By: Evan Saviolidis

 

Evan Saviolidis is a Wine Tasting Challenge Grand Champion, journalist for Canada’s largest winemagazine, Quench, Instructor for the Canadian Association of Professional Sommelier and teaches wine appreciation courses in Niagara at WineSavvy. For complete information, please visit evanwinesavvy.com

 

100 Point Scale

95-100= Outstanding

90-94=Excellent

85-89=Very Good

80-84=Good

75-79=Drinkable

 

White

 

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

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

 

91 Tawse Winery Quarry Road Gewürztraminer 2013, Vinemount Ridge ($24.95)

Without a doubt, this is a brilliant off-dry Gewürz! It serves up peach, honey, rose water, cardamom, ginger, cold cream, lychee and pineapple. The palate is thick with soft acidity, 12% alcohol and a super satisfying finale. Drink until 2016 to take full advantage of it exuberance. Pair with Thai food. (ES)

 

91 Vineland Estates Elevation Riesling 2008, Niagara Escarpment ($30)

For me, 2008 was one of the best vintages ever for Riesling in Niagara. That said, Brian Schmidt, Vineland’s winemaker, saw something special in this wine, and decided to age a few cases so as to allow nuance to develop in the bottle – a judicious call! Perfumed, the bergamot, honey, peach, lime, crushed rock and white flowers beguile. The balance, crisp acidity, concentration and a long finale will ensure another a decade of aging, at least. If you are a Riesling lover, do not miss out on this beauty! (ES)

 

90 Two Sisters Vineyards Unoaked Chardonnay 2013, Creek Shores ($24)

Two Sister’s is a stunning new winery right beside Peller Estates in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Think of this wine as an amped-up, ripe Chablis, what with all of its aromatic pear, green apple, citrus, white peach, lime, yeast and minerals. Oysters and freshwater fish were made for this beauty! (ES)

 

90 Stratus White 2012, Niagara ($44)

The release of this Stratus White celebrates 2 significant milestones- the 10th bottling of this wine as well as the 10th anniversary of the opening of the winery itself. Unlike previous renditions, this full-bodied white is a blend of only three grapes (usually 5 to 6) – 43% Chardonnay, 42% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Semillon. A bouquet of peach, pineapple, honey, pear, spice, vanilla, wax and cream is complimented by sound acidity. Fleshy, with excellent length, it should drink well over the next 3 to 4 years. (ES)

vineyard

90 Mike Weir Family Vineyard Limited Edition Unoaked Chardonnay 2012, Niagara ($19.95)

This non-forested Chardonnay offers up generous aromas of peach, honey, mango, banana, pineapple and sweet apple. The palate is ripe and concentrated, adding dashes of spice and cream, as well as an extended finale. It is ready to drink tonight with a filet of mahi-mahi topped with a fruit salsa or roast chicken. (ES)

 

90 Thirty Bench Winery Small Lot Riesling Triangle Vineyard 2013, Beamsville Bench ($30)

From a vineyard planted in 1981, comes this redolent Riesling full of bergamot, kaffir lime, white peach, petrol and smokey minerals. The tension between acid and slight residual sugar is beautifully. The long finale will ensure a decade or more of life ahead. Red snapper in a red curry/peanut sauce or chicken satay will be magical with this wine. (ES )

 

89 Palatine Hills Sauvignon Blanc Neufeld Vineyard 2013, Niagara Lakeshore ($18)

This is a superb barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc. Huge fruit salad, honey, passion fruit, guava, pink grapefruit, cream, spice and mineral weave around a core of refreshing acidity. Fine depth and excellent length make for an ideal partner with a halibut filet or even a grilled rosemary scented veal chop. (ES)

 

88 Ravine Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Niagara ($28)

Lime, gooseberry, nectarine, white grapefruit, herbs and minerals weave around a medium body and crisp personality. It is linear with very good length and is a perfect pairing with a grilled vegetable salad topped with goat cheese or chilled shellfish. (ES)

 

88 Palatine Hills Prestige NV, Niagara Lakeshore ($22.95)

Even though the label says it is non-vintage, the majority of the base wine for this bubbly came from the cool 2009 vintage, which was perfect for sparkling wine production. Made from 100% Chardonnay, it spent 30 months on the less, imbuing the wine with yeast, brioche, cream, peach, anise, and apple qualities. The palate shows fine mousse, fresh acidity and superb length. (ES)

 

88 Riverview Cellars Angelina’s Reserve Gewürztraminer 2012, Niagara River ($19)

A rather opulent and creamy Gewürz with a fragrant nose of pineapple, flowers, peach, lime, green melon, ginger and spice. There is some residual sugar and solid acid to round out the rich texture. Chill well before serving. (ES)

 

88 Legends Estates Terroir Semillon 2013, Lincoln Lakeshore ($17.50)

This is one of the few mono-varietal Semillons produced in Ontario – a grape which suffered substantial damage from the severe winter of 2014. Peach, honey, kiwi, wax, spice and lanolin meet up with crunchy acidity and a slight sweetness. Drink now. (ES)

 

Red

 

