Chateau Des Charmes 2009 Vidal Icewine - 90pts

Chateau Des Charmes 2009 Vidal Icewine (Niagara-On-The-Lake) Niagara Peninsula - Ontario

Availability: Direct from the winery here and LCBO stores
Cost: $25.95 (200ml), $44.95 (375ml)
Alcohol: 9.5%
Production: 5308 cases
Date Tasted: December 20th, 2013

Tasting Notes:
At 4 years of age this Vidal icewine has developed a yellow-gold hue and some lip smacking caramel characters to go with the classic, honeyed orchard fruit flavours on the maturing palate. A nice vein of citrus acidity keeps the intense sweetness (mostly) grounded. Serve chilled, in the smallest, tulip shaped glasses you can get your hands on as you will only need a splash of this intense nectar to appreciate the craft and quality on offer. Drink now-2017+.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Bench 1775 Winery 2011 Whistler Sauvignon Blanc Icewine - 90pts


Bench 1775 Winery 2011 Whistler Sauvignon Blanc Icewine (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $28.90 (200ml)
Alcohol: 12.3%
Date Tasted: December 20th, 2013
@Bench1775

Tasting Notes: Produced under Bench 1775's 'Whistler' brand, this tasty 100% Sauvignon Blanc icewine delivers an impressive punch of concentrated, honey crisp apples on the serene, sweet-smelling nose and on the well-balanced, intense palate. The sticky, pineapple upside-down cake and candied-peach flavours are beautifully managed with impressive, green apple acidity keeping the gooey texture fresh and mouth-watering. The finish is long, balanced and memorable. Best enjoyed on its own or with a slice of not-too-sweet apple pie topped with old Cheddar cheese. Drink now-2016+.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Terra Andina 2012 'Fresh' Sauvignon Blanc - 87pts

Terra Andina 2012 'Fresh' Sauvignon Blanc (D.O. Central Valley) Chile

Availability
: BCLDB Stores
Cost: $16
Alcohol: 13.5%
Date Tasted: December 19th, 2013

Tasting Notes: A quiet, muted nose of grapefruit and granny smith apples begins this 'Fresh' Sauvignon Blanc from Chile's Central Valley that lives up to its name on the crisp, tangy and watery palate where citrus fruit and green pepper flavours dominate. A touch of residual sugar helps balance the tangy, citrus acidity through to the moderate, mouth-watering finish. 
Drink now-2014.

  - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2012 Oldfield Series Kerner Icewine - 88pts

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2012 Oldfield Series Kerner Icewine (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from winery here and VQA stores
Cost: $57.99 (375ml)
Alcohol: 10.5%

Production: 90 cases
Date Tasted: December 12th, 2013

Tasting Notes: Delivers what we all expect from BC Icewine with intense, sweet, baked fruit on the nose and palate. Apple cider, apricot, peach and lime fruit galore with light mineral and nut characters. Texture is more of the 2% variety than the homo milk mouth feel that other Icewines offer, yet the balance is good and the finish is long. Drink 2013-2017+.

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

On a side note: With the release of the 2012 edition of their Kerner Icewine, Tinhorn Creek now has their whole portfolio sealed with screw caps with the final hold-out being their 375ml icewine bottle that took a few years to procure

Terra Andina 2012 'Rich' Malbec - 86pts

Terra Andina 2012 'Rich' Malbec (Mendoza) Argentina

Availability
: BCLDB Stores
Cost: $16
Alcohol: 14%
Date Tasted: October 20th, 2013

Tasting Notes: Lives up to its name on the nose and palate with rich berry fruit and MLF characters, while warm oak and light floral notes add depth. The palate starts thick and ripe with intense, ripe berry fruit and tangy acidity that will appeal to the masses, but it lacks structure and finishes short. Should make for a tasty, affordable party wine where you might not have the need for meaty tannins and will make a good pairing for a wide variety of appetizers. Drink now-2013.

  - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Xavier Vins 2010 Gigondas - 88pts

Xavier Vins 2010 Gigondas (Southern Rhone) France

Availability: Limited. Private wine shops
Cost: $32-36
Alcohol: 14.5%
Date Tasted: December 7th, 2013

Tasting Notes: Overall, great continuity from the excellent 2009 edition is on offer here, though, the intensity on the nose and palate is simply dialled down, resulting in a paler version of the spicy garrigue, herbs cedar and dried berry fruit Gigondas blend. Masculine from beginning to end with mineral notes throughout and meaty, well-structured tannins. Should hold well for another 3-4 years.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

SpierHead Winery 2012 Gentleman Farmer Vineyard Pinot Noir - 88pts

SpierHead Winery 2012 Gentleman Farmer Vineyard Pinot Noir (East Kelowna) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from winery here and VQA stores
Cost: $30
Alcohol: 12.8%
Production: 97 cases
Date Tasted: December 7th, 2013

Tasting Notes
A dark ruby-hued, single-vineyard Pinot Noir from East Kelowna's SpierHead Winery offers a crowd-pleasing blend of cherry-cola, plum and sweet'n'spicy oak aromas on the moderately intense nose. The medium-bodied, dry palate follows with similar flavours and added light earth and forest floor notes, enhancing the complexity of the otherwise, juicy, fruit-forward expression of Pinot Noir. Its moderate tannins and good acidity make it a great match for a wide variety of medium cheeses and fowl entrées like duck or roasted turkey. Drink now-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Top 25 Rated Wines of 2013

The following wines received the 25 highest scores by IconScores.ca reviewer Liam Carrier during the calendar year of 2013. Release date was not considered with some wines sourced from the cellar and at special tasting events. For the list of our Top 25 Wines of 2013, where more than simply the tasting score is considered, please visit the main IconWines.ca site.

#1

Silverback Vineyards 2011 Reserve Syrah - 99pts
Violets, tar, cherry, licorice and citrus characters galore. Glaetzer's Amon-Ra springs to mind but with more concentration and length, if that is even conceivable. Bold, rich and absolutely gorgeous, this inky-purple Syrah is sure to become a cult classic.
Full Review

#2

Silverback Vineyards 2010 Syrah - 95pts
Pulls you into its web at first sniff with layers of dark fruit, violets, tar, licorice, vanilla, subtle allspice and vibrant citrus notes. An excellent prelude to the concentrated palate that offers superb acidity and balance with fine tannins and long-lasting, spicy dark fruit flavours that role around your mouth with youthful abandon.
Full Review

#3
Silverback Vineyards 2011 Chardonnay - 94+pts
Fans of Penfold's Yattarna Chardonnay should take note as the Silverback matches the elegance and refinement of the "white Grange" at roughly half the price. Built to age with further development a guarantee. Sky's the limit. 
Full Review


#4
Silverback Vineyards 2010 Référence - 94+pts

Classic Meritage berry fruit and savoury, gun powder and Christmas cake spice flavours add complexity to the finely tuned oak treatment and proprietary yeast program that Herrold employs. Ultra fine tannins and perfect acidity levels create a wine for enjoying in its youth or for aging 15+ years.
Full Review

#5
Painted Rock Estate Winery 2010 Red Icon - 93-94pts
A seductive beast that, despite its "cool vintage" provenance, is altogether, big, brawny and supremely delicate. So well balanced and memorable - a true icon and destined to become the next must-have, collectible cult wine of BC. 
Full Review

#6

Stag's Hollow Winery 2010 Cachet No. 03 - 93+pts
The nose is pure delight with loads of sweet, smoky fruit aromas and fragrant perfume notes; a truly sexy developing bouquet. The palate is fluid, medium-plus bodied, yet intense and powerful with layers of ripe plum and blackberry fruit mixed with exotic spices and savoury characters. The finish is long and balanced and beckons your continued attention.
Full Review

#7
Meyer Family Vineyards 2011 Micro Cuvée Chardonnay - 93+pts
Both intense and restrained on the baked caramelized apple nose and leesy, orchard fruit and smoky palate. Boasting excellent acidity and a long, never-ending finish with lingering mineral and citrus flavours.
Full Review

#8
Antinori 2009 Tignarello - 93pts

This blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc delivers elegance in a glass with red fruit, cedar, spice box and anise aromas and flavours. Shows great restraint in its intensity on the smooth-textured palate delivering finesse and depth without the in-your-face concentration of its over-extracted peers.
Full Review

#9
Painted Rock Estate Winery 2012 Chardonnay - 93pts

Textured and concentrated with lush tropical, juicy melon, caramel and stonefruit characters supported by a vibrant backbone of citrus acidity and a long balanced finish of tangy, green apple, tangerine and brioche flavours. Effortless compatibility of all elements.
Full Review

