December 2011 Wine Ratings




89 Trivento Amado Sur 2009 ($15)
This delicious blend of 73% Malbec, 15% Bonarda and 12% Syrah offers great value. A combination of plums, blueberries, raspberries, black pepper, flowers, chocolate and espresso are layered on a plush, yet smooth frame. Lengthy aftertaste.  Drink now, or over the next three years, with grilled rib eye. (ES)



92 Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay 2009, Twenty Mile Bench ($65)
Le Grand Clos is Jordanne’s top Chardonnay, with a price tag to match. Medium to full bodied, there is super balance: the extract/concentration, oak, acid and alcohol mesh together beautifully. Its flavour is succulent, with ripe apple fruit, lemon, toast, vanilla, slight tropical notes and a beguiling backbone of minerals. The persistency is gratifying. It puts many a great Burgundy to shame. (ES)

92 Mission Hill Riesling Icewine Reserve 2010, Okanagan ($59.90)
Here is a delightful Icewine which possesses incredible sweetness as well as incredible acidity. Honey, golden raisins, pineapples in syrup and lime cordial flatter the senses. The long finish is so gratifying. (ES)

90 Stoney Ridge Excellence Chardonnay 2009, Niagara ($32)
Stoney Ridge continues to churn out excellent white wines from their 2009 ‘Excellence’ line. First up was the Pinot Gris (91pts), then the Sauvignon Blanc (90 pts), and now, this oaked Chardonnay. Full bodied, it serves up tropical fruit, cream, vanilla, hazelnut, spice and green apple. Rounding everything out is the refreshing acidity and great length. Drink over the next four years. Pair with a butternut squash risotto topped with butter poached lobster. (ES)


90 Le Clos Jordanne Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard Pinot Noir, Twenty Mile Bench ($45)
This medium cherry coloured Pinot is aromatically pleasing, with smoke, tobacco, truffle, porcini mushroom, spice, rose, cherry and plum. The velvety texture, supple tannins, fresh acid and excellent length make it an appealing experience. (ES)

88 Stoney Ridge Excellence Pinot Noir 2009, Niagara ($35)
Here is a smooth drinking Pinot Noir with a flattering bouquet of black cherries, dark fruits, flowers, mushrooms and smoke. The finish is built on graceful tannins and fresh acidity. Pair it with prosciutto wrapped pork tenderloin in a mushroom/thyme sauce. (ES)


88 Boutari Moschofilero 2010, Mantinia ($11.95)
Moschofilero has become Greece’s aromatic gem, much the way Albarino has been for Spain. Every vintage, this wine offers has exceptional value. The current release charms with aromas of peach, apricot, orange blossom, spice and honey. Although dry, there is very good length and crisp apple acidity. It is a must discovery! (ES)



92 Castello della Sala Cervaro della Sala 2009, Umbria IGT ($54.95)
From a warm year comes this blend of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Grechetto.  A medium yellow colour  leads the way into a combination of toast, pineapple, red apples, canned corn and licorice.  There is excellent length, a creamy texture and it is ready to drink. (ES)

90 Tenuta Guado al Tasso Vermentino 2010, Bolgheri ($20)
This is the best Vermentino that has ever crossed my lips. The aromatic mélange of white peach, banana, lime, grapefruit, minerals and green apple is built on a medium to full bodied frame. The palate is concentrated with excellent length and bright acidity. Grilled sea bass drizzled with olive oil and herbs will be a divine match. (ES)


94 Antinori Guado al Tasso 2007, Bolgheri Superiore ($89.95)
This wine possesses a left bank nose of pencil shavings, smoke, tobacco/herbs, cassis, vanilla, roasted morello cherry and plums. It is full bodied, ripe, concentrated and elegant with superb length and tannins to allow 15 years of aging gracefully. It is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. (ES)

94 Antinori Solaia 2008, Tuscany IGT ($249.95)
The 08 Solaia is indeed an impressive wine, chock full of aromas of plums, vanilla, violets, herbs, graphite and balsamic reduction. In the mouth, nuances of cocoa and spice add more complexity. It is full bodied with a ripe palate, substantial tannins and great length. Drink until 2030. (ES)

94 Castello di Ama L’Apparita 2007, Tuscany IGT ($164.95)
L’Apparita is one of Tuscany’s top two Merlots (the other is Masseto). Full bodied, the plums, dark cherries, raspberries, flowers and milk chocolate are built on an elegant, yet structured frame. The long aftertaste just keeps on pumping out the fruit. Hold it until 2015, as it is still not showing its full potential, then drink it until 2030. (ES)

92  Antinori Guado al Tasso Il Bruciato 2009, Bolgheri  ($29.95)
Il Bruciato is the second wine of Guado al Tasso, but, trust me, there is nothing second class about it. This  black wine , a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Syrah is complex, with layers of plums,  black cherries, blackcurrants, vanilla, cinnamon and mocha. Full bodied and hearty, the finish just carries on. It wil drink well over the next decade. Charred T- bone steaks or beef carpaccio are the best matches. (ES)

92 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico Vigneto Bellavista 2007, Tuscany ($164.95)
This CC from Ama offers a significant nose of humus, cherries, cassis, raspberries, mocha, licorice and coffee. Medium to full bodied, the  firm tannins and fresh acid ensure at least 15 years of longevity. (ES)

91 Castello di Ama L’Apparita 2008, Tuscany IGT ($164.95)
Not as profound as the 07, this edition is still a well built and flavorful Merlot. Mint, graphite, plums, cherries, raspberries, earth, spice and herbs reveal themselves on both the nose and palate. There is a long finish with enough structure to last 20 years. (ES)

91 Antinori Tignanello 2008, Tuscany IGT ($99.95)
The 08 Tignanello is more linear than the richer 07. Toast, graphite, morello cherry, humus, cassis, mocha and a slight herbal edge are supported by Sangiovese’s acidity and Cabernet Sauvignon’s tannins. It will age well for a decade. (ES)

90 Antinori Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva 2007, Tuscany ($43.95)
The 07 Chinati is a 100% Sangiovese with a perfume of cherries, violets, humus, licorice and spice. The palate emulates the nose, and the fresh acid and medium body round out the experience. Drink it from 2013 to 2020. (ES)