Thursday, July 4, 2013

Monthly Picks: July 2013

As it is with movies, most of the year's awards go to wines released towards the end of the year when most of the big reds find their way to your local fine wine shop or are finally available for order via the website of your favourite local producer. With this month's wine picks we're going to focus on the wines that have impressed us the most mid-way through the year; the best of the best (thus far released). Welcome to Icon Wine's Mid-Year Wine Awards.

We're using unique categories for this mid-year celebration for a clear distinction to our annual (official) wine awards that come out in December.

Best Resurrection
The now defunct Soaring Eagle Estate Winery was a relatively insular properly and easy to ignore when driving between more prominent and press-engaged wineries on the Naramata Bench. A stylistic re-birth has taken place using the winery's address along Naramata Rd as inspiration. Expect Bench 1775 to actively woo your patronage as it positions itself to be the next must-visit winery on the bench.

Bench 1775 Winery 2012 Chill - $16
A fun, off-dry blend of (mostly) Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Blanc offering loads of tropical fruit and mineral characters with Summer-friendly low-alcohol.
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Best Spring Release for Summer Sipping
What I look for in a great Summer Sipper is a great balance of drinkability and complexity. You want something tasty and complex enough to keep you engaged in the wine but not be distracted by it. The last few year, my go-to Summer Sipper has been a BC Sauvignon Blanc (from various producers) due to its underrated complexity (especially those blended with Semillon) and its ability to deliver crisp citrus and honeyed tropical fruit flavours that keep your palate entertained and refreshed for hours.

Howling Bluff Estate Winery 2012 Summa Quies Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon - $20
Even Sauvignon Blanc blended with only minuscule amounts of Sémillon (like Fairview Cellars', another perennial favourite) benefits from the added candied fruit and sweet honeydew complexity which compliment the raw citrus and grassy twang of Sauvignon Blanc perfectly.
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Best Cellar Dweller
Now entering our 5th year as a wine review site, we're able to revisit wines occasionally and this award goes to the previously-reviewed wine who's short-term development has impressed us the most.

Cassini Cellars 2009 Maximus - $32
First tasted in September 2011 and then re-tasted again in May 2013, the 2009 Maximus is a delightful wine that shows that BC wines can age when consideration has been made to how the wine has been enclosed; cork or screw cap VS. synthetics.
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Most Promising Preview
We have a tie here. I had the privileged to taste two big reds that will knock your socks off when they get released. And we're not talking barrels samples steeped in mystical promise, these are completed wines in bottle and simply waiting for the right moment to be revealed to the public. Both are early candidates for the 2013 Icon Wine of the Year.

Painted Rock Estate Winery 2010 Red Icon - $55
Not yet released. The 2010 sees 39% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, 18% Petit Verdot, 11% Malbec and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon blended to produce an aromatic nose of dark berries, violets, mint, licorice, cedar and dark chocolate aromas while the dry palate charms with intense dark fruit puree flavours supported by fine tannins, mouth-watering acidity, warm earth and toasted oak notes.
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Cachet Wines 2010 Cachet no 3 - $50
Just released. Tasted at an April event where a proud proprietor (@SimplyPinot) was happy to explain the wine's unexpected origin due to a fortuitous forklift accident producing a blend of 49% Tempranillo, 43% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Just 55 cases exist of this gorgeous wine with loads of character and depth. Was recently awarded a 2013 Lieutenant Governor Award.

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013

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