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.

October 2009 Wine Ratings

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89 Tawse Wismer Vineyard Lakeview Block Riesling 2008, Twenty Mile Bench ($25)
The perfume of peach, bergamot, orange blossom and lime, working their magic on the senses, are built on a medium bodied stature. In the mouth, minerals, spice and bergamot carry a long finish. There is some sweetness, but it works a tight rope balancing act with the acid well, giving a dry impression. It is delicious with choucroute or red curry shrimps. (ES)

89 Maleta Old Vines Dry 2007, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($27.95)
Technically this wine is a demi – sec styled bubbly, as there is only very light sweetness present. From 100% Riesling, this sparkler is made the old fashioned way, and exudes petrol, yeast, peach and honey. The bubbles are small, creamy and linger for a while. Chill this baby down and serve it as an aperitif, or with canapés. (ES)

88  Tawse Wismer Vineyard  Foxcroft Block Riesling 2008, Twenty Mile Bench ($22)
This bottling comes from a select parcel of the Wismer vineyard. It is alive with lots of zesty acid, peach and lime, cordially working their magic on the taste buds. The flavours carry on for a while. (ES)

88 13th Street Winery Funk Vineyard Riesling Old Vines 2008, Creek Shores ($24)
Made from 30 plus year old vines, the new vintage of this wine shows off peach, flowers and honey on the nose. On the palate, you will peach, lime, citrus, apple and minerals weave together with a smidge of residual sugar. But for all intents and purposes, this is a dry wine that is made for fresh water pearch in a lemon/butter sauce or chilled shellfish. (ES)

88 13th Street Chardonnay Sandstone Old Vines 2007, Creek Shores ($28)
The oak is evident in the form of toast, vanilla, caramel, but underneath, banana, tropical fruit, and honey are found. It is full bodied and rich with a creamy texture, finishing on a spicy, crème brulee note. Try it with butter poached lobster or roasted Cornish hen.(ES)

88 Reif Select Late Harvest Vidal 2006, Niagara ($19.95)
A medium golden colour, this wine is underscored with high toned peach, honey, flowers and spice qualities.  Concentrated, it is sweet, but not cloying, making it a great alternative to Icewine, and at half the price. (ES)

87 Southbrook Whimsy Fume Blanc 2008, Niagara ($19.95)
Even though the label tells us Fume, the oak is rather reserved, acting as support to the fruit, and not overpowering it.  Asperagus, green apple, flowers, white grapefruit and smoke are balanced out by the crisp acid. Drink it now. (ES)

87 Cave Springs Dolomite Riesling 2008, Niagara ($15.95)
Dolomite is named for the limestone soil located in Cave’s vineyards. This same soild gives the wine a distinct flinty/minerality which combines with bergamot and lime. Crisp and dry, there is very good length, with a touch of peach weaving throughout. (ES)



91 Tawse Wismer Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2007, Twenty Mile Bench ($38)
Without a doubt, Tawse is in my top 3 list for best winery in Ontario. Regardless of vintage, winemaker Paul Pender and his team are making some of the province’s most compelling wines. From a great vineyard, and an equally great vintage, comes this dark cherry coloured wine, with purple highlights. Full bodied, it just piles on the violets, tobacco, dark red and black fruits, incense and vanilla. The finish is long with some ever present tannins that will allow this beauty to age for a decade.

91 Tawse Meritage 2007, Niagara Peninsula ($58)
This heavy hitter is currently shy, showing only a glimpse of dark fruit, herbs, spice and oak influences. In the mouth, it is concentrated and intense, with firm tannins and a fabulous finale that ends in cocoa and vanilla. Hold it until 2011 and drink it until 2020. (ES)

89 13th Street Gamay Sandstone Old Vines 2007, Creek Shores ($26)
13th Street’s famous top Gamay hits the bulls-eye in 2007. Wall to wall ripe plums, raspberries, cocoa, toast and spice are built on a medium to full bodied construction. Lengthy finish with supple tannins means that this wine will age well for the next 3 to 4 years. Think oven braised country ribs.(ES)

89 Tawse Cherry Avenue Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007, Twenty Mile Bench ($48)
More elegant than the 17th Street offering, yet more concentrated. This bottling exudes raspberries, plum, cherry, cocoa and vanilla. It has a lengthy finish with supple tannins, embodying what a Pinot should be.