#10
Tolaini 2007 Valdisanti - 92-93pts
Warm rocks, toasted oak and sweet prune notes resonate from the feminine and floral nose of this supremely enjoyable and lovably complex blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc. Added potpourri, blackberry, vanilla and anise aromas make the quietly intense, developed bouquet irresistible.
Full Review

Upper Bench Estate Winery 2011 Merlot - 90-91pts

Upper Bench Estate Winery 2011 Merlot (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $29
Alcohol: 14.7%
Production: 118 cases
Date Tasted: December 4th, 2013


Tasting Notes: A very impressive Merlot produced in difficult vintage conditions thanks to a 2011 growing season that never saw the persistent heat the Bordeaux varieties crave when trying to ripen. However, the season was saved by longer, relatively mild Fall which rewarded disciplined vineyards who reduced their crop to allow the remaining fruit to properly ripen. 

And ripen this Merlot did! No signs of green tannins here. Just pure, intense, balanced, dark berry fruit supported by corner-of-the-mouth curling savoury notes of dark chocolate, leather, vanilla-mocha and light baking spice. Rich, elegant and smooth with just the right amount of tannic grip on the palate. Further development likely after another 1-2 years of bottle age, though, the wine is tasting beautifully today. Drink 2013-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Backyard Vineyards N/V Blanc De Noir Brut - 87pts

Backyard Vineyards N/V Blanc De Noir Brut (Okanagan Valley) - BC

Availability
: Direct from winery here and VQA stores
Cost: $22.99
Alcohol: 11.2%
Date Tasted: December 5th, 2013

Tasting Notes: Backyard Vineyards' Blanc De Noir is a traditional example of a sparkling wine made from 100% Pinot Noir offering a light, yellow-gold hue and fat, persistent bubbles. On the nose you'll find an array of aromas ranging from sweet citrus fruit to fresh brioche with light nutty notes and a touch of brine.


The palate offers good continuity with a creamy, mousse mouth feel and crisp acidity which leaves the finish dry and mineral-y - true to the Brut designation. A solid, no-nonsense bubbly for Holiday entertaining or as a cool refreshment in the height of Summer's heat. Drink now-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Chateau Des Charmes 2010 Rosé Sparkling Wine - 89pts

Chateau Des Charmes 2010 Rosé Sparkling Wine (Niagara-on-The-Lake) Niagara Peninsula - Ontario

Availability: Direct from the winery here and LCBO stores
Cost: $28.95
Alcohol: 12%
Production: 252 cases
Date Tasted: December 3rd, 2013

Tasting Notes: A 
traditional method rosé, with a brilliant pink hue and fine, persistent bubbles, made from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes offering off-dry levels of residual sugar and loads of strawberry, cherry, honeydew and light mineral flavours. Two years of lees contact prior to disgorgement has contributed light yeast and brioche notes helping to balance the prominent red fruit sweetness. The finish is crisp and satisfying. Drink now-2015+.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Fairview Cellars 2010 The Bear - 91pts

Fairview Cellars 2010 The Bear (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Limited. Private wine shops and as a library release from winery
Cost: $34.90
Alcohol: 13.1%
Production: 300 cases
Date Tasted: December 2nd, 2013

Tasting Notes: A year on from its release in the Fall of 2012, the 2010 edition of Fairview Cellars' signature Meritage blend, The Bear, is already ageing well, rounding its edges with an enriched texture thanks to further integration of its tannins and dark berry characters. Despite its cool vintage pedigree, this blend of all 5 primary Bordeaux varietals boasts ripe blackberry, cassis and plum fruit on both the nose and palate with Fairview's signature oak program influenced notes adding depth and complexity. 


Drinking well now, though, another 6 months or more will do nicely. Drink 2014-2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Cassini Cellars 2010 The Godfather - 90+pts

Cassini Cellars 2010 The Godfather (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Contact the winery direct here
Cost: $55
Alcohol: 14.5%

Production: 150 cases
Date Tasted: November 30th, 2013

Tasting Notes: The Icon Wine market, generally speaking, represents the very best a winery has to offer by way of fruit and barrel selection and a hefty price tag tends to accompany the finished wine due, in part, to its high expense to produce and to identify its exclusivity. 
The Godfather marks Cassini Cellars' entry into this price point and performs admirably with an age-worthy, handsomely labelled blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 16% Cabernet France and 15% Syrah delivering a nice combination of New World fruit and Old World charm.

