Saturday, December 7, 2013

Top 25 Wines of 2013

The format for our Top 25 list uses a 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 Top 25 Rated Wines of 2013 list on All wines were released within the calendar year and reviews based solely on barrel samples were excluded.

#1 - Icon Wine of the Year
Stag's Hollow Winery 2010 Cachet No. 03 - $50
This is a memorable, one-off blend of 49% Tempranillo, 43% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, worthy of the Cachet designation from Okanagan Falls' Stag's Hollow Winery, that is ready to go now, yet, should also enjoy a long life in your cellar with further integration and development.
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Silverback Vineyards 2011 Reserve Syrah - $240 (USD)
How does a near perfect wine come in 2nd place on this list? We must factor in availability and cost and sadly, this wine is not yet distributed in BC. Should you get your hands on a bottle you'll be treated to a powerfully elegant wine bursting with restrained intensity and dense, dense dark fruit flavours, effortlessly balanced by its expertly-tuned oak program.
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JoieFarm 2011 "En Famille" Reserve Gewurztraminer - $28
Though it draws its inspiration from Grand Cru Alsatian examples, this is a classic BC Gewurztraminer with excellent balance and attention to detail from the refined floral medley and seductive tropical fruit on the nose to the lip-smacking, off-dry palate full of ripe lychee fruit and generous spice that lingers on the long, long finish.
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Painted Rock Estate Winery 2010 Red Icon - $55
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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Silverback Vineyards 2010 Syrah - $80 (USD)
A dark, intense, ruby-coloured Syrah with a medium purple rim and a lovely sheen. Pulls you into its web at first sniff with layers of dark fruit, violets, tar, licorice, vanilla, subtle allspice and vibrant citrus notes. An excellent prelude to the concentrated palate that offers superb acidity and balance with fine tannins and long-lasting, spicy dark fruit flavours that role around your mouth with youthful abandon. On par with the Columbia Valley's premium Syrah labels like Long Shadows' "Sequel". 
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Paul Hobbs Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon - $110
The 2010 vintage sees 6% Cabernet Franc added which contributes light floral notes to the gorgeous nose and creates an overall more feminine profile. Mint & licorice flavours add depth to the layers of cassis and blackberry fruit supported by powerful, yet, fine tannins. Drinking well now, with proper decanting, but should develop further with patient cellaring.
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Champagne Lanson N/V Extra Age Blanc de Blanc - $115
A stunning Champagne made from 100% Chardonnay grapes sourced exclusively from Grand and 1er cru vineyards from the 2003-05 vintages offering sweet brioche, floral and mineral characters. Fresh, clean and crisp, the house style avoids all secondary Malolactic fermentation leaving the natural acidity high yet completely balanced. Ultra delicate on the pleasing fine-bubbled palate.
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Silverback Vineyards 2011 Chardonnay - $55 (USD)
Exhibiting harmony and elegance on the nose with intense, yet gentle aromas when not served too cold and allowed time to open up. The palate starts soft with an even texture thanks to near perfect acidity, then builds to a greater intensity and length. Simply devine.
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Painted Rock Estate Winery 2012 Chardonnay - $30
How do you follow-up on an Icon Wine of the Year performance? You don't rest on laurels and keep on trucking. For Painted Rock that means continual refinement of the vineyard management practices, pruning and harvest program for every variety in your vineyard. The result is continued excellence producing another stand-out Chardonnay and one of the Province's best (pissst, get it while the price is still only $30!).
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Meyer Family Vineyards 2011 Micro Cuvée Chardonnay - $70
This remarkable Chardonnay combines raw power with amazing refinement while finding harmony between the unique terroir and oak treatment elements - a hallmark of the world's best Chardonnay. Both intense and restrained on the baked caramelized apple nose and leesy, orchard fruit and smoky palate. 
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Silverback Vineyards 2010 Référence - $105 (USD)
For fans of Blackwood Lane's Référence this a familiar blend of 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec with Herrold's signature concentrated-yet-gentle and endlessly-layered graphite and dark fruit flavour profile. Classic Meritage berry fruit and savoury, gun powder and Christmas cake spice flavours add complexity to the finely tuned oak treatment and proprietary yeast program that Herrold employs.
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Tenuta Sette Ponti 2010 Crognolo - $35
This is a Super Tuscan perfect for the North American market; fruit forward, dense and steak friendly. It's not all power and extraction though, offering layers of warm earth, licorice, mint and spices on the intense nose and generous, full-bodied palate.
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Chateau Des Charmes 2010 Equuleus - $40
Refined, complex and steeped in Old World charm, this Meritage blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 24% Cabernet Franc exudes elegance on its cassis, cocoa-butter and violet-infused nose and on its silk-textured, earthy, dark berry, bell pepper and mineral flavoured palate.