88 Tawse 17th Street Pinot Noir 2007, Twenty Mile Bench ($58)
A delicious Niagara Pinot! Slightly closed, there is a complex mélange of plum, mineral, spice and carnations.  It is mid weight with very good length. Hold it until late 2010 and drink it until 2015. (ES)

88 Featherstone ONYX 2007, Twenty Mile Bench ($29.95)
A blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot, this easy drinking red serves a mix of cherry, herbs, spice, peppermint and cocoa on the nose.  There is a sweet core of fruit, notably cherry and cassis, that combines with vanilla and cedar on the finale. Enjoy it over the next 3 years. (ES)

87 Fielding Cabernet-Syrah 2007, Niagara ($25)
A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, and 20% Cabernet Franc, it is aged for 18 months in a combination of new and older barrels. Smooth and accessible, the plum, raspberries, earth, espresso and smoke are very flattering. It is ready to inbibe. (ES)



92 Inniskillin Riesling Icewine 2007 ($69.95)
The top Riesling of the tasting! A very explosive nose of fruit salad, petrol, lemon zest, cinnamon and flowers leads into a full bodied mouthfeel. In the mouth, it is weighty, with peach, apple, mango and  honey on the very long finish.  This is a perfect partner for a fresh fruit tart. Job well done!

90 Henry of Pelham Riesling Icewine 2007 ($49.95)
Without a doubt, HOP has crafted another righteous Riesling Ice experience. This version, having profited from the heat of 07, inundates the senses with peach jam, honeycomb, flowers and dried apricots. The palate is explosive and rich, but with enough acid to keep it from becoming cloying. Excellent length.

90 Jackson Triggs Proprietor’s Reserve Vidal  Icewine 2007 ($45.95)
The best Vidal of the tasting. The 250 grams of sugar make an impact on the taste buds as does the honey, dried apricot, lychee, mango and pear. Full bodied, with good viscocity, but not cloying thanks the acidity, and superb length.

89 Coyote’s Run Riesling Icewine 2007 ($55)
A seductive Icewine that beguiles the taster with golden raisins macerated in honey, apricots and marmalade. Sweet, rich, ripe, with a solid backbone of acidity and excellent length.  Ready to drink now or until 2015.

89 Stratus Icewine White 2008 ($39.95/200ml)
Stratus’ first white assemblage Icewine is a blend of Riesling and Semillon. The colour is medium yellow with a hint of green.   A bouquet of pineapple, honeysuckle, flowers and  grapefruit  is built on a medium bodied frame. The acid is lively and the finish is lengthy, reverberating with spice and rose water.

89 Stratus Riesling Icewine 2008 ($39.95/200ml)
Another winter wonder winner from winemaker J.L.Groulx!  With loads of green apples, lime, pear, flowers and grapefruit to be found, this sweetie also delivers zesty acid and a lengthy finish. Key lime or lemon meringue pie are the right choices for this wine.

89 Peller Estates Andrew Peller Signature Series Riesling Icewine 2006 ($38/ 200ml)
Maturing aromas of dried apricots/peaches  and caramel combine with pineapple, white pepper and grapefruit. It is rather oily when it hits the palate, even though there is sound acid. This would be absolute perfection with seared foie gras.

88 Jackson Triggs Proprietor’s Grand Reserve Gewurztraminer Icewine 2006 ($63.95)
Amber hues from age. Cotton candy, violets, rose, pineapple, honey are all present. With 204 grams of sugar, it is a full bodied offering, with an oily texture and a long spicy finish.

88 Birchwood Gewurztraminer Riesling Icewine 2006 ($56.75)
A great discovery! This stickie serves up lots of floral (honeysuckle, acacia) qualities on top of peach, spice and buttered popcorn. Medium body and balanced with a honeyed finish.

88 Lakeview Riesling Icewine 2006 ($49.95)
Somewhat reserved, the wine currently delivers pear, pear, lime and grapefruit aromas. In the mouth, it is sweet with good acid and medium length.

