Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2016 Icon Wine of the Year

In a stark contrast to last year's champion, the 2016 Icon Wine of the Year award goes to our most "affordable" winner to date, the Cassini Cellars 2013 The Aristocrat. At only $40, this beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon is a bargain for the quality and refinement in the bottle. Be sure to snap up the remaining 50 cases of this stunner and look for it on the wine lists of the Province's top restaurants.

Some wine writers have proclaimed BC producers should give-up on Cabernet Sauvignon, suggesting the Bordeaux variety is too difficult to rippen in the Okanagan. The wines placing first and second in this year's ranking offer a compelling argument for the folley of that proclomation.

Cassini Cellars 2013 The Aristocrat
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
$40 - 290 cases - 15%

Congratulations to our runner-ups for this year's Icon Wine of the Year award: the LaStella 2013 La Sophia and the Painted Rock 2014 Red Icon.

The Wine
This is a world class Cabernet Sauvignon from the Southern Okanagan showing excellent typicity for the variety. Look for ripe cassis and elegant vanilla aromas on the nose with some added spicy-savoury notes providing more layers to explore. As with the 2012 vintage, the distinct, (and memory-triggering) aroma of warm Fig Newton cookies is again present.

The dry palate that follows is both uber-refined and rich in texture with a similar flavour profile and silky-smooth, yet, grippy tannins. The finish is long and expertly balanced. Though the residual alcohol clocks in at a whopping 15% it is so seamlessly integrated, it goes unnoticed, as it should.

The Story
The grapes for The Aristocrat were sourced from the Milestone vineyard situated along the east side of Osoyoos Lake, restricted to a low yeild of 2.6 tones per acre. A sun-drenched site consisting of a mix of sand and gravel soils. As winemaker and proprietor, Adrian Cassini's program for his Cabernet is attentively detailed and work intensive:

"I fermented on skins for 50 days in small batches. Punched down by hand 4 times a day to avoid the bitterness of pump-overs and then aged for 24 months in new barrels: 95 % French and 5% American oak. Very tight grain wood, a mix of 7 coopers for complexity. Ageing 24 months is a pain on our cash flow but the results are here.

Yes, they are!
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016

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