Sunday, May 25, 2014

Best of BC: Red Blends

The red blends of BC take many forms. Some wineries stick to traditional Bordeaux-style (Meritage) combinations of the Cabernets and Merlot while other producers are experimenting with Syrah-based blends to the benefit of us all. Whichever way you like it, there are some quality red blends available today in BC.

Updated: 5-25-14

$20 and below:

Cellar Hand 2011 Punch Down Red - $20
This blend of 45% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Syrah and 11% Cabernet Franc offers sweet aromas of ripe cherry, spicy plum and mixed-berry fruit with Christmas sugar cookie and light oak notes rounding out the pleasant nose.
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$30 and below:

Bench 1775 Winery 2011 Cabernet Merlot - $23
This youthful, purple-ruby hued blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon is a mouth-watering, yet, easy-drinking, food-enhancing wine that makes a near perfect companion to traditional, oven-roasted pizza. Where to buy: Direct from winery and VQA stores
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SpierHead Winery 2011 Pursuit - $24
SpierHead's Pursuit succeeds as a tasty, well-balanced, drink-now, Bordeaux-inspired blend of 48% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. Delivering a consistent and pleasing, easy-drinking medley of juicy, dark fruit, meaty, menthol smoke and charred oak aromas and flavours through to a dark chocolate and light spice-infused finish. 'Medium'... everything. Where to buy: Direct from the winery and VQA stores
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JoieFarm 2011 PTG - $24
Imagine a combination of cherry, raspberry, plum and cranberry fruit heated on a stove top with loads of spice and vanilla, then mix-in elements of the forest, bright acidity and savoury notes like oak and dried herbs and you have the 2011 PTG. Where to buy: Direct from winery and VQA stores.
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Stag's Hollow Winery 2011 Heritage Block - $25
The 2011 edition sees 56% Merlot (smoky, mixed berry fruit) and 37% Cabernet Franc (providing the lovely floral and perfumed aromas) supported by 7% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in American and French oak barrels for 18 months. The resulting wine is both fruity and serious with a smooth, sultry textured mid-palate and a long, mouth-watering finish with lingering spice and blackberry flavours. Where to buy: BCLDB stores and direct from winery.
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Fairview Cellars 2011 Two Hoots - $25
Despite its middleweight make-up, this wine packs a flavourful punch offering cassis, pomegranate, boysenberry, cran-apple and blackberry on the fragrant nose and fluid, smoky palate. Light tannins and vibrant acidity make this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot assessable early, though, another 6-9 months of bottle age should do nicely. Where to buy: Direct from winery and select VQA stores
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River Stone Estate Winery 2011 Corner Stone - $28.50
blend of 53% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Malbec which opens with lovely, deep aromas of blueberry, blackberry and cherry fruit with light, smoky, charred-oak notes and hints of dried herbs on the nose. Where to buy: Direct from winery
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Fairview Cellars 2011 Mad Cap Red - $29
Fairview's answer to a Merlot-driven blend with Cab Sauv and Cab Franc contributing complexity and added tannin to a fruit-forward, yet, "serious" red wine offering concentrated blackberry, boysenberry, vanilla bean, light mint and cedar aromas. Where to buy: Direct from winery and private wine stores
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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. Where to buy: Direct from winery and VQA stores.
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Fort Berens Estate Winery 2011 Meritage - $29
Grapes from both the Fraser Canyon home vineyard and from the famed Sundial vineyard along the Black Sage Bench were sourced for this year's blend of 47% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Cabernet Franc which delivers warm, mixed-berry, plum, crushed violet and mineral aromas enveloped by complimentary oak and light spice notes.  Where to buy: Direct from winery and VQA stores.
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$40 and below:

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2010 Oldfield Series 2Bench Red - $30
Signature sweet tobacco and dark blackberry aromas are complimented nicely by ample toasted oak and spicy vanilla notes on the nose of this consistently excellent Meritage blend from Oliver's Tinhorn Creek VineyardsWhere to buy: Direct from winery.
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Perseus Winery 2010 Select Lots Invictus - $33
Concentrated and dense, the Invictus, Perseus Winery's take on a Meritage blend of 56% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9 % Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec, is rich in dark fruit aromas like cassis and blackberry with menthol, vanilla and pipe tobacco notes adding complexity. Where to buy: Direct from the winery.
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Church and State Wines 2009 Coyote Bowl Series Meritage - $35
Church and State's Meritage follows the Left Bank recipe of a Cabernet Sauvignon-leading blend with Merlot and Cabernet Franc adding backbone and approachable fruit to the otherwise, smoke-infused nose and palate where French-oak influence is prominent and appealing. Where to buy: Direct from the winery and VQA stores.
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