Sunday, October 21, 2012

  • Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wine Reviews - 2012 Niagara Wine Festival



Here are my wine reviews from my recent visit to the Niagara Peninsula for the 2012 Niagara Grape & Wine Festival.

As usual, I tasted some very tasty and exciting wines. Some of the highlights were Fielding's Chosen Few, Vineland's St. Urban Elevation, nearly everything from Niagara College Teaching Winery, Featherstone's 2011 Cab Franc and Onyx, and Tawse's Chardonnays and Cab Franc Icewine. Some of these wines can be found at the LCBO, while the rest can be ordered online from the winery's website or by visiting the winery.

FIELDING CABERNET-SYRAH 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#258657) (XD) - $24.95
Aromas of smoke and ripe blackberries with nice replays on the palate. Some spiciness on the medium-long finish. Mouth-watering acidity. Tannins integrating nicely, but could use another year or so in bottle. Score: 88 pts

FIELDING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#251439) (D) - $18.95
Very lovely aromas of floral, lemon drops and citrus. Aroma replays on palate that also feature some intriguing honey notes. Very good acidity, quite well-balanced and finishes crisp. Score: 89 pts

FIELDING LOT NO. 17 RIESLING 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#203521) (D) - $25.95
Soft, clean aromas of citrus, lime, mango, mineral and florals, with more of the same on the juicy, sweet fruit, and vibrant palate. Well-balanced with bracing acidity and a long finish. Tasty! Score: 89+ pts

FIELDING CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#) (XD) - $44.95
Lots of cassis and smoked cedar, with some hints of mint aromas. Full-bodied with big, chalky tannins. Cassis and cedar flavours on the long finish. Still seems young and needs a couple of years for tannins to settle. Score: 88-89 pts

FIELDING CHOSEN FEW 2007 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#) (XD) - $59.95
Cabernet Sauvignon 45%, Merlot 41%, and Syrah 14%. Intense aromas of currant, black fruits and some oak. Medium-full bodied with savoury ripe fruits, currants and spice on the palate. Long finish. Approachable now, but will reward with further 2 years ageing. Score: 90 pts

VINELAND ESTATES CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2008 - VQA Niagara Escarpment (#996793) (D) - $17.95
Fresh and aromatic with intriguing honey, lime and citrus aromas. Medium-bodied with peach, citrus, lime and hints of spice on the palate. Medium-long finish is a touch hot. Paired well with the Comox Brie. Score: 88 pts

VINELAND ESTATES ST. URBAN ELEVATION RIESLING 2011 - VQA Niagara Escarpment (#038117) (M) - $19.95
Mineral and petrol aromas with hints of peach and apricot. Bracing acidity on the palate with flavours of peach and honey, finishing with tart minerality. Quite well-balanced and paired very well with the Aged Lankaaster. Score: 89 pts

VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION CABERNET 2009 - VQA Niagara Escarpment (#173609) (D) - $25.00
94% Cab Franc, 6% Cab Sauv. Lots of oak, smoke, currant and dark fruit aromas with replays on the palate. A simple, balanced-wine with good acidity. Pairing was average with the Réserve La Pérade. Score: 87 pts

VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION CABERNET 2010 - VQA Niagara Escarpment (#173609) (D) - $25.00
65% Cab Franc, 33% Cab Sauv and 2% Merlot. Red fruit and restrained oak aromas. Full bodied and well-balanced with integrated tannins. Red fruit and cedar flavour profile on long finish. Score: 88 pts

VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION CHARDONNAY 2011 - VQA Niagara Escarpment (#164459) (XD) - $20.75
Clean intense lime aromas. Well-balanced and refreshing on the palate with more lime and mineral flavours. Long finish. Serve well-chilled. Score: 89 pts

VINELAND ESTATES CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2010 - VQA Niagara Escarpment (#) (XD)
88% Cab Franc, 10% Cab Sauv and 2% Merlot. Intense oak and dark fruit aromas. Full-bodied with integrated oak and dark fruit flavours on the palate. Approachable now, but another year in cellar would benefit. Score: 88 pts

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY (NCT) DEAN'S LIST CHARDONNAY 2009 - Donald Ziraldo, St. David's Bench, VQA Niagara Peninsula (#) (D) - $27.95
Very long nose with butter and apple aromatics joined by some tropical fruits. Begins very smooth with aromas replays on the palate, long finish is a bit spicy. Enjoyable! Score: 90 pts

NCT DEAN'S LIST CABERNET FRANC 2009 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#) (XD) - $27.95
Inaugural vintage? Jammy red fruits, cranberry and some wood smoke and plum aromas. Full bodied and quite smooth with red fruit and plum on the palate. Ripe tannins. Well-made. Score: 88 pts

NCT DEAN'S LIST MERITAGE 2007 - VQA Ontario (#) (XD) - $47.95
Black currant and cedar oak aromas. On the palate, there is blackberry and cassis. Combination of American, Canadian and French oak is well-integrated. Ripe tannins are refined and elegant. Finish is smooth and long. Drinking great right now! Score: 91 pts

NCT DEAN'S LIST SAVANT ICEWINE 2009 - (S) (200 mL) - $37.95
Gorgeous sweet apple cider, peach and orange aromas. Medium-bodied with a very good backbone of acidity that balances sweetness extremely well. Flavours of peach, apple cider and orange shine through on the palate, finishing long. Wow. Score: 91-92 pts

PILLITTERI CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (XD)
Blackcurrant, cassis, plum and hints of vanilla aromas. Medium-bodied with dark fruits and spice on the palate. Mouthfeel is soft and round, with integrated tannins. Short-to medium finish. Score: 87 pts

