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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.



October 2007 Wine Ratings

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Canada

White

90 Cave Springs Gewurztraminer 2006, Beamsville Bench ($19.95)

It is hard to find a better Canadian Gewurz than this. It offers an intense bouquet of cold cream, peaches, honey, flowers and pink grapefruit. It is full bodied, somewhat oily in texture, dry and with a spicy finish. (ES)

 

89 Thirty Bench Small Lot Chardonnay 2005, Beamsville Bench ($30)

A mid weight Chardonnay that weaves a web of vanilla, spice, caramel, pear and apple to a lengthy finish that is citrusy and refreshing. Pan seared skate wing with a beurre noisette/sage sauce would be sublime. (ES)

 

89 Cave Springs Riesling Indian Summer 2006, Niagara ($24.95)

Light straw colour with honey, apple juice, smoky/flint and apricot. It is streamlined, with a fine backbone of acidity that gives the wine lift. (ES)

 

89 Cave Springs Riesling CSV 2006, Beamsville Bench ($30)

A full bodied, youthful Riesling with aromas of citrus, mineral, orange pop, bergamot and apple. Off dry on the palate with lots of lemon/lime acidity. (ES)

 

88 Peninsula Ridge Viognier Reserve 2006, Niagara ($30)

Yes, there is oak to the wine, but it acts as a counter weight for the peach, flowers, honey, yogurt and spice flavours of the Viognier grape. Rather full bodied with a creamy texture and very good length. A Condrieu of comparable quality costs double the price. (ES)

 

87 Cave Springs Riesling Estate 2006, Beamsville Bench ($17.95)

Expect to find flowers, honey, apricot, bergamot and lime in this tight, young wine. Ideally, it should not be broached for a couple of years and will easily age for a decade. (ES)

 

Red

91 Thirty Bench Small Lot Cabernet Franc 2005, Beamsville Bench ($35)

There are only 109 cases of this amazing wine in existence. Guaranteed by the time this rating is published, there will be a lot less. Dark cherry with a pink rim, this full bodied offering offers a sweet nose of blackberry and raspberry jam, plums, cocoa, vanilla and spice. There is excellent length and a sweet core of ripe fruit as well as some heat from 13.8% alcohol. Now until 2017.

 

90 Thirty Bench Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Beamsville Bench ($35)

Another great red from the winemaking team at Thirty Bench! Plums, cherries, raspberries, licorice and mint are all present in this full bodied wine. Tannin structure is there, so hold for a couple of years and drink until to 2018. Best served with grilled lamb chops. (ES)

88 Thirty Bench Red 2005, Beamsville Bench ($22)

The blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot  possess a medium to dark cherry colour and a rich bouquet of  blackcurrants, cherries, leather, plums, licorice and herbs. In the mouth, cocoa, plums and spice linger as the wine finishes with dusty tannins. Made for pot roast or roasted top sirloin. Drink over the next 4 to 5 years. (ES)

 

88 Henry of Pelham Reserve Baco Noir 2005, Ontario ($24.95)

 Henry of Pelham, the King of Baco, has clocked in with another great Reserve offering. Medium to full bodied with plums, cherries, wildberries, cocoa and spice. Baco’s nervous acidity shows through at the end making it well suited for wild boar or grilled quail. (ES)

 

88 Calamus Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Niagara ($22.95)

Let this wine breath for a half hour before serving. When open, it will showcase plum, minty/cedar, incense, violets and black licorice. The palate is somewhat “sweet” with black fruit resonating through the finish. Drink over the next five years. (ES)

 

86 Peninsula Ridge Shiraz 2006, Niagara ($14.95)

This is the LCBO’s first general list Canadian Shiraz. It offers aromas of plum, raspberry, black pepper and herbs. Good weight and medium length. It is ready to serve on the dinner table with roast beef. (ES)

 

