Evan Saviolidis

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.



June 2010 Wine Ratings

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Canada

 

White

90 Tawse Riesling 2009, Niagara ($19.95)
There is no denying the quality at Tawse. Paul Pender and his team continue to go from strength to strength. With this wine, the texture is electric, as the balance between acid, sweetness and concentration is beautifully achieved. Waves of peach, apples, minerals, lime and bergamot just inundate the senses.  Drink it now, to 2016.

 

90 Tawse Chardonnay Musque 2009, Vinemount Ridge ($22)
This is the finest Ontario Musque I have ever tasted. The spiced apricots, orange blossoms and tropical fruits sweep the senses. It is a delightfully rich offering with a mouth-watering tingle and excellent length. Drink it over the next 2 years in order to take full advantage of its exuberance.

 

89 Fielding Lot No. 17 Riesling 2009, Niagara ($25.95)
The good folks at Fielding have done a super duper job with this Riesling. The pale colour leads into a bouquet of minerals, bergamot, lime and grapefruit. On the palate, peach and apples add more complexity. It is medium weight with lots of crisp acid and a great finale. Drink it now, to 2018.

 

89 Thirty Bench Small Lot Gewurztraminer 2009, Beamsville Bench ($30)
Natalie Reynolds has turned in Thirty’s finest Gewurz to date. Rose water, grapefruit, honey, spice and peach are all built on a rich frame. And, there is fresh acid to back everything up on the lengthy finale. Serve it with Singapore noodles, or pork with a tropical fruit salsa. (ES)

 

88 Lakeview Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2009, Niagara ($17.95)
This is Lakeview’s best Sauvignon Blanc yet. Pale water colour, the nose of citrus, melon, cat pea, minerals and herbs mark this classic example. The zippy acid carries the finish. I suggest enjoying it with seared scallops over a thyme scented pea puree or chevre. (ES)

 

87 Rosewood Unoaked Chardonnay 2008, Beamsville Bench ($18)
The nose is a little shy right now, but peach, apple and pineapple have emerged. It is dry, with apple, citrus adding personality on the finish. (ES)

 

 

Red

90 Peller Estates Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Niagara $38)

Lawrence Buhler has certainly done well with his Signature Series line in 2007. First was his Merlot, and now, a top notch Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a medium to full bodied, offering a combination of cassis, cocoa, vanilla, toast and hints of game. The mid palate is ripe with a sweet fruit and excellent length. This beauty should age easily for the next 7 to 8 years. (ES)

90 Jackson Triggs Delaine Vineyards Merlot 2007, Niagara on the Lake ($26.95)
At a recent tasting of 2007 Ontario Merlots, this Merlot stood head and shoulders above the rest - by far! The dark colour rolls its way into a melange of plum, smoke, cocoa, earth, toast, cherry and spice. The wine is rich and ripe with supple tannins and a long fruit driven finish. Drink it now, until 2015. Kudos to Marco Piccoli for creating this superb offering! (ES)

 

90 Wayne Gretzky Estate Series Cabernet Merlot 2007, Niagara ($21.95)
Here comes a value priced Cabernet Merlot from the great 07 vintage. Spicy pepper, hickory, cassis, plums and cocoa flood the senses. The wine is concentrated with the palate emulating the nose. Tannins are firm and there is great persistency. Drink it over the next seven years. (ES)

 

90 Thirty Bench Vineyards Small Lot Benchmark Red 2007, Beamsville Bench ($60)
This red is Gold medal winner at this year’s Cuvee awards for best Meritage. Yes, the price might be a little hefty, but this wine is wall to wall black fruits-raspberries, blackberries and plums, which combine with vanilla and floral qualities. The mid palate is very plummy, the tannins are soft and the prolonged ending makes for a charming bottling. Drink it over the next 5 years. (ES)

 

90 Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean's List Meritage Canadian Oak Project 2007
The Canadian oak presents lots of torrifcation aromas. Roasted coffee bean and smoke, come together with the dark fruits, tobacco, spice and vanilla, to create a very pretty wine. It is full bodied with an extended finish and good tannins. Enjoy it now, to 2015. (ES)

 

89 Magnotta Enotrium Gran Riserva 2005, Niagara ($45)
Magnotta’s latest rendition of an ‘Amarone’ hits the mark with mature aromas of raisins, dried cherries, prunes and leather.  The palate is an abundance of sweet fruit with a wonderful succulent texture. Tannins make their presence known at the end. Drink it now, until 2015.

