September 2008 Wine Ratings


91 The Foreign Affair Riesling 2007, Vinemount Ridge ($28)
Andrejz Lipinski is making a name for himself as Ontario’s ‘driving winemaker’; currently he provides his services to four different wineries in the Beamsville area, including The Foreign Affair. This wine is impressive, as a portion of the grapes were dried before vinification as a means to give more punch. Indeed there is more power, as a huge perfume of peach and bergamot jam, honey and flowers soars out of the glass. On the palate, it explodes with added flavours of lime and spice, as well as a long finish. In a nutshell-great stuff! Drink over the next 5 to 7 years. (ES)


91 The Foreign Affair Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Vinemount Ridge ($32.50)
Twenty percent of the grapes in this wine were dried on racks as a means to give more depth. It is  aromatic, with passion fruit, gooseberries, lime zest, nectarine and honey aromas that lead into a full bodied mouthful of minerals, grassy notes and citrus qualities. Long finish and very concentrated. (ES)


90 Organized Crime Gewurztraminer 2007, Beamsville Bench ($25)
This is an extremely limited production Gewurz which soars aromatically with rose water, peaches, honey and spice. It is completely dry, with good density and flavours that match the nose. There is excellent length and a hint of bitter grapefruit on the finish. (ES)


89 Organized Crime Riesling 2007, Beamsville Bench ($20)
Winemaker Andrzej Lipinski continues his hot hand with Riesling. This charmer possesses a pale straw colour and a superb bouquet of peach, bergamot, honey and flowers. There is beautiful balance between the acid and residual sugar on the palate, as well as lime and minerals on the finish. (ES)


87 Organized Crime Unoaked Chardonnay 2007, Beamsville Bench ($18)
Medium yellow colour with a bouquet of honey, peach, flint and green apple. Dry, with a creamy palate and loads of pineapple fruit. (ES)


87 Cattail Creek Chardonnay Musqué  2007, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($17)
This is a simply delightful Musqué with an aromatic lift of peach, flowers, bubble gum and spice. Medium bodied and dry, the palate resonates with peach and citrus as well as perfumed finish. Very good length and ideal partner with pineapple chicken or as an aperitif. (ES)


87 Southbrook Triomphe Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Niagara ($18.95)
A very pungent Sauvignon Blanc with marked aromas of grass, passion fruit, citrus and gun flint. Dry with a citrus/herbal palate and fresh acid. (ES)



92 The Foreign Affair Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2007, Vinemount Ridge ($40/200ml)
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. (ES)




91 The Foreign Affair Cabernet Franc 2006, Niagara ($110)
While working for the Canadian government in Italy, Len Crispino and his wife Marisa fell in love with the wines of Veneto, especially Amarone. After returning home, they decided to take the plunge and open an innovative winery that specializes in dried grape wine. They partnered with Len’s brother in law Louis, and The Foreign Affair winery was born! The appasimento (drying) period for this wine lasted 103 days in humidity controlled rooms, so as not to have any rot affect the grapes. The final product is full bodied and concentrated with wall to wall raisins, plums, raspberries, herbs and cocoa.  Drink over the next 5 years to take advantage of the exuberant nature of the wine. As a side note, I had the chance to try barrel samples of the 2007s. They are monsters that tip the scales at 17% alcohol, and easily shame many notable Amarones. (ES)


87 Colio Estate CEV Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Lake Erie North Shore($22)
Starting to stride in maturity, it offers a profile of blackcurrant, raspberries, leather, smoke, mint/herbs and spice. Medium bodied and elegant, there is plum, cassis, spice, dill and mint on the mid palate. Very good length and ready to drink now or over the next 3 years. (ES)


87 Cattail Creek Pinot Noir 2007, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($18)
This is a delicate Pinot that has some good flavour going on-namely plum, blackberries, cherries and earth. In the mouth it is delicate, with sweet berry fruit, supple tannins and a lengthy finish. Essentially the type of wine made for pizza and tomato based pasta sauces. (ES)


87 Coyote’s Run Meritage 2006, Niagara ($24)
Not as powerful as the 2005, rather it is a softer, juicier version. The wine is all about plums, herbs, smoke and spice both on the palate and nose. Very good length and supple tannins. Drink over the next 2 to 3 years. (ES)


87 Organized Crime The Download 2006, Beamsville Bench ($25)
The Download is a Cabernet/Merlot blend, and even though it comes from a lighter vintage, it offers a bouquet of plums, raspberries, smoke, spice and herbs. Mid weight in the mouth, it serves up flavours of tobacco, raspberries, cherries and plums. Supple tannins and very good length make this a perfect partner for ratatouille or mousaka. (ES)



85 Gabbiano Pinot Grigio 2007, Venezie ($12.95)
This is a pleasant Grigio which compares favorably against higher priced competition. There are moderate aromas of pear, green apple and citrus, all built on a light bodied frame. Very refreshing with medium length.  (ES)