Monday, December 5, 2011

Top 25 Wines of 2011

The format for our Top 25 list changes slightly for 2011 with a new subjective approach taking into account availability, collectability and relevance in the world of wine. For simply the highest rated wines of the year please visit our new Top 25 Rated Wines of 2011 list on All wines were released within the calendar year.

Fairview Cellars 2009 The Wrath - $65
Intense, brooding and fantastically complex. The name is a nod to "The Grapes of Wrath" and the hardship it suggests in getting the new vineyard site to the point where it would produce quality fruit.

Glaetzer Wines 2009 Amon-Ra - $85
Near-perfect balance has been achieved by managing extraction creating rounded tannins that confidently support the massive concentration on the palate but never out-shine the fruit characters.
Icon Score

Blackwood Lane 2007 The Referènce - $90
Full-bodied and powerful while remaining whimsical and refined due to its gorgeous expression of dark fruit, toasted oak and ultra-smooth tannins.
Icon Score

Painted Rock Estate Winery 2009 Red Icon - $55

The 2009 is a harmonious blend of 30% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot and 1% Syrah delivering massive complexity and concentration that never overloads the dry palate rather evolves slowly in the glass to reveal layers of the flavour profile.
Icon Score

Franciscan Estate 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon - $45
An extracted powerhouse of a Cabernet Sauvignon-heavy blend with 13% Merlot, 3% Syrah and 1% Petit Verdot which retains its feminine charm with intense dark fruit and spot-on oak treatment characters.
Icon Score

Laughing Stock Vineyards 2009 Portfolio - $45
A stellar example of a Bordeaux inspired Okanagan blend that boasts a dense nose of blackberry and cassis fruit, anise and clove spices followed by an exquisite, powerful, full-bodied palate of similar flavours with added savoury elements of coffee grinds, toasted oak and fresh tobacco leaf.
Icon Score

Black Hills Estate Winery 2009 Nota Bene - $54
Possibly the best Nota Bene of the past 6 years. Higher extraction and more modern vinification techniques have upped the concentration and increased the potential cellar life for this highly collected blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 16% Cabernet Franc.
Icon Score

L'Etoile de Bergey 2009 Grand Vin - $20
A great budget Bordeaux from the amazing 2009 vintage. 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.
Icon Score

JoieFarm 2009 Reserve Chardonnay - $30
The top white wine on our list is a perennial favourite. Sits lovingly on your palate with evenly matched energetic acid and glycerol fullness. The long, long finish delights with both savoury oak and ripe pear fruit flavours and just a touch of lingering spice. Utterly charming now, but should age nicely if properly cared for.
Icon Score

Blackwood Lane 2009 Pinot Noir - $44
Two top ten showings for 2011. Hopefully they can continue the success in 2012 despite the departure of winemaker Charles Herrold. Possibly, the quintessential BC Pinot Noir as it requires no "Burgundy-esk" or "Central Otago-like" descriptor.
Icon Score

Herder Winery and Vineyards 2008 Josephine - $50
In style and in composition, Herder's "Josephine" confidently conveys the essence of a fruit-forward leaning, Right Bank garagiste wine all the while keeping to its Similkameen roots.
Icon Score

Painted Rock Estate Winery 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon - $40
"Big" without being jammy and over extracted which presents the fabled Bordeaux varietal in its near-ideal, cool-climate form: fully ripe tannins and expressive dark fruit characters.
Icon Score

Le Vieux Pin 2008 Équinoxe Syrah - $70
The winery selected 3 barrels as the best of the best for their 2008 Syrah and deemed it worthy of the Équinoxe name. Only 70 cases have been produced.
Icon Score

Meyer Family Vineyards 2010 Mclean Creek Road Chardonnay - $35
As the vines of the Mclean Creek Road Vineyard in Okanagan Falls mature and develop, the Chardonnay produced there is fast becoming the winery's hallmark - its unique addition to the crowded market of high-end BC Chardonnay.
Icon Score

Cassini Cellars 2009 Maximus - $29
The soft entry on the dry palate evolves quickly to reveal the beast within. Fine, ripe tannins and a sublime texture partner well with concentrated dark fruit, smoky cigar box and toasted oak flavours.
Icon Score

View #16-25 after the break

Fort Berens Estate Winery 2009 Meritage - $28
A blend of 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc produced from grapes grown on the Black Sage Bench, this wine has silky-smooth textured tannins with excellent concentration of ripe dark berry, toasted oak, vanilla, spice and mint characters on the vibrant nose and sensual, dry palate.
Icon Score

Stoneboat Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir - $25
Recently awarded a 2011 Lieutenant Governor's Award of Excellence, this light garnet hued Pinot Noir from Oliver's Stoneboat Vineyards offers a gorgeous, seductive nose of sweet cherry-cola candy, vanilla, cedar, light earth and subtle oak spice aromas.
Icon Score

Le Vieux Pin 2010 Sauvignon Blanc - $35
An incredible attention to detail has gone into the production of this wine with 9 batches of Sauvignon Blanc blended, each having received a unique treatment.
Icon Score

Stag's Hollow Winery 2009 Renaissance Merlot - $30
The Stag's Hollow Renaissance Merlot is the single-vineyard, flagship release of the Okanagan Falls winery offering a sublime, layered nose of spiced plum, dark cherry, fig, licorice, dark chocolate and mocha aromas.
Icon Score

Chateau Des Charmes 2007 St. David's Bench Vineyard Cabernet Franc - $26
This single-vineyard Cabernet Franc from Chateau Des Charmes falls into the "big funky nose" category of wines produced from the most charismatic of the Bordeaux varietals.
Icon Score

Stag's Hollow Winery 2010 GVM - $28
With its exotic character, refined palate and long, long finish, the GVM is certainly greater than its parts and should be sought out by BC wine lovers who can see past the lack of variety identity and who specifically appreciate the relative freedom afforded the winemakers in our New World wine region.
Icon Score

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2008 Oldfield Series Syrah - $30
Medium-plus bodied Syrah with a healthy dose of spice and dark cherry characters both on the pleasantly layered nose and dry, complex palate.
Icon Score

Eroica 2009 Riesling - $30
Produced from Columbia Valley fruit, the Eroica Riesling is a joint venture between Washington State's Chateau Ste Michelle and Germany's Dr. Loosen.
Icon Score

La Frenz Winery 2009 Reserve Chardonnay - $29
A terrific Chardonnay that exemplifies the elegance and refinement attainable in the Okanagan Valley when the grape is treated to the right amount of lees and oak contact.
Icon Score

Painted Rock Estate Winery 2010 Chardonnay - $30
An amazing 3 wines in the Top 25 list for Painted Rock! Their best Chardonnay yet is chalk full of character with a lovely, sensual balance of oak and sweet orchard fruit on the nose and palate.

 -  Liam Carrier ©copyright 2011

Also see:
Top 25 Wines of 2010
Top 10 Wines of 2009

No comments:

Post a Comment