 

89 Reif Estates First Growth Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Niagara River ($50)
Only made in the finest years, this 100% Cab Sauv was harvested at a yield of 2 tons per acre from a parcel of vines which were 18 years old. Aging was a wowser  27 months in a combination of French and American oak.  But the flavours are not overt. In fact, the milk chocolate, spice and vanilla from the barrel are harmonious with the plum, black raspberries and black cherries. Tannins give the wine another 7 or 8 years of life, at least. (ES)

 

Italy

91 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2004, Tuscany ($66)
This is one of the better Bruneolls I have tasted recently. Full bodied, the cassis, sweet black cherries, humus, tobacco and violets are wrapped around a core of silky tannins. It still needs another year in the bottle to come fully together, and then drink it until 2020.

 

 

 

May 2010 Wine Ratings

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Canada

 

White

92 Closson Chase Iconoclast Chardonnay 2007, Beamsville Bench ($69.95)
I first tasted Deborah Paskus’ fabulous Tempkin-Paskus Chardonnays back in the early 90s.  They were an epiphany. Richly extracted and lavishly oaked, they were the benchmark for the Niagara region, and a style which others aspired to. A decade later, she has now set up shop in the Chardonnay friendly limestone soils of PEC, and produces wines from both PEC and trucked in Niagara grapes. This wine, her  top Cuvee, is nothing short of fabulous. Made from a wild ferment, it exudes toast, caramel, apple, tropical fruit, bacon fat and a touch of V.A. (which adds complexity).  It is a singular, full bodied offering with a finale that just goes on and on.  A must experience for Chardonnay lovers. (ES)

 

91 Rosehall Run Chardonnay Rosehall Vineyard 2007, Prince Edward County ($29.95)
Owner Dan Sullivan has a love affair as well as a deft hand with Chardonnay. Toast, caramel, butter and apple are built on a rich frame. In the mouth, it just melts, enveloping the whole palate with apple, cream, spice, tropical fruit and great persistency. (ES)

 

91 Norman Hardie Riesling 2009, Ontario ($25)
This wine is a fabulous expression of Niagara Escarpment Riesling, and the best rendition that Hardie and his assistant Ben Simmons have produced to date.  It is dry and richly extracted with an explosion of peach, lime, powdered candies and minerals. There is excellent length with crystalline acidity bringing everything into focus. Drink it over the next decade.

 

90 Cave Springs Dolomite brut 2006, Niagara Escarpment ($24.95)
Made from 26 year old vines, this is the best 100% Chardonnay sparkling wine I have ever tasted from Ontario. Add to the fact that it is half the price of a non-vintage Champagne, and you have more than enough reason to buy a few bottles of this beauty. Medium bodied, it serves up a classic ‘champagne’ nose of brioche, apples, yeast and nuts. It is a mid weight and elegant offering, with small creamy bubbles and excellent length. Kudos to Cave! (ES)

 

89 Grange of Price Edward Victoria Block Chardonnay 2007, Prince Edward County ($29.75)
Barrel fermentation and 14.3% alcohol make for a plentiful Chardonnay here. Toast, cream, peach, caramel and fig and spice are present wall to wall. Medium to full bodied, it has very good length. (ES)

 

88 Nyarai Chardonnay 2007, Niagara ($16)
Nyarai has produced a great Chardonnay value. The oak and fruit are nicely balanced. Spice, vanilla, peach and apple all work together splendidly. With very good length, soft acid and creamy palate it makes for a very satisfying experience. Available on line only. (ES)

 

88 Cuvee Peter Huff Blanc de Blanc Sparkling 2006 ($39.95)
This is Prince Edward County’s best Sparkler. It spent 3 years on the lees, and the bubbles summon forth apples, citrus, yeast and some nuttiness. The acid is bright and the finish is lengthy. Pair this will PEC pickerel (walleye) in a beurre blanc sauce - it is a match made in heaven!

