Friday, November 30, 2012

Top 25 Value Wines of 2012

We've selected the top 25 wines for 2012 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.

MezzoMondo 2010 Negroamaro - $10
A very consistent bargain red from the South East of Italy using the Negroamaro grape native to the region, which year-after-year delivers excellent value for money with an expressive nose of black cherry, dried cranberry, prune, toasted oak and Christmas spice aromas.
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Generation Seven Wines 2012 Nouveau - $12
Fruity and bright on the ultra-youthful, low-tannin palate, staying true to the varietal with nice spice and a hint of cured meat flavours beneath the prominent red fruit. A wine to be enjoyed in its youth, by the case throughout the holiday season - incredible value!
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Chateau Des Charmes 2009 Cabernet-Merlot - $13
An impressive "budget" blend that over-delivers for the price with a nice nose of cassis, blackberry, vanilla spice and oak aromas followed by a medium-bodied, smooth-tannin palate with a good balance of mature dark fruit and savoury herbs'n'spice flavours.
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Finca Sophenia 2009 Reserve Malbec - $14
This is the wine to seek out for folks who are tired of overly juicy and predictable Mendoza Malbecs that are generally available at this price point. Textured and well balanced with concentrated plum fruit and French oak characters of spicy vanilla.
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Road 13 Vineyards 2010 Stemwinder - $15
Originally this wine was released at $22, several dollars more than the firm's popular Honest John's Blends. Seen, at the time, as a step-up in complexity and part of their plan to focus more on proprietary blends than on a large portfolio of single varietal wines.
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Cellar Besllum 2008 Montsant - $20
This offering, a blend of equal parts Carignan and Garnache, has plenty of character on the layered nose and smooth palate. The tannins are fine and well balanced with good acidity resulting in a silky texture and long finish.
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Gemtree Vineyards 2009 Bloodstone Shiraz - $16
McLaren Vale product has an appealing nose of sweet cherry fruit, menthol and mineral notes but it is the intriguingly moderate and terroir-driven palate that makes this a wine worth seeking out.
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Geo Wines 2009 Chono Syrah Reserva - $18
Produced in the Elqui Valley, one of Chile's most northern and driest wine regions, this savoury, terroir expressing Syrah offers a gorgeous palate of oak spice, minerals, smoked meats, leather and dark, brooding fruit.
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Sumac Ridge Estate Winery 2010 Private Reserve Gewurztraminer - $14
best known Gewurztraminer in BC is also one of the most consistently well made with a straight-forward, classic presentation of Goo with nice candied lychee fruit aromas on the pleasant nose and just a touch of residual sugar on the satisfying palate.
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SpierHead Winery 2010 Pinot Noir - $18
Nice sweet cherry notes on the nose blend nicely with light French oak aromas and a hint of vanilla. The dry palate offers similar flavours and a nice vein of acidity. A touch of bitterness on the finish will be masked when served with foods like a Thanksgiving roasted turkey.
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Columbia Crest Winery 2009 Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon - $15
The finish is surprisingly lengthy for such a well-priced wine. An excellent option for dinner parties due to its mass appeal and food friendliness.
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Little Straw Vineyards 2011 Tapestry - $17
The aptly named Tapestry, weaves together the varietal characters of Riesling, Auxerrois, Gewurztraminer, Siegerrebe and Schonburger. Easy drinking, to be sure, but with more going on than your average crowd-pleasing, off-dry white blend.
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Intrigue Wines 2011 Focus Riesling - $20
Their standard, straight-forward, $17 Riesling is well-made and true to the vintage and varietal. The Focus, their top-tier Riesling, gets extra attention during harvest and fermentation, dialing the varietal expression "up to 11" - appropriate for the vintage, I suppose.
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Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc - $20
Tinhorn Creek makes a wide range of wines and has a number of specialties but the Golden Mile Bench winery should really be best known for its consistently intriguing, engaging and well-priced Cabernet Franc.
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M. Chapoutier 2010 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut - $15
An easy-drinking, feminine, fruit-forward, soft-tannin blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan that boasts of the hot, Mediterranean coastal region terroir from where it originated.
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Intrigue Wines 2011 Pinot Gris - $17
Fans of the Burrowing Owl style of BC Pinot Gris, where a little residual sugar is left to add a touch of sweetness and help augment the body, will love this version from Lake Country producer Intrigue Wines.
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Fort Berens Estate Winery 2011 Riesling - $18
Both fruity and grassy on the nose with intense aromas of kiwi fruit, green apples, white peach and mango skins followed by a tangy, nearly off-dry palate of both tropical and citrus fruit flavours that finishes tart and refreshing.
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Maison Calvet 2010 Reserve - $16
Not as ripe or juicy as its 2009 predecessor, with more of an emphasis on savoury spice and oak influence, yet the red berry fruit is still front and center.
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Fort Berens Estate Winery 2010 White Gold - $25
Admittedly, we're pushing the boundaries of "value wines" with a $25 Chardonnay. However, it's so rare that you can get such a well made reserve-tier Chard from BC at this price that we feel it's appropriate.
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Hillebrand Winery 2010 Trius Cabernet Franc - $15
The Trius brand from Hillebrand Winery offers impressive value with varietal and blends produced from Niagara Peninsula fruit. The finish is long and balanced with lingering clove spice and a touch of minerality.
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Stoneboat Vineyards 2010 Chorus - $18
The tangy-sweetness of the Schonburger and the lush fruit of the Pinot Blanc lead the way with the remaining varieties adding complexity to the expressive nose and crisp, nearly-dry palate.
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Fort Berens Estate Winery 2011 23 Camels White - $15
My only hesitation adding this delicious blend to the list is that it requires an in-person trip to the Lillouet-based winery to get your hands on a bottle. Hopefully, production will increase with the 2012 vintage.
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Fairview Cellars 2011 Sauvignon Blanc - $20
The Fairview Cellars' crisp and citrus-y Sauvignon Blanc, the only white wine produced at the Golden Mile Bench winery, sees its production more than triple for the 2011 vintage and thus should be much easier to find this year.
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Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2011 Gewurztraminer - $18
with natural fullness and a creamy mouth feel, this release succeeds by reigning in the body with vibrant, mouth watering, citrus acidity that structures the Asian pear, apple and lychee fruit characters beautifully.
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Jackson-Triggs Vintners 2010 Silver Series Viognier - $15
A relatively simple Viognier missing the tropical fruit characters of some of the valley's more complex versions, yet, well balanced with solid pear, apple and peach fruit aromas and pleasant mineral flavours on the chewy, off-dry palate.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2012

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