Cape Heritage 2012 Inception Red - 84pts

Cape Heritage 2012 Inception Red (W.O. Western Cape) South Africa
Availability: BCLDB Stores
Cost: $13.29 + taxes
Alcohol: 14%
Date Tasted: October 28th, 2015

Tasting Notes: Fans of Californian Uber-labels like "Apothic Red" or "Carnivore" will find common ground with Inception, a South African entry into the concentrated, sweet-red wine market offering a similar flavour profile of intense, bright, dark and red berry fruit with smoky oak and vanilla-mocha notes. 


A blend of Syrah, Petit Verdot and Mourvedre, opening with pleasing, dark fruit and chocolate-covered blueberry aromas on the nose followed by a mildly spicy and full-bodied palate (mostly due to the residual sugar) with an acidic, mouth-watering, abbreviated finish. Drink now.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca 

Cassini Cellars 2012 Reserve Chardonnay - 89pts

Cassini Cellars 2012 Reserve Chardonnay (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC 

Availability: Direct from winery here 
Cost: $29
Alcohol: 14%
Date Tasted: October 24th, 2015


Tasting Notes: A consistently well-produced Reserve Chardonnay that gets the full oak and malolactic fermentation treatment to appeal to those of you who like their Chards with body and creamy texture. Appropriate levels of acid keep the juicy, ripe orchard fruit and popcorn characters in-check, keeping the viscosity fluid and the finish crisp where hints of vanilla and spice linger. Pair with seafood risotto and serve only lightly chilled to allow the nose to bloom. Drink 2015-2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca 

Cassini Cellars 2012 Cabernet Franc - 92+pts

Cassini Cellars 2012 Cabernet Franc (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC 

Availability: Not yet released. Direct from the winery here when it is
Cost: TBA
Alcohol: 14.7%

Date Tasted: October 23rd, 2015

Tasting Notes: 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.

The finish is divine with both silky-smooth tannins and mouth-watering, wild berry acidity mingling amongst the lingering spice and blackberry purée flavours. Ready to go now with many years of further development ahead. Drink now-2020+.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

Clos de los Siete 2012 Red Blend - 90pts

Clos de los Siete 2012 Red Blend (Valle De Uco) Mendoza - Argentina

Availability
: BCLDB Stores
Cost: $20.49-22.49 + taxes
Alcohol: 14.5%

Date Tasted: October 21st, 2015

Tasting Notes: Produced under the direction of famed, French wine consultant Michel Rolland, this is a dense, ripe, dark fruit, vanilla-mocha and spicy-plum infused blend of
57% Malbec, 18% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Syrah and 2% Petit Verdot sourced from vineyards on the foothills of the Andes mountains. Though juicy and plump in the mouth, the palate finishes dry with lingering spices, having been shepherded by smooth tannins and clean, fresh acidity. Enjoy this wine in its youthDrink now-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2012 Oldfield Series Cabernet Franc - 90+pts

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2012 Oldfield Series Cabernet Franc (Black Sage Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from winery here
Cost: $30.49 (including taxes)
Alcohol: 14.6%
Production: 770 cases
Date Tasted: October 20th, 2015

Tasting Notes: Happily offers the same wild berry, sagebrush and pipe tobacco medley of aromas and flavours of the uber-popular 'regular' label (2012) just with a more polished structure of ripe, smoky tannins and a richer, fuller palate with fleshy plum and smooth cocoa notes thanks to additional ageing on lees in oak barrels (18 months) and a full year in the bottle prior to release. Though round mid-palate, the wine finishes with gnarly, wild berry acidity and lingering oak and spice flavours.

As with all of the Oldfield Series wines, this Cabernet Franc has been released when it is ready to be enjoyed but will also feel at home in your cellar for another 4-5 years. Drink 2015-2020.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

Stag's Hollow Winery 2014 Renaissance Grenache - 92pts

Stag's Hollow Winery 2014 Renaissance Grenache (Okanagan Falls) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Direct from the winery here, BCLDB and VQA stores
Cost: $40
Alcohol: 14.8%
Production: 50 cases
Date Tasted: October 18th, 2015

Tasting Notes: This 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 (2012, 2013) and nudges the bar ahead, i
n terms of ripeness, complexity and refinement thanks to a near perfect growing season in 2014.

The sensual, feminine nose is what makes this wine so memorable with layers of crushed flowers, perfumed incense, cooking spices, sweet cola bottle candy and a medley of ripe, red fruit aromas. Divine. Truly a nose you can enjoy for hours, despite its youthfulness. 

