Michel Torino 2015 Cuma Organic Torrontés - 85pts

Michel Torino 2015 Cuma Organic Torrontés (Cafayate Valley) Salta - Argentina

Availability
: BCLDB Stores
Cost: $11.49-12.49 + taxes
Alcohol: 13.5%
Date Tasted: November 29th, 2016

Tasting Notes: Wow. This is a Zesty 
Torrontés with a capital 'Z' and served with a side of Zing. Clean and crisp, this organically produced, spicy-food companion, opens with a Tropical fruit, spice, sea shell and citrus scented nose followed by the tangiest of palates where citrus peel and fresh lime flavours dominate. Drink now-2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

JoieFarm 2014 Gamay - 88pts

JoieFarm 2014 Gamay (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from winery here
Cost: $25.90
Alcohol: 12.6%
Production: 400 cases
Date Tasted: November 28th, 2016

Tasting Notes: Sourced from the Deep Roots vineyard along the Naramata Bench, this Gamay is friendly and approachable with a pleasant, herbaceous and earthy nose of sweet sage, bay leaf, cherry nibs, spicy plum and raspberry seed aromas. 
The palate, which is similarly flavoured with a higher emphasis on its red fruit characters, is juicy upon entry and finishes with a wave of fresh acidity and smoky tannins. Light savoury notes of spice, cured meats and oak linger. Drink now-2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

Kaiken 2014 Reserva Malbec - 88pts

Kaiken 2014 Reserva Malbec (Lujan de CuyoMendoza - Argentina

Availability
: TBA
Cost: $TBA
Alcohol: 14%
Date Tasted: November 27th, 2016

Tasting Notes: Owned and managed by Chile's Montes family, the Kaiken wines of Mendoza offer a similar portfolio spectrum as the Montes lables, ranging from everyday drinkers to premium, cellar dwellers. The Reserva Malbec is a well-made, entry-level Malbec featuring impressive intensity on the nose with pure, dark and red berry aromas and light, underlying notes of spice and sweet pipe smoke. The palate is somewhat off-dry, but not alarmingly so, with a focus on the same dark and red berry fruit, finishing dry-ish thanks to plenty of lip-smacking, fresh berry acidity. A
 hint of mint and anise lingers pleasingly.

Enjoy in its youth with sweet'n'spicy, BBQ ribs. Drink now-2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

JoieFarm 2014 PTG - 89pts

JoieFarm 2014 PTG (Naramata Bench) Okanagan - BC

Availability: Direct from winery here 
Cost: $23.90
Alcohol: 12.5%
Date Tasted: November 27th, 2016

Tasting Notes: JoieFarm's rustic "PTG" is an 
engaging 60/40 split of Gamay and Pinot Noir sourced from vineyards in Penticton and along the Naramata Bench. You'll find a playful nose of red fruit, cola, Christmas cake candied fruit'n'spice and potpourri aromas followed by an intense, mouth watering, medium-bodied palate of cherry, plum, wild berries, vanilla, light oak and sweet earth flavours. Dusty tannins structure the palate nicely and linger with a medley of savoury spice and plum notes on the moderate-plus finish.

Will make a great pairing for rustic stews and roasted game (Christmas dinner, anyone?). Drink now-2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon - 91+pts

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Black Sage Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $33 including taxes
Alcohol: 14.5%
Date Tasted: November 25th, 2016

@BurrowingOwlBC

Tasting Notes: At first sniff, you may be thinking you're in for a very serious Cabernet Sauvignon indeed; one without an ounce of self-reflection or humility (it is just a grape after all). But after the first sip, the stuffiness and intense savoury notes fade away to reveal a ray of juicy, sun-ripened fruit shining through on your welcoming palate.


20 months ageing in French oak barrels and a further year in the bottle has done wonders for this Black Sage Bench Cabernet. Rich and refined, this wine is bursting with black and red currant fruit and sagey-herbal goodness on the mouth-watering palate where a medley of savoury notes add depth and character: toasted oak, licorice, vanilla, chocolate, coffee grinds, spices and herbs. Acidity and tannins are smooth and help balance the wine nicely through to the long finish. Drink now-2022+.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2013 Merlot - 91pts

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2013 Merlot (Black Sage Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $30 including taxes
Alcohol: 14.5%
Date Tasted: Novemebr 25th, 2016

@BurrowingOwlBC

Tasting Notes: A nice combination of dense, vanilla-berry fruit and a strong layer of licorise and dark chocolate mint aromas grace the deep, appealing nose of this Black Sage Bench-sourced Merlot. An intense and concentrated, berry puree
-infused palate follows with fine, dusty tannins, sweet spice and smoky flavours, finishing with lingering, mouth-watering acidity. Ready to go today and will hold for several years. Drink now-2019.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2013 Oldfield Series 2Bench Red - 91pts

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2013 Oldfield Series 2Bench Red (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Direct from winery here and VQA wine shops
Cost: $30.49 including taxes
Alcohol: 13.5%