 

Red

92 Chateau des Charmes Cabernet Franc Icewine 2007, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($75)
CDC’s first ever Franc Icewine is pure Gold - Cuvee Gold that is, winning the top spot. It explodes red fruits: strawberries, cherries and guava with a milk chocolate undercurrent. Full bodied with an oh so long and seductive finale. Drink it with chocolate fondue or a plain cheesecake, as the wine will work as the fruit coulis. (ES)

 

91 Pillitteri Sparkling Icewine Cabernet 2008, Niagara ($80)
Pillitteri has re-affirmed its position as one of Canada’s top Icewine producers by winning best sparkling in the world at the recent Effervescents du Monde competition, held in France.  It offers a creamy base upon which flavours of strawberries, raspberries, raisins, vanilla cream and cocoa are built. There is a super long finish as well as a beautiful underpinning of acidity. Forget dessert, just indulge in the moment with this magnificence!

90 Chateau des Charmes Equuleus Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard 2007, St. Davids Bench($39.95)
To my taste, this is the best Equuleus to date. Medium to full bodied, this blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and the remainder equal parts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, gives off a perfume of cassis, plum, vanilla, spice and smokey tobacco. The mouth is concentrated with excellent length and classic CDC tannins. Hold it until 2012 and drink it until 2020. (ES)

 

90 Peller Estates Signature Series Merlot 2007, Niagara ($38)
Winemaker Lawrence Buhler has crafted superb Merlots in 2007. Earlier this year, I awarded his private Reserve 88 points, and this wine won Gold at Cuvee. It is a rich offering with spice, toast, dark cherries, earth and plum dancing across the senses. A lengthy finish and supple tannins suggest drinking it over the next 4 years.

 

90 Rosehall Run Cabernet Franc Cold Creek 2007, Prince Edward County ($29.95)
This was the best Franc I sampled on my inaugural visit to PEC. Although it is medium bodied, it still has a lot going for it. A nose of vanilla, spice, raspberries and cassis meets up with sweet berry fruit, smoke and tobacco on the palate. Tannins are supple, so enjoy it over the next 3 to 4 years. (ES)

 

90 Jamie Kennedy Pinot Noir 2007, Prince Edward County ($34.95)
Toronto superstar Chef Jamie Kennedy partnered with Rosehall Run to create 120 cases of this wine, which is only available at his establishments and the winery. Its bouquet of earthy, cherry nibs, flowers and anise melds with dark and red fruits on the palate. Tannins arrive on the back, allowing for a few years of longevity.

 

89 Fielding Estate Meritage 2007, Niagara ($59)
This wine shows some high quality oak in the form of toast, cocoa and coffee aroma and flavours. This combines with plum, spice and dark cherries. It is elegant and concentrated with solid tannic structure, which will allow it to age gracefully for the next 8 years. (ES)

 

89 Gretzky Estate Shiraz Cabernet 2007, Niagara ($22.95)
This wine won the gold medal for ‘Best Assemblage’ at this year Cuvee awards. This blend of 65% Shiraz and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon spent 24 months in French and American barrels, which has endowed the wine with a smokey/toasty/vanilla personality and combines readily with the plum, raspberries, cassis and chocolate of the grapes. It is soft in the mouth and ready to drink tonight or over the next 3 years. (ES)

 

87 Nyarai Cabernet Merlot 2007, Niagara ($18)
The three Bordeaux grapes have been accented with the addition of 15% Syrah. A bouquet of plum, black pepper, toast, cranberry and vanilla do their thing on a medium bodied frame. Fresh acid, soft tannins and very good length make for a wine that is ready to drink.