86 Peninsula Ridge Merlot 2006, Niagara ($14.95)

Out of the bottle flows plum, cocoa, blackberries, spice and hickory. It should drink well over the next 2 to 3 years as there is some grip on the finish. (ES)

 

85 Calamus Red 2006, Niagara ($15)

This is the second vintage of this bottling, one that is softer than its predecessor. Cassis, black raspberry, herbs, roasted nuts and cherry are to be found in the light to mid weight wine. (ES)

 

Australia

 

87 Lindemans Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005, Coonawarra ($15.25)

Very good value! There is an undercurrent of mint which meshes together with the more pronounced aromas of blackberries, plum, vanilla, spice and leather. It possesses a medium body as well as enough tannin to take it 3 to 4 years.  (ES)

peach and citrus. Medium length, off dry and a good dose of alcohol on the finish. (ES)

 

September 2007 Wine Ratings

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Canada

White

89 Stratus Riesling 2006, Niagara ($35)

This Riesling really cranks the aromatics; peach, bergamot jam, tutti frutti, lime and minerals. The palate shows concentration and very good length as well as mouth watering acidity and a touch of residual sugar. An easy pairing for Szechwan or Thai food. (ES)

89 Charles Baker Riesling 2006, Vinemount Ridge  ($35)

To my knowledge, this is the first wine that lists Vinemount Ridge as its appellation of origin. Made by Stratus’ marketing boss Charles Baker, it is superbly aromatic with peach, bergamot, lime and minerals. The finish is lengthy and oh so delicious, with some sweetness. The only way to procure the second vintage of this limited edition wine will be on line at charlesbaker.ca, this autumn. (ES)

87 Marynissen Vidal Icewine 2004, Niagara ($29)

A mid weight “stickie” with a mix of peach, honey and apricot to be found on both on the nose and tongue. Very good length and ready to drink. (ES)

87 Jackson Triggs Sauvignon Blanc Delaine Vineyard 2006, Niagara ($22.75)

White flowers, lime and fruit cocktail are built on a crisp personality and elegant style. Pair it up with a shrimp ceviche accented with a touch of spice. (ES)

87 Palatine Hills Riesling Traminer 2006, Niagara Lakeshore ($19)

This blend of Riesling and Gewurztraminer is an aromatic glassful of peach, flowers, honey and spice. The wine has a nice concentrated mid palate as well as a spicy personality and some noticeable sweetness. (ES)

86 Jackson-Triggs Proprietors’ Grand Reserve Riesling 2006, Niagara ($17.30)

Pale straw colour. This is a lighter style of Riesling with upfront aromas of lime, peach, honey and mineral. Good length. (ES)

85 Pillitteri Fusion Gewurztraminer Riesling 2005, Niagara ($12)

This is a soft and easy drinking wine which offers a pleasant peach, honey and lime. There is some noticeable sweetness on the finish. Chill it well and enjoy it as an aperitif. (ES) 

85 Jackson-Triggs Gewurztraminer Delaine Vineyard 2006, Niagara ($22.80)

The wine starts off with a streak of rose water and tropical fruit, but it turns light and airy on the somewhat spicy finish. (ES)

85 Calamus Estate Winery Unoaked Chardonnay 2006, Niagara ($14)

A crisp expression of the Chardonnay grape that is unadulterated by any wood. Pear, apple, citrus, peach and a tinge of honey are all present in this refreshing wine. Try with smoked salmon drizzled with olive oil and lemon. (ES)

85 Reif Estate Gewürztraminer 2006, Niagara ($14.95)

A light weight Gewurz with moderate aromatics of rose, peach and spice. Ready to drink. (ES)

Red

 

90 Sratus Icewine Red 2006, Niagara ($39/200ml)

This icewine is an assemblage of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. There is an interesting apple juice quality to the cherry/raspberry/plum profile. In the mouth, raisins, chocolate and more berry fruit emerge, making it a perfect partner for a chocolate mousse or any derivative of the cocoa bean. (ES)