91 Pondview Winery Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon Unfiltered 2012, Four Mile Creek ($34.95)

Being a big fan of the 2010 version of this wine, I was hoping that the 2012 rendition would be just as glorious – well, it is! Full-bodied, yet elegant, this 14.3% alcohol wine doles out the blackberry, cassis,  violets, raspberry, mocha, mint, roasted herbs and graphite qualities. The tannins are still forceful, so hold for two years and then drink until 2022. (ES)

 

91 Reif Estate Winery Meritage 2012, Niagara River ($34.95)

For the number lovers, this is a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. For the wine lovers, this is a full-bodied red with a complex bouquet if sweet vanilla, cassis, violets, raspberry, cocoa and mint. Length is fabulous with tannic structure to ensure a decade of aging. (ES)

 

91 The Foreign Affair Dream 2012, Niagara

This appassimento-style blend of 33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet France, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot is truly impressive. Clocking in at 14.7% alcohol, it sings with chocolate, blackberry, kirsch, violets, dark cherry, prunes and a hint of rubber. Full-bodied, with some residual sugar, the wine is already approachable, but will handle another half decade in the cellar. (ES)

 

91 Trius Grand Red 2012, Niagara ($55)

If you thought the 2012 Trius Red was great, wait until this beauty crosses the lips. Full-bodied and elegant, the layers of cassis, dark cherry, vanilla, violets, herb, spice and earth carry long on the finale. The fine tannins will ensure it ages over the next decade. A blend of 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 27% Cabernet Franc. (ES)

 

wine

 

90 Two Sisters Merlot 2010, Niagara River ($48) A broad shouldered, fruit forward, oaked Merlot, which is starting to show some complexity from age. The plum, cherry, blackberry, cocoa, coffee, spice and cedar are layered on a thick texture, soft tannins and a long finale. Drink over the next 2 to 3 years. (ES)

 

90 Reif Estate Winery Merlot Reserve 2012, Niagara River ($25.95)

There is almost a port-like quality with all the overripe plum, blackberry and cherry qualities. Add in the spice, cocoa and earth, as well as a rich texture and great length and you have one fine bottle of Merlot which will age gracefully over the next five years. (ES)

 

90 Ravine Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, St. David’s Bench ($35)

Elegant, the opaque black colour heralds the cassis, vanilla, spice, mint, violets, cocoa and smoke which are framed on a refined, medium body. There is great length and suave tannins, so drink until 2020. Pair with rack of lamb. (ES)

 

90 Château des Charmes Merlot St. David’s Bench Vineyard, St. David’s Bench ($29.95)

This is one serious Merlot, which has benefited from the heat of the 2012 vintage. Full bodied, it hits the senses with plum, blackberry, vanilla, cocoa, vanilla, anise and dried herbs. It is concentrated, with a long finale and gritty tannins which require some more bottle age to sort themselves out. Drink from 2016 to 2021. (ES)

 

89 Redstone Pinot Noir Limestone Vineyard 2012, Twenty Mile Bench ($29.95)

Even though this Pinot comes from the warm 2012 vintage, it displays poise and elegance. The brilliant ruby colour heralds the plum, raspberry, cherry, earth, cocoa and spice. The acid is fresh and the tannins are supple, so drink now over next two to three years. Pair with charcuterie or ahi tuna steak. (ES)

wine

89 Rockway Vineyards Reserve Meritage 2012, Twenty Mile Bench ($19.95)

This wine proves why we blend Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Merlot together – each varietal compliments the others! This rich and velvety red doles out the dark fruits, mocha, vanilla, anise, coconut, mint and violets. It is stylish with excellent length. Drink over the next 8 years.

 

89 Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Block 11-140 Cabernet Franc 2012, Twenty Mile Bench ($24.95)

With 18 months of barrel aging under its belt, this medium to full-bodied Franc shows off raspberry, coconut, herbs, cassis, violets and vanilla qualities. There is very good length as well as some unresolved tannin which suggests aging until the end of 2015 and then drink until 2022. (ES)

 

89 Malivoire Stouck Vineyard Meritage 2011, Lincoln Lakeshore ($29.95)

Here you will find a great Meritage from a less than easy vintage for dark grapes. Medium body, the raspberry, cassis, savoury herbs, tea, toast and violets are supported by some granular tannins. Great length. Now to 2018. (ES)

 

89 Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Reserve 2012, Ontario ($24.95)

For my taste, this is the best Baco in Ontario. Full bodied, there is copious amounts of jammy dark fruit which is supported by smoke and cocoa notes from new barrel aging. Fresh acidity and a slight sweetness rounds out the texture. There is solid length and 5 to 6 years of life ahead. (ES)

 

88 Konzelmann Merlot Barrel Aged 2012, Niagara ($19.95)

Here you will find a straight-up fruit driven Merlot with flavours of raspberry, cherry, spice, dark cocoa, vanilla and toast. Medium in body, the tannins are soft and the finish carries the fruit. Ready to drink tonight with duck breast or a charcuterie board. (ES)

 

88 Henry of Pelham Family Tree 2012, Niagara ($18.95)

This delicious blend of 48% Shiraz, 23% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot offers enticing flavours of pepper, plum, cassis, roasted peanuts, cocoa, roasted herbs, vanilla and incense. There is richness on the palate before the juicy acid and round tannins fill in the finale. Very versatile as a food wine! (ES)