November 2013 Wine Ratings

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Argentina

90 La Posta Pizzella Family Malbec 2011, Mendoza ($15.95)

This superb value Malbec serves up a concentrated mix of plum, raisins, violets, smoke, cherry, cocoa and spice. It is rather fullish and ripe, with a hint of sweetness and a long finish. Drink this wine over the next 3 to 4 years, and at this price, a few bottles in the cellar will reward greatly.   (ES)

Australia

91 Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay 2012, Adelaide Hills ($29.95)

This elegant Chardonnay comes from the cooler Adelaide Hills region. It displays a combination of toast, smoke, minerals, green apple, pineapple, banana, peach and spice. Fullish on the palate, there is great balance and concentration, as well as fresh acidity. It should drink wonderfully over the next 4 to 5 years, especially with grilled salmon or veal oscar. (ES)

Canada

White

88 Henry of Pelham Estate Chardonnay 2012, Short Hills Bench ($19.95)

Still shy, this Chardonnay needs another year in the bottle to show its best. Currently, there is peach, pineapple, vanilla, spice and green apple. The palate is a mixture of cream, spice, and green apple all supported by medium acidity and a lengthy finish. (ES)

Red

89 Kacaba Vineyards Single Vineyard Syrah 2010, Niagara Escarpment ($39.95)

Very aromatic, this Syrah sings a song of hickory, leather, cassis, cocoa and pepper. There is a medium body with density and lots of peppery/smokey notes supported by tangy acidity and soft tannins. (ES)

88 Burning Kiln Winery Cab Frank 2012, Ontario ($24.95)

Burning Kiln is a new winery in Lake Erie North Shore region specializing in appassimento wines (think Amarone), which are dried in old tobacco kilns. This 100% Cabernet Franc starts off with a bouquet of herbs, cassis, violets and cherry.  It then adds spicy elements on the ripe, almost sweet palate. There is a lengthy aftertaste and supple tannins. Drink over the next 3 years. (ES)

88 Burning Kiln Harvest Party Red 2012, Ontario ($15.95)

Another Cab Franc wine from Burning Kiln.  This rendition is a touch lighter and leans towards to the bell pepper nature of the varietal. Fruit wise, there is plum, cassis, and cherry. There is solid concentration, and it finishes soft and easy. (ES)

France

88 Brumont Gros Manseng Sauvignon 2012, Cote de Gascogne

This dry white blend comes from France’s Southwest region of Gascony, famous for the brandy Armagnac. The passion fruit, tomato vine, honey and lime on the nose meets up with minerals, white flowers and fruit salad on the taste buds. Crisp acidity and a lengthy aftertaste round everything out. (ES)

Greece

White

92 Argyros Assyrtiko 2012, Santorini ($19.95)

Made from 60 year old vines, this impressive wine starts with off with a pale straw colour and then heads into a perfume of crushed volcanic rock, apple, honey, pear and white flowers. On the palate, it is full-bodied and bone dry with an enormous saline minerality weaving in between the apple, citrus and peach fruit. There is excellent length and crunchy crystalline acidity, which gives it 8 to 10 years of longevity. (ES)

91 Estate Argyros Assyrtiko 2011, Santorini ($22.95)

The average age of the vines used to make this wine is 150 years, with a small portion being close to 5 centuries old. Yes, I did say 500 years old! Partial barrel fermentation and aging have imbued the wine with anise, peach, honey, toast and smokey mineral qualities. The palate is full bodied with a slight creaminess, as well a spiciness which carries on the long finish. (ES)

87 Thalia White Sauvignon Blanc-Vilana 2012, Crete ($9.95)

This blend of equal parts Sauv Blanc and indigenous Vilana is the best rendition to date. A profile of banana, fruit salad, passion fruit, honey, lime and herbs is supported by refreshing acidity. Light bodied, there is very good length, and it is perfectly suited for shellfish, somewhere along the lines of seared scallops or grilled shrimps. (ES)

Red

87 Thalia Red Syrah-Kotisfali 2012, Crete ($9.95)

This new addition to the LCBO general list certainly delivers for its price point! Raspberry, plum, cherry, pepper, dark cocoa, herbs, and violets all come together in this easy drinking red. Suffice to say, with its lingering flavours and soft tannins, pairing with herb infused pork dishes or pasta in a red sauce is an easy decision. (ES)

New Zealand

90 Eradus Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Awatere Valley ($17)

The Awatere Valley is situated within the famed Marlborough region. This aromatic Sauvignon Blanc features telltale aromas of honeysuckle, pink grapefruit, guava, fruit salad, passion fruit and tomato wine. There is a medium body, excellent length and crisp acidity. (ES)

89 Giesen Riesling 2012, Marlborough ($15.95)

This is a dead ringer for a top end Rheingau Riesling Kabinett.  Peach, honey, petrol, lime, mineral and hints of tropical fruit are all in play. There is crisp acidity, some residual sugar and a long finale. Drink until 2020. (ES)

88 Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough ($13.95)

Here, you will find a punchy Sauvignon with passion fruit, tropical, peach, ammonia, white flower and lime qualities. It is cleanly made with a light body and tangy finale. Pair with chèvre or sautéed shrimps in a lemon sauce. (ES)

Portugal

96 Fonseca Vintage Port 2011, Oporto ($130)

2011 was universal declaration in the Douro valley. As always, Fonseca is always at the upper echelon of quality. Full bodied, this absolute stunner oozes loads of blackberry, kirsch, fig, raisins, rhubarb, freshly cracked pepper, vanilla and hints of cocoa. It is medium sweet with a fine acidity and flavours that carry for an exceedingly long time. The fine grained tannins will ensure a long life ahead. Hold until 2025 and then drink until 2060. (ES)

Spain

88 Beronia Reserva 2008, Rioja ($18.95)

Reserva means that the wine aged a minimum of 3 years before being released, of which, 1 year minimum has to be in oak. Made from the Tempranillo grape, this wine is a classic example of old school Rioja. Here, you will find strawberry, prunes, cedar, tobacco, tomato puree and savoury notes both on the nose and palate. The tannins will ensure another 4 to 5 years of life. Grilled lamb chops are a perfect foil for this tasty bottle. (ES)