87 Reif Vidal Icewine 2006 ($46.95)
An elegant Icewine with green apple, grapefruit, honey and flowers aromas that greet the taster. On the taste buds it is medium bodied with fresh acid . Very good length.

87 Wayne Gretzky Vidal Icewine 2005
A bouquet of pineapple, grapefruit, caramel, nuts and toast combine with marmalade on the palate. Medium to full body with a lingering finish.

87 Colio Estate Vidal Icewine 2007 ($39.55)
This gold medal winner at Les Citadelles du Vin competition in Bordeaux possesses only 160 grams of sugar, making it less sweet than its brethren.  Combined with a personality of toasted cinnamon raisin bread, butter and dried apricots make this an irresistible tasting experience that must be had.

87 Peller Estates Vidal Icewine 2008 200ml
Gains points for complexity- peach, apricot, papaya, passion fruit and flowers. Loads of acid and a touch less sweetnes than other icewines make this a refined offering. Pair with a passion fruit mousse or grapefruit granita.                 


92 The Foreign Affair Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2007 ($34.95/200ml)
A very rich Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine that benefited from the intense heat of 2007 vintage. Stacked with guava, raspberry, strawberry and plum jam, and lighter accents of thyme honey, the finish hangs around on the taste buds for a long time. Chocolate fondue would just be a mind blowing experience with this stickie.

91 Pillitteri Estate Sticky Beak Red Icewine 2007 ($60/200ml)
In Aussie parlance, a ‘Sticky Beak’ is someone who finds pleasure in sticking their nose into other people’s business. In this case, it is highly recommended that you make this wine a part of your affairs. It is a unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Franc, Shiraz and Sangiovese that serves up strawberry rhubarb, cocoa, red pepper and spices. The finish is long and sweet.

89 Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine 2007 ($110.05)
Deep pink colour and wall to wall strawberry, raspberry, plum and blackberry jam flavours and aromas. Rather full bodied with a long finish and some light tannins on the finale. Pair with a cheesecake topped with a berry coulis.


September 2009 Wine Ratings

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88 Luigi Bosca Malbec Reserva 2006,  Lujan de Cuyo ($17.95)
Made from 70 year old vines, this is an elegant Malbec which reveals a perfume of raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, Greek oregano, cinnamon and cocoa. Tannins are supple and the finish lengthy, so drink over the next 3 years. (ES)



85 Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005, South Australia ($16.95)
Black center with a cherry rim. Eucalyptus, licorice, damson plum and a myriad of other dark fruits waft over the senses. Soft texture and ready to drink. (ES)



85 Miguel Torres Santa Digna Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006 ($14.95)
Opaque black with a purple rim, it delivers herbs, mint, blackcurrant juice, spice and scorched earth. There is a slight bitter edge and some heat, some grill up some Italian sausage and enjoy. (ES)




88 Hillebrand Showcase Riesling Ghost Creek Vineyard 2008, Four Mile Creek ($25)
Peach, lime, mineral, smoky minerals and hints of arugala are built on a medium bodied frame.  It is backed up by zingy acidity. The finish is lengthy with a core of minerals dancing across the palate and a hint of residual sugar on the finale. Try with Comté or Mimolette cheese. (ES)


88 Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2008, Beamsville Bench ($26)
After thirty minutes in the glass, the peach jam, lime cordial and flowers start to explode. In the mouth, it is mid weight and dry. Citrus zest and acidity come to bear on the finish, as well as an undercurrent of fresh peach. 


88 Hidden Bench Tête de Cuvée Chardonnay 2006 ($45)
Within the bouquet of apple, lemon, honey, banana and spice, a touch of V.A. can be detected, giving extra complexity. Even though the wine has a creamy texture, having gone through malolactic, a beautiful spine of acid is found. Very good length with a spicy mid palate.