 

89 Stratus Cabernet Franc 2004, Niagara ($36)

A seductive offering that flatters with aromas of cocoa, plum, vanilla, cassis, cherries and dried herbs. Medium to full bodied with a soft texture and great persistency. (ES)

 

85 Pillitteri Merlot 2004, Niagara ($15)

This is an honest good old fashioned everyday drinking Merlot. Plum, smoke, liquorice, earth and dark chocolate resonate through the finish. Drink now (ES)

 

 

Chile

 

86 Bodegas Santa Lucia Merlot ($15)

This wine is offers up a superb nose of super ripe plums, boysenberry, liquorice, vanilla and spice. It is mid weight with sweet fruit on the mid palate and medium length. Only available at Pillitteri winery.

 

86 Bodegas Santa Lucia Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 ($15)

Very ripe with blackberry, plum, spice, vanilla and slight herbal/medicinal aromas. The mouth resonates with much of the same as well as supple tannins and an easy drinking finish. (ES)

 

August 2007 Wine Ratings

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Canada

White

89 Trius White 2006, Niagara ($18.95)
This is the inaugural vintage of Trius White-a wine that has been created as a companion for the long established red version. It is a full bodied blend of Gewurz, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay which flaunts peach, passion fruit, spice, mineral, citrus and honey. Excellent length. (ES)

 

89 Hidden Bench Nuit Blanche 2005, Beamsville Bench ($40)
A  blend of 84% Sauvignon Blanc and 16% Semillon offering  up a shy nose of gooseberries, lime, smoke, honey and asparagus. The palate opens up and adds grapefruit, citrus and passion fruit to the mix. Crisp texture and balanced. (ES)

 

87 Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2005, Beamsville Bench ($30)
Showcases a bouquet of peach, honey, flowers, spice and youthful vanilla/resinous oak. The palate chimes in with more vanilla, pear, smoke, spice and cream as well as a touch of heat. Drink now. (ES)

 

87 Riesling Sparkling 2006, Niagara ($28)
This is a charmat (tank) method sparkler that sings with peach, banana, honey and white flowers. Medium sized bubbles with lots of fresh acid. (ES)

 

86 Fielding Estate Viognier 2006, Beamsville Bench ($30)
Fielding’s first release of a Viognier does justice to the varietal; namely peach, floral, honey, banana and spice. It is dry and has a certain yogurt/spritzy quality on the palate as well as medium length. (ES)

 

Red

 

92 Hidden Bench La Brunante 2005, Beamsville Bench ($70)
From Ontario’s newest super premium winery comes this dead ringer for a top notch St- Emilion. It is a blend of 60% Merlot, 20 % Malbec, 18.4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1.6% Cabernet Franc. Having spent 16 months in new Troncais oak has given the wine a smoky/roasted coffee bean quality which melds perfectly with the plum, cocoa, cherry and black pepper. Superb length. Now to 2012. (ES)

 

89 Trius Red 2005, Niagara ($19.75)
One of the best Trius’ ever! A very Australian styled wine with lots of plum, vanilla, coconut, cocoa and spice as well as soft mouth feel. Medium to full bodied with supple tannins, which will allow it to age between 3 to 5 years. (ES)

 

89 Hidden Bench Terroir Cache2005, Beamsville Bench ($35)
This Cabernet Sauvignon (60%) dominant wine possess a medium to dark cherry colour as well as a bouquet of cassis, cherry, tobacco, herbal/mint, plums and cocoa. It is totally elegant and refined with enough structure to age over the next 3 to 5 years. (ES)

88 Hidden Bench Estate Pinot Noir 2005, Beamsville Bench ($35)
A delicate Pinot with strawberry, plum and earthy/mushroom qualities emerging from the glass. It is light, yet concentrated with a soft finish. Drink now. (ES)

 