PILLITTERI PINOT GRIGIO 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#146787) (XD) - $14.95
Mostly citrus and lime aromas, with hints of floral and peach. Bone dry with high acidity. Lime and floral notes on the palate. It paired well with the 1-year-old cheddar. Score: 86 pts

JACKSON-TRIGGS BLACK SERIES GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#526269) (D) - $12.95
Gorgeous floral and clean lime aromas, also some lychee notes. Dry on the palate with lime and lychee flavours. Some spiciness on the mid-palate, and a nice finish. Easy drinking. Would make a good apertif. Score: 88 pts

HERNDER CABERNET FRANC 2010 - VQA (#) (XD) - $18.95
Copious amounts of oak, cedar and vanilla aromas. On the palate, there is raspberry and red currant flavours. Good acidity and has a short finish. Score: 83 pts

FEATHERSTONE ROSÉ 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#117861) (D) - $14.95
Blend of 60% Gamay and 40% Cab Franc. Fruity red fruits, cranberry, and candied fruit aromas. Bracing acidity and dry with candied cherries and strawberries on the palate. Finish is a touch hot. Would make a great apertif. Score: 87 pts

FEATHERSTONE GAMAY 2010 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench (#) (XD) - $19.95
Aged in French oak, this wine features woody aromas of cedar and cran-cherry with replays on the palate. Tannins are well-integrated. A simple, easy-drinking, well-balanced, extra-dry red wine. Score: 88 pts

FEATHERSTONE PINOT NOIR 2008 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench (#) (XD) - $24.95
Very earthy with mushroom and forest floor aromas. Light-bodied and made in a cool-climate style with sourcherry, beet root notes on the palate. Mouth-watering acidity. Ripe fruit with slightly chalky tannins that are integrating nicely. Score: 87 pts

FEATHERSTONE CABERNET FRANC 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#064618) (XD) - $16.95
Bottled just two days prior to my tasting. Intense oak and cedar aromas with some raspberry and dark fruits in the background. Has good fruit, structure and acidity, but still very tight and grippy. Tannins will settle very nicely in a couple of years. Has potential to be better than 2010. Score: 90+ pts

FEATHERSTONE ONYX 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#) (XD) - $29.95
The 20 best barrels blended with 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot aged in French oak make up this wine. Lush red fruits and kirsch aromas. Medium-bodied and very smooth with red fruits on the palate. Finely-grained tannins and a long finish. A delight! Score: 90 pts

TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA CHARDONNAY 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#089037) (XD) - $19.95
Intense apple, pear, butter and peach aromas with replays on the palate. Extra dry wine that is medium-bodied and very smooth, with a lengthy finish. Nice!! Score: 90 pts

TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#089029) (D) - $17.95
Apricot/peach, petrol with some zesty orange aromas. Nice aroma replays on palate, but with some slight tartness on the finish. Lip-smacking acidity. Score: 90 pts. Here was my review from Nov. 2011.

TAWSE ECHOS CABERNET MERLOT 2010 - Niagara Peninsula (XD)
48% Cab Sauv, 35% Cab Franc and 18% Merlot and normally only available at restaurants. Very ripe dark red fruit along with sweet vanillan aromas. More dark fruits on the palate. It's quite smooth and balanced, long finish. Score: 88 pts

TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA ROSÉ 2011 - VQA Niagara (#172643) (D) - $15.95
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Gamay. Candied strawberry and cherry aromas. Ripe, juicy fruit and slightly off-dry with strawberry and cherry on the palate. Really good acidity and with a nice finish. Score: 87 pts

TAWSE QUARRY ROAD CHARDONNAY 2010 - VQA Vinemount Ridge (#111989) (XD) - $34.95
Apple and butter aromas with lots of minerality shining through. On the palate there is more minerality with citrus notes and lively acidity at mid-palate. Oak is very well integrated. Score: 91 pts

TAWSE CABERNET FRANC ICEWINE 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#306035) (S) (200 mL) - $34.95
Intense aromas of candied strawberry, cherry and floral aromas. Lush mouthfeel with ripe strawberry and cherry replays on the palate. Overall, it's very well-balanced by mouth-watering acidity. Lovely! Score: 91 pts

GREENLANE PINOT GRIGIO 2011 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore (#) (XD) - $16.95
Clean, refreshing lime aromas.Mineral, lemon-lime and hints of citrus with a zing. Focused acidity with a finish that is a touch spicy and hot. Score: 86 pts

GREENLANE ESTATE RIESLING 2011 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore (#327247) (D) - $21.95
Clean lime and petrol aromas with hints of citrus. Aroma replays on palate with bright acidity that's a bit bumpy. Some tartness on the medium-length finish. Score: 87 pts

GREENLANE ROSÉ 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#326181) (XD) - $15.95
Straight up ripe strawberry aromas and flavours. Some sweetness is quickly balanced by the lively acidity to finish extra dry. Also has a hot finish. Score: 86 pts

GREENLANE UNOAKED CHARDONNAY 2011 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore (#329409) (XD) - $17.96
Very minerally with refreshing lime and pear aromas. On the palate there are citrus, peach and melon notes. Finish is hot, while the fruit needs some time to settle. Lay it down for 1 year. Score: 86-87 pts

GREENLANE ICEWINE RIESLING 2008 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (#) (S) (200 mL) - $29.95
Lovely apricot, peach and honey aromas. Very fine seam of acidity and aromas replays on the palate. Well-balanced until the finish, where fruit is starting to fade. Drink now. Score: 89 pts. Also tasted January 2012.


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