Saturday, September 8, 2012

Best of BC: Icon Wines

What makes a wine an Icon Wine? To us, it's a wine that combines the best grapes with the best vineyard and winery practices and becomes a signature of its region. As our Best of BC section attests, there are a lot of great wines being produced in BC. But there's a difference between producing BC's best Chardonnay or Merlot and producing a wine that is the epitome of BC's best, an Icon.

Currently, our list contains Meritage blends only - possibly due to the fact that the style of Bordeaux is revered worldwide and many wineries devote their best fruit, barrels and effort to these wines. This will change in years to come as wineries figure out the best varietals to grow in their different vineyard blocks and signature varietals emerge like Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Blanc.

Updated: 9-9-12

Cassini Cellars 2009 Maximus - $29
Youthful, vibrant and raw may best describe the intense, fruit'n'savoury nose of the latest edition of Cassini Cellars' Meritage blend called "Maximus". This year's blend boasts 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 1% of Malbec, aged in new and second fill French and American oak for 14 months. Where to buy: Direct from winery.
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Fairview Cellars 2009 The Bear - $35
Lovers of wines with a refined bite (fine tannins and mouth-watering acidity) will adore this vintage of The Bear. As for development, the sky's the limit. I look forward mightily to re-tasting this wine in two year intervals over the next eight as it melds and evolves. Where to buy: Direct from winery and select private wine shops.
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Laughing Stock Vineyards 2009 Portfolio - $42
The final blend of 36% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, 14% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot was aged in French oak (60% new) for 19 months prior to bottling resulting in a structured wine with big, coarse tannins and loads of character. Where to buy: Direct from winery and VQA stores.
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Herder Winery and Vineyards 2008 Josephine - $50
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. A blend of 81% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Cabernet Franc, it offers a lovely balance of bold, concentrated dark berry puree characters and savoury, earthy cedar notes with plenty of new French oak tannins and flavours. Where to buy: Direct from winery and VQA stores.
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Black Hills Estate Winery 2009 Note Bene - $54
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. Where to buy: Direct from winery and select private wine shops ($55-60).
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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. Where to buy: Direct from winery, select private wine shops and VQA stores.
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Fairview Cellars 2009 The Wrath - $65
Intense, brooding and fantastically complex, this wonderful wine offers loads of dark fruit and French oak at the core of its flavour profile. Big tannins, big mouth feel, big nose, big presence... big everything! Where to buy: Direct from winery.
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Mission Hill Estate Winery 2006 Oculus - $70
Great concentration of flavours on the nose and palate with a final blend of 51% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and 8% Petit Verdot. Each component is aged separately in 100% French oak barrels for 14.5 months. Where to buy: Direct from winery, select private wine shops and VQA stores.
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Blackwood Lane 2007 The Referènce - $90
This attention to detail and use of elite components is all done to add complexity to the wine. Time must be taken with this wine to fully appreciate the complexity as it evolves in the glass revealing hidden layers and clues to its secrets. Where to buy: Direct from winery and VQA stores.
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