On the nose, intense black cherry, cassis and blackberry fruit aromas are enveloped by toasted French oak, sweet vanilla extract and masculine mineral notes. The mouth watering, (very) dry palate skews Bordeaux with bold, stony tannins framing the dark fruit and savoury flavours where one gets hints of coffee grinds, dark chocolate and, again, French oak. Menthol and a variety of spices linger on the moderate-plus finish.

The Godfather calls for the most manly of dinner companions, a fine cut of barely grilled red meat. Open now with a lengthy decant, though, another year of bottle age is recommended. Drink early-2015-2018+.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Cassini Cellars 2011 Cabernet Franc - 89pts

Cassini Cellars 2011 Cabernet Franc (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC 

Availability: Direct from the winery here 
Cost: $29
Alcohol: 13.1%

Production: 400 cases
Date Tasted: November 29th, 2013

Tasting Notes: Cassini's Cabernet Franc opens with a perfumed, instantly enjoyable nose of blackberry, black plum, violet and Christmas cake aromas. Deeper, oak ageing influenced notes bloom after a long decant or time in your glass, delivering excellent complexity, complimenting the profile of fruit'n'spice.

The dry palate that follows is medium bodied with similar fruit and savoury flavours offering excellent continuity from the nose. The tannic structure is reserved and fine grained contributing to the fluidity of the texture, though, a nice hit of citrus acid and cooking spices on the finish leave a mouth watering, lasting impression. Ready to go now with several years of enjoyment ahead. Drink now-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Generation Seven Wines 2013 Nouveau - 87pts

Generation Seven Wines 2013 Nouveau (Niagara-On-The-Lake) Niagara Peninsula - Ontario

Availability: Direct from Chateau Des Charmes here
Cost: $11.95 (Ontario)
Alcohol: 12%

Production: 589 cases
Date Tasted: November 27th, 2013

Tasting Notes: Spicier and a tad smoother than the 2012 edition with will all the raw, fruity, rustic charm of Beaujolais Nouveau. M
araschino cherry, clove and raspberry jam aromas on the vibrant, nose. Fruity and bright on the youthful, low-tannin, satin textured, red fruit-infused palate where spice and earthy notes linger on the moderate finish. Certainly a wine to buy by the case as it will make a great, affordable companion to dinner parties throughout the festive season. Drink now-2014.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Perseus Winery 2010 Select Lots Invictus - 90pts

Perseus Winery 2010 Select Lots Invictus (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $32.99
Alcohol: 14.9%
Date Tasted: November 26th, 2013
@PerseusWine

Tasting Notes: Concentrated and dense, the Invictus, Perseus Winery's take on a Meritage blend of 56% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9 % Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec, is rich in dark fruit aromas like cassis and blackberry with menthol, vanilla and pipe tobacco notes adding complexity. Unfiltered and earthy, the palate offers the dark fruit flavours one expects and desires from a Meritage but they are evenly matched by the copious, meaty tannins, wild berry acidity and savoury oak, leather and spice box flavours. 

Might be best to give this one another year in the bottle prior to opening, though, it won't disappoint should you forgo the advice and open one sooner. Be sure to decant for an hour+ and let the sediment settle prior to serving. Drink 2015-2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Upper Bench Estate Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon - 89pts

Upper Bench Estate Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Private and VQA shops and direct from the winery here
Cost: $35
Alcohol: 14.3%
Production: 141 cases
Date Tasted: November 16th, 2013


Tasting Notes: A nice blend of both 'pretty' and 'meaty' elements grace the nose of this Cabernet Sauvignon with well integrated oak characters complimenting numerous blue fruit aromas and aromatic elements like crushed flowers and vanilla bean puree.

The palate is masculine with a nice vein of mineral flavours cooling the concentrated blackberry and cassis fruit flavours while earthy notes like cocoa powder, toasted oak and coffee grinds contribute needed complexity. 