88 Hidden Bench Nuit Blanche 2007 Rosomel Vineyard 2007, Beamsville Bench ($40)
This current rendition of this wine spent 10 months in barrel and is a blend of 88% Sauvignon Blanc and 12% Semillon. Smokey herbs, nuts, grapefruit, passion fruit, asparagus, toast and vanilla are all found on the nose. In the mouth, it is all about gooseberry, grapefruit, spice and vanilla. Try with sautéed pork tenderloin and swiss chard in a béchamel sauce


87 Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2007, Beamsville Bench ($35)
Medium yellow colour with a very Meursault nose of toasted hazelnuts, smoke, butter, vanilla and green apple. The palate emulates the nose, finishing on a spicy edge. Very good length. Drink over the next 3 years.

87 Trius White 2008, Ontario ($19.95)
Take 1/3 parts each of Gewurz and Riesling, add a good dose of Pinot Gris and season it with some Savagnin, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and you have the latest vintage of Trius White. Flavours of peach, lychee, melon, spice, honey and flowers are built on a medium bodied frame. The finish is creamy and smokey thanks to barrel aging.


87 Rosehall Run Chardonnay Rosehall Vineyard 2007, Prince Edward County ($29.95)
This is a mid weight Chardonnay that was aged in new and old oak and given a sur lie treatment for ten months as means to give more complexity and weight. The nose is marked by toasty/roasted nuts, vanilla, green apples and pineapple. In the mouth, the wine turns elegant with a creamy texture and flavours of vanilla, green apple and honey on the finale. Very good length. (ES)


86 Black Prince Melon de Bourgogne 2008, Prince Edward County
Black Prince’s Melon (the grape of Muscadet) is true to its varietal nature-minerals, citrus and green apple. Light bodied with vibrant acidity, it is a perfect match with a chilled seafood platter and mignonette on the side. (ES)


88 Hidden Bench Estate Pinot Noir 2007, Beamsville Bench ($45)
Medium cherry colour with a pink rim. Flattering aromas of plum, violet, smoke, raspberry and black cherries lead into a supple texture and an earthy/cherry laden finish. From 2010 to 2013.


86 Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Varietal Series 2007, Niagara ($13.50)
An easy drinking Franc which displays a bouquet of violets, raspberries, plums, cocoa, smoky herbs and spice. The tannins are soft, the fruit is ripe and lingers. Try with some aged Canadian Cheddar or penne cacciatore. (ES)



92 Markus Molitor Riesling Kabinett Wehlener Sonnenheur 2007, Mosel ($24.95)
I had the chance to visit this property a few years back, and their devotion to quality showed in all the wines, from the early 90s to 2006. Well, 2007 continues the hot streak, and this wine delivers a rather deep straw yellow colour (for a Kabinett) and a huge perfume of peach, pineapple, spice, yeast, and minerals. It is medium to full bodied with loads of zippy lime acidity backing up the moderate sweetness. The aftertaste is long and there is easily 10 to 15 years ahead for this beauty.



88 Torres Gran Coronas Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2005, Penedes ($18.95)
Packs a good punch and is a solid value for under $20. The deep cherry colour leads into an aromatic mix of spiced plums, cassis, ground espresso beans, roasted herbs and vanilla. There is some heat on the finish, which combined with the tannin signals that this wine should be held until 2010 and drunk until 2014. Try it this winter with a slow braised beef brisket.


August 2009 Wine Ratings

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88 Navarro Correas Alegoria Gran Reserva Malbec 2006, Mendoza ($18.95)
At under $20, this Malbec is a great value. The colour is black with purple highlights, and it pumps out the blackberries, plums, licorice, raisins and spice. It is medium to full bodied, with good freshness, as well as a lengthy finish and some serious tannins. What to eat with this?  Drive on over to the closest Brazilian steakhouse. (ES)





90 Coyote’s Run Pinot Blanc 2008, Four Mile Creek ($18)
Alsace could take a lesson from this wine. By far, the best Ontario Pinot Blanc I have ever tried! At first whiff, there are pleasant aromas of apple, melon, citrus and tropical fruit, but when it hits the palate, it really starts to strut it stuff with a rich and concentrated mouthful of peach, honey, smoke and spice. The finish is long and there is just a smidge of sweetness to balance the fresh acid. (ES)