86 Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series Cabernet Merlot 2005, Niagara ($16.95)
It’s 106km (give or take) from Toronto  to the soon to be opened Dan Aykroyd winery, I have a full bottle of his wine, it’s half fruit -cassis and raspberry and half oak- vanilla and spice, it is dark coloured and is perfect for grilled NY strip on the patio while wearing sunglasses. Drink it. (ES)

 

Germany

92 Balthasar Ress Hattenheim  Nussbrunnen Riesling Auslese 2003, Pfalz ($26.95/375ml)
I tasted this at the winery this past summer. Needless to say this is a terrific dessert wine with layers of petrol, peach, apricot, honey and passion fruit. It is sweet with lots of acid to keep everything in check. Drink over the next 10 to 15 years. (ES)

 

90 Wegeler Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2005, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer ($29.95)
This is a delicate and airy wine with an alcohol level of 8.5%, fresh acid and a touch of residual sugar. It offers persistent aromas of flowers, minerals and citrus. Five to eight years of aging ahead. (ES)

 

Greece

 

White

 

88 Boutari Moschofilero 2006, Mantinia ($13.95)
Moschofilero is considered one of Greece’s great indigenous white varietals and I believe that it will become a calling card, much like Albarino has done for Spain.  Here it delivers aromas of peach, orange and citrus rind, tropical fruit salad and white flowers. There is good density on the palate as well as a crisp personality and very good length. Perfectly suited for grilled fish drizzled in olive oil. (ES)

 

86 Boutari Santorini 2006, Santorini ($14.95)
This wine is made from 100% Assyrtiko grapes grown on the volcanic soils of Santorini. It offers up a bouquet not dissimilar to that of a dry Vouvray - that being minerals and over ripe apples. Very crisp and well suited for sushi or a traditional Greek pikilia (appetizer) platter.  (ES)

 

Red

 

87 Estate Papaioannou Nemea 2003, Nemea ($19.95)
This is a single vineyard wine made entirely from the Agiorgtiko grape. Plums, raspberries, black pepper and leather are built on a medium to full bodied frame.  The finish is length with supple tannins and a smidge of alcohol. (ES)

 

July 2007 Wine Ratings

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Canada

White

89 Henry of Pelham Riesling Off Dry 2006, Niagara ($14.95)
By the looks of it, 2006 is turning out to be another great Riesling vintage. This wine possesses a white gold colour and a youthful bouquet of peach, lime zest, minerals and honey. Medium body with a refreshingly long finish. Great value! (ES)

 

88 Reif Estate Winery Chenin Blanc 2006, Niagara River ($18.95)
A Chenin that teems with honeysuckle, green apple and minerals. The palate has a touch of sweetness, which works well with the fresh acid. The clean finish resonates with clementines and honey. Very good length. Has enough weight to pair up with fresh shucked oysters or Rockefeller style.

 

85 Reif Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc
A light to medium bodied S.B. with mild flavours of fresh cut grass, minerals, grapefruit and gooseberries. Dry with a medium finish. (ES)

 

82 Coyote’s Run Pinot Gris 2006, Niagara
A light wine that is crisp with moderate aromas of pear, citrus and flint. Chill it down and enjoy it as an aperitif. (ES)

 

Rose

86 Reif Estate Gamay Rose, Niagara River ($10.95)
This is a serious dry Rose. Starting with a deep pink colour it heads into an intense bouquet of fresh strawberries, raspberries and black pepper. Medium length and easy to drink…maybe too easy!. Pair it up with grilled salmon or pork tenderloin in a mild bbq sauce.