A well executed Cabernet given the cool conditions of the harvest year. 2011 may be better remembered for superb Pinot Noir (like UB's own 2011) though this wine will quench your dark fruit fix as you await the release of BC's big reds from the highly anticipated 2012 vintage. Drink 2014-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Upper Bench Estate Winery 2011 Pinot Noir - 89-90pts

Upper Bench Estate Winery 2011 Pinot Noir (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $27
Alcohol: 14.1%
Production: 144 cases
Date Tasted: November 24th, 2013
@upperbench

Tasting Notes: Classic BC Pinot Noir nose of red fruit, herbs and earth with sweet notes like raspberry and strawberry seed playing off the sun-drenched soil and savoury cedar aromas - lots to pick-out and admire. The uber-dry palate is concentrated and intense with tongue-sticking tannins framing the cherry, raspberry, wild berry and oak flavours well. Remains fresh and medium-bodied with bright, huckleberry acidity and aqueous texture. Ready to be enjoyed now, though, future development seems likely and worth waiting for, with another 1-2 years of integration. Drink 2015-2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Eagle Bluff Estate 2011 Crooked Post Pinot Noir - 88pts

Eagle Bluff Estate 2011 Crooked Post Pinot Noir (Okanagan Falls) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Contact winery directly here
Cost: $23.90
Alcohol: 13.1%
Production: 90 cases
Date Tasted: October 13th, 2013

Tasting Notes: What's 'red', 'fluid' and 'light' all over? Bill Eggert's 2011 Crooked Post Pinot Noir, that's what.

The 'red' refers to the envelop of red fruit that greets you on the smooth, quietly intense nose and the similarly flavoured palate. 'Fluid' refers to the texture of said palate whose balance of acidity and fruit flavours, primarily pomegranate and cranberry, is spot on and mouth-watering. 'Light' is everything else; the colour, the body, the oak treatment, the mouth feel and the finish. Drink now-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Stag's Hollow Winery 2010 Cachet No. 03 - 93+pts

Stag's Hollow Winery 2010 Cachet No. 03 (Okanagan Falls) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $49.99
Alcohol: 14%
Production: 55 cases
Date Tasted: September 13th, 2013

Tasting Notes: First tasted at an April event where a proud proprietor (@SimplyPinot) was happy to explain the wine's unexpected origin due to a fortuitous forklift accident resulting in a blend of 49% Tempranillo, 43% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose is pure delight with loads of sweet, smoky fruit aromas and fragrant perfume notes; a truly sexy developing bouquet. The palate is fluid, medium-plus bodied, yet intense and powerful with layers of ripe plum and blackberry fruit mixed with exotic spices and savoury characters. The finish is long and balanced and beckons your continued attention.

This is a memorable, one-off blend, worthy of the Cachet designation, that is ready to go now, yet, should also enjoy a long life in your cellar with further integration and development. Drink now-2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

On a side note: Was awarded a well-deserved 2013 Lieutenant Governor Award earlier this year.

SpierHead Winery 2011 Pursuit - 88pts

SpierHead Winery 2011 Pursuit (East Kelowna) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from winery here and VQA stores
Cost: $23.90
Alcohol: 12%
Production: 490 cases
Date Tasted: November 20th, 2013

Tasting Notes: SpierHead's Pursuit succeeds as a tasty, well-balanced, drink-now, Bordeaux-inspired blend of 48% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. Delivering a consistent and pleasing, easy-drinking medley of
 juicy, dark fruit, meaty, menthol smoke and charred oak aromas and flavours through to a dark chocolate and light spice-infused finish. 'Medium'... everything, creates a mild-mannered drinking experience from the pliable tannins to the fluid, vibrant texture. 

A great party wine for the upcoming festive season with enough complexity to keep your senses attuned and enough simplicity to pair well with many foods and not distract you from any engaging conversation. Drink now-2015.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

On a side note: The Pursuit is now, appropriately, sealed with a Stelvin cap for the 2011 vintage which will help preserve the overall freshness of the wine and provide worry-free opening.

SpierHead Winery 2012 Chardonnay - 90pts

SpierHead Winery 2012 Chardonnay (East Kelowna) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Direct from winery here and select VQA stores
Cost: $22.90
Alcohol: 13.2%
Production: 225 cases
Date Tasted: November 17th, 2013
@spierheadwinery

Tasting Notes: A splendid, cool-climate Chardonnay which delivers the right balance of oak contact characters and stainless steel purity. Produced from estate fruit sourced from their "Gentleman Farmer Vineyard" in East Kelowna, this Chardonnay offers intense aromas and flavours of apples, white peaches, honeydew and fresh citrus fruit complimented by cool m
ineral notes and a light cream texture. The finish is long and very pleasing with a hint of lingering spice and vanilla (thank you French oak!).