Greece

White

89 Boutari Moschofilero 2009, Mantinia ($12.95)
Moschofilero is one of Greece’s top indigenous varietals, and as I have stated before, it is becoming the countries signature aromatic white, much like Albarino is to Spain. The latest vintage of this wine showcases peach, pear, flowers, green apple and minerals. The palate is very refreshing with a lengthy finish. It is a perfect patio pleaser or serve it with appetizers.


Red

87 Boutari Agiorgitiko 2007, Nemea ($12.95)
This Agiorgitikio (aka St. George) is a great value. It serves up a combination of dark cherries, plums, earth, violets and clove on the nose. In the mouth, dark cocoa and vanilla add more complexity. Tannins and acid are both soft. Try with grilled sausages or herb marinated pork chops.

 

 

March 2010 Wine Ratings

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Canada
White

91 Inniskillin Legacy Series Riesling 2007, Niagara Peninsula ($29.95)
This Riesling is the best I have tasted from Inniskillin since the 90s. Sporting a pale straw colour, the wine exudes lime, peach, pear, jasmine and wet stones.  Concentrated, it is off dry with wonderful acidity giving lots of mouthwatering freshness. It finishes long with lime and minerals echoing all the way long. No doubt, this wine is suited for Asian cuisine and other spicy fair.

 

90 Château des Charmes Late Harvest Riesling Estate Bottled, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($21.95)
Riesling’s petrol qualities are starting to emerge, combining with the pears, apple, thyme honey and minerals. Concentrated, with a lovely spine of acidity, there is excellent length and mineral laden finish. Drink it over the next 3 to 4 years. (ES)

Red

90 Inniskillin Legacy Series Cabernet Franc, Niagara Peninsula 2007 ($39.95)
Bruce Nicholson, who after spending 20 years crafting fine wine in the Okanagan, returned to his Niagara roots as Inniskillin’s winemaker in 2007, just in time to put his thumb print on Ontario’s best red wine vintage ever. Legacy is the new name of Inniskillin’s flagship wine, replacing the Founder’s Reserve label.  Full bodied this wine reveals layers of raspberry liqueur, cassis, black pepper/spice on the nose and added elements of red currants and herbs on the palate. The finale is long, the acid is mild and the tannins are present. Hold it until 2012 and drink it until 2020.

 

89 Tawse David’s Block Merlot 2007, Twenty Mile Bench ($45)
And the hits keep coming from Tawse’s 2007 red wine line up! First were the succulent Pinots, then the great Francs, followed by the powerful monster Meritage, and now, this sexy Merlot. With a dark cherry colour, this wine is somewhat shy on the nose right now, but plums, black cherries, cassis, cocoa and rubber have emerged. The palate is concentrated and possesses supple tannins and very good length. Drink this baby over the next 3 to 4 years. (ES)

 

Chile

White

Emiliana Novas Chardonnay 2008, Casablanca ($14.95)
Late last year, during my visit to Chile, the winery that impressed me the most was Emiliana. All wines are made biodynamic and their prices can’t be beat. Take, for example, this white. It comes from the cool and fashionable Casablanca region so there is a beautiful natural acidity, upon which fig, peach, caramel, oil and nuts are built. Full bodied with a creamy finish, it resonates with caramel. (ES)

 

Red

89 Haras de Pirque Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere  2006, Maipo ($22)
This lush wine with blackcurrant, cherries, vanilla and cocoa, it combines with some herbal elements. Tannins are supple and there is a lengthy finish. Ready to drink. (ES)

 

88 Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Alto Maipo ($19.95)
In this vintage, this perennial favorite serves up a bouquet eucalyptus, raisins, blueberry and plums. The tannins are firm, and spice, cocoa, plum, vanilla resonate on the finish with some heat. This is a hearty wine that needs some grub to go along with it.