 

Red

88 Coyotes Run Meritage 2005, Niagara ($24)
A blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Cabernet Franc and 14% Merlot. The medium cherry colour leads the way to a bouquet of blackberries, plum, smoky chocolate and herbs. Medium to full body with firm tannins and very good length. Drink over the next 4 to 6 years. (ES)

 

86 Lakeview Merlot 2005, Niagara ($13.95)
This is just your everyday, good ol’ fashion everyday drinking Merlot.  It has a pleasant bouquet of plum, smoke, cherry and dark chocolate. Try it with braised short ribs. (ES)

 

 

Greece

 

87 Boutari Skalani Syrah/Kotsifali 2004, Crete ($19.95)
This is one of those new fangled international/indigenous grape combinations that Greece is becoming known for. The Syrah gives the plum, spice and licorice aromas and the Kotsifali gives the gamey and leather component. Mid weight with some heat on the finish and perfectly suited for roasted lamb. (ES)

Germany

 

91 St. Urbans-Hof Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Spatlese 2006, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer ($38.95)
During my visit to Germany, I had the chance to taste the entire line up of the 06’s at St. Urbans-Hof. This wine stood shoulders above the rest. A sublime nose of tropical fruits, honey and hefeweizen beer (think banana, yeast and spice) leads the way to a full bodied mouthful of pineapple and various fruits. Superb depth and length with noticeable sweetness, enough so to match with lighter fruit based desserts. (ES)

 

 

90 Selbach-Oster Zeltlinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett 2006, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer ($32.45)
Tasted at the winery with owner Johannes Selbach. A superb Kabinett with peach, honey, lime, pineapples and minerals on the nose and a ripe palate showcasing citrus, honey and a long mineral finish. At least a decade of aging ahead of it.(ES)

 

 

89 St.Urbans-Hof Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett 2006, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer ($23.95)
Normally this wine has a distinctive mineral personality but in 2006 there was an incredible amount of botrytis, so this version is riper, with a peach, apricot, pineapple and honey profile. In the mouth, the wine retains a good citrus backbone. Drink over the next 5 to 6 years. (ES)

 

88 Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Bernkastler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 2003. Mosel-Saar-Ruwer ($22.95)
This Kabinett benefited from the insane heat wave that hit Europe in 2003. It starts off rich and ripe with lots of peach and tropical fruit flavours. Only when it hits the palate does it turn “Moselesque;” with a lean personality, good acid, off dry and a dose of minerality. Drink over the next 4 years. (ES)

 

87 Lingenfelder Grosskarlbacher Osterberg Riesling Spatlese 2003, Pfalz ($21.95)
From one of the most famous in the Pfalz comes this mid weight Riesling with a profile of petrol, honey and lime. There is good depth with lots of crisp green apple on the finish. Now to 2008

 

87 St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Qba, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer ($19.99)
Pale yellow colour and off dry with pear, apple, citrus and qualities. The finish resonates with grapefruit and green apple. (ES)

 

87 Domdechant Werner Weingut Hochheimer Hoelle Riesling Kabinett 2004, Rheingau ($18.95)
A lighter style of Riesling with peach, citrus and honey and white flowers. Although it is slim in the mouth there is very good length. Drink now. (ES)

 

 

May 2007 Wine Ratings

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Australia

90 3 Rings Shiraz 2005, Barossa ($21.95)
This is a high octane, lavishly full bodied, jammy, extracted wine, the likes of which makes Aussie fanatics go gaga. Crammed to the hilt with plums, blackberries, spice and vanilla. Full bodied with excellent length and some noticeable heat (15.5% alcohol) on the finish. Screw cap closure. (ES)

 

Canada

Red

91 Stoney Ridge Cabernet Franc Wismer Vineyard 2005, Twenty Mile Bench ($37.95)
Having tasted all the vintages of the 00’s, I can unequivocally state that this is the best version to date. The vineyard is on a slope with a privileged eastern aspect. This helps the grapes to capture the first rays of sunlight, in turn increasing ripeness. Harvested at an incredible 25.2 brix, the wine has a natural alcohol level of 14.4%! Full bodied with lots of blackberries, cassis, vanilla and spice as well as a light herbal note. The palate is almost sweet with a texture akin to suede, with plenty of tannins giving unobtrusive support. Long finish. Now to 2016, and possibly beyond. (ES)

