May 2012 Wine Ratings

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Argentina

91 Catena Malbec 2009, Mendoza ($19.95)

Catena’s staple Malbec is a saturated purple/cherry wine that offers excellent concentration and length. Its personality is somewhat overripe with raisins, blueberries, blackberries, and black cherries meshing with licorice, violets and cocoa.  Drink it over the next 5 to 7 years. (ES)

Australia

90 Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz Cabernet 2009, Robe Mount Benson ($34.95)

The purple/red colour leads into plums, blackberries, vanilla, cocoa powder and brief hints of mint. It is full bodied, but not overt, thanks to the fact the grapes were sourced from the cool regions of Robe and Mount Benson, in the southern Limestone Coast GI. The acid is fresh, the length is excellent and the tannins are supple. Drink it over the next 5 years.  (ES)

86 Rosemount Diamond Label Shiraz 2010 ($15.95)

The 2010 is the first vintage to use the new eco friendly/light weight glass. Smooth and easy to drink, this venerable offering doles out dark fruits, violets, spice and cocoa. There is medium length and it is ready to drink. (ES)

California

White

92 Signorello Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes 2008, Napa Valley ($51.95)

Made from 32 year old vines, this Chardonnay was barrel fermented for twenty months and malolactic was partially done, bestowing the wine a creamy texture, while still retaining acidity. Peach, apple puree, vanilla, citrus and spice are all present in this succulent wine. Drink it over the next 5 years. (ES)

Red

95 Merryvale Profile 2008, Napa Valley ($170)

The 08 Profile, the finest that has ever crossed my lips, is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Simply put, it is a gorgeous, ripe, concentrated and polished red with loads of dark berry fruit, earth, cocoa, vanilla, toast and spice. The finish lingers and lingers. Even though it is approachable, another couple of years in the bottle will further enhance its delight. Drink it from 2014 to 2030. (ES)

92 Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Napa Valley ($115)

I must admit a certain fondness for the Darioush. The wines, the gorgeous Persian palace inspired winery and the staff are all top notch. That being said, their 08 Cab Sauv is truly impressive. Full bodied and opaque, it unleashes a powerful nose of crème de cassis, blackberries, prunes, smoke, anise, cocoa and mint/cedar.  The tannins will ensure 15 years of longevity. (ES)

92 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Napa Valley ($75)

The 08 ‘regular’ Cabernet Sauvignon is a concentrated and structured wine, that pushes 15% alcohol.  Full bodied, it exudes blackberries, dark cherries, spice and cocoa. The tannins are very much present and somewhat dry at this point, so hold it for two years and then drink it until 2024. (ES)

90 Conn Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Napa Valley ($30)

Here is an approachable and fruit driven Cab with plums, blackberries and raspberries combining with the mocha, coffee and toast of the barrel. Mid weight, supple tannins and excellent length allow for immediate consumption. (ES)

Canada

White

89 Rennie Estate Christine Chardonnay Reserve 2010, Beamsville Bench ($35)

Rennie is a small winery in the Beamsville Bench whose wines are made by Angel’s Gate winemaker, Philip Dowell. To procure these wines, there are two avenues: on-line, or through the retail boutique at Angel’s Gate. The Christine Chardonnay, named after owner Christine Rennie, is a medium bodied white wine with peach, white flowers, vanilla, caramel, honey and banana on the nose. In the mouth, it is delicate and the acidity is on the low side. Cream, fig and spice chime in on the finale. Oh, by the way, this wine won a silver medal at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards. (ES)

88 Colaneri Fumoso Bianco Sauvignon Blanc 2010 ($25)

This wine is a dead ringer for a quality Graves/ Pessac-Léognan.  Thirty percent of the grapes were kiln dried, and then the entirety was aged in new barrels for 8 months. Aromas of grass, spice, lemon/lime, topical fruit, white pepper and apple are complemented by flavours of honey, white flowers and grapefruit. It finishes on a green note. There is very good length and it is made to pair with goat cheese/ vegetable pizza or grilled mahi mahi brochettes marinated in dijon, olive oil and oregano. (ES)

87 Stoney Ridge Unoaked Chardonnay 2009, Niagara ($12.95)

This Chardonnay is made for those who like refreshing and unwooded wines.  A fruit driven nose of grapefruit, pear, peach, pineapple and citrus are built on a light to medium bodied frame. Although dry, there is very good length, and for the price, it represents great value. Pick up a couple of bottles for summer sipping. (ES)

87 Rosehall Run Chardonnay Sur Lie 2010, Ontario ($14.95)

The 2010 Sur Lie is a smooth and easy drinking white with a profile of banana, green apple, lemon and minerals. Light to medium body, the acid is soft and the finish lengthy. Pair it with grilled scallops drizzled with a basil/chili oil or medium cheddar. (ES)

Red

91 Colaneri Coraggioso Amoroso Amarone 2009, Niagara ($50)

Colaneri’s heavy hitter was made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes which were dried for 60 plus days and then aged in new barrels for 27 months. Full bodied, certainly, it offers wall to wall cherries in every form: bing, morello, kirsch and black. Add in plums, vanilla, spice, a concentrated mid plate and excellent length, and you have one on Ontario’s most interesting wines. Drink it over the next 5 years. (ES)

90 Colaneri Unita Cabernet Franc 2010, Niagara ($25)

To date, this is the best Unita that has been produced. Thirty percent of the grapes were dried and the wine was aged in new oak for 17 months. The dark cherry colour leads to a huge nose of mint/herbs, plums, cocoa, dark cherries, licorice and violets. Full bodied, the ripe fruit is supported by equally ripe tannins. Drink it now until 2020. (ES)

89 Colaneri Corposo 2010, Niagara ($18.95)

Corposo is Colaneri’s take on a Ripasso wine. The blend is 65% Cabernet Franc, 25% Syrah and 10% Merlot. At first whiff, it is Cab Franc’s herbal nature that takes control, but soon thereafter, the plums, cocoa and cherry of the Merlot and the black pepper and cassis of the Syrah dominate. It is medium to full bodied, with a sweet core of berry fruit on the palate and a lengthy finish. Drink it over the next 4 to 5 years. (ES)

88 Rennie Estate Paradox Pinot Noir Reserve 2010, Beamsville Bench ($40)

The colour is light cherry and the perfume speaks of plums, cherries, cranberries and raspberries. Spice, carnations, earth and herbs round out the palate. It is elegant and has very good length. Pair it with a veal roast and sautéed swiss chard. (ES)

88 Peller Estates Private Reserve Cabernet Franc 2010, Niagara ($21.95)

This Franc possesses a dark cherry colour core with a red rim. Fairly aromatic, the blackcurrant, tobacco, pencil shavings and violets are built on a medium body, acidity and tannins. It is a refined offering that will drink well over the next three years. (ES)

Chile

89 Miguel Torres Las Mulas Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Central Valley ($12.95)

This organically grown SB offers supreme value! It possesses a pale straw colour with a silver lining. Aromatic, the grapefruit, tropical fruit, honey, white flowers, lime and guava meet up with a palate full of fruit salad, citrus and herbs. The finish is long and tangy. Don’t be shy, buy a couple of bottles for everyday sipping or your next dinner party. (ES)