 

87 Undurraga Sibaris Carmenere 2008, Colchagua ($15.95)
This wine oozes blackcurrant liqueur. It works in tandem with Carmenère’s classic spicy/herbal mix, graphite, vanilla and plum. The mid palate is solid and the tannins support the wine.

87 Montes Alpha Syrah 2007, Colchagua ($19.10)
Its dark cherry colour with a pink rim, offers up tell tale aromas of bacon fat, raspberries, cassis and violets. In the mouth, the sweet raspberry and cassis flavours marry with black pepper on the finale. Enjoy it over the next 3 years.

 

86 Emiliana Adobe Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Central Valley ($12.95)
Packing quite a punch, and for the price, it is a steal! Dark cherry colour with a purple rim, it reveals a fruit driven personality of cassis, cherries, plums, raspberry and spice. Medium bodied and dry, the cassis and spice marry with oak smoke on the finale. Drink it over the next 2 to 3 years, this is a perfect BBQ wine-think rib eye or sausages. (ES)

 

Rose

88 Montes Cherub Rose of Syrah 2009, Colchagua ($14.95)
This delicious rose is made from 100% Syrah and offers up a mélange of strawberry, flowers, cocoa and herbs. Weighty, it is equally perfect as a summer sipper or with food. If the later is your preference, try with pulled pork sandwiches or grilled cedar plank salmon. The finish is long and refreshing.  (ES)

 

Italy

92 Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato, Piedmont ($95)
This is what a great Barolo is all about! The colour is evolved and the bouquet seduces with truffles, cherries, spice, flowers, tar and black fruits. It is elegant and powerful with a long finish and typical tannic firmness showing at the end. Hold it until 2012 and drink it until 2025. (ES)

 

91 Masi Amarone Seregio Alighieri Vaio Amarone 2004, Veneto ($118)
Bigger than the Costasera, this Amarone has a profound personality. It shows prunes, dark cherry, cocoa and dark plum flavours. Paired with roasted beef tenderloin and Amarone risotto, it is absolute nirvana! Drink it until 2020. (ES)

 

89 Michele Chiarlo Nievole Moscato d’Asti 2009, Piedmont ($11.75/375ml)
I tried this wine at the winery, this past winter, with Michele himself. A true gentleman, he was super enthusiastic about the quality of this product. I agreed with him totally.  It flatters the senses with peaches, apricots, honey and orange jam. Delicate, with a subtle backbone of bubbles, the finish carries on for a long time. Liquid delicious!

 

89 Masi Costasera Amarone Classico 2006, Veneto ($37.95)
Masi denotes a great vintage (for them) via 5 stars on their Costasera label. Indeed, the wine has extra punch and it offers up plums, cherries, herbs and spices. The length is admirable and the tannins are supple, making for a wine that is ready to drink. (ES)

 

Greece

87 Limnos Wines Muscat of Limnos 2008, Limnos ($11.95)
What a phenomenal value in the world of dessert wines – a 750ml bottle for under $12! Aromatic with a seductive perfume of marmalade, peaches, apricot, spice and honey. In the mouth, it is sweet and elegant with flavours of black tea, lychee nut, marmalade and apricots macerated in honey. Chill it down and serve it this summer after dinner on the patio or pair it with a fruit salad in cinnamon scented simple syrup.  (ES)

 

January 2010 Wine Ratings

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Canada
White

90 Southbrook Vineyards Poetica Chardonnay 2007, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($50)
Poetica is the pinnacle of wines made at Southbrook, in all of their vintages. This powerful Chardonnay churns out caramel, toast, apple, lemon and cream on the nose. On the palate it is concentrated and elegant at the same time, with caramel, minerals and spice on the long, crisp finish. Pair it with a scallop and tarragon terrine or poached salmon.

