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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.



May 2011 Wine Ratings

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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

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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

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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)

 

January 2011 Wine Ratings

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Canada

 

White

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)

 

 

Red

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)

 

USA

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)

 

California

 

White

 

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)

 

Red

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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Canada

 

White

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.

 

Red

 

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.

 

California

 

Red

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.

 

 

White

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.

 

Portugal

 

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.

 


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Wine Facts

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