Evan’s Wine Ratings

Evan Saviolidis is a Wine Tasting Challenge Grand Champion, Journalist for Canada’s largest wine magazine: Quench, Instructor for The Canadian Association of Professional Sommelier, and teaches wine appreciation courses in Niagara at WineSavvy. For complete information, please visit www.evanwinesavvy.com.
100 Point Scale
95-100 = Outstanding
90-94   = Excellent
85-89   = Very Good
80-84   = Good
75-79   = Drinkable
70 & under = Below average
92 Angels Gate Winery Mountainview Pinot Noir 2010, Beamsville Bench ($24)
For this price, this wine immensely over delivers. Concentrated and ripe, there is loads of plum, cassis, cherry, black tea, spice and vanilla which carry onto the long finale. Suave tannins allow another four years of aging. Mushroom risotto and lighter game fair will be a marvelous pairing with this beauty. (ES)
91 Pondview 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, 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)
90 Rosehall Run The Certain Ratio 2012, Ontario ($29.95)
The grapes for this Meritage were sourced from PEC and Niagara. The ratio is 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 21% Cabernet Franc. Full-bodied, concentrated and layered; the tobacco, dark cherry, plum, olive, spice, mocha and vanilla flavours are underpinned by loads of ripe, yet unobtrusive tannins. It should age well for the next eight years. (ES)
90 Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Niagara Peninsula ($55)
A personality of sweet fruits: plum, cassis and raspberry melds with savoury elements à la herbs and tobacco. New oak adds cocoa, vanilla and spice to the mix, creating a complex wine. Medium to full body, the tannins will allow cellaring until 2020 and possibly beyond.  Pick your favorite cut of steak to enjoy with this impressive homegrown Cab! (ES)
90 Redstone Syrah Redstone Vineyard 2010, Lincoln Lakeshore ($39.95)
The Syrah grapes for this wine were planted back in 1999, as part of the Thomas and Vaughn winery, and where the Redstone winery is being built. An explosive perfume of pepper, raspberry, cassis, plum, cherry, tobacco and oregano leads into a weighty palate stuffed with red and dark fruits coated with cracked black pepper. (ES)
89 Reif Estate Winery Cabernet Franc Reserve 2012, Niagara River ($21.95)
This tasty Franc is a terrific follow-up to the equally delicious 2010. Full bodied, there is red currant, cassis, raspberry, anise, cocoa, herbs, tobacco, cola and graphite. The medium acidity, ripe tannins, round texture and long finish will ensure five to six years of cellaring. That said, you can also pop it open tonight and serve with a grilled veal chop topped with a herb infused demi-glace. Excellent value! (ES)
89 Southbrook Vineyards Triomphe Cabernet Franc 2012, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($21.95)
This biodynamic Cab Franc includes 12% Merlot. There is a deep ruby colour and a complex combination of raspberry, cassis, plum, violets, cinnamon, roasted herbs and tobacco. Balance is the mantra on the palate, with moderate alcohol, good body, considerable length and ripe tannins. Enjoy this lovely wine over the next 5 years. (ES)
89 Domaine Quelyus Pinot Noir Réserve du Domaine 2011, Niagara Peninsula ($45)
This new winery project is a partnership of 12 Quebec businessmen. Smartly, they have hired the ever talented Thomas Bachelder, who also produces top Pinot, under his own label, from Burgundy, Oregon and Canada.  Mid-weight, this refined Pinot exudes cherry, raspberry, plum, spice and earth. The tannins are soft and the acid fresh, making for a food friendly match with duck magret or a pork terrine. (ES)
88 Norman Hardie County Pinot Noir 2012, Prince Edward County ($39)
A cherry explosion encapsulates the plum, earth, rose and clove flavours in this medium bodied Pinot. There is admirable density and persistency as well as a soft texture. Drink over the next three years. As a side note, I had a chance to try a barrel sample of Norm’s premium ‘L’ Pinot Noir. It is a truly magnificent wine which will easily score in the low 90s when released later this year.
87 Cave Spring Cellars Cabernet Merlot 2011, Niagara Escarpment ($15.95)
For the price, this is quite a tasty drop! Plum, spice, cherry jam, vanilla and cocoa meld with a pleasing green edge on the palate. Mid-weight, supple tannins and a flavorful finish make for enjoyable drinking. (ES)
92 Exultet Estates The Blessed Chardonnay 2012, Prince Edward County ($40)
It is safe to say that owner/winemaker Gerard Spinosa is making the best Chardonnay in Ontario as this is the 4th consecutive vintage of this wine to capture the gold medal at the Ontario Wine Awards. Luxurious, it pumps out loads of buttered popcorn, hazelnut, cream, mineral, banana, pineapple, red apple and spice. There is excellent length, medium acidity and enough stuffing to evolve over the next five years. (ES)
89 The Grange of Prince Edward Riesling 2012, Prince Edward County ($15.95)
Superb value without a doubt! The petrol, lime, honey, lilac, smoky minerals, white pepper and grapefruit are supported by an intense mid-palate. The finale is long, and the balance between acid and residual sugar is beautifully achieved. Drink over the next 3 years.