Attentively presented with a minimalist, stylish label on a meaty, Burgundian bottle sealed with a Stelvin cap to preserve the freshness which should keep this Chardonnay drinking well for another 3-4 years. Drink 2013-2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Perseus Winery 2010 Select Lots Cabernet Sauvignon - 92pts

Perseus Winery 2010 Select Lots Cabernet Sauvignon (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $49.99
Alcohol: 15.1%

Date Tasted: November 15th, 2013
@PerseusWine

Tasting Notes: The showpiece wine of Perseus Winery's current portfolio is this gorgeous, full-bodied, full-throttle, inky-purple hued Cabernet Sauvignon which delivers intense and ripe cassis fruit aromas on the smoky oak and clove-infused nose. Similar flavours grace the equally intense and compelling, ultra-dry palate where fine tannins add structure and notes of vanilla, black licorice and graphite add depth. Coming into its own now in late 2013, but another year in the bottle will do nicely. Drink late-2014-2020.

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Perseus Winery 2011 Select Lots Chardonnay - 90pts

Perseus Winery 2011 Select Lots Chardonnay (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $27.99
Alcohol: 13.1%

Date Tasted: November 14th, 2013
@PerseusWine

Tasting Notes: An oaked Chardonnay, made from a blend of grapes sourced from the Naramata Bench and from Osoyoos vineyards, offering a excellent balance between the rich oak and malo-lactic fermentation elements and the pure orchard fruit flavours which contribute considerable tang and crispness on both the blushing nose and ever-so-slightly off-dry, full-bodied palate. The finish is moderate, but on point, leaving you wanting another sip (its main job).
 Drink now-2015.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Perseus Winery 2011 Select Lots Syrah Malbec - 90pts

Perseus Winery 2011 Select Lots Syrah Malbec (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $28.99
Alcohol: 14.5%

Date Tasted: November 13th, 2013
@PerseusWine

Tasting Notes: Sourced from vineyards in the Similkameen Valley and Osoyoos, this blend of 
68% Syrah, 23% Malbec, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Merlot offers ripe and spicy red and blue fruit aromas on a charming nose enhanced with toasted oak notes and hints of cinnamon sticks. 

The palate is equally complex and compelling with blackberry, blueberry, black cherry, peppercorn, cardamom and dark chocolate flavours supported by fine tannins, mouth-watering acidity and enough residual sugar to add an opulent texture without veering towards 'trendy sweet'. The finish is long and balanced - another winner for Naramata Bench-based Perseus. Drink now-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Perseus Winery 2011 Merlot - 88pts

Perseus Winery 2011 Merlot (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: BCLDB stores and direct from the winery here
Cost: $21.99
Alcohol: 14.4%

Date Tasted: November 12th, 2013
@PerseusWine

Tasting Notes: This purple-hued Merlot from Naramata Bench producer Perseus Winery opens with a subtle, masculine nose of wild blackberry aromas and hints of light oak and mineral notes. The dry palate is far more intense and boisterous, though, equally masculine, with mixed berry fruit, cedar, cherry-cola and earthy-mineral flavours well supported by fine, medium tannins and mouth-watering, alpine berry acidity. The finish is long and well-balanced; a quality Merlot that will pair beautifully with dark chocolate as an after-dinner treat. 
Drink now-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Perseus Winery 2012 Gewurztraminer - 87pts

Perseus Winery 2012 Gewurztraminer (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Not yet released. Direct from the winery here
Cost: $n/a
Alcohol: 13.5%

Date Tasted: November 5th, 2013
@PerseusWine

Tasting Notes: The muted nose of this Gewurztraminer needs time to open up to reveal its delicate floral and exotic fruit notes. Orange blossom, kiwi, lychee, kumquat, flint and honeycrisp apple are all on offer. The similarly flavoured, nearly dry, lean palate, sees the apple and mineral notes lead the way through to the refreshing, though shortened, finish.


