Top 25 Rated Wines of 2014

The following wines received the 25 highest scores on during the calendar year of 2014. Release date was not considered with some wines sourced from the cellar or tasted at special events. For the list of our Top 25 Wines of 2014, where more than simply the tasting score is considered, please visit the main site.

Glaetzer Wines 2010 Amon-Ra - 97pts
This intense, impressive specimen begins its journey to your cellar via vineyards in the Ebenezer sub-region of the Barossa Valley whose dry-grown vines range from 50-130 years of age and are cropped to a measly 1-tonne per hectare. A paltry amount that yields crazy, OMG-concentration on the sublime, rabbit-hole deep nose and the powerful-yet-refined palate.
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Bodegas Vega Sicilia 2008 Pintia - 94-95pts
Vega Sicilia's "affordable" wine is sourced from the Toro region of North-Western Spain and sees 12-15 months in French and American oak (usually a 70/30 split). This 100% Tempranillo wine yields a complex nose of espresso, minerals, red fruit, sweet tobacco, leather, toasted oak, dried grass and subtle spices.
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Château de Beaucastel 2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape - 94+pts
Perhaps lacking in the power department when compared to the opulent and dense 2010, the 2011 thrives on subtle layers of sweet red and dark fruit, dry rock, fragrant flowers, warm garrique and smooth tobacco aromas and flavours. Classic, quietly intense and long with ultra-fine tannins and an elegant character.
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Bodegas Muga 2009 Selección Especial - 93-94pts
This beautiful, spicy, femme-fatale from Rioja is a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 7% Mazuelo and 3% Graciano and oozes sex appeal on the nose with powerful, layered aromas of pot-pourri, raspberry, cherry, anise, cardamom, vanilla, dusty rocks and toasted oak.
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Painted Rock Estate Winery 2012 Red Icon - 93+pts
Though the components change year-to-year, Painted Rock's Red Icon is an exceptionally consistent, high-end blend that successfully executes its but de vie to deliver complex, New World flavours wrapped in an elegant, Old World structure.
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LaStella 2011 La Sophia - 93+pts
This is near, pitch-perfect, cool-climate Cabernet with a lovely balance between its concentrated, dark berry fruit and its complex, vegetal'n'herbs components. The feminine palate is smooth with fine, ripe tannins and hints of graphite, vanilla, coffee grinds and cherry-cola. Herbs and cassis purée linger on the long, long, smoky finish. Will evolve over a decade-plus.
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2007 Château Troplong Mondot - 93pts
Smoky goodness oozes from the glass, enveloping your nose in a feminine, seductive blanket of chocolate mocha, floral and graphite aromas, through which, a column of gentle, pure red fruit presses its advance. It is a charming bouquet with some age, but ultimately, still in development.
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LaStella 2011 Maestoso "Solo" Merlot - 93pts
Supremely elegant and nuanced, LaStella's flagship wine, Maestoso, proves that 100% Merlot wines can be just as memorable and complete as equally priced Cabernet Sauvignon when handled with as much care and detailed attention that the Osoyoos Lake winery applies to this beautiful wine.
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Painted Rock Estate Winery 2013 Chardonnay - 93pts
My favourite words for the Painted Rock Chardonnay are "consistency", "pure" and "effortless". And its the last word of the bar-setting trio that makes this wine such a stand out. The nose is generous with layers of pure fruit (orchard, citrus, tropical) supported by French oak, minerals and light brioche aromas, but it is the effortless palate that is most memorable.
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Bodegas Breca 2010 Old Vines Garnacha - 92+pts
At first sniff, you might think you're about to dive into a fine Port due to the intense and matured, spicy-plum, sweet-incense and anise aromas seeping from the glass. This 100% Garnacha (Grenache) is sourced from vineyards ranging from 70-100 years old and offers an equally intense palate where the spicy-plum profile continues supported by cherry-cola, vanilla-bean and mineral notes.
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Marchesi de Frescobaldi 2008 CastelGiocondo - 92pts
A warm, sweet scented, perfumed nose with berry, prune and spice notes. The palate is both silky and powerful with fantastic balance of fruit, herb, savoury and spice characters. Tannins are fine and dusty. The finish is long and memorable.
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Painted Rock Estate Winery 2012 Syrah - 92pts
Aromas of smoke, cured meats, white pepper and minerals may make you think first of the Northern Rhone, but really, this is pure Okanagan and one of the valley's best examples of how Syrah can thrive in BC when planted in the right areas and handled with tough love, as they do at Painted Rock Estate Winery.
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Paul Hobbs Winery 2011 Katherine Lindsay Estate Pinot Noir - 92pts
A big Pinot at a big price for folks looking for mannered intensity wrapped in an elegant veil of dark fruit and sweet forrest floor aromas. Medium purple hued Pinot with a silky textured palate bursting with ripe dark cherry and black currant fruit balanced by meaty-earthy notes, all-the-while remaining Pinot-esk, though, only barely.
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Painted Rock Estate Winery 2012 Merlot - 91-92pts
Not so much as improves on the outstanding 2011vintage, but rather, dials up the intensity of certain elements, like the robust tannins and dense blackberry purée on the nose and palate, thanks to the hotter growing season which delivered more sun and heat units for the vineyard team to work with.
Full Review