Red

90 Poetica Cabernet Merlot 2007, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($60)
This blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc and 23% Merlot offers up a mélange of coffee, cassis, raspberries, ash and spice. The tannins are firm and somewhat dry, but the finish is long with raspberries, cocoa, cassis, spice and mint qualities. Hold it for a couple of years and enjoy it until 2017. (ES)

 

Chile
White

91 Garcés Silva Amayna Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Leyda Valley ($29.95)
I visited this winery last year and was very impressed with the quality of their wines. This particular offering has a medium yellow colour with a bouquet of honey, tropical fruit, peach, spice, cream and vanilla. Full bodied, the texture is creamy and it churns out spice, caramel, smoke and caramel on the lengthy finale. It is perfectly suited for lobster.

 

88 Emiliana Adobe Viognier 2009, Casablanca ($12.95)
This value priced Viognier will be appearing on store shelves this summer, and it is a wine to remember.  It is a pure expression of Viognier, soaring with peach, flowers, honey, yogurt and summer flowers. Although dry, it offers creamy qualities, spice and bananas on the lengthy finish as well as a little spritz.

 

88 Emiliana Adobe Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca ($12.95)
This is another super value wine from the folks at Emiliana, and one that is a dead ringer for a New Zealand Sauve Blanc. Grapefruit, lime, gooseberry, passion fruit and tomato vine are all present. There is very good length and with a refreshing finish.

 

87 Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay 2008, Limari Valley ($17.95)
There is a nice toasty/ oaky overlay to the fruit, namely peach, apple and banana. The palate is rather full with caramel, citrus and minerals with a wonderful acidity derived from the grapes being grown in the cooler Limari valley. With very good length, it is perfectly suited for grilled salmon or chicken vol au volent. (ES)

Red

94 Errazuriz Kai Carmenere 2006, Aconcagua ($82)
Kai, in Mapuche (the language of the indigenous people of South America), means plant. By far, this was the best Carmenere that I tried on my visit to Chile last year. Full bodied, concentrated and elegant the bouquet of  smoke, blueberry, coffee, cherry and vanilla were complemented by the sweet berry fruit on the palate and a long cocoa finish. Drink it over the next 10 years. (ES)

 

92 Garcés Silva Syrah 2008, San Antonio Valley ($29)
A discovery! Syrah loves granite soils, and the vines for this wine have plenty underneath them. The black/purple colour ushers in hickory, blueberry, plums, peppery, violets and coffee. In the mouth, it is the same, as well as having excellent length and a strong undercurrent of tannins. Drink it over the next 5 to 7 years. (ES)

Chile
Red.. cont.

88 Concha y Toro Trio Merlot 2008 ($14.95)
Here is a fabulous value out of Chile! Yes, the dominant grape is Merlot, which was sourced from the cool Casablanca area, but as the name denotes, there are two other grapes involved:  Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère. It is a black wine which delivers  a sexy plum, cocoa, cherry and spice aromas and flavours, with just the right amount of velvety tannins. This is a mandatory case purchase and should drink well over the next 2 to 3 years. (ES)

 

88 Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere Peumo Vineyard 2007, Rappel Valley ($19.95)
Opaque black with a pink rim, this wine offers an intense spicy /anise, plum, cherry jam and vanilla nose. Medium bodied with fresh acid, supple tannins and very good length, the wine should last 3 to 4 years, but is ready to drink now with roast pork or a beef and mushroom stew. (ES)

 

Greece
Red

87 Skouras Cuvee Prestige Red Cabernet Sauvignon -St George, Peloponese ($13.35)
An excellent value to be had! The cherry/purple color issues in a bouquet of fresh berries, jam, spice and cocoa. In the mouth it is smooth with just a dash of tannins to be found. The finish is smooth and rich, with berry and cocoa. It is perfect with pasta, pizza or antipasto.

 

87 Kir-Yianni Paranga, Macedonia ($13.95)
A medium cherry in colour, this assemblage of Xinomavro, Syrah and Merlot reveals a bouquet of dark cherries, plums, spice, chocolate and vanilla. Medium bodied, the plum and spice resonate on the finish, with fresh acid, soft tannins and some heat. Try it with wild boar in a berry sauce or grilled sausages.

