October 2005 Wine Ratings


90 Vineland Estate Vidal Icewine 2002, Niagara ($24.95/200ml)
This wine has put on more weight and has developed complexity since I tried it earlier this year. Viscous, with peach, honey and sponge toffee flavours. Excellent length with just the right amount of lift provided by the acidity. (ES)

88 Henry of Pelham Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2004, Niagara ($19.95)
A more assertive wine than last year’s offering. There is a strong new oak influence which combines nicely with the green apple, mineral, honey and tropical fruit scents. Thick in the mouth with a lengthy finish which resonates with cream and spice. Drink over the next 5 years. (ES)

87 Vineland Estate Riesling St. Urban 2004, Niagara ($20)
I will say this again, Vineland has done a great job with their Rieslings in 2004. The12$ bottlings represent great value and are case purchase/cellar wines. This wine which comes from their oldest vines is more of an austere style with minerals, citrus and vague bergamot/peach aromas. Very good length with vibrant acidity. Drink over the next 7 years. (ES)

87 Creekside Estate Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2004, Niagara ($19.95)
Moderate oak flavours add to the fresh cut grass, passion fruit, ammonia and apple character of the wine. Medium to full bodied with very good length and a touch of spice on the finish. (ES)

86 Creekside Estate Pinot Gris Reserve 2004, Niagara ($18.95)
Shows more depth than their Pinot Grigio. A bouquet of peach, smoke, lanolin, nut, honey and pear leads to a mouthful of citrus, spice and cream. Acid is fresh with medium length. Drink now. (ES)

86 Vineland Estate Chardonnay 2004, Niagara ($12.95)
A pale yellow color with a nose of corn on the cob, caramel, spice, mineral and green apple. Light to medium body with tropical notes in the mouth and a spicy, caramel/cream finish. (ES)

86 Mike Weir Estate Winery Chardonnay 2004, Niagara ($15.95)
The second vintage of Chardonnay from the famed golfer’s winery displays a pale straw colour and a bouquet of melon, peach, spice, caramel and a touch of roasted hazelnuts. Medium body and length with a creamy/citrusy finish. (ES)

86 Vineland Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2004, Niagara ($18.95)
Almost water colour with moderate aromatics of grass, gooseberry, lime, citrus, flint and fruit salad. Crisp, lively and light bodied. Try with a shrimp and scallop civiche. (ES)

85 Henry of Pelham Gewurztraminer 2004, Niagara
A perfumed nose or cold cream, roses, peach, honey and spice. Pineapple nuances appear in the mouth with a slight alcohol burn. Medium length. (ES)

84 Creekside Pinot Grigio 2004, Niagara ($12.95)
A delicate nose of pear, melon, honey, cream and a touch of tutti frutti. The palate is clean and full of citrus. Good length. Drink now. (ES)

88 Vineland Estate Merlot 2002, Niagara ($30)
There is no mistaking this for anything but Merlot. Aromas of chocolate, plums, cherries and hints of toast. Medium to full bodied with cherries and chocolate on the palate. While many Niagara Merlots display some weedy/vegetal aromas, this is not one of them. It is succulent, ripe, nicely extracted, balanced and elegant. Drink over the next 3 years. (ES)

87 Creekside Estate Signature Grand Meritage 2001, Niagara ($34.95)
The 01 Meritage shows high quality oak laden nose of chocolate covered coffee beans which envelopes the dark and red fruit aromas. The palate is medium bodied with fresh acid and solid length. Drink it over the next 3 years, preferably with a nice prime rib roast. (ES)

86 Creekside Estate Shiraz 2003, Niagara ($15.95)
It is my belief that Creekside is the Ontario winery that consistently does the best job with the Shiraz grape. These wines showcase intensity worthy of the “Shiraz” name. The 03 vintage, as I have mentioned before was a difficult vintage for the winemakers of Niagara. None the less, Creekside’s offering displays a saturated colour with a textbook nose of blackberries, plums, black pepper/spice and a touch of animal. Good density and structure with medium length. Lay away a bottle or two in the cellar for a hearty stew or osso bucco this winter. As a side note, the 04 barrel sample which I tasted was impressive. (ES)

85 Creekside Estate Cabernet Merlot 2002, Niagara ($12.95)
There is a nice mocha overlay to the tobacco, black fruit, cherry, spice and vegetal aromas. Medium bodied with good length and supple tannins. Drink over the next 2 to3 years. (ES)