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94 RED

THE FOREIGN AFFAIR GRAN Q 2010 NIAGARA | $150

The name of this wine is a tip of the hat to the famed Amarone producer Guiseppe Quintarelli, whose wines were the reference point for Len Crispino, when he decided to start the Foreign Affair a decade ago. The grapes for this 17%+ alcohol monster were dried for three months before being pressed. It possesses the texture of syrup, and a sexy profile of plum, dried olives, maraschino cherries, anise, mint, milk chocolate and vanilla. Yes, the price is out of reach for most of us mere mortals, but this is a singular wine, which will continue to evolve for the next 15 to 20 years - and I have never said that about Ontario red before! Serious meditation wine here! (ES)

90 RED

93 RED

STRATUS RED 2012 NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE | $44

Quite possibly the best Stratus Red to date! A saturated ruby colour leads into a complex mix of blackberry, cassis, raspberry, cocoa, coconut, vanilla, violets, mint and pepper/anise. It is concentrated and long lasting with sweet fruit on the mid-palate before the firm, dry tannins make an appearance. Hold for four years and then drink until 2025, preferably with a NY strip. A blend of all three Bordeaux varietals plus a smidge of Tannat. (ES)

91 RED

TRIUS SHOWCASE EAST BLOCK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012, FOUR MILE CREEK | $45

In all my years of evaluating wine professionally, I have never seen an Ontario Cabernet Sauvignon with such a saturated/black colour. Then again, 2012 was an exceptional vintage for reds. This gold medal winner at this year’s Ontario Wine Award is full bodied with a personality of crème de cassis, raspberry, herbs, mint, dried earth, spice and dried cocoa. The remarkable length and ripe tannins will ensure a decade of positive evolution. (ES)

91 RED

THIRTY BENCH SMALL LOT BENCHMARK RED 2012 BEAMSVILLE BENCH | $60

This 14% plus alcohol Meritage is smooth and concentrated with loads of plum, vanilla, raspberry, dark cherry, mint, chocolate, vanilla. The palate is rich with a long finish and a tannic backbone. Hold for a year and then drink until 2023. A blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. (ES)

91 RED

THE FOREIGN AFFAIR DREAM 2012 NIAGARA | $29.95

This appassimento-style blend of 33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc, 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 5 to 6 years in the cellar. (ES)

91 RED

MARYNISSEN ESTATES CABERNET FRANC ICEWINE 2013 NIAGARA | $55/375ML

This Icewine busts out a perfume of strawberry, raspberry, guava, cassis, vanilla and herbs. On the tongue, it is pure essence of berry with a succulent aftertaste. Chocolate fondue all the way. (ES)

KACABA VINEYARDS MERLOT RESERVE 2010 NIAGARA ESCARPMENT | $44.95

Gold Medal winner in the Merlot category at the Ontario Wine Awards - and it is easy to see why! Medium to full body, a perfume of coffee, violets, blackberries, plum, spice, chocolate, roasted nuts and roasted herbs meets up with raspberry and smoked qualities on the palate. Great length and ready to drink now. (ES)

90 RED

VINELAND ESTATES WINERY CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2012 NIAGARA | $40

Full bodied with lots of smokey tobacco, cassis, vanilla, violets, raspberry, herbs, cocoa and spice. Excellent length and lots of ripe tannins will ensure eight years of positive evolution. Pair with a NY strip topped with an herb demi-glace. (ES)

89 RED

MARYNISSEN ESTATES PLATINUM SERIES SYRAH 2013 FOUR MILE CREEK | $35

An impressive Syrah which was harvested at a paltry one ton per acre. Smoke, plum, dark cherry, raspberry, cassis, black pepper, vanilla and oregano on the nose meet up with purple flowers and graphite on the taste buds. Soft texture with a vibrant personality and long finale. (ES)

89 RED

MALIVOIRE WINE GAMAY 2014 NIAGARA | $17.95

Wowser- delicious Gamay alert! Juicy, yet concentrated, the raspberry cream, strawberry, dried herbs, and white pepper are just magic in the glass. With all of its upfront flash, it is ready to drink with pasta or pizza. (ES)

88 RED

REDSTONE WINERY MERLOT REDSTONE VINEYARD 2011 LINCOLN LAKESHORE | $39.95

Plum, smoke, chocolate chip cookie dough, raspberry, vanilla, dried earth and carnations are all present in the soft and alluring Merlot. Mid-weight, with great length and suave tannins make for immediate accessibility. (ES)

88 RED

CAVE SPRING CABERNET FRANC 2013 NIAGARA ESCARPMENT | $19.95

From a cool vintage, this wine achieved an impressive natural alcohol of 14.5%. A combination of cassis, raspberry, fresh herbs/mint, smoke, vanilla and anise are featured. On the attack, the initial perception is that of sweet/ripe fruit, before turning elegant, and finishing with finegrained tannins. Drink over the next three to four years. (ES) TM

Profile for TodayMagazine

Niagara - Winter/Spring 2016  

Niagara - Winter/Spring 2016