86 Stoney Ridge Gewurztraminer 2008, Four Mile Creek ($14.95)
A perfume of peach, lychee fruit and fresh flowers leads into a mouthful of stone fruit, green apples, grapefruit and spice. Elegant, medium bodied, it enjoys a fresh personality and very good length. (ES)


86 Coyote’s Run Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc 2008, Four Mile Creek ($16) 
This is a soft and easy drinking white that is made for manchego cheese or a tarte flambé. A perfume of melon, ripe peach, flowers and banana work their way across a light bodied frame. The texture is creamy with a spicy note on the finale. (ES)


85 Coyote’s Run Unoaked Chardonnay 2008, Niagara ($15)
Light yellow colour with moderate aromas of pear, this wine features flowers, smoky minerals and some spice. It is dry and light bodied with a citrus, peach and creamy finale. It has a medium length and is ready to drink. (ES)



86 Thirty Bench Small Lot Rose 2008, Beamsville Bench ($22)
This is a blend of 40% Merlot and the remainder being equal parts of both Cabernets. As roses go, there is weight and concentration as well as a profile of strawberries, watermelon rind, rhubarb and smokey herbs. Enjoy its medium length and it is ideal for a charcuterie plate. (ES)



88 Coyote’s Run Red Paw Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2007, Four Mile Creek ($20)
This mid weight Franc was barrel aged for 14 months, giving the wine a spicy personality which combines with plum, blackberries and cherry cola. Tannins are present, so pair it with a veal pizzaiola or seared duck breast in a blackcurrant sauce.  Drink it over the next 5 years. (ES)


88 Marynissen 31 2007, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($31)
Jeff Hundertmark, Marynissen’s new winemaker has created this wine to honor the late great John Marynissen. As one of the patriarch’s of Ontario’s wine industry, he is famous for having planted some of the first Cabernet Sauvignon vines back in 1978, and they are found in this wine. John’s famous C.S. cuvees were identified as Lot 31 (hence the name) and Lot 66.  The colour is a dark cherry, and while the nose is still a little shy in intensity, menthol/herbs, cocoa, spice, plum, raspberry, licorice and medicinal qualities have emerged. The tannins are firm and there is very good length, so hold it until 2011 and drink it until 2016. Steak please! (ES)

88 Marynissen Cabernet Franc 2007, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($22)
An extremely youthful wine with figs, plums, dried fruit, cigar box and a touch of acetone showing at this early stage.  The tannins are firm, so cellar this wine until late next year and then enjoy it until 2016. (ES)


88 Marynissen Syrah 2007, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($25)
All the plum, raspberry, smokey tobacco, cocoa, black pepper and thyme make this a dead ringer for a top St-Joseph. There is very good length and supple tannins, making it an excellent choice for roasted venison in a provencal herb mixture or Saucisson de Lyon and you will be able to savour it from now until 2013. (ES)


85 Vineland Estates Cabernet Merlot 2007, Niagara ($15)
Lots of smoky roasted aromas overshadow the cassis, plum, raspberry and herbal elements.  The supple tannins are mid weight and a lingering finish round out the package. (ES)



89 Rabbit Ridge Zinfandel 2007 Estate Grown, Paso Robles ($24.95)
Here is one of those over the top, not for the faint of heart, high octane (16.2% alcohol) Zins from the hot, hot area of Paso Robles. It is racked, backed and stacked full of red and black jam, raisins and cinnamon.  The tannins, the heat and the jam come to bear on the finale, so grill up some top quality sausages and dry rubbed ribs to tame this wild  thing. (ES)



86 Redhawk Vineyard Grateful Red Pinot Noir 2007, Willamette Valley ($24.95)
This wine is a ready to drink, light Pinot Noir that serves up a moderate personality of cherries, spice, tea leaves/herbs and earth. It is marked by good length and soft tannins. (ES)




89 Henriques & Henriques 15 Year Old Verdelho, Madeira ($58)
Madeira might not be fashionable at this point in history, but a recent tasting by the Madeira Wine Institute showed the diversity of these wines, especially when it came to food pairings. Believe it or not, this off dry, nutty, maple syrup flavored was superb with a trio of dry aged beefs-filet, striploin and bavette. It is a significant discovery!