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Perseus Winery 2010 Select Lots Cabernet Sauvignon - $50
This gorgeous, full-bodied, full-throttle, inky-purple hued Cabernet Sauvignon which delivers intense and ripe cassis fruit aromas on the smoky oak and clove-infused nose. Similar flavours grace the equally intense and compelling, ultra-dry palate where fine tannins add structure and notes of vanilla, black licorice and graphite add depth.
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Stag's Hollow Winery 2012 Grenache - $30
Brimming with layers of aromatic flowers, sweet spice and a medley of ripe, red fruit aromas on the sensual and feminine nose. The palate offers amazing continuity - the wine truly tastes like it smells - rich, feminine and complex with concentrated red fruit creating the perception of light sweetness through to the long, balanced, rounded finish. 
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Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2010 Oldfield Series Cabernet Franc - $35
This small lot release is the first Cabernet Franc from Tinhorn Creek to be elevated to the "Oldfield Series" reserve tier of wines and it makes a fine addition with an intriguing nose of wild blueberry, huckleberry, vanilla, Irish cream and toasted oak spice. The mocha-infused palate bursts with vibrant, raw, field berry acidity and flavours supported by fleshy, ripe tannins and a long, balanced finish with lingering chocolate and herb spices.
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JoieFarm 2012 A Noble Blend - $24
The art of assemblageis on display with this blend of 35% Gewurztraminer, 29% Riesling, 17% Pinot Blanc, 12% Pinot Auxerrois, 4% Schoenberger and 3% Muscat with each component contributing its own coloured tile to the larger mosaic, creating a complete and rewarding experience. 
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Howling Bluff Estate Winery 2010 Summa Quies Vineyard Sin Cera - $29
A blend of all five Bordeaux varietals and aged in French oak for 18 months, the Sin Cera is an irresistible femme fatale that jumps out of the glass with potent, yet graceful, feminine aromas of baked cherry and blackberry fruit, plum preserve, cooking spice, sweet licorice, vanilla, toasted oak and holds your attention through to the equally seductive, fine tannin and similarly flavoured palate.
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Black Hills Estate Winery 2011 Nota Bene - $55
Even in cold, difficult vintages, the Black Hills team deliver a Nota Bene worthy of the on-going intrigue and exclusivity the brand has earned through years of sold-out wines and effective marketing. Some years are better than others, but, I've yet to be disappointed with the released wine.
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Le Vieux Pin 2012 Sauvignon Blanc - $35
An incredible attention to detail has gone into the production of this wine with multiple batches of Sauvignon Blanc each receiving a unique treatment of oak, stainless steel, MLF and lees contact and then blended together to achieve rich layers of tropical fruit, herbal notes, mineral characters and leesy texture.
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Meyer Family Vineyards 2011 Mclean Creek Road Pinot Noir - $40
Impressively round and ripe with concentrated raspberry and plum fruit aromas supported by rich cedar, cooking spice and mineral notes. The palate is equally rich with an initial bright red fruit entry followed by silky-smooth, light tannins and an intense, long finish of raspberry puree and toasted French oak flavours.
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JoieFarm 2011 "En Famille" Reserve Chardonnay - $30
Age-worthy and true to the past success of the more robust editions, this elegant and refined version is one heck of a tasty Chardonnay that just gets better in the glass over time. Tasting brilliantly now, though, should hold for another 4-5 years.
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Meyer Family Vineyards 2011 Tribute Series Chardonnay - $35
A golden-hued Chardonnay from Naramata Bench which offers delightful pear, apple, vanilla and lightly toasted oak aromas on the pleasant nose but this wine is really all about the engaging palate which playfully attacks your mouth from multiple angles.
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Upper Bench Estate Winery 2011 Merlot - $29
Pure, intense, balanced, dark berry fruit supported by corner-of-the-mouth curling savoury notes of dark chocolate, leather, vanilla-mocha and light baking spice. Rich, elegant and smooth with just the right amount of tannic grip on the palate.
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La Frenz Winery 2012 Sauvignon Blanc - $22
Tangy citrus, ripe papaya and sea shells grace the nose of this boisterous Sauvignon Blanc from Naramata Bench produce La Frenz Winery who, through past success, have become one of the most consistent producers of the French variety.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013

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