When you do finally take a sip, you'll find a rich and bright palate with excellent length and continuity from the nose and just the faintest hint of residual sugar. Fine, smoky tannins and huckleberry acidity frame the ripe, juicy, red fruit and funky, savoury flavours. Christmas cake candied fruit and spices linger on the long finish.

Ready to be enjoyed now and should hold for many years. Drink 2015-2022.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

On a side note: The wine is sealed with a Vino-lok enclosure, a tight-fitting, glass stopper, that aims to lock in the freshness for fruit-forward wines such as this Grenache. Though popular in Europe, the Vino-lok enclosure is rare in North America due to cost and limited availability of appropriate bottling equipment.

River Stone Estate Winery 2012 Corner Stone - 90-91pts

River Stone Estate Winery 2012 Corner Stone (Oliver) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Direct from winery here
Cost: $28.50
Alcohol: 14.1%
Date Tasted: October 15th, 2015

Tasting Notes: The 2012 make-up of River Stone's flagship blend is comprised of 
57% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Malbec and opens with a gorgeous, complex nose of ripe, dark berry and plum fruit aromas and layers of spice, licorice, toasted oak, dried herbs and mild mint. The medium-plus bodied palate that follows offers good continuity with a similar profile of flavours supported by fully ripened, dusty tannins and refreshing, field berry acidity. Ready to go now with mid-range ageing potential offering some development potential. Drink 2015-2019.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

Fern Walk Vintners 2014 Sauvignon Blanc - 86pts

Fern Walk Vintners 2014 Sauvignon Blanc (Black Sage Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC 

Availability: Widely available at BCLDB stores
Cost: $14.99-16.99 + tax
Alcohol: 13%
Date Tasted: October 15th, 2015

Tasting Notes
Produced by the Mission Hill conglomerate and sold exclusively through BC Liquor Stores, the Fern Walk label offers only two wines, so far, this 
tangy, Sauvignon Blanc and a keep-it-simple Pinot Gris.

A straight-forward wine, without any bells and whistles, this Sauvignon Blanc does offer a refreshing, pungent, punch of citrus and gooseberry aromas and flavours on the subtle nose and the vibrant palate, respectively. A masculine wine, finishing dry with a touch of spice and solid minerality lingering moderately. Enjoy this win in its youth. Drink now-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

Fern Walk Vintners 2014 Pinot Gris - 86pts

Fern Walk Vintners 2014 Pinot Gris (Black Sage Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC 

Availability: Widely available at BCLDB stores
Cost: $14.99-16.99 + tax
Alcohol: 13%
Date Tasted: September 27th, 2015

Tasting Notes: Produced by the Mission Hill conglomerate and sold exclusively through BC Liquor Stores, the Fern Walk label offers only two wines, so far, this fresh, keep-it-simple Pinot Gris and a tangy, pungent Sauvignon Blanc.


The Pinot Gris, sourced from a Black Sage Bench vineyard, is made in the Pinot Grigio style with no oak contact, only stainless steel fermentation and ageing, though, some added colour and texture comes from some extended skin contact during the crush. A refreshing wine with nothing out-of-place and nothing too memorable either. A mix of orchard and tropical fruit with soft, mineral notes on the muted nose and the slightly off-dry, short, mouth-watering palate. Drink this Gris in its youth. Drink now-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

Cellar Hand 2013 Punch Down Red - 88pts

Cellar Hand 2013 Punch Down Red (Black Sage Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Widely available at BCLDB stores and private wine shops
Cost: $24.90 (including taxes)
Alcohol: 13.3%
Date Tasted: October 13th, 2015

Tasting Notes: A pleasant, fruit-driven blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cabernet Franc that acts like a 2nd wine to the winery's flagship blend, the Black Hills' Nota Bene. The nose offers some decent complexity with standard dark fruit aromas augmented with dusty spice, pot-pourri and dry herb notes. The palate is easy-going with smooth, medium tannins and body, ripe berry and spicy plum fruit flavours and a nice wave of cooking spices and wild berry acidity. Spice, oak and herbs linger on the moderate finish.

