Sommelier Zoltan Szabo is a jack of all trades on the Toronto wine scene. A wine consultant, writer and educator, his vast enological knowledge has been proven time and again through consistently high finishes at International Sommelier competitions. His dashing personality and skill with the pen make him a personal favourite of mine. For that reason, I was slightly starstruck to receive an email from Zoltan wishing to try our wines. Casting jitters aside, I had him try our current Five Rows portfolio. Here are his thoughts:
“The wines are clean, varietally really accurate, honestly-made, not ambitious nor over-blown stylistically speaking, all natural with unmistakable signs of the love of land and winemaking passion.”
2008 Pinot Gris Five Rows, Lowrey Vineyards, St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula VQA
Tastefully done package, some label descriptors are hand-written, also indicating the exact count of the bottle you are tasting, in this case the 112th. The colour has a tiny tint of cooper, characteristic of the grape. Aromas of white peach and pear, white blossoms and spice. Medium bodied with slight oily texture, sweet white summer fruit and orange toffee-nutty flavours, and a pretty long star anise, mineral-accented finish. 57 cases produced. $25.
4 stars out of 5.
2008 Sauvignon Blanc Five Rows, Lowrey Vineyards, St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula VQA
Lime, kiwi, lemon tree blossom bouquet. Light and fresh over the palate with savoury fruit and mineral flavors and the finish brings along very pleasant honeydew melon nuances. A delicate Sauv Blanc here, perfect with pure, Willapa Bay Kumamoto oysters. 64 cases produced.
4 stars out of 5.
2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Five Rows, Lowrey Vineyards, St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula VQA
Classic, old world-style Cab Sauv with aromas and flavours of blueberries, plums, currants, white pepper, tobacco and underlying scorched earth and gamey notes that I seem to find in many of St. David’s Bench reds. Medium plus bodied and dry with soft, melted-in tannins and with neat accents of boysenberries, tar-bitter chocolate and herbaceous finish. Drinking very well right now. 45 cases produced.
4 + stars out of 5.
You can read Zoltan’s blog and find more of his reviews at zoltanszabo.org.