Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top 25 Value Wines of 2011

We've selected the top 25 value wines for 2011 that we feel represent the best value to the consumer. No price limit was applied to the list, nor was a simple price-to-points equation used. With this list we allowed ourselves to be subjective as to what "value" represents.

M. Chapoutier 2009 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut - $15
An easy-drinking, soft-tannin blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan that scores well for its harmony, approachable fruit-forward appeal and long, balanced finish of wild berry and rustic earth characters. Widely available.
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Castaño 2009 Lujuria - $10
Yes, this is a $10 bottle of wine that you will actually want to buy and will likely enjoy - and not just for its value. A blend of Merlot and Monastrell. Widely available.
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Chateau Des Charmes 2008 ‘Old Vines’ Riesling - $17
It's rare to find a Canadian Riesling at this price point that offers the concentration and ageability of this St. David's Bench example. Possibly it's the old vines used to source the grapes that were planted in the early eighties. LCBO.
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Maison Calvet 2009 Reserve - $16
A charming vein of sweetness runs through the nose of this pleasing Bargain Bordeaux. This Merlot heavy blend (80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon) should appeal to wine lovers who enjoy New World-leaning Bordeaux wines. Widely available.
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Errazuriz 2007 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc - $13
Late Harvest wines offer an excellent and affordable alternative when the impressive funds needed to purchase icewines aren't available. This wine over-delivers. Widely available.
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Stoneboat Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir - $25
One of only 3 wines above $20 to make the list. Simply the best Pinot Noir available within BC under $30. BC VQA stores.
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L'Etoile de Bergey 2009 Grand Vin - $20
Elegant and polished from the refined, cherry, field berry, cassis and savoury oak infused nose through to the dry, blackberry puree, poppy seed, licorice and rhubarb influenced palate. Costco USA.
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Fairview Cellars 2010 Sauvignon Blanc - $20
More complex than merely a clean, crisp summer sipper with some fullness on the palate from lush, oily Semillon fruit adding a hint of honeydew melon to the mix.
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Snap Dragon Winery 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon - $12
If you like big California Cabs with loads of ripe, dark fruit aromas and flavours with a little residual sugar left in the balance to offset the tannins and acid, than you'll be wise to add this well-priced wine to your rotation. Widely available.
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La Frenz Winery 2009 Montage - $22
What would the Top Value list be without the La Frenz Montage every year? Buy it by the case and make it your house red to the delight of all your guests. Private wine shops.
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St. Hubertus Estate Winery 2009 Dry Riesling - $15
One will be hard pressed to find better value in a BC Riesling. Screw-top enclosure has locked in the freshness. BC VQA stores.
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Chateau Pey La Tour 2009 Grand Vin - $16
The warm and long growing season of 2009 has done wonders for not only Bordeaux’s finest wines but also its most affordable including this blend of 77% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Widely available.
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Henry’s Drive Vignerons 2009 Morse Code Shiraz - $14
A touch of sweetness resides on the tart, yet mild-mannered palate but rest assured we're miles from Yellowtail territory here. Widely available.
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SummerGate Winery 2009 Riesling Two - $20
Sourced from the certified organic Stohler Family vineyard in Summerland, the secret to this Riesling's success is the inclusion of 5% botrytis affected fruit which adds depth and complexity to the nose and mostly-dry palate. Winery direct.
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Big House Wines 2009 White - $13
Despite the grocery list of ingredients, the wine is not overly complex, yet the crisp, fun and easy-drinking character of the wine make it an easy addition to your summer sipping rotation. Widely available.
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See wines 16-25 after the break.

Township 7 Vineyards and Winery 2009 Sauvignon Blanc - $18
This is a delicious Sauvignon Blanc done in a weighty (almost chewy), Californian Fumé Blanc style. Rare level of quality for this price-point. BCLDB stores.
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Fort Berens Estate Winery 2009 Meritage - $28
At nearly $30 we're pushing the meaning of a value wine with this selection, but, in the world of BC Meritage blends where $40+ is common, the Lillooet based winery's offering is a welcomed breath of fresh air. BC VQA stores.
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Cassini Cellars 2010 Viognier - $18
The "it" white grape in BC these days often gets over-priced - not this beauty from Cassini. BC VQA stores. BC VQA stores.
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Stag's Hollow Winery 2010 Simply Noir - $20
A unique blend of 38% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 30% Pinot Noir with the Merlot providing dark berry flavours and tannin structure, the Cab Franc providing flashy, aromatic character and the Pinot Noir rounding-out and lightening the palate creating a softer entry and contributing welcomed spice. BC VQA stores.
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Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Franc - $20
The fruit and tannins are ripe, the acidity resets your palate and the finish is moderate plus - the makings of a very good wine that will make every critic's "best value" list at the end of the year. BCLDB stores.
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River Stone Estate Winery 2010 Malbec Rosé - $20
New Black Sage Bench winery River Stone introduces the valley's first Malbec rosé and it's a winner. The medium ruby hued wine offers a classic rosé nose of strawberry and pomegranate enhanced with subtle notes of plum, blueberry punch and minerals. Direct from winery.
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Intrigue Wines 2010 "10" - $16
A fun, perfumed, aromatic wine with mouth-watering, tangy citrus fruit, some residual sweetness and and a touch of herbaceous character. BC VQA stores.
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Eroica 2009 Riesling - $20
Not quite the blockbuster that the 2008 vintage offered, but a fabulous Riesling nonetheless with classic lemon, grapefruit and ripe apple aromas on the subtle, yet layered nose and concentrated citrus, herbs, apple and kiwi flavours on the effervescent, textured palate. Costco USA.
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Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2010 Gewurztraminer - $18
The 2010 vintage was good to Tinhorn Creek's Gewurztraminer vines. The long, cool season provided the brisk nights needed to produce ample acid in the tightly bunched grapes resulting in a refreshing and relatively crisp wine for the notoriously low-acid producing varietal. BC VQA stores.
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Cassini Cellars 2010 Sauvignon Blanc - $19
A Sauvignon Blanc hinting towards a New Zealand style with mouth-watering acidity, grassy character and crisp minerality. BC VQA stores.
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Also see:
Top 25 Value Wines of 2010
Top 10 Value Wines of 2009

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