88 Cossart Gordon 5 Year Old Bual, Madeira ($29)
This is a sweet Madeira with lots of caramel, nuts, pepper and orange peel coming off the nose. Acid is present, ensuring that the wine is not heavy. Try it with peanut brittle topped crème brulee. (ES)


June 2009 Wine Ratings

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91 Weingut Kurt Angerer Kies Grüner Veltliner  2008, Kamptal ($22.95)
A killer Gruner! Peach is huge and along with citrus, honey and grapefruit the nose is inundated while spice, herbs and grapefruit add complexity in the mouth. A full bodied wine, it is rich and concentrated with fresh acid and superb length combining to make for an exciting experience. (ES)


90 Nikolaihof Grüner Vetliner Hefeabzug 2008, Wachau ($27.95)
‘GrüVe (groovy),’ as it is called in wine circles, is Austria’s gift to the world of fine white wine. Very versatile with food, it has finally achieved the respect it deserves along with bottling that is always top notch. This particular vintage offers a fine blend of minerals, herbs, citrus, pepper and honey. Dry with fresh acid and excellent length, it will age well for a few years to come without any problems. (ES)


90 Rabl Grüner Veltliner Eiswein 2006, Kamptal ($49)
With 265 grams of residual sugar, one would think this wine would be a syrupy monster. Not the case at all, as the acid lifts it right up. There is wall to wall sweet basil, peaches, honey, pink grapefruit and spice as well as a long finish. Drink it over the next 10 years. (ES)


88 Rabl Riesling Steinhaus 2008, Kamptal ($21.95)
This mid weight Riesling is a cornucopia of peach, mineral and green apples. Dry and crisp with bubble gum, lime and citrus, it meanders to a lengthy finish. (ES)



91 Weingut Kurt Angerer Zweigelt Granit 2007, Kamptal ($40)
This is the best Zweigelt I have ever tried! Purple/red color, it explodes with smoky blackberries, spice, cocoa and plums. Jammy, with more of the dark fruits in the mouth and accents of pepper, the wine glides to a long, ripe finish. Drink over the next 4 years to take advantage of its exuberance. (ES)



92 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve 2005, Napa ($129.95)
This rendition of Beringer’s top Cab is slightly lighter than previous vintages. Nonetheless, it has a rich, dark colour while offering an intense nose of blackberries, cocoa, toast, spice and minty herbs. There is excellent length and enough tannins to take 15 years. (ES)


91 St. Clement Star Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Rutherford ($99.95)
Blackberries, blueberries, black raspberries, Indian spice, mint and smoke are the hallmarks of this full bodied Cabernet. On the palate, there is structure in the form of ripe tannins and a scorched earth quality on the lengthy finish. It will only get better with time and will be best from 2010 to 2025. (ES)


90 St. Clement Vineyards Oroppas Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa ($64.95)
The Oroppas is a medium to full bodied Cab that has been seasoned with 7% Merlot. It delivers plum, raspberries, cherries, vanilla and some herbs on a velvety texture. The finish is long and tannins are present, but not over powering. It is good from now to 2014. (ES)


90 Charles Baker Riesling 2008, Vinemount Ridge ($35)
This is CB4-the fourth release of this wine from Charles Baker, Stratus’ Marketing and Sales Director. Peach, lime and minerals with crushed seashells waft over the senses. The palate is full bodied, youthful, expansive and full of zesty acid. The only thing missing is the classic aroma of petrol, which will start to show within a year of bottle aging. How can I be certain of this? Charles also poured his first three vintages as a comparison-they all showed that hallmark of the grape, as well as incredibly vibrant and youthful personalities. So, hold this bottle until 2010 and drink up to 2020.


88 Flat Rock Cellars Riesling 2008, Twenty Mile Bench ($16.95)
A solid value Riesling with flowers, peach, mineral, honey on the nose and bergamot, peach, grapefruit and honey in the mouth. It is medium bodied with fresh acid and very good length. Drink it over the next 5 to 6 years. (ES)


88 The Organized Crime Pinot Gris 2008, Niagara Peninsula ($18)
Light straw colour with a hint of peach, this is a mid weight Gris that is laced with spice, peaches, melon, white flowers and honey. Dry, crisp and refreshing, it is a late summer patio sipper. 


