December 2003 Wine Ratings

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Australia

92 d'Arenberg The Ironstone Pressings 2001, McLaren Vale (974816. $49.95 approx, ON)

This Chateauneuf "take off" requires some serious food-preferably osso bucco or venison stew. Full bodied, low acid and thick as aged balsamic. The wine is all kirsch, plums, vanilla and spice. LOOOONGGGG finish! Drink over the next 15 to 20 years. (ES)

88 d'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2001, McLaren Vale (984021, $18.95, ON)

A mid weight Shiraz with plum, cherry, vanilla, licorice and spice aromas. The palate is much off the same. Drink over the next decade. (ES)


Italy

92 Cesari Tauleto 1999, Emilia-Romagna (Lifford Wine Agency, $47.95, ON)

Tauleto is a premium bottling of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Longanesi (local dialect for Brunello). Full bodied and black as night the wine is tightly wound. If you wish to drink it now, decant for an hour to let the black fruits, vanilla, plum, animal and chocolate scents unfurl. If you can wait, cellar for 2 years and drink until 2015. (ES)

90 Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico 2000, Tuscany (948984, $57, ON)

Always one of the most consistent producers, Fonterutoli has produced an excellent product in Tuscany's rough year of 2000. Medium to full bodied with a complex nose of black cherries, spice, chocolate, plums, and blackberries. Nice weight turning fresh on the finish. Can hold 5 to 8 years, but why wait. (ES)

89 Cesari Liano 2000, Emilia-Romagna (Lifford Wine Agency, $27.95, ON)

I have been extolling the virtues of this wine for the past 2 years- great producer, great price and a great alternative to Chianti. Made up of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cab Sauv the wine offers a bouquet of plums, spice, chocolate, leather, tobacco and ripe cherries. Somewhat jammy, the wine delivers the goods with a lingering finish. (ES)

 

 

Canada

89 Angels Gate Old Vines Chardonnay 2002, Niagara (winery, $23.95, ON)

Barrel aged for 6 months in new French oak, the 2002 Old Vines displays a nose of caramel, citrus, lemon and fig. The palate adds melon nuances to the mix, while the fresh acid provides a lemony/tangy finish. Drink over the next 3 years. (ES)

88 Thirty Bench Late Harvest Pinot Gris 2002, Niagara (winery, $19.95, ON)

Believe it or not-16% alcohol. Moderately aromatic with peaches, honey, white flowers and spice. Concentrated and off dry, the mouthfeel is somewhat oily with loads of spice, some nuttiness and creaminess, with traces of heat on the finish. Unique and worth trying. (ES)

87 Angels Gate Chardonnay 2002, Niagara (winery, $16.95, ON)

An easy drinking Chardonnay with a bouquet of tropical fruits, honey, flowers, green apple and citrus. Very good length. Drink now. (ES)

92 Kacaba Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2002, Canada (winery, $35 approx., ON)

This is Ontario's answer to a St Emilion Garage Wine. It required 2 days to show its pedigree. Cropped at 2 tons/acre the wine displays a black/purple colour with a bouquet of vanilla, blackberries, fudge and violets. The wine is concentrated and dense with raspberry, smoke, violets and vanilla thrown in on the palate for good measure. From 2006 to 2018. (ES)

92 Kacaba Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Niagara (winery, $35 approx., ON)

Coffee, mocha fudge, blackberries, plums, cinnamon and vanilla are found in the glass. The wine is still an infant and very much backwards, needing 48 hours to start strutting its stuff. Huge, enamel removing tannins necessitate 5 years of aging. Hold off until 2008 and drink well into the next decade. Harvested at 1.8 tons/acre. (ES)


91 Kacaba Vineyards Merlot 2002, Niagara (winery $25 approx., ON)

Kacaba has positioned themselves as serious red wine producers. Their wines are reference points for the vintage. The Merlot, like its siblings is black/purple, but more open knit. Plum, mint, black cherry, black raspberries, peppermint and chocolate are all present. Rich on the palate with excellent length. From 2006 to 2016. (ES)


91 Kacaba Meritage 2002, Niagara (winery, $35 approx, ON)

The most closed and undeveloped of Kacaba's reds. Black/purple with spice, vanilla, raspberry and mint discernable at this early stage. Full bodied with good richness and excellent length. Tannins are high, so aging is mandatory. From 2008 to 2016. Hats off to winemaker Rob Warren for one hell of a job with his 02 reds! (ES)


89 Angels Gate Angels III 2002, Niagara (winery, $35, ON)

I'll be back"and like any good sequel, A3 is a worthy succesor to last year's inaugural vintage. This Meritage style wine is medium bodied with a bouquet of vanilla, plums, raspberry, cinnamon, earth and black fruits. Adds some spice and chocolate on the palate along with fresh acid and solid tannin and you have an award winner. Drink over the next 5 to 8 years.


88 Angels Gate Cabernet Sauvignon, Niagara (winery, $24.95, ON)

Coffee, smoke, Indian spice and blackberry flavors are present on the nose of this medium to full bodied wine. More approachable than the A3 with a hint of jamminess on the mid palate and a lingering finish. Drink over the next 5 to 7 years.


88 Angels Gate Cabernet Franc Icewine 2002, Niagara (winery, $39.95, ON)

Pale pink/orange colour and a bouquet of Jolly Rancher red candies and herbaceous notes. Full bodied with fresh acid and a lingering finish.

 

88 13th Street Wine Corp. Pinot Noir Reserve Funk Vineyard 2002, Niagara (winery, $32, ON)

This wine is decidedly elegant with a nose of cherries, black fruits, earth and vanilla. Medium bodied with very good length, supple texture and a good vertebra of tannin. Drink over the next 3 to 4 years. (ES)


France

89 Chateau Bouscasse 2000, Madiran (743385, $19.95, ON)

Madiran like Bordeaux experienced a fabulous vintage in 2000. Purple in colour with a nose of cassis, plums, earth, yeast and spice. Fullish body with very good length and typical Tannat tannic structure. At this price stock the cellar. From 2007 to 2018. (ES)