Thursday, December 2, 2010

2010 Icon Wine of the Year

The Icon Wine of the Year is presented to "the best" wine, released in the calendar year of 2010, that combines price, quality, pedigree, collectability, longevity and availability to the wine consuming public in Canada. The winner for 2010 is:

Stratus Vineyards 2007 Red
$44 - Niagara-on-the-Lake VQA

A unique blend of 7 red varietals, the five Bordeaux grapes with Syrah and Gamay, this dark ruby coloured wine offers concentrated aromas and a vibrant, juicy texture on the palate. Built to last, the wine has an excellent tannin structure which will afford a long life adorning the shelves of collectors' cellars. However, at $44 it need not play the role of a never-to-be-opened collectable. This is a wine that you can actually afford to drink (well, once in a while). For the cost of only one bottle of Chateau Palmer (in a great vintage) you can get a whole case of Stratus Red and enjoy one per year over the next 12.

The 2007 vintage is the best Stratus Red yet and shows the potential for future great vintages when the weather and viticulture practices align like the stars. Sustainable and Biodynamic practices are employed at Stratus Vineyards which gives the wine some Green "street cred" but really the proof is in the pudding (and the pudding is yummy).

The uniqueness of the blend must be vaunted one more time as it is key to the wine's success. With the popularity of Bordeaux-styled blends, or "Meritage" wines, nearly every red wine producing winery takes a stab at creating their own and many fabulous examples exist (see Top 25 Wines of 2010). The blend at Stratus, with the addition of Syrah and Gamay, however minute, adds a proprietary character to the wine that others can't duplicate. A watermark, if you will, that makes it "Stratus Red" and not just another Meritage blend.

The simple, yet stunning label/bottle presentation creates the sense that you're dealing with a modern winery that not only understands, but is routed in the classics. Ultra modern, but never flashy. Subtle, classic. And so is the wine.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2010

Also see:
2009 Icon Wine of the Year

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