February 2014 Wine Ratings




92 Konzelmann Estate Winery Vidal Icewine 2010, Niagara ($65)

This Icewine has started to reveal mature notes of caramel, alongside the dried apricots, peach compote, spice and honey. Full bodied and super rich, the acidity is on the low side, so chill it well and drink with a terrine of foie gras.  (ES)

91 Inniskillin Riesling Icewine 2012, Niagara ($69.95)

An absolute delight to drink! Huge apricot, sponge toffee, mineral, spice and lime on the nose meshes with honey, peach and apple on the palate. It is stylish, with fresh acidity and a long finish.  A sublime pairing with crème brûlée, if ever there was one! (ES)

90 Pondview Estate Winery Vidal Icewine 2011, Four Mile Creek ($39.95)

This wine is a worthy successor to the 2010, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Peach, apricot, honey, white flowers, sponge toffee and spice are all in play. Concentrated, there is a long aftertaste and fresh acidity to provide lift. (ES)

90 Fielding Estate Winery Riesling Icewine 2012, Niagara ($32.95/200ml)

I really appreciate this dessert wine for the elegance factor, especially in lieu of the heat of 2012. Peach, Macintosh apple, honey, marzipan, white flowers, nectarines and citrus weave around a core of fresh acidity. Excellent length and a long finish make for a truly tasty drop. (ES)

90 Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Block 12-110 Chardonnay Wild Ferment, Twenty Mile Bench ($19.95)

This impressive Chardonnay spent 10 months fermenting au naturel. This has produced an impressive bouquet of cream, pear, apple, spice, coconut, honey and cream. There is density on the palate, a slight sweetness, a creamy texture and a spice driven finale. I should also add that there is a slight high tone of VA, thanks to the natural ferment factor, which adds complexity. Drink over the next 3 years, preferably with lobster or Alaskan king crab with drawn butter. (ES)

88 Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Gewürztraminer 2012, Niagara ($19.95)

Intense aromas of rose water, lychee, smoke, cold cream, honey, mango cream and some hints of spice. On the palate, the wine turns decidedly spicy, with grapefruit peel and Turkish delight notes. There is very good length, a slight sweetness and pleasant acidity. Pair this with coconut curry chicken or a duck terrine topped with a fruit compote.

88 Coyote’s Run Estate Winery Sparkling Chardonnay, Niagara ($24.95)

Made in the traditional method, this Chardonnay bubbly spent 19 months on its yeast cells before being disgorged. The final product offers up a mix of yeast, apple, pineapple and spice, as well as pinpoint bubbles, helping to create a creamy texture. Lengthy aftertaste. (ES)

88 Coyote’s Run Estate Winery Red Paw Chardonnay 2012, Four Mile Creek ($24.95)

Aged in 100% Hungarian oak for six months, this Chardonnay unleashes a perfume of smoke, cream, pineapple, apple and anise. Honey, flowers, cream and a spice driven finale complete the picture. Pair with a rich cheese such as Chaource, Livarot or 5 year old Cheddar. (ES)

87 Coyote’s Run Estate Winery Unoaked Chardonnay, Niagara ($14.95)

Every vintage, this wine delivers terrific value, and the 2013 in no exception. An explosive bouquet of spice, peach, red apple, lilac and honey meets up with creamy notes on the palate. Medium in body, there is admirable acidity and very good length. In essence, this is a very customer friendly wine which will please many palates. (ES)

86 Rockway Vineyards Fergie Jenkins Series Riesling 2012, Twenty Mile Bench ($14.95)

The 2012 rendition of the wine starts off with a perfumed burst of peach, lemon, honey, white flowers, mineral and bergamot. Grapefruit and lime enter on the palate where there is medium length and pleasant acidity. It is ready to drink now, so chill it down and serve on the patio this summer. (ES)

86 Rockway Vineyards Small Lot White Assemblage 2012, Niagara ($16.95)

This mid weight blend of Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewürztraminer dishes up moderate aromas of minerals, honey, flowers and red apple. The palate turns creamy with some spice and caramel notes on the finish. Drink now. (ES)


91 Vineland Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2012, Niagara ($75)

Jam all the way: prunes, strawberries and raspberries mesh with flowers on the nose. The palate features much of the same as well as pineapple and earth on the elongated finale. Concentrated, ripe and quite luscious, to say the least! (ES)

91 Lakeview Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2012, Niagara ($75)

A bouquet of strawberry, raisins, roasted herbs and cocoa powder meet up with buckwheat honey and guava paste on the palate. It is on the full side, with excellent length and solid acidity. (ES)

88 Kacaba Proprietor’s Select Syrah 2011, Niagara Escarpment ($29.95)

The Syrah leans towards the wilder side of the grape: hickory smoke, game, leather, herbs, cassis and spice, or, in other words, the good stuff! Med weight and elegant, the palate is soft with cassis fruit and violets adding complexity. There is very good length, and it is ready to drink. Serve with pepper, herb and red wine marinated quail or duck breast. (ES)

88 Riverview Cellars Cabernet Franc Icewine 2012, Niagara ($59.95)

Riverview’s Cab Franc is a mid weight stickie with a personality of strawberry, cocoa, earth, violets and herbs. There is generous length, and it is ready to drink. (ES)

87 Coyote’s Run Cabernet Merlot 2012, Niagara ($16.95)

A herbal/minty element weaves through the plum, raspberry, anise and earth qualities. There are supple tannins and admirable length, which will allow the wine to age short term. My suggestion would be to drink it over the next 3 year, preferably with grilled lamb chops or pork el pastor style. (ES)

New Zealand

89 Giesen Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough ($17.95)

This vintage is better than the excellent 2012 as well as being an excellent value! Sourced from the Wairau sub-region of Marlborough, the passion fruit, fruits salad, guava, pink grapefruit, honey and hints of tomato vine leap out of the glass and onto the taste buds. There is a vibrant mouth feel and a long lime driven aftertaste. Of course, goat cheese and freshwater fish are a perfect pairing for this wine. (ES)