 

White

91 Domaine Sigalas Santorini 2008 ($25.35)
This blend of Assyrtiko and Athiri, two of Santorini’s finest whites, has produced a powerful nose of minerals, flint, honey, incense, green apple and white peaches. It is medium to full bodied with loads of fresh acid and minerals on the palate. Enjoying excellent length, it is delightfully suited for grilled barbounia (red mullet), sardeles (sardines) or even pork souvlaki.

 

89 Domaine Tselepos Amalia Brut NV ($24.95)
What a discovery!  I would gladly drink this bubbly, any day of the week, rather than an overpriced non vintage Champagne. Named for Yannis Tselepos’ wife, this traditional method bubbly is made from 100% Moscofilero, and it sings with a fragrance of peaches, flowers, honey, green apple and hints of yeast. Small creamy bubbles caress the palate and the finish is long. (ES)

 

86 Skouras Cuvee Prestige White Moscofilero-Roditis 2008, Peloponnese ($13.35)
This is an easy drinking white that serves up a bouquet of peaches, vanilla cream and green apples. Dry and crisp with medium length, it features a hint of pineapple and caramel on the finale.It is ideally suited for appetizers.

 

86 Boutari Lac Des Roches 2008, Peloponnese ($13.80)
The name might be French, but this wine is 100% Greek through and through. Made from Savatiano, the wine reveals vanilla custard, green apple and grapefruit. Easy drinking, it offers peach and green apple on the finale, with a somewhat creamy texture.

 

Thailand

86 Monsoon Valley Blended Red 2008, Chao Phraya Delta ($12.75)
Yes, this is a Thai wine. A blend of the indigenous Podkum grape and Shiraz, the wine offers a cherry candy, cocoa and caramel nose and berry fruit on the palate. Medium length, it will work well with pad thai or tomato based dishes. (ES)

 

December 2009 Wine Ratings

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Canada

Red

90 Pillitteri Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2007, Niagara-on-the Lake ($35/200ml)
The essence of red and black jam-namely raspberry, guava, cassis and blackberry. To this you will find undercurrents of violets, cocoa and spice. It is supremely thick and viscous with a serious after taste that keeps on going. Don’t bother with and dessert. This is the perfect end to any meal.

 

89 Inniskillin Shiraz-Cabernet Winemakers Series, Niagara ($24.95)
This blend of 75% Shiraz and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon flatters the taster with aromas of raspberry/vanilla candy, cocoa and black pepper. It possess a medium to full body and a somewhat jammy mid palate. Finishing on a cocoa, spice and raspberry note, the wine is elegant and ready to drink now or over the next 3 years. (ES)

 

89 Stratus Cabernet Franc 2007, Niagara ($38)
It took a good four hours in a decanter for this Franc to open up and introduce itself in the form of cassis, black raspberries, red currants, violets and spice. Medium bodied and elegantly styled with enough structure to age at least 7 years. Pair with a bison filet dusted in cinnamon and topped with a berry reduction. (ES)

 

89 Jackson Triggs Grand Reserve Cabernet Franc 2007, Niagara ($26.75)
And the hits keep on rolling from the phenomenal 2007 vintage. At first whiff, this rendition of Franc is akin to walking into a greenhouse full of carnations. Add some raspberries, plums, Indian spice, herbs and smoke, and you have a thoroughly beguiling wine. Very good length and elegant. Now to 2015. (ES)

 

89 Stratus Gamay 2007, Niagara ($29)
A wine that will make you forget basic Beaujolais! This vintage, thanks the fabulous growing conditions, spent almost two years in new and one year old oak- hence the sexy cocoa overlay to the blackcurrant, cherries, flowers and pepper. Weighty with supple tannins and a plummy/cocoa finale, this wine is a real charmer.  Now to 2015. (ES)

 

88 Jackson Triggs Delaine Vineyard Puncheon Pinot Noir, Niagara ($32.95)
The vines from the Delaine Vineyard have started to reach maturity and it shows in this, the best Pinot yet. Nicely balanced and smooth on the palate, there is a mélange of cocoa, cherries, spice, red flowers. Drink now with some proscutto wrapped shrimp. Puncheon refers to the 500 liter cask the wine was aged in. (ES)