88 Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2012, Beamsville Bench ($28.75)
Yes, there is oak, but it is kept in check by the fruit, producing a mix of caramel, honey, vanilla, peach, pineapple, citrus and sweet apple. Medium to full body, there is sound acid and a lengthy aftertaste. (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 perfectly suited for a grilled vegetable salad topped with goat cheese or chilled seafood tower. (ES)
87 Burnt Ship Bay Pinot Grigio 2013, Niagara Peninsula ($14.95)
I will preface this rating by saying that, as a general rule, I am not a fan of Pinot Grigio. That said, this PG is an absolute joy to drink! The pretty bouquet of banana, peach, honey and flowers give way to fresh apple, mineral and spice on the refreshing palate. Put a good chill to it and enjoy this summer/autumn on the patio or with grilled fish drizzled topped with lemon. (ES)
87 Ridge Road Estate Pinot Gris 2013, Niagara Peninsula ($15.95)
No thin, acidic Pinot Grigio here; rather, this is a flavorful, ripe style, made in the Alsatian model, featuring peach, white flowers, spice, cream and apple. The medium body, density and finish make for a delicious drop of Gris. (ES)
86 Union Gold 2011, Niagara Peninsula ($13.95)
A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauv Blanc and Gewurz. Mid-weight, there is oak aging here, which adds vanilla and cinnamon to the peach, pear and apple qualities. The palate is slightly creamy at first, then the refreshing acidity weighs in on the finish, culminating on a caramel note. Well made, well priced and ready to drink. Pair with roast chicken or halibut. (ES)
91 Nugan Estate Alfredo Dried Grape Shiraz 2012 ($26.95)
Here is something new: an Amarone-styled wine from Australia. Full-bodied and fruit driven, the plum, blackberry, black cherry, raisins, cocoa, vanilla, anise  and eucalyptus carry from the nose over to the palate, where fresh acidity,  firm tannins and a long finish join the mix. The price is right, especially considering that the Italian versions of comparably cost double. Drink over the next decade. (ES)
89 Peter Lehmann Layers Red 2011, Barossa ($17.95)
A definite crowd pleaser! From a cool vintage comes this GSM plus Tempranillo blend. Dark plum, sweet cherry, strawberry and raspberry mesh with the oak flavours of vanilla, cocoa and spice. Rather full bodied, the texture is soft, and there is very good length. Ready to drink, preferably with boeuf bourguignon or lamb chops. (ES)
88 Winzer Krems Sandgrube 13 Grüner Veltliner 2013 ($12.80)
For under $13, this wine is a rock solid value as well as a great primer for those who haven’t experienced the joys of Grüner.  Spice, apple, grapefruit, white peach, white flower and bell pepper are built on a crisp, food friendly frame. Try with sauteed shrimps with lemon or grilled vegetables drizzled with balsamic/olive oil and topped with chèvre. (ES)
89 Domaine Gerovassiliou White 2013, Epanomi ($22.95)
This is a 50/50 blend of Malagousia and Assyrtiko, the famous white grape of Santorini, which has now been transplanted all over Greece. By blending the two, the exotic aromas of Malagousia find a home with Assyrtiko’s mineral driven, crisp personality. Peach, honey, white flowers, crushed rock and spice are all in play. Splendid length and ready to drink. (ES)
94 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Napa Valley ($139.95)
I tried this wine five times over the period of one month, and every time the wine scored the same. Powerful, concentrated, intense, rich and layered were but some of the descriptors I used. Full bodied, the dark fruit comes at you from every direction, followed by mint, violets, cinnamon, cocoa and vanilla. Needless to say, the finale is super long, and there is a boat load of tannins which will ensure three decades of aging. (ES)
92 Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2012, Napa Valley ($45)
I have become a big fan of this wine since winemaker, Laurie Hook, has toned down the oak level. Still full-bodied and full of flavour, the peach, pineapple, honey, apple and toast on the nose meet up with banana cream pie and spice on the long finale. Drink over the next 5 years, preferably with a salt and pepper grilled salmon filet or chicken breast topped with a jalapeno/tropical fruit salsa. (ES)
90 Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc 2012, Napa Valley ($22.95)
As the label denotes, this is a dry Sauvignon Blanc (with the addition of 13% Semillon). Furthermore, it is an aromatic beauty with nectarine, verbena, gooseberry, lime, fresh herbs and minerals. Lengthy on the finish with refreshing acidity. Ceviche and fresh water fish were made for this food friendly bottling. (ES)

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