88 The Organized Crime Off Dry Riesling 2008, Beamsville Bench ($25)
Almost water color, the beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers, peach, lime and honey beguile the tasters. The tension between the acid and twenty two grams of residual is perfectly achieved, giving the impression of a dry wine. Crack this baby open with some Korean BBQ or Indian cuisine. (ES)



89 The Organized Crime Cabernet Franc 2007, Beamsville Bench ($34)
Still in relative infancy, this wine shows serious aromas of cherries, plums, dill, cigar, cocoa, spice and violets. In the mouth, it is ripe, but still compact, necessitating bottle age to show its full potential. Hold it until 2010 and enjoy it until 2017. (ES)


87 The Organized Crime Syrah 2007, Beamsville Bench ($34)
This blend of 85% Syrah and 15% Pinot Noir spent seventeen months in barrels, endowing the wine with vanilla and cocoa that combines with plum, spice, thyme and rosemary. The palate shows sweet berry fruit, supple tannins and very good length. Take pleasure in it from now until 2014. (ES)


87 Nyarai Cellars Syrah 2007, Niagara ($20)
Nyarai is a joint venture between Calamus’ winemaker Steve Byfield and industry pro Sharon Marks. Translated from South African, Nyarai means humble; a perfect metaphor for this wine. It is not over the top or overdone with showy oak, rather it is an elegant creature with a flattering nose of raspberry jam, cassis, vanilla, pepper and cocoa. There is very good length, soft tannin and fresh acid to round out the experience. (ES)


May 2009 Wine Ratings

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90 Henry of Pelham Riesling Icewine 2007, Niagara ($49.95)
Without a doubt, HOP has crafted another righteous Riesling Ice experience. This version, having profited from the heat of 07, inundates the senses with peach jam, honeycomb, flowers and dried apricots. The palate is explosive and rich, but with enough acid to keep it from becoming cloying. Excellent length. (ES)


90 Hidden Bench Felseck Vineyard Gewurztraminer 2008, Beamsville Bench ($35)
Ladies and gentlemen, here is a pure expression of Gewurz- rose water, cold cream and tutti frutti on the nose, and a mouthful of honey, spice, roses and peach jam. Medium to full body with excellent length. (ES)


89 Hidden Bench Roman’'s Block Riesling 2007, Beamsville Bench ($34)
Of the many Riesling offerings produced by Hidden Bench, this is always the fullest and ripest. It serves up a high level smoky/minerality and lime cordial on the nose and a combination of minerals, petrol and bergamot jam on the palate. It is a terroir based Riesling for aficionados of the grape, and is made for food, along the lines of choucroute or river fish. (ES)


88 Hidden Bench Fume Blanc 2007, Beamsville Bench
The Fumé quality of the wine really dominates. Meaning, if you like oak, this wine is for you. Waves of smoky vanilla encompass the fennel and citrus aromas, while in the mouth the same smoke weaves its way through the grapefruit, grass and spice. Acids are fresh and the flavour carries on for a while. Drink now with smoked trout/salmon. (ES)


88 Featherstone Estate Winery Canadian Oak Chardonnay, Twenty Mile Bench ($21.95)
Everything about this wine is 100% authentic Canadian- grapes, oak and yeast. Yes, the yeast. The wine was a ‘wild ferment’, meaning that the indigenous ambient yeast was used, as opposed to the more popular cultivated versions.  Green apple, peach, cardamom, allspice and Krispy Kreme vanilla glaze are all present. The texture is soft and creamy with a lengthy finish. Drink over the next 3 to 4 years. (ES)


87 Henry of Pelham Sibling Rivalry White 2008, Niagara ($13.95)
Sibling Rivalry White and Red are new products from the Speck boys at HOP. These wines draw their inspiration from the work dynamic between the brother/owners and the use of that mystical number: three. There are three grapes involved: Riesling, Gewurz and Chardonnay; and there are three brothers: Paul, who is the President, Daniel who is in charge of sales and marketing and Matt the vineyard manager. They work well together, just like this particular combination of grapes. Of course, there are always necessary compromises that arise, as in any partnership. Sometimes it even takes place in the form of ‘rock, paper and scissors’. Have a look at the label and you will see the hand symbols. That being said, this wine is a solid value white, with an essence of peach, flowers, honey, citrus and bubble gum. It is very refreshing, so chill it down and enjoy it on any summer late afternoon or weekend with friends, neighbors and family. (ES)


