December 2009 Wine Ratings



90 Pillitteri Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2007, Niagara-on-the Lake ($35/200ml)
The essence of red and black jam-namely raspberry, guava, cassis and blackberry. To this you will find undercurrents of violets, cocoa and spice. It is supremely thick and viscous with a serious after taste that keeps on going. Don’t bother with and dessert. This is the perfect end to any meal.


89 Inniskillin Shiraz-Cabernet Winemakers Series, Niagara ($24.95)
This blend of 75% Shiraz and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon flatters the taster with aromas of raspberry/vanilla candy, cocoa and black pepper. It possess a medium to full body and a somewhat jammy mid palate. Finishing on a cocoa, spice and raspberry note, the wine is elegant and ready to drink now or over the next 3 years. (ES)


89 Stratus Cabernet Franc 2007, Niagara ($38)
It took a good four hours in a decanter for this Franc to open up and introduce itself in the form of cassis, black raspberries, red currants, violets and spice. Medium bodied and elegantly styled with enough structure to age at least 7 years. Pair with a bison filet dusted in cinnamon and topped with a berry reduction. (ES)


89 Jackson Triggs Grand Reserve Cabernet Franc 2007, Niagara ($26.75)
And the hits keep on rolling from the phenomenal 2007 vintage. At first whiff, this rendition of Franc is akin to walking into a greenhouse full of carnations. Add some raspberries, plums, Indian spice, herbs and smoke, and you have a thoroughly beguiling wine. Very good length and elegant. Now to 2015. (ES)


89 Stratus Gamay 2007, Niagara ($29)
A wine that will make you forget basic Beaujolais! This vintage, thanks the fabulous growing conditions, spent almost two years in new and one year old oak- hence the sexy cocoa overlay to the blackcurrant, cherries, flowers and pepper. Weighty with supple tannins and a plummy/cocoa finale, this wine is a real charmer.  Now to 2015. (ES)


88 Jackson Triggs Delaine Vineyard Puncheon Pinot Noir, Niagara ($32.95)
The vines from the Delaine Vineyard have started to reach maturity and it shows in this, the best Pinot yet. Nicely balanced and smooth on the palate, there is a mélange of cocoa, cherries, spice, red flowers. Drink now with some proscutto wrapped shrimp. Puncheon refers to the 500 liter cask the wine was aged in. (ES)


88 Peller Estates Private Reserve Merlot 2007, Niagara ($19.95)
Winemaker Lawrence Buhler has crafted a seductive bottle of Merlot for under $20. An overlay of oak in the form of cocoa, toast, roasted espresso and nuts combines with the plum, cherry and spice personality of the grape. Medium body with silky tannins, the finish is soft and lengthy. Ready to drink tonight or over the next 3 years. (ES)


87 Daredevil Cabernet 2007, Niagara ($36)
Daredevil is Ontario’s newest virtual winery, operated by Marcel Morgenstern, sales manager for Pillitteri. The inaugural wine is an equal blend of both Cabs. Easy drinking, it serves up cassis, cherry, herbs, dark cocoa and vanilla. Medium body with very good length, the wine should drink well for the next 3 years. (ES)



92 Ziraldo Riesling Icewine 2007, Niagara ($58/375ml)
The Donald is Back!  Donald Ziraldo, who with his partner Karl Kaiser, put Inniskillin and Icewine on the global stage, is back with his own winter wine. Keeping with tradition, Karl supervised the final vinification of this superb dessert wine. It is a rich offering with a bouquet of peach, dried apricot, spice, lime and grapefruit peel. The finish lingers deeply and echoes with dried apricots and spice on the finale. Serve with a peach and custard tart with a marmalade glaze or Fourme d’Ambert, the famous French blue cheese.



89 Vina Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Leyda Valley ($16.95)
From the new and very promising DO of Leyda comes this Sauvignon Blanc. Put this in a blind tasting and it would make you think Marlborough SB all the way-and at $5 less a bottle! Bright aromas of passion fruit, grapefruit, tomato vine and citrus are supported by zippy acidity and a long finish.



94 Vina Montes Folly Syrah 2006, Colchagua Valley ($82)
Not a believer of super premium Chilean wine yet? Well, this is the one that will make you change your mind. Yes, the price is up there, but the quality is undeniable. Black in colour, full bodied and concentrated, the wine inundates the palate with loads of kirsch, raspberry jam, pepper and cocoa. The finish is super long with a touch of heat on the finale. (ES)


93 Vina Sena 2006, Aconcagua Valley ($79.95)
This vintage which spent 18 months in oak, is made from a majority of (55%) Cabernet Sauvignon and topped off with a mix of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Carmènere and Cabernet Franc. Elegant, it serves up a nose of cassis, plum, cherry, spice, herbs, cooca and vanilla. The tannins are present, but act in the background, balancing the fruit on the palate. Drink over the next 10 to 15 years, preferably with bavette or NY strip. (ES)


91 Vina Errazuriz Don Maximiano Founder’s Reserve 2006 ($79.95)
A lovely perfume of coffee, cassis, raspberries, plum, tobacco and violets make you think left bank Bordeaux. No hard edges are evident as the tannins are silky.  The wine has a refined personality as well as excellent length. Drink over the next 5 to 7 years.


90 Vina Veramonte Primus, Colchagua ($24.95)
A blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Syrah, 17% Merlot and 16% Carmenère, this value red  offers up spiced plums and cherries, cocoa, vanilla, tar and herbs. Medium to full bodied, supple tannins and  excellent length make for great drinking pleasure. (ES)



90 Estate Papaioannou Nemea 2005, Nemea ($18.95)
This wine is made from 25 year old Agiorgitiko (St-George) vines and was aged for 12 months in French barrels, making for a quite polished and elegant offering. The bouquet is that of cherry, cassis, anise and cocoa. It full bodied with a good amount of tannins, ensuring a decade of aging ahead. This was a stunning match with fresh tagliatelle sautéed with olive oil, garlic, pancetta, goat cheese, tomatoes, and mushrooms. (ES)