Painted Rock Estate Winery 2011 Merlot - 91-92pts
Until the 2012 was released, this was the best Merlot yet from Painted Rock with more complexity showing on the nose thanks to maturing vines and vineyard practices. The 2011 is elegant with sweet berry fruit, spices and cocoa aromas and lifted floral notes adding a feminine touch.
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Marchesi Antinori 2010 Villa Antinori - 91+pts
This 'Tuscana IGT' designated blend of 55% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 5% Syrah from Italy's famed Marchesi Antinori is a seductive, over-achiever that effortlessly blends, plump, red and blue fruit with sweet herbs and dusty, savoury flavours of cured meats, cocoa powder and leather. oak influence is generous, but well integrated, contributing to the fine, supple tannins and smooth palate.
Full Review

JoieFarm 2013 A Noble Blend - 91pts
JoieFarm's A Noble Blend draws inspiration from the Gentil blends of Alsace, France, which, for the most part, combine the region's traditional Germanic varieties into easily-accessible, entry-level, uncomplicated table wines. JoieFarm takes the concept of this humble wine and turns it on its head to produce a premium blend that has become the Naramata Bench winery's flagship label.
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Le Vieux Pin 2012 Ava - 91pts
The enchanting, Rhone-inspired "Ava" combines 61% Viognier, 21% Roussanne and 18% Marsanne into a deliciously rich and creamy textured wine that blends tropical and melon fruit with mineral and exotic nut aromas and flavours to create a layered, sensual wine that will stand on its own or pair with Poulet de Bresse-esque dishes.

Upper Bench Estate Winery 2012 Merlot - 91pts
When Merlot is handled with care and attention to detail, as it has been at Upper Bench Estate Winery, it must be taken seriously and any snide reference to Sideways must be quickly dismissed. In the movie, Paul Giamatti's character 'Miles' colourfully decries that he would rather drink anything but Merlot. Well, Miles needs to try some Merlot like this!
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Quails' Gate Estate Winery 2012 Old Vines Foch Reserve - 91pts
With a wine made from fruit harvested from 48 year old Marechal Foch vines, you might expect a unique, even exotic experience, and here, Quails' Gate delivers, yet, it's a familiar  uniqueness. Think BC Cabernet Franc mixed with the ambiance of a camp site (smoke, singed wood, BBQ meats, mulled wine, burnt marshmallowsthe works).
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Two Hands Wines 2013 Gnarly Dudes Shiraz - 91pts
Dense, intense and... well, gnarly. A wine for folks who crave a chewy, tannic palate with dense, dark red fruit, Christmas cake spice and mouth watering acidity - classic Barossa Shiraz.
Full Review

Le Vieux Pin 2011 Retouche - 91pts
The name for Le Vieux Pin's Retouche is a clever historical reference to a long forgotten practice when Bordeaux producers would secretly augment their Cabernet Sauvignon blends with Syrah from the Rhone Valley for much needed tannin structure, colour and depth. I found tasting the 2009 vintage of the Retouche to be less intriguing than the clever name, thankfully, for the 2011 vintage, the wine in the bottle measures up.
Full Review

Chateau Des Charmes 2013 Vidal Icewine - 91pts
This beautifully constructed, dense Vidal ice wine smells and tastes of a bowl of apricot and honeydew-infused custard adorned with shavings of candied lime peel. The unctuous, honeyed fruit is balanced nicely with lemon/lime acidity through to an everlasting finish.
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MacRostie Winery and Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir - 90-91pts
This blended, entry-level Pinot Noir does the Sonoma Coast proud showcasing the sub-region's delicate, low-key approach to Pinot Noir that makes the Sonoma Coast stand-out from the richer, meatier Pinots from the inland AVAs like Russian River Valley.
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Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2011 Meritage - 90-91pts
A dense, masculine blend of Bordeaux varieties that opens with a complex nose of cool blackberry, wild red currant, menthol, black cherry, coffee grinds, cardamom and baking spice aromas.
Full Review

LaStella 2011 Fortissimo - 90-91pts
Sweet, warm and feminine on the nose, LaStella's ode to establishment-challenging Tuscan wines is a blend of 71% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and 5% Sangiovese.
Full Review

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2014

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