January 2011 Wine Ratings





89 Jackson Triggs Gold Label Fumé Blanc 2009, Niagara ($23.95)
Even though the label states Fumé, it is the fruit of the Sauvignon Blanc that overshadows the oak. Pungent green pineapple, ammonia, passion fruit, grapefruit and honey inundate the senses. There is loads of crisp acidity with a slight creaminess and spice due to the barrel aging. (ES)


88 Wayne Gretzky Estate Series Riesling 2009, Lincoln Lakeshore ($18.95)
Peach, minerals, flowers, lime and apple sauce are layered on a light bodied frame full of fresh acid and some noticeable sweetness.  It is reminiscent of a Rheingau Kabinett. It has a lengthy finish and is ready to drink. (ES)


87 Creekside Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Niagara ($13.95)
At this price, this Blanc offers a solid bang for the buck. In the glass, the wine is light yet flavorful, singing of banana, fruit salad, lime, grass and grapefruit. There is very good length and crisp acid, making it a perfect foil for hors d’oeuvres. (ES)


86 Pondview Riesling 2009, Niagara ($16)
An intense bouquet of lime, peach, minerals and flowers is followed by fresh acid on the palate and flavours of grapefruit and lime. This wine is bright, with just a hint of sweetness and Medium in length. (ES)


85 Pondview Gewurztraminer Riesling, Niagara ($14)
This blend is 65% Gewurz and 35% Riesling, making for a persona of flowers¸ peach, honey and lime. The palate is spicy and there is a lingering finish. (ES)




91 Creekside Undercurrent Shiraz Icewine 2008, Niagara ($45.95/200ml)
This icewine is a different creature! The best way to describe it, is as a creative blend between a Rutherglen stickie and an Icewine, having spent almost two and half years in a new barrel before being bottled. The colour is a medium rust/orange and the nose smells of licorice, plum, orange and sponge toffee. The palate is defined by spice, cocoa, pepper and crème caramel. There is excellent length with sound acid. Forget dessert, and just revel in the uniqueness of this treasure. (ES)


89 Creekside Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2007, St Davids Bench ($37)
No doubt about it, this is a serious Niagara red. Black colour, the bouquet of cassis, cherries, vanilla, violets and mint meet up with flavours of smoke and spice. Full bodied, the wine is extremely youthful and will require a couple of years before it starts to strut its stuff.  Hold it until 2012 and delight in it until 2020. (ES)


89 Pondview Cabernet Franc Icewine 2009, Niagara ($35/200ml)
Pale ruby in colour, the aromas are of raspberries, strawberries, cassis, herbs and cocoa while built on a medium bodied frame. The acid is fresh, giving balance to the sweetness. Paired with chocolate fondue, this baby will pleasure the senses. (ES)

88 Calamus Red Reserve 2007, Niagara ($18)
Calamus continues to offer solid value. Here is a delicious Bordeaux blend that offers good concentration and a personality of cassis, raspberries, spice, flowers and smoke. Tannins are present, offering midterm aging. Drink it until 2014 in order to take advantage of the fruit. (ES)


88 Creekside Undercurrent Malbec, St Davids Bench ($32.95)
In the Cahors region of France, where Malbec is grown, the moniker used to describe those wines is ‘Les Vins Noires de Cahors.’ Back home, Creekside has indeed produced a black wine, which releases raspberries, roses, cassis, spice and chocolate coated coffee bean. Medium to full bodied, the tannins arrive with authority on the finale allowing it to be enjoyed over the next 2 to 3 years, with the heartiest fare possible. (ES)


New Zealand


90 Eradus Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Marlborough ($17.95)
This listing is a new one at Vintages. It is a textbook Kiwi Sauv Blanc at an excellent price. Huge tropical fruit, honey, lime zest, herbs and grapefruit are all present creating a refreshing ambiance. It finishes long with mineral undertones combining with the fruit. It also gives Kim Crawford a run for the money. (ES)



87 Sokol-Blosser Meditrina Red Blend NV, USA ($19.95)
Here is a unique blend which encompasses grapes from the three famous wine states on the west coast of the Unites States. The Zinfandel comes from California, the Pinot Noir from Oregon, and the Syrah from Washington.  So what does the sum of the parts equate to?  It is a dark coloured offering with a smooth texture and a personality of berry fruit, spice and flowers. This is your quintessential pizza and pasta wine. (ES)






89 Irony Chardonnay 2009, Napa Valley ($19.95)
I have always been impressed with the quality of this bottling, year in year out. The current vintage offers up a nose of vanilla, toast, honey, apple, fig and peach. In the mouth, there is a creamy texture and flavours of spice, apple, tropical fruit and fresh cream. The finale is lengthy. (ES)



87 SKN Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley ($16.95)
Here is a solid all purpose Napa Cab that won’t break the bank. Scents of blackberries, cassis, violets, earth, cocoa and tobacco smoke are built on a medium bodied frame. There is very good length, with tannins present, but are not obtrusive. Buy a couple of bottles for the BBQ season. (ES)


87 Sebastiani Merlot 2006, Sonoma County ($18.95)
From the cool Pacific coast, AVA of Sonoma Coast, comes this easy drinking Merlot. A mixture of chocolate fudge, damson plum, sweet cherries and smoke is present. On the finale, a touch of barnyard makes an appearance.  Drink it now. (ES)