Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2017 Top 5: Red Blends

For the 2017 awards season, in addition to our Top 20 list and singular Icon Wine of the Year, we're including a celebration of the best wines in a few select categories. Here are our Top 5 Red Blends of 2017:

1. Painted Rock Estate Winery 2015 Red Icon - 93pts
Always complex and layered, look for brambly berries, cool cassis, licorice'n'mint, fresh tobaco, spiced herbs and brooding, smokey oak notes on the glass escaping nose and the elegant, dry palate where fine, grippy tannins linger on a long, spicy finish.

2. La Frenz Winery 2014 Grand Total Reserve - 91-93pts
Built for the long-haul, with excellent concentration and refined, youthful tannins, this blend of 42% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc delivers an intense and powerful nose of dark fruits, menthol, Christmas spices, toasted oak with a hint of sweetness emanating from the ripe fruit aromas.

3. Upper Bench Estate Winery 2014 Yard Wine - 92+pts
For this beautifully aromatic and intensely dark blend, Upper Bench co-fermented Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes (a 70/30 split, respectively) and then aged them in 25% new French oak barrels for 18 months prior to bottling. The finished wine is equal parts 'pretty' and 'dark' with eucalyptus-mint, spicy cocoa and black cherry-cassis notes on the sensual nose and brooding, blackberry, cola, cocoa, toasted oak and minty flavours on the well-balanced, fine-tannin palate.

4. Cassini Cellars 2014 Maximus - 92+pts
This is a Meritage-style, big'n'bold red that excels in long, hot vintages (not that surprising for Bordeaux varieties) and 2014 was just such a vintage in the Southern Okanagan. The latest Maximus is comprised of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec offering a dark and brooding nose of black licorice, menthol, cassis liqueur, blackberries, toasted vanilla, tobacco and light spices. 

5. LaStella 2014 Espressivo - 92pts
 Offers a feminine-earthy profile, on the herbaceous, floral and brambly berry nose and on the medium-bodied, concentrated palate graced with vanilla'n'spice-kissed berry flavours and framed by mouth-watering, yet, effortless acidity and engaging, yet, refined tannins.

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017

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