 A wine to be enjoyed in its youth while you wait for your Nota Bene to mature. Drink now-2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Franc - 87pts

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Franc (Black Sage Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Direct from winery here, BCLDB and VQA stores
Cost: $21.99
Alcohol: 14%

Production: 4037 cases
Date Tasted: October 10th, 2015

Tasting Notes: Opens with a meaty, dusty, nose of boysenberry, anise, 
wild sagebrush, dried bay leaf, pipe tobacco and pine sap aromas. The palate is dry and rather intense with similar flavours and a mouth-watering blend of bright, blue fruit and savoury, earthy notes. Certainly, a masculine wine with added depth from cooking spices, French oak and mineral notes. Should make a good fit for Fall weather, hearty food pairing like beef stew. Drink now-2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

Cellar Hand 2014 Free Run White - 89pts

Cellar Hand 2014 Free Run White (Black Sage Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Widely available at BCLDB stores and private wine shops
Cost: $15.90 (including taxes)
Alcohol: 12.2%
Date Tasted: October 8th, 2015

Tasting Notes: From Black Hills Estate Winery's 2nd lable, Cellar Hand, the 'Free Run White' is a delicious, off-dry, over-achieving blend of 47% Pinot Blanc, 27% Muscat, 19% Viognier and 7% Sauvignon Blanc. The nose offers ripe, delicate aromas of tropical and orchard fruit, most notably: pineapple, mango, apricot and nectarine. The medium-bodied palate follows with similar fruit flavours and added citrus notes and acidity. 


Enjoy this wine in its youth, on its own or as a flexible companion to mystery pot-luck dinners. Drink now-2016.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

Cassini Cellars 2012 Maximus - 92pts

Cassini Cellars 2012 Maximus (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC 

Availability: Direct from winery here 
Cost: $34 (including taxes)
Alcohol: 14.2%
Date Tasted: October 7th, 2015

Tasting Notes: Cassini Cellars' Maximus is always good, year-to-year (see 2007, 2008, 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.

A blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, opening with a seductive nose of black licorice, cassis liqueur, blackberry jam, toasted oak, tobacco leaf, peppercorn and vanilla aromas. The full-bodied and full-flavoured palate follows with similar flavours and silky-smooth tannins, finishing very long with well-balanced, lip-smacking acidity and lingering cassis liqueur, sweet oak and spice notes.

Has the components and pedigree to last many years in the cellar with some evolution of flavours expected. Yet, the wine is absolutely ready to go today with careful decanting. Drink now-2020.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

Monte Creek Ranch 2014 Riesling - 86pts

Monte Creek Ranch 2014 Riesling (Kamloops) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Direct from winery here
Cost: $16.99 (including taxes)
Alcohol: 12.9%
Date Tasted: October 6th, 2015

Tasting Notes: This is an appealing, straight-forward, off-dry Riesling with lasting, mineral flavours and grapefruit acidity which (mostly) off-set the lemon-flavoured, residual sweetness. Think lemon San Pellegrino with slightly obvious alcohol.


Though muted on the nose when chilled, if allowed to warm up, aromas of citrus fruit and raw honey will appear. Finish is moderately long, but, a touch too sour. Enjoy this wine in its youth with hard a cheese like Gruyère which will help mask the lingering sour notes and emphasize the tangy citrus fruit. Drink now-2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

JoieFarm 2014 Riesling - 90pts

JoieFarm 2014 Riesling (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Direct from winery here and VQA stores
Cost: $22.90 (including taxes)
Alcohol: 12%
Production: 1100 cases
Date Tasted: October 6th, 2015

Tasting Notes: This golden-hued Riesling offers a tasty blend of both plump, sumptuous, honeydew and ripe papaya and lean, mean citrus fruit; a beautiful juxtaposition of sweet and tangy. Complexity comes from layers of mineral, nut, blossom and light spice aromas and flavours. 
Finish is crisp, long and mouth watering, leaving you thirsty for another sip or another bite of your spicy, Pan-Asian dish. Drink now-2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

Black Hills Estate Winery 2014 Alibi - 90pts

Black Hills Estate Winery 2014 Alibi (Black Sage Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Direct from winery here and select VQA and private wine stores
Cost: $25
Alcohol: 12.7%
Date Tasted: October 2nd, 2015

Tasting Notes: Can the nose of a wine be delicious? Well, the Alibi puts that question to the test with its alluring, fruity nose of ripe, apricot, nectarine and white peach aromas; you want to jump into the glass and take a bite! The palate follows through on that desire offering up juicy, sweet orchard fruit flavours with a solid backbone of citrus acidity and minerals balancing out the fruit. Delicious!
 Drink now-2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca