Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Top 20 Wines of 2015

The format for our Top 20 list uses a subjective approach taking into account availability, collectability and relevance in the world of wine. For simply the highest rated wines of the year please visit our Top 20 Rated Wines of 2015 list on IconScores.ca. All Top 20 Icon Wines of the Year were released within the calendar year and reviews based solely on barrel samples were excluded.

#1 - Icon Wine of the Year
Le Vieux Pin 2012 Équinoxe Syrah - $90
Produced in the Northern Rhone method which blends in Viognier (3.5%) during fermentation, then aged in French oak for 19 months before bottling. Still youthful at 3 years of age with further development to come over the next 4+ years, though, it may hold for 10 years or more.
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#2 - SynchroMesh Wines 2014 Stormhaven Vineyard Riesling - $35
 It has a whopping, 35gpl of residual sugar, yet, finishes (very nearly) dry thanks to the effortless balance of the natural acidity and flavour profile of stone fruits and minerals - peaches, mangos, nectarines and river stones. Notes of sweet melon and herbs add depth while the long, long finish is kissed by citrus.
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#3 - LaStella 2012 Maestoso "Solo" Merlot - $100
True to its impressive lineage, the 2012 Maestoso represents the peak of Merlot production in the Okanagan Valley. Elegant, layered and supremely complex. Look for dark berry, sweet plum, toasted oak, dark chocolate, fresh herbs, mocha, vanilla toffee, menthol and warm spice aromas followed by a medley of similar flavours on the ultra-dry palate with a strong focus on the juxtaposition of the berry and savoury characters.
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#4 - Painted Rock Estate Winery 2014 Chardonnay - $35

