August 2009 Wine Ratings


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)