Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Top 25 Value Wines of 2014

We've selected the top 25 wines for 2014 that we feel represent the best value to the consumer. Though all wines selected are priced at $20 or less, with this list we allowed ourselves to be subjective as to what "value" represents.

Bodegas Atalaya 2012 Laya - $14
A blend of 70% Garnacha and 30% Monastrell with bold, dark cherry and Christmas cake aromas on the expressive nose. Tangy and mouth watering, the palate packs a punch with dark fruit, cured meat and French oak flavours.

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Les Vins Bonhomme 2012 El Petit Bonhomme Tinto - $15
Fruity on the nose with aromas of cherry and blackcurrant supported by savoury notes like pipe tobacco, menthol, anise, oak and spices. The palate offers similar flavours and rounded tannins and tangy, citrus acidity.
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Maverick Estate Winery 2013 Origin - $16
This blend of Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc (60/40 respectively) showcases classic characters of both varieties, balancing sweet, tropical fruit notes and unctuous texture from the Gewurz with crisp citrus fruit and cool mineral elements from the Sauv Blanc.
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Les Vins Bonhomme 2012 El Petit Bonhomme Blanco - $14
A crisp, fruity and vibrant wine made from 100% Verdejo sourced from the Northwest Spanish region of Rueda offering nectarine, peach pit and passion-fruit aromas on the nose and tangy citrus and ripe melon flavours on the mineral-infused palate. Finishes a bit 'hot', though the lingering spicy notes are memorable and help this 'fresh white' stand-out from the crowd.
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Quails' Gate Estate Winery 2013 Dry Riesling - $17
Pale straw in colour, this Riesling from West Kelowna's iconic Quails' Gate Winery is crisp and vibrant delivering apple, pear, pinapple and citrus fruit aromas and flavours grounded by a strong backbone of stonefruit.
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Calliope Wines 2013 Figure Eight White - $16
On of the things the BC wine industry does very well is create budget conscious, over-achieving, white blends that deliver all the complexity, balance and ease-of-drink that you could possibly hope to get from a wine only a cough above $15.
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Mt. Boucherie Winery 2011 Sémillon - $15.50
A refreshing and crisp version of the Bordeaux variety that offers a nice blend of tangy citrus, juicy peach and mouth watering green apple flavours after a similarly themed, yet, fuller, citrus and nectarine infused nose. Finishes a tad sharp, though, lingering mineral and lime peel notes add to its inherent liveliness.
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Pascual Toso 2012 Malbec - $15
This easy-drinking, fruit-forward Malbec offers plenty of juicy, ripe cherry and tangy wild-blackberry fruit on the otherwise spicy-vanilla nose and the mild-mannered palate where light tannins and acidity play a supporting role to the hero of the wine, its tangy, fleshy fruit.
Bench 1775 Winery 2013 Chill - $17
A refreshing, vibrant and juicy blend of 46% Pinot Gris, 25% Chardonnay, 11% Sauvignon Blanc and 6% each of Semillon, Viognier and Gewurztraminer that combines equal parts ripe tropical and cool stonefruit elements on the aromatic nose and the (mostly) dry palate.
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Fort Berens Estate Winery 2013 Riesling - $18
Fort Berens is carving out a nice niche for themselves as producers of one of BC's most consistent and affordable, terroir-driven Rieslings. $18 is a steal for wine that ticks most, if not all of the boxes that Riesling fanatics look for when choosing their next bottle of what Jancis Robertson calls "indisputably the greatest white wine grape in the world...".
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Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2013 Pinot Blanc - $18
This Pinot Blanc is all about finding the balance between the juxtaposition of feminine and masculine characters. Both the nose and palate sees the richness of opulent, ripe Golden Delicious apples and white peaches balanced by cool mineral aromas and flavours and a smooth blanket of citrus acidity that keeps the finish fresh and vibrant
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Quails' Gate Estate Winery 2013 Chenin Blanc - $19
A mixture of citrus and tropical fruit aromas carry through to the dry palate where they are complimented by a cool blast of river stone minerality and lemon zest. The finish is long with a touch of lingering spice. Ready to go now.
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The Painted Wolf Wines 2012 The Den Cabernet Sauvignon - $15
Bursts out of the glass with attractive blackberry, cassis, cola, menthol and oak aromas. Palate offers similar, juicy flavours until a wave of wild berry acidity floods the fruit, lightening the body, creating more of a middleweight Cabernet, better suited for spicy stews and leaner meats, than for thick, marbled steaks.
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Bench 1775 Winery 2013 Sauvignon Blanc - $18
Does everything you want an under-$20 Sauvignon Blanc to do: successfully blend together the tang of sweet citrus fruit, the pungent qualities of grass and the coolness of minerals. Add-in impressive concentration and length and you have a real winner.
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Calliope Wines 2013 Viognier - $16
The easy-drinking, slightly 'hot' palate is full-bodied with a plump texture and flavours of ripe, melons and peaches with some citrus acid attempting, and mostly succeeding, to tone down the 'plump'. Moderate finish is watery with a noticeable kick of lingering spice.
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Graffigna 2013 Centenario Reserve Pinot Grigio - $14.50
Subtle on the apricot and apple scented nose, this well-priced Grigio is all about its balance of light, orchard fruit flavours, tangy tropical fruit acidity and delicate mineral notes on the palate. The taste of summer in a glass.
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Quails' Gate Estate Winery 2013 Chasselas Pinot Blanc Pinot Gris - $16
An approachable, floral smelling, orchard fruit'n'mineral patio wine with some residual sweetness balanced by mannered acidity and some grassy notes on the finish.
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Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón 2012 '1884' Reservado Malbec - $17
The palate is very modern with approachable berry fruit, vibrant acidity and enough residual sugar to add body and texture - happily, just a scosche of sweetness. Pepper and grapefruit peel flavours linger on the moderate-plus finish. A match for sweet'n'spicey BBQ ribs if ever there was one.
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Samuel Magalhaes e Silva 2011 Douro 4U - $14
Clean, generous nose combining black fruit, licorice, cured meats, incense and a multitude of spices. The palate shows good continuity from the nose with a modern, early-drinking sensibility; fresh acidity, mild tannins and food-friendly complexity.
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Chateau Des Charmes 2012 Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon - $15
Deceptively complex on the nose beyond the initial intense wave of blackberry purée and vanilla coke aromas with lovely notes of smoked meats, herbs, cashews and cedar shavings in the background. Great value for money.