 

88 Peller Estates Private Reserve Merlot 2007, Niagara ($19.95)
Winemaker Lawrence Buhler has crafted a seductive bottle of Merlot for under $20. An overlay of oak in the form of cocoa, toast, roasted espresso and nuts combines with the plum, cherry and spice personality of the grape. Medium body with silky tannins, the finish is soft and lengthy. Ready to drink tonight or over the next 3 years. (ES)

 

87 Daredevil Cabernet 2007, Niagara ($36)
Daredevil is Ontario’s newest virtual winery, operated by Marcel Morgenstern, sales manager for Pillitteri. The inaugural wine is an equal blend of both Cabs. Easy drinking, it serves up cassis, cherry, herbs, dark cocoa and vanilla. Medium body with very good length, the wine should drink well for the next 3 years. (ES)

 

White

92 Ziraldo Riesling Icewine 2007, Niagara ($58/375ml)
The Donald is Back!  Donald Ziraldo, who with his partner Karl Kaiser, put Inniskillin and Icewine on the global stage, is back with his own winter wine. Keeping with tradition, Karl supervised the final vinification of this superb dessert wine. It is a rich offering with a bouquet of peach, dried apricot, spice, lime and grapefruit peel. The finish lingers deeply and echoes with dried apricots and spice on the finale. Serve with a peach and custard tart with a marmalade glaze or Fourme d’Ambert, the famous French blue cheese.

Chile

White

89 Vina Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Leyda Valley ($16.95)
From the new and very promising DO of Leyda comes this Sauvignon Blanc. Put this in a blind tasting and it would make you think Marlborough SB all the way-and at $5 less a bottle! Bright aromas of passion fruit, grapefruit, tomato vine and citrus are supported by zippy acidity and a long finish.

 

Red

94 Vina Montes Folly Syrah 2006, Colchagua Valley ($82)
Not a believer of super premium Chilean wine yet? Well, this is the one that will make you change your mind. Yes, the price is up there, but the quality is undeniable. Black in colour, full bodied and concentrated, the wine inundates the palate with loads of kirsch, raspberry jam, pepper and cocoa. The finish is super long with a touch of heat on the finale. (ES)

 

93 Vina Sena 2006, Aconcagua Valley ($79.95)
This vintage which spent 18 months in oak, is made from a majority of (55%) Cabernet Sauvignon and topped off with a mix of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Carmènere and Cabernet Franc. Elegant, it serves up a nose of cassis, plum, cherry, spice, herbs, cooca and vanilla. The tannins are present, but act in the background, balancing the fruit on the palate. Drink over the next 10 to 15 years, preferably with bavette or NY strip. (ES)

 

91 Vina Errazuriz Don Maximiano Founder’s Reserve 2006 ($79.95)
A lovely perfume of coffee, cassis, raspberries, plum, tobacco and violets make you think left bank Bordeaux. No hard edges are evident as the tannins are silky.  The wine has a refined personality as well as excellent length. Drink over the next 5 to 7 years.

 

90 Vina Veramonte Primus, Colchagua ($24.95)
A blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Syrah, 17% Merlot and 16% Carmenère, this value red  offers up spiced plums and cherries, cocoa, vanilla, tar and herbs. Medium to full bodied, supple tannins and  excellent length make for great drinking pleasure. (ES)

 

Greece

90 Estate Papaioannou Nemea 2005, Nemea ($18.95)
This wine is made from 25 year old Agiorgitiko (St-George) vines and was aged for 12 months in French barrels, making for a quite polished and elegant offering. The bouquet is that of cherry, cassis, anise and cocoa. It full bodied with a good amount of tannins, ensuring a decade of aging ahead. This was a stunning match with fresh tagliatelle sautéed with olive oil, garlic, pancetta, goat cheese, tomatoes, and mushrooms. (ES)

 


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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.