Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Top 20 Value Wines of 2016

We've selected the top 20 wines for 2016 that we feel represent the best value to the consumer. Though all wines selected are priced at $25 or less, with this list we allowed ourselves to be subjective as to what "value" represents. Prices shown do not include taxes unless marked.

#1 - Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars N/V Gold Label Brut - $24

Look for fresh apple pie, lemon meringue and seashell aromas followed by a crisp, mineral-infused mouthfeel with flavours of lemon/lime, unpasteurised honey, peaches, stainless steel and light herbs. Finishes dry with lingering lemon rind and mineral notes. An absolute steal at under $25. Drink now or hold for 5-7 more years.
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#2 - Chateau Des Charmes 2013 Cabernet Franc - $14
An earthy, briny, Cabernet Franc with both fruity and delicate aromas in the form of mixed berries and dried flowers. The smooth, (mostly) dry palate offers fantastic balance for an >15$ wine with fruit and savoury elements existing harmoniously. Wild berry acidity and lingering spices keep the finish vivacious and memorable. Ready to go now.
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#3 - Monte Creek Ranch 2015 Hands Up White - $15
Following a similar recipe as the 2014 edition, the new vintage sees 61% Frontenac Blanc, 25% La Crescent, and 14% Viognier blended to produce a tangy, off-dry wine with an aromatic and orchard fruit-driven nose and a well-balanced, citrus-infused palate with ripe fruit flavours of pear, peach and nectarine. Moderate finish leaves your mouth watering for the next sip.
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#4 - Bench 1775 Winery 2015 Glow Rosé - $20
Salmon-hued and subtly textured, "Glow" is a blend of 75% Malbec, 10.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.3% Syrah and 5.2% Cabernet Franc, produced with minimal skin contact and aged in stainless steel tanks. Finishes long with lingering herb, melon and tangy, tropical fruit notes. Delightful.
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#5 - Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2015 Pinot Gris - $21
An excellent, partially oaked Pinot Gris, both refreshing and rich with a nice balance between its crisp, orchard fruit characters and acidity and its creamy texture endowed with savoury notes of herbs, spice, brioche and vanilla bean. Deleightfully complex, especially for the price. 
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#6 - Stag's Hollow Winery 2015 Tragically Vidal - $18
An intense, beautifully-textured, off-dry blend of 89.5% Vidal and 10.5% Orange Muscat that tastes and smells of fresh-off-the-tree peaches and ultra-ripe tropical fruit. Residual sugar is nicely balanced by a wave of citrus acidity and touch of cool mineral and light, dry herb notes. A truly delightful wine with a pure expression of joy that should be shared with friends and family in its youth.
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#7 - Spier 2015 Signature Chenin Blanc - $15
An extremely well-priced Chenin Blanc from the Western Cape with zesty citrus, macadamia nut, Golden Delicious apple and stone fruit aromas on the nose. The palate offers good continuity with a similar profile of both zesty citrus flavours and richer, creamy tones from baked apple/pear and brioche. Refreshing citrus peel, mineral and spice notes linger briefly on the balanced finish.
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#8 - See Ya Later Ranch 2015 Pinot Gris - $15
Light brass in colour, the See-Ya-Later Ranch Pinot Gris is an exceptionally well-priced wine that often goes on sale for $12.99 at the BCLDB stores (plus taxes) offering a slightly, off-dry and unctuous version of BC's most planted white variety.
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#9 - Nederburg Wines 2015 Winemaster's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc - $15
Pungent and refreshing on the nose with fresh oyster minerality and sodium. Tangy gooseberry, crisp citrus and green apple flavours blend nicely on the sharp, mouth-watering palate. A touch of citrus peel and spice lingers on the moderate finish. 
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#10 - KWV Winery 2014 Roodeberg - $14
A cool, masculine, menthol-scented blend of Bordeaux and Rhone grapes with added aromas of dark red fruit, spiced plum sauce and sweet, cured meat. The palate is sprightly with dark fruit and rustic components supported by sweet oak, licorice and light spice flavours. Length and balance are good, especially for the under $15 price-point.