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Nederburg Wines 2011 Manor House Cabernet Sauvignon - $19
A refreshingly balanced Cabernet Sauvignon for the under $20 price-point that doesn't rely on intense sweetness and enhanced acidity to mask a lack of natural charm. The Manor House Cabernet offers a pleasing mixture of ripe berry fruit, mocha, smoky oak and allspice aromas.
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J Vineyards and Winery 2013 Vin Gris - $20
This beautiful, medium salmon-hued rosé open with a lovely, sun-drenched nose of ripe strawberry, peach fuzz, rose water, cran-apple and light citrus aromas. The palate is delightfully smooth and balanced with bright red fruit, steely mineral and tangy citrus flavours galore while a hint of tannins linger on the long, spice'n'lemon rind-infused finish.
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Pascual Toso 2012 Limited Edition Malbec - $19
At first sniff, you can appreciate the increased boldness and depth of aromas when compared to its easy-going $15 cousin, though, its unclear what is exclusive or in short supply with this Limited Edition release. At $19 it is still excellent value and well-worth exploring - perhaps, side-by-side with the standard Malbec.
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SpierHead Winery 2013 Pinot Gris - $20
Grapes for this excellent Pinot Gris were sourced from Summerland, BC and delivery, clean, crisp, golden apple and citrus fruit characters on the subtle nose and the ultra-refreshing palate.
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#25 Serendipity Winery 2013 Viognier - $20
A lovely example of the Rhone Valley variety presented in a balanced, New World, fruit-forward style with plenty of tropical and orchard fruit complimented by mineral notes and the fullness of extended lees contact.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2014

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