Top 25 Rated Wines of 2011

The following wines received the 25 highest scores by reviewer Liam Carrier during the calendar year of 2011. Release date was not considered with some wines from the cellar and special tasting events. For the list of our Top 25 Wines of 2011, where more than simply the tasting score is considered, please visit the main site.

Glaetzer Wines 2009 Amon-Ra - 97+pts
To write that this wine is complex is an understatement. The nose starts with ripe cherry, floral, white pepper, cinnamon, orange zest and warm oak aromas and then, given ample time to open-up, later evolves into a rich milk chocolate seductress.
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Domaine de Ferrand 2007 Chateauneuf-du-pape - 95-96pts
The dry palate follows with otherworldly concentration where a single drop on your tongue unlocks the sensual character within offering welcomed continuity of flavour from the nose with added tobacco leaf and fine tannins. The liqueur-like texture is deep and very elegant.
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Blackwood Lane 2007 The Referènce - 95+pts
Using all five Bordeaux red varietals and an intricate barrel-aging program, the Blackwood Lane 2007 The Referènce challenges the common meaning of the word "complex".

Viña Montes 2006 Montes Folly - 95pts
For wine drinkers who believe the world's best Syrah can only be made in the Rhone and Barossa Valleys, I offer for your consideration the amazing, refined and effortlessly elegant Montes Folly: a true Chilean icon.
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Blackwood Lane 2004 Alliance - 95pts
This Cabernet Sauvignon-leading blend is still years away from its peak as the wine has aged beautifully and effortlessly. Shouldn't peak until 2014 and then hold for further 5 years.
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Painted Rock Estate Winery 2009 Red Icon - 93-94pts
The 2009 is a harmonious blend of 30% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot and 1% Syrah delivering massive complexity and concentration that never overloads the dry palate rather evolves slowly in the glass to reveal layers of the flavour profile.
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Fairview Cellars 2009 The Wrath - 92-94pts
Intense, brooding and fantastically complex, this wonderful wine offers loads of dark fruit and French oak at the core of its flavour profile.
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Domaine de Vieux du Telegraphe 2006 La Crau Chateauneuf-du-pape - 93+pts
If you wanted to see what all the fuss was about and try a top-end Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe "La Crau" is the wine for you. It's not the most exotic or cutting edge example from the trendy Southern Rhone region, but it may be the wine that best delivers a textbook rendition of the garrique and warm stone infused red blend.
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Viña Montes 2006 Purple Angel - 93+pts
A concentrated, dense and brooding monster of a Carmenère (with 8% Petit Verdot) from Chile's Viña Montes. 18 months in new French oak imparts perfectly integrated tannins and lovely oak notes to the nose and palate.
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Chateau Giscours 2005 Grand Vin - 93pts
The superb, well rounded 2005 vintage sees 60% Cabernet Sauvignon blended with 32% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot yielding a wine with rounded tannins, a chalky texture and a long, balanced finish.
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Franciscan Estate 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon - 92-93pts
An extracted powerhouse of a Cabernet Sauvignon-heavy blend with 13% Merlot, 3% Syrah and 1% Petit Verdot which retains its feminine charm with intense dark fruit and spot-on oak treatment characters.
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Eroica 2008 Riesling - 92-93pts
Great concentration and focus on both the intense nose and off-dry palate with abundant citrus, herbs and stonefruit characters. The Eroica, Italian for "heroic", is an epic wine that all Riesling lovers must try.
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Mission Hill Estate Winery 2004 Oculus - 92-93pts
Right Bank Bordeaux is served well in tribute with a brooding, Merlot driven blend (74% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot) with a dusty nose of dark fruit, toasted oak and licorice, but not in an organic, effortless way.
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Laughing Stock Vineyards 2009 Portfolio - 91-93pts
The final blend of 36% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, 14% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot was aged in French oak (60% new) for 19 months prior to bottling resulting in a structured wine with big, coarse tannins and loads of character.
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Black Hills Estate Winery 2009 Nota Bene - 92+pts
The fruit characters on the gorgeous nose and juicy, sublime palate are the ripest since the 2003 vintage - the year of the devastating forest fires that hit Kelowna.
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Chateau Mont Redon 2004 Chateauneuf-du-Pape - 92pts
Concentration galore with raspberry fruit, funky earthiness, leather, tobacco and cooking spice characters on the sublime, developed nose and palate.
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Viña Mayor 2004 Reserva - 92pts
Aged for 6 years prior to release, this smoky-textured, powerful and intense Tempranillo from Spain's Ribera Del Duero offers excellent complexity and character for the price.
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Fairview Cellars 2004 The Bear - 92pts
If you still have a bottle of this wine in your cellar now is the time to open it before it starts the inevitable decline and burns out. The palate is relatively light for a Meritage blend - not uncommon for wines of the vintage - very similar weight to the Black Hills 2004 Nota Bene.
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Blackwood Lane 2009 Pinot Noir - 91-92pts
An exceptionally well balanced, fruit forward, intense wine that shines on the sensual nose with ripe cherry, raspberry jam, cherry-cola and toasted oak aromas.
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Painted Rock Estate Winery 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon - 91-92pts
Presents the fabled Bordeaux varietal in its near-ideal, cool-climate form: fully ripe tannins and expressive dark fruit characters that benefit greatly from the élevage program of 100% new French oak resulting in a cool, refined and complex wine of distinction.
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Herder Winery and Vineyards 2008 Josephine - 91-92pts
In style and in composition, Herder's "Josephine" confidently conveys the essence of a fruit-forward leaning, Right Bank garagiste wine all the while keeping to its Similkameen roots.

L'Etoile de Bergey 2009 Grand Vin - 90-92pts
Elegant and polished from the refined, cherry, field berry, cassis and savoury oak infused nose through to the dry, blackberry puree, poppy seed, licorice and rhubarb influenced palate.

Cassini Cellars 2009 Maximus - 90-92pts
This year's blend boasts 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 1% of Malbec, aged in new and second fill French and American oak for 14 months.

Le Vieux Pin 2008 Équinoxe Syrah - 91+pts
The winery selected 3 barrels as the best of the best for their 2008 Syrah and deemed it worthy of the Équinoxe name. Only 70 cases have been produced.

Herder Winery and Vineyards 2009 Estate Pinot Noir - 91+pts
This excellent Pinot begins with a warm, concentrated and extremely expressive nose full of ripe cherry, French Vanilla, barnyard and tart cranberry aromas. Similar flavours follow on the dry, harmonious, well-balanced palate.
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