#11 - Chateau Des Charmes 2013 ‘Old Vines’ Riesling - $17
A pleasant, laid-back, pear and apple flavoured Riesling with a plump, floral nose and a mannered backbone of lime and minerals. Seek out lovely honeycomb notes on the nose when the wine has had a chance to warm up in your glass. Delightful.
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#12 - Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2015 Pinot Blanc - $18
The perfect early-Autumn drink with the whimsical, fruity facade of a Summer Sipper and the body and complexity of a Winter, book'n'bath companion. Floral and candied, orchard fruit aromas grace the nose while the palate offers waves of white peach and spicy melon flavours, green apple acidity and stonefruit notes through to a long finish.
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#13 - Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2015 Gewurztraminer - $18
An opulent-styled Gewurztraminer, sourced from the winery's home vineyard along the Golden Mile Bench (now a recognized VQA sub-region and proudly emblazoned upon the label). The nose is bursting with uber-ripe tropical and orchard fruit aromas complimented by rich, floral notes and the distinct smell of candy foam bananas.
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#14 - Bench 1775 Winery 2015 Chill - $18
Percentages of the components were left off this year's specs sheet, but Bench 1775's Chill is a pretty consistent tasting, pleasant, aromatic, off-dry blend of Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Viognier, Semillon, Guwurztraminer and Riesling. Both plump and mouth-watering textures at play on the Tropical fruit flavoured palate with ample citrus and pineapple acidity and a touch of minerality to balance the residual sugar.
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#15 - Quails' Gate Estate Winery 2015 Rosé - $18
A consistent blend, from the 2014 vintage, of 80% Gamy Noir, 10% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Gris offering a pleasant, delicate, nose of Spring flowers, strawberry, watermelon, citrus peel and white pepper. Followed by a fruity, slightly off-dry and slightly boozy, effervescent palate of ripe citrus, strawberry, cranberry, minerals, wild herbs and watermelon rind flavours.
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#16 - Fort Berens Estate Winery 2015 Riesling - $19
A distinct, terroir-driven, off-dry Riesling with a lovely combination of Mott's fruit cup and stonefruit aromas and flavours and a signature, effervescent green apple and citrus acidity that livens the mouth feel and lingers on the otherwise, lightly-spiced finish. Oh so consistent.
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#17 - SpierHead Winery 2015 Pinot Gris - $19
Whenever you take all oak contact (fermentation or élevage) out of the equation, as SpierHead has chosen to do with this excellent Pinot Gris, the winemaker must look for other ways to replace the lost benefits of oak ageing: texture and complimentary flavours.
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#18 - Monte Creek Ranch 2015 Frontenac Gris - $15
Be sure you're looking for a fully off-dry white if you decide to take a flyer on this fruit-forward hybrid that was designed by the University of Minnesota for regions with hardy winters. Monte Creek's peach'n'melon scented Frontenac Gris is packed with 25.6 g/l of residual sugar, yet, the palate is nicely balanced by mouth-watering, citrus acidity and tangy, Tropical fruit flavours with a hint of spice on the moderate finish.
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#19 - Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón 2014 '1884' Reserva Malbec - $18
Darker and more "serious" than recent vintages with blackberry and black and red currant fruit aromas supported by smoky-oak, fresh herbs and zesty-spice notes on the nose. Though the palate has a touch of residual sugar, the overall profile is quite savoury with smooth, smoky tannins, wild berry acidity and a combination of dark fruit and spicy-oak flavours.
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#20 - Kris 2015 Pinot Grigio - $20
A light and refreshing Pinot Grigio with a subtle nose packed with beautiful floral aromas supported by light mineral, pear skin and sweet apple notes. Palate is both crisp and a little creamy with some leesy notes beneath the tangy, citrus and green apple fruit flavours.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

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