 

89 Stoney Ridge Founder’s Signature Collection Meritage 2005, Niagara ($42.95)
The heat of 2005 shows through as the wine has lots of blackberries, plums and raspberries as well as licorice, vanilla, cocoa and coffee. It is elegant, with excellent tannin structure and an admirable finish. Drink over the next 5 to 10 years. (ES)

 

88 Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir Reserve 2005, Niagara ($29.95)
Constantly one of Niagara’s best Pinots as witnessed by the Gold Medal at this year’s Cuvee Awards. Lots of plums, cherries, violets, spice and earth flavours built on a smooth frame. Tannins are supple and will allow short term aging. Now to 2011. (ES)

 

88 Calamus Meritage 2005, Niagara ($28)
This new winery in Jordan has come out of the gates strong with its first releases. This blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Franc and 6% Merlot is a medium to full bodied offering with aromas of toasty oak, cassis, cocoa and bell pepper on the nose as well as a ripe core of blackberries, spice, cassis and vanilla on the palate. Very good length with grip on the finish. From 2008 to 2013. (ES)

 

88 Calamus Red 2005, Niagara ($13)
This is an incredible value in homegrown product and a definite case purchase. More approachable than the Calamus Meritage, it is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. It serves up a nose of cassis, vanilla, spice, raspberry and tobacco. The palate is ripe with notes of cocoa as well as very good length. Now to 2011. (ES)

 

88 Stoney Ridge Cabernet Franc Icewine 2005, Niagara ($59.95)
Just like strawberry jam slathered on a piece of buttered toast. Mid weight, rich texture and balanced. (ES)

White

 

88 Angels Gate Old Vines Chardonnay 2004, Niagara ($23.95)
The oak influence of caramel, vanilla and spice meshes together with the green apple and citrus flavours. Mid weight, length finish and well balanced. (ES)

 

88 Stoney Ridge Chenin Blanc Icewine 2006, Niagara ($59.95/375ml)
There are only 150 cases of this wine, which will be released later on this year. Apple juice, apple puree, pear puree and minerals are all present in this singular offering. Even though there is good amount of sweetness, it is balanced by lots of natural brisk acidity. Pair it up with Tarte Tartin. (ES)

 

87 Henry of Pelham Chardonnay Reserve 2005, Niagara ($13.95)
A steal at this price. Honey, toast, spice and green apple are all present with just the right amount of acidity and creaminess. Clean finish with a touch of minerality. (ES)

 

87 Calamus Gewurztraminer 2006, Niagara ($16)
This is a mid weight Gewurz with characteristics of  honey, spice, floral, pineapple and baked apples. Lengthy finish with just a touch of residual sugar. (ES)

 

87 Stoney Ridge Proprietor’s Reserve Brut 2005, Niagara ($34.95)
Stoney’s first release of a Traditional Method sparkler is full of pinpoint bubbles and a character that concentrates on green apple, citrus, honey and mild toasty notes. A blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. (ES)

 

87 Stoney Ridge Reserve Chardonnay 2005, Niagara ($19)
This is a blend of old vine Chardonnay aged in new French oak and Chardonnay Musque which was vinified in stainless steal. Together they compliment each other nicely. Lots of toasty, smoky, floral, and tropical fruit aromas as well as a delicate mouth feel and refreshing acid. Serve with 3 year old aged Cheddar. (ES)

 

86 Stoney Ridge 2006 Beamsville Bench Riesling, Niagara ($11.85)
A white gold colour is followed by a bouquet of pear, peach, honey and cactus fruit. In the mouth, the wine has lift as well as a light sweetness and medium length. (ES)

 

86 Calmus Riesling 2005, Niagara ($14)
Made from young vines, the wine displays a white gold colour as well as a bouquet petrol, lime, slate, honey, peach and citrus. Medium length, off dry and a good dose of alcohol on the finish. (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.