For folks put-off by oily, full-throttle, 'fat Goo', oozing with condensed lychee fruit, then this is the Gewurztraminer for you; delicate, balanced and refreshing. Ready to be enjoyed now. Drink now-2015.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Anciano 2002 Gran Reserva 10yrs - 88pts

Anciano 2002 Gran Reserva 10yrs (Valdepeñas) Spain

Availability: BCLDB Speciality listing
Cost: $14-16
Alcohol: 13%
Date Tasted: Nov 6th, 2013

Tasting Notes: Having been oak aged for 2 years and then spent a further 8 years in bottle prior to release, this Tempranillo offers overt signs of the influence of both practices. All of the 'edges' have been rounded and the texture is smooth and mellowed. Keeping the wine alive and well is the nice vein of acidity that helps keep the prune-y, red fruit and spicy plum aromas and flavours from appearing tired and warn-out. Tobacco, leather and coffee grind notes add complexity and help make this wine a great match for stews and peppercorn encrusted cuts of beef.

Ready to go now, and don't doddle, the end is nigh. Drink 2013-2015
- Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Bonamici Cellars 2012 Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier - 88pts

Bonamici Cellars 2012 Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier (Okanagan Valley) BC

Availability: Private wine shops like Everything Wine
Cost: $23.50
Alcohol: 13.5%
Production: 480 cases
Date Tasted: November 3rd, 2013
@BonamiciCellars

Tasting Notes: This blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier (with lesser amounts of Marsanne and Rousanne) is an exploration of how crisp, tangy flavours contrasted by richer, tropical fruit-infused ones can result in a harmonious and more complete wine than its individual parts. This is mostly achieved by the Bonamici team with intense grapefruit, papaya, Bosc pear, herbs, green pepper and light French oak flavours on the complex palate where crisp acidity meets a lush texture, though, the intersection of the juxtaposed characters cancel-out one another on the muted nose. Finish is long and satisfying. Drink now-2016+.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Bonamici Cellars 2012 Merlot-Cabernet Franc - 88pts

Bonamici Cellars 2012 Merlot-Cabernet Franc (Okanagan Valley) BC

Availability: Private wine shops like Everything Wine
Cost: $28
Alcohol: 14.5%
Production: 500 cases
Date Tasted: November 1st, 2013
@BonamiciCellars

Tasting Notes: Big, raw aromas of wild berry fruit and earthy sage brush patrol the nose of this Merlot-Cabernet Franc blend from new 'virtual winery', Bonamici Cellars. Sourced from Oliver and Osoyoos vineyards, the palate is structured with fine, light tannins and loaded with bright, mixed-berry and spice box flavours complimented by cocoa powder and French oak notes. The finish is moderate and mouth watering. Drink 2014-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

On a side note: The term virtual winery refers to a winery lacking a brick and mortar tasting room open to the public whose wines are produced at another winery's facility. Bonamici plan on having their own tasting room and winery down the line, but for now, are content to operate as a small, micro label focusing on a handful of quality wines.

Anciano 2005 Gran Reserva 7yrs - 87pts

Anciano 2005 Gran Reserva 7yrs (Valdepeñas D.O.) Spain

Availability: BCLDB stores
Cost: $12-13
Alcohol: 13%
Date Tasted: Oct 30th, 2013

Tasting Notes: There's a whole lot to like and pick-out on the nose of this Spanish gem that was aged for 7 years prior to its release. At first sniff, the spice and herb qualities are dominant, though, with a long decant, sweet plum, raspberry seed and scorched earth aromas appeal and round out the nose. The palate offers a nice balance of oak influenced spice and toasted flavours complimenting bright, red fruit characters through to a moderate finish with both lingering savoury tannins and mouth watering acid. Ready to go now. Drink 2013-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca

Fairview Cellars 2011 Two Hoots - 89pts

Fairview Cellars 2011 Two Hoots (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Contact winery directly here
Cost: $24.90
Alcohol: 12.7%
Production: 600 cases
Date Tasted: November 1st, 2013

Tasting Notes: Similar in style to the 2010 edition with an incense-infused nose, a medium-bodied palate and bright fruit throughout. Despite its middleweight make-up, this wine packs a flavourful punch offering cassis, pomegranate, boysenberry, cran-apple and blackberry on the fragrant nose and fluid, smoky palate. Light tannins and vibrant acidity make this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot assessable early, though, another 6-9 months of bottle age should do nicely. Drink mid-2014-2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca