February 2012 Wine Ratings


91 Cave Spring Cellars Riesling Icewine 2008, Niagara ($49.95)
This is always one of the top Riesling Icewines in Ontario! A nose of smokey minerals, peach jam, lime cordial, honey and flowers meet up with grapefruit on the palate. Great concentration, aftertaste and acidity will ensure a decade of aging, but there is no need to wait, as there is immediate gratification to be had. (ES)

90 Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2010, Niagara ($17.95)
This great value Riesling starts off with a pale green yellow colour and then follows with significant minerals, smoke, lime cordial, bergamot, peach and yellow apple. Although it is light bodied,  it is oh so flavorful, with just a drop of residual sugar offering a counterpoint to the tangy acidity. The length is excellent. A perfect pairing may be found with either spicy sushi or braised pork with an apple-onion compote. (ES)

90 Cave Spring Cellars Blanc de Blancs CSV 2004, Beamsville Bench ($39.95)
For lovers of mature attributes in their bubblies, you will go crazy for this beauty!  Having aged an unheard of (for Ontario) 70 months on the lees, this vintage Chardonnay serves up a bouquet of brioche, toast, brown  butter, caramel, hazelnut and honey. The texture is creamy and the finish long with minerals and citrus adding an extra dimension. It easily bests many pricier Champagnes! (ES)

90 Vineland Estates Vidal Icewine 2010, Niagara ($42)
Here is my sweetheart from this year’s Icewine Gala! The deep yellow colour ushers in candied peaches, dried apricots, sponge toffee, figs and mangos. Full bodied, the fruit just lingers on the tongue, and the acid is just right. (ES)

90 Riverview Cellars Buona Notte Icewine 2009, Niagara ($99.95)
Riverview has crafted a singular Icewine blend of two thirds Vidal and one third Riesling. The latter was also botrytis affected. Partially barrel fermented/ aged, the nose of peach jam, spice, mushrooms, wax, honey, lime and lanolin is also found on the taste buds. The flavours are lasting and offset by constant acidity. (ES)

89 Tawse Wismer Vineyard Riesling Lakeview Block 2010, Twenty Mile Bench ($24.95)
This Riesling possesses a bit more weight than the Sketches, but is not as long on the taste buds. The colour, once again, is a pale green/yellow, and a profile of minerals, peach, Asian pear and lanolin resonate on the nose and palate. (ES)

89 Henry of Pelham Reserve Off-Dry Riesling 2009 ($15.95)
This is a great follow up to the fabulous 08 Reserve. It is light to medium body with a punchy nose of lime, lemon peel, minerals, grapefruit and peach. The length and acidity work as one, making for a long and tangy finish. (ES)

89 Fielding Estate Vidal Icewine 2009, Niagara ($22.95/200ml)
Peaches studded with cloves, ginger, apples and tropical fruit are all part of this well priced Vidal Icewine. It is not overpowering. Rather it is both elegant and well defined, carrying its sweetness and acidity in tandem. (ES)

89 Konzelmann Estate Riesling Icewine 2008, Niagara ($58)
This Riesling is starting to show mature petrol aromas, which intersect with dried apricots, golden raisins, flowers, honey and lime zest. Delicate and flavorful, the aftertaste hangs around for a while, while the crisp acidity frames everything. (ES)

88 Cave Spring Cellars Estate Bottled Chardonnay 2010, Beamsville Bench ($18.95)
There is more weight to this wine than in past vintages, thanks to the heat of 2010. Smoke, cream, vanilla, banana, citrus, spice and hints of pineapple work as one, both on the nose as well as with the lengthy aftertaste. It is elegant with just the right amount of acid. (ES)

88 Cave Spring Cellars Dry Riesling 2010, Niagara ($14.95)
Normally, my preference, when it comes to Cave’s entry Rieslings, is for their off-dry version. But in 2010, my taste leans to their dry rendition. Petrol, the dominant quality, is accompanied by bergamot, lime and minerals. Acidity is present, but not overpowering, making for a refreshing summer sipper. (ES)

88 Cave Spring Cellars Chenin Blanc 2009, Beamsville Bench ($17.95)
This offering is an off dry Chenin, along the lines of a ripe Vouvray Demi-Sec. Light yellow in colour, there is golden delicious apple, mango, wet wool, minerals, citrus and honey which are supported by the crisp acidity. Pair it with goat cheese and asparagus stuffed crepes, or scallops in a Dijon cream sauce. (ES)


90 Tawse Cabernet Franc Icewine 2010, Niagara ($34.95)
Crème de cassis, raspberry liqueur, strawberry jam, allspice and a slight herbal undertone make for a pleasing red Icewine. The acidity relieves any heaviness and the red and dark fruits echo on the great aftertaste. (ES)

89 Tawse Growers Blend Cabernet Franc 2009, Niagara ($26.95)
Tawse has turned in an impressive array of Francs in 2009. This mid weight wine is absolutely delicious with complexity presenting itself in the form of cassis, raspberries, violets, dark cocoa, tobacco, herbs and spice. It is ripe with good concentration and supple tannins on the great finish. Serve with a pappardelle and veal ragout or an herb scented leg of lamb. (ES)

89 Between the Lines Cabernet Franc Icewine 2009, Niagara ($39.95)
The strawberry, guava, spice, thyme in honey, raisins, dried flowers and blackcurrant are the crux of the sweetie. Mid weight and refined, the dark and red fruits carry the lengthy aftertaste. (ES)