October 2009 Wine Ratings



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.