery this past summer, and I was deeply impressed. The current offering is still tightly wound, but at this early stage, there are discernable minerals, apples and citrus, all built on a full bodied frame. Assyrtiko’s intense acid will ensure great longevity for this wine. Hold it for at least 2 years before opening, as time will only improve its majestic nature. As a side note, Paris feels that this wine is equal to, and may even be better, than his awesome 2003, which I gave 92 points.  If he is correct, this score will undoubtedly rise. (ES)


89 Ktima Pavlidis White 2009, Drama ($18.95)
A blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Assyrtiko, this  wine serves up a bouquet of lime, grapefruit, stone fruit, minerals, spice and yeast. In the mouth, it is dry with crisp acid giving a clean and lengthy finish. Pair this with grilled eggplant topped with feta cheese and tomatoes and you will experience a sublime moment. (ES)



92 Domaine Economou Oikonomoy 1998, Crete ($30)
Owner/winemaker Yannis Economou obtained his oenology degree from the University of Alba in Piedmont. After which, he apprenticed under famed Barolo producers Ceretto and Scavino. So it comes as no surprise that his wines, even though made from the Cretan grapes of Liatico and Mandilaria, have a distinct mature Barolo personality. This wine, like its younger version, is full bodied with great depth and persistency, as well as having no sulfur added whatsoever. Distinctive, it is a fabulous value in the realm of aged wines. Drink over the next 7 years. (ES)


92 Domaine Economou Oikonomoy 2000, Crete ($30)
 I fell in love with this dead ringer for an aged Barolo, when I tasted it this past summer, while visiting Crete. This blend of 80% Liatico and 20% Mandilaria offers superb concentration and length, with a personality of dark fruits, tar, leather, spice and roses. It is ready to drink now, but can still age for another decade. Buy as much of this gem as you can. (ES)


89 Sigalas Mavrotragano 2007, Santorini ($51.95)
Mavrotragano is a Santorini only red grape, which, thanks to the determination of the island’s best winemakers, has been brought back from the brink of extinction. The 07 version offers up sweet bing cherries, cassis, violets, plum and vanilla. There is a slightly harsh edge on the finale, so pair this wine with grilled lamb chops to soften the edge. I should also mention that I tried the 08 vintage which will be released next year. It is a solid 90 point wine. (ES)

89 Kir Yianni Ramnista 2007, Naoussa ($18.95)
Ramnista is made from 100% Xinomavro, a grape notorious for its tannins, which at times can be somewhat abrasive. Some even compare the varietal to Nebbiolo. So, with this in mind, make sure there is some serious protein available to tame this wild child. Aromas and flavours of plum, spice, vanilla, and earth are all found. Personally, I would like to hold it for 5 years before drinking. (ES)

89 Boutari Skalani 2007, Heraklion ($33.75)
This wine, a blend of equal parts of Kotsifali and Syrah, comes from the island of Crete. It is defined by an in your face style with loads of plum, blackberries, rubber, vanilla, smoke, spice and ground espresso. There is very good length with firm tannins. Drink it now to 2015. (ES)


88 Ktima Pavlidis Red 2007, Drama ($19.95)
This mid weight combination of Syrah and Agiorgitiko greats the taster with a black cherry colour, after which, the aromas of plums, cassis, cocoa, spice and flowers meet up with flavours of vanilla on the palate. Tannins are supple, so drink it over the next three years. Serve with beef tartare or duck confit. (ES)





91 Beringer Sbragia Limited Release Chardonnay 2007, Napa Valley ($54.95)
Full bodied with aromas of apples, pear, honey, citrus, vanilla and figs flatter the nose. In the mouth, the wine is concentrated and creamy with a lengthy finale. Enjoy it over the next 2 to 3 years. (ES)


89 Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay 2007, Napa Valley ($62.50)
Medium yellow in colour, this wine is a combination of toast, caramel, honey, banana and tropical fruits built on a medium to full bodied frame. There is fresh acid which lifts it, making for a wine that is well suited for lobster based dishes or seabass with a carmalized onion/aspergaus sauce. (ES)


93 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa ($128.95)
I have tried this wine on 3 different occasions recently. Every time, the mark has been the same, signifying the consistent quality. The dark cherry colour leads into a volley of plum, mint, cassis, smoke and violets. This concentrated beauty will age for 15 years, but is also ready to go right now. (ES)


93 Newton The Puzzle Spring Mountain Estate 2005, Napa Valley ($80)
The Puzzle is Newton’s top Cuvee. The name is in reference to the complex nature by which the wine is made. Every year, depending on the quality of the different grapes, a different assemblage will be created, using only the finest vinous material. This particular vintage contains 46% Cab Sauv, 29% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc and 4% Verdot. It has an opaque colour and a killer nose of cassis, spice, licorice, mint and earth. Full bodied with loads of ripe tannins, the palate is inundated with dark fruits and spice. Powerful, the finale keeps on going. Drink it now to 2025. (ES)


91 Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Napa Valley ($110)
My first introduction to the wines of Darioush was back in 2006 when I visited the winery. The wines then, as now, are of high quality. This vintage delivers plum, cassis, vanilla, herbs and roasted nuts. Full bodied, this is a hearty wine with a firm backbone of tannins to compliment the excellent length. Drink it over the next 8 to 10 years. (ES)


88 Darioush Merlot 2006, Napa Valley ($65)
This offering is a lighter style of Cali Merlot with pleasing qualities of plums, spice, mint, cocoa and cherries. There is very good length with supple tannins. And, it is ready to drink. (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