87 Twenty Twenty Seven Cellars Riesling Falls Vineyard 2008, Vinemount Ridge ($24.95)
This is the second vintage of this small ‘one man band’ winery owned by Kevin Panagapka. In 2008, he produced two bottlings of Riesling - one from the Featherstone vineyard and this bottling, where my personal preference lies. Lime, minerals and peach aromas meet up with grapefruit flavours and lots of zippy acid on the tongue. Very good length. (ES)


87 Henry of Pelham Reserve Riesling 2007, Niagara ($14.95)
Lime, peach, smoky minerals are centered on mid weight frame. Crisp and refreshing, it finishes on a suggestion of grapefruit. (ES)


87 Featherstone Estate Winery Old Vines Riesling 2008, Twenty Mile Bench ($18.95)
A dry styled Riesling with minerals, honey, green apple and pear on the nose. Citrus, grapefruit, minerals and some petrol notes appear in the mouth, and are all backed up by fresh acid. Very good length. (ES)

87 Estate Chardonnay Hidden Bench 2006, Beamsville Bench ($30)
This wine is starting to show it mature side in the form buttered popcorn/corn on the cob. These attributes mix with caramel, green apple, peach, honey and banana. The finish is lengthy with a creamy texture and solid spine of acidity. (ES)



89 Tawse Growers Blend Pinot Noir 2007, Niagara ($38)
Sourced from multiple vineyards throughout the Niagara Peninsula, the wine serves up a sexy nose of plum, spice, raspberry, cherry, vanilla and cocoa. The sweet fruit on the palate gives it a rich texture, while the  annins and acid  round things out. Drink this charmer over the next 5 years. (ES)


87 Hidden Bench Terroir Caché 2006, Beamsville Bench ($35)
In 2006, because of vintage conditions, Hidden Bench took all their premium grapes designated for the top tier red wine, La Brunate, and used it in this offering. A blend of 50% Merlot, 34% Franc, 12% Malbec and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine shows plum, vegetal, raspberry, coffee and cocoa qualities that are built on a medium body frame. Ready to drink now.


87 Featherstone Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2007, Twenty Mile Bench ($18.95)
Made from once score + one year old vines, this mid weight Franc flatters with scents of raspberries, cherries, earth and chocolate. The same carries onto the palate, while finishing on a lovely crème caramel note. Now to 2014. (ES)


86 Peninsula Ridge Shiraz 2007, Niagara ($14.95)
Tastes more like Syrah than Shiraz- along the lines of plum, raspberries, black pepper, herbs, cocoa and leather.  Not overtly heavy, but still flavorful, with medium length and supple tannins. Drink over the next 2 years. (ES)






90 Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millénaires 1995, Champagne ($175)
This is only the fourth release of this Blanc de Blanc (100% Chardonnay) Champagne. Still very youthful, as witnessed by the green hue on the rim and the primary aromas/flavours of citrus, flowers, apple and anise. There are some aged brioche and hazelnut qualities, but they play in the background.  All said, this wine has another 10 to 15 year ahead of it, and will probably score higher with time. Made for caviar or oysters!


88 Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve N/V, Champagne ($59.75)
With almost equally parts of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, this bubbly shows a mature nose of beurre noisette, brioche, peach and earth. Mid weight, it offers a lengthy finish which echoes the nose as well as a lively mousse.  This is a perfect match for pasta in a salmon cream sauce.


88 Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage N/V, Champagne ($76.25)
This is one of the better rosé Champagnes that I have sampled recently. The color is a medium pink, and the perfume of strawberries, spice, earth, flowers and cocoa dance above the creamy bubbles that cascade across palate. It is dry with very good length and structured enough for roasted pork or medium rare duck breast. (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