The nose offers pure, orchard, citrus, tropical and melon fruit aromas supported by French oak, minerals and light brioche notes. The palate is refined, complex and both round and refreshing at the same time, offering a vibrant texture and intense flavours of honeydew, pear, tangerine, lemon/lime, vanilla, spice and warm brioche.
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#5 - Fairview Cellars 2012 The Bear - $35
Ripe and refined with gorgeous, dark fruit and sumptuous, black licorice aromas supported by layers of herbs, vanilla-mocha, toasted oak, spices and violets. The palate opens with lush, ripe, blackberry and cassis fruit followed by a wave of savoury characters, similar to the profile on the nose, with additional, lifted flavours of mint and citrus peel.
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#6 - JoieFarm 2012 "En Famille" Reserve Gewurztraminer - $28
A one-of-a-kind. The only true Reserve Gewurztraminer produced in BC today with unparalleled intensity and unctuousness. Classic lychee, raw honey and floral characters, dialled-up to '11', on the uber crowd-pleasing, tropical fruit-infused nose and on the lip-smacking, off-dry, juicy palate where generous citrus acidity keeps the long, spicy finish clean and balanced.
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#7 - Cassini Cellars 2012 Cabernet Franc - $42
A truly gorgeous Cabernet Franc with a winning combination of classic-Franc characters with the structure and depth that mimics a fine Cabernet Sauvignon. Sourced from a single vineyard and treated to 24 months in French oak prior to bottling, this is a full-bodied, expressive wine from the warm 2012 Southern Okanagan vintage which produced ripe tannins and intense plum and blackberry fruit aromas and flavours supported by layers of complementary sweet pipe smoke, spicy oak, crushed violet and subtle spearmint notes.
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#8 - Stag's Hollow Winery 2014 Renaissance Grenache - $40
his is the 3rd single-variety release of Grenache for Stag's Hollow but the first to be elevated to the winery's reserve-tier of wines called Renaissance. Picks-up right where the previous two vintages left off (20122013) and nudges the bar ahead, in terms of ripeness, complexity and refinement thanks to a near perfect growing season in 2014.
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#9 - Black Hills Estate Winery 2013 Nota Bene - $56
Layers of dark fruit, licorice, sage, tobacco, sweet vanilla, mocha, mint, toasted oak and general earthiness can be perceived on the developing bouquet. Similar flavours grace the (nearly) dry, full-bodied palate where the dark fruit characters take centre stage with compelling supporting roles from wild berry acidity and fine, dusty tannins. Oak treatment notes linger on the long finish with a medley of savoury spices.
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#10 - Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2012 Meritage - $45
The style of the 2012 edition of Burrowing Owl's flagship wine is a product of the hot growing conditions of the season. Layered and complex, but innately accessible with ripeness in the red and dark fruit aromas on the sensual nose and in similar flavours on the dry, full-bodied palate.
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#11 - Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2012 Oldfield Series 2Bench Red - $27
Has the balance and core attributes to cellar well with further development likely, though, 15 months of bottle age has already done wonders making the wine ready to go now. Should you choose to be patient, look for a magical peak around the 7th or 8th year.
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#12 - Cassini Cellars 2012 The Aristocrat - $42
Opens with aromas of sweet cassis, spiced-plum, rich mocha, vanilla fudge and the subtle, warm comfort of Fig Newton cookie notes. Similar flavours follow with an emphasis on mouth-watering, dark berry fruit, French oak and fine, lightly-dusted tannins. Spice and vanilla linger on the long finish.
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#13 - JoieFarm 2014 A Noble Blend - $24
A complex, layered, Tropical and citrus fruit infused blend of 38% Gewurztraminer, 30% Riesling, 16% Pinot Auxerrois, 8% Pinot Blanc, 7% Muscat and 1% Schoenberger. Mineral, herb and light spice notes follow the fruit on both the charming nose and the unctuous'yet'crisp finishing palate.
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#14 - Cassini Cellars 2012 Maximus - #35
Cassini Cellars' Maximus is always good, year-to-year (see 20072008,2010). Occasionally, however, when vintage conditions are 'ripe', as it were, the Maximus over-achieves and becomes truly exceptional (see 2009). The 2012 is another such vintage.
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#15 - Fort Berens Estate Winery 2014 Riesling - $18
This single-vineyard Riesling is one to sip slowly, despite the urge you may have to take a big gulp of the finely balanced, off-dry fruit cup, cool stonefruit and zesty citrus characters. It evolves in the glass to reveal gentle, aromatic aromas of flowers and sweet orchard fruit as it warms up to room temperature. 
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#16 - River Stone Estate Winery 2013 Cabernet Franc - $26
Consistently one of the best Cabernet Francs in the Okanagan Valley every year, the 2013 is showing signs of vineyard maturity and potential for further development in the bottle. Would benefit from another 6 months in bottle.
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#17 - SpierHead Winery 2014 Riesling - $19
This Riesling will wake-up your senses with loads of lemon-lime and mineral characters on the fresh and vibrant nose and the bright and (slightly) effervescent palate. Look for layers of honey dew, herbs and pear. Clean, crisp, terroir-driven Riesling. Thank you SpierHead! 
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#18 - Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2013 Pinot Noir - $25
Just what you want from a BC Pinot Noir; sweet, red fruit highlights and earthy, terroir-driven undertones. Black cherry, forest floor, brambly berries and mineral aromas give way to a combination of bright red fruit, spicy plums and weighty oak and earth flavours.
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#19 - Quails' Gate Estate Winery 2013 Pinot Noir - $25
Essentially, this is everything you want from a BC Pinot Noir: expressive red fruit supported by earthy characters and hints of herbs and oak. The nose is generous and ripe and worth quaffing while you enjoy this mouth-watering, slightly smoky-tannin Pinot with classic, Pacific Northwest pairings of BBQ salmon and game birds.
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#20 - Black Hills Estate Winery 2013 Carmenere - $50
Imagine soaking peppercorns in boysenberry juice and adding slivers of of a pepperoni stick, a sprinkling of coffee grinds and a dollop of earthy, stewed tomatoes. That's the unique and memorable flavour profile of Black Hills' other cult favourite, their single-varietal release of Carmenere.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca 

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