Production: 1684 cases
Date Tasted: November 11th, 2016

Tasting Notes: Aged for 18 months in French oak barrels and then for a further 12 months in bottle prior to release, the 2Bench Red is a drink-now delight with lightly-smoked, 
mannered tannins and a dark fruit'n'herb-infused profile on the expressive nose and lively palate. The final blend for the 2013 vintage is comprised of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and for the first time in recent memory. 6% of Malbec was included. Together the varieties create a complete wine with good complexity and length, perfect for holiday entertaining or Sunday roasts. Drink now-2020.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

Domaine La Barroche 2006 Pure - 95pts

Domaine La Barroche 2006 Pure (Chateauneuf-du-Pape) Rhone Valley - France

Availability: Direct from winery here, BCLDB and VQA stores
Cost: $62.99 + taxes
Alcohol: 15%

Date Tasted: November 12th, 2016


Tasting Notes: From the cellar. Marketed as a 100% Grenache, "Pure", c
uvée from the Domaine's Chateauneuf-du-Pape designated vineyards (though, at a tasting event a winery rep whispered to me that there were some small traces of other grapes in the final blend) which delivers immense intensity on the complex nose and ultra-smooth palate.

Harmonious from all angles with a profile of ripe red berries, black fruit, cola, mint and a medley of cooking spices. Framed by silky-smooth, elegant tannins and effortless acidity. 

Ready to go now with plenty of decanting, and a second decade of ageing is not out of the question. Drink now-2022+.
  - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

Quails' Gate Estate Winery 2014 Merlot - 88pts

Quails' Gate Estate Winery 2014 Merlot (West Kelowna) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from winery here and VQA stores
Cost: $24.99
Alcohol: 14.5%
Production: 5090 cases
Date Tasted: November 9th, 2016

Tasting Notes: A full-bodied Merlot with plenty of cool-berry flavours and aromas and a gripy backbone of smoky-smooth tannins. Added notes of light menthol, spicy plum, earthy-minerals and toasted oak contribute depth on the masculine nose and palate. 
Herbs'n'spice linger on the moderate, mouth-watering finish. Drink now-2019.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

La Frenz Winery 2015 Chardonnay - 88pts

La Frenz Winery 2015 Chardonnay (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from winery here and private wine shops
Cost: $22-26
Alcohol: 13.6%
Date Tasted: November 8th, 2016
@LAFRENZWINERY


Tasting Notes: The La Frenz Chardonnay is comfort food in-a-glass, delivering a likability score of... Yum! Well balanced and approachable with juicy, fruit-cup aromas and flavours and a clean backbone of peach acidity to keep the finish crisp. Don't age this Chardonnay more than 1-2 years, enjoy it in its youth. Drink now-2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2013 Oldfield Series Merlot - 90pts

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2013 Oldfield Series Merlot (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Direct from winery here
Cost: $26.99
Alcohol: 13.8%

Production: 2076
Date Tasted: November 6th, 2016

Tasting Notes: A super consistent, from year-to-year, feminine Merlot with an expressive, berry and incense-infused nose and a refined, smooth palate with creamy-berry flavours and notes of 
toasted-caramel, vanilla and spice. The finish is long and smooth with mannered tannins and a touch of lingering menthol. Delish! Ready to go now, though, will hold for many years in your cellar with the possibility of further development. Drink 2016-2019.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2013 Oldfield Series Cabernet Franc - 90pts

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

Availability: Not yet released. Direct from winery here when it is
Cost: $30.49 (including taxes)
Alcohol: 14%
Production: ? cases
Date Tasted: November 4th, 2016

Tasting Notes: An uber smooth and elegant Cabernet Franc with the classic, dried flowers and brambly fruit you've come to expect from a BC Cabernet Franc but presented with the refinement and texture of a high-end Cabernet Sauvignon. Notes of pipe tobacco, light cola, wild berry, plum and a medley of corned beef characters: cloves, juniper berries, allspice and black pepper, grace the comforting nose and the mellow, smoky-tannin palate. A smidgen of residual sugar contributes body to the otherwise tangy, long finish. 
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 2-3 years. Drink 2017-2019.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2014 Chardonnay - 88pts

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2014 Chardonnay (Black Sage Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from winery here. Select private wine shops
Cost: $25 (including tax)
Alcohol: 13.5%
Date Tasted: October 30th, 2016

Tasting Notes: True to the house style, delivering an oaked, ripe Chardonnay with a pleasing juxtaposition of plump, popcorn-melon, malolactic fermentation notes and vibrant, citrus'n'stonefruit tangy characters that keep the nose fresh and the palate crisp.
 Pair with a creamy pasta or seafood dish. Drink now-2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

2006 Château Pontet-Canet - 93-95pts

2006 Château Pontet-Canet (Pauillac) Bordeaux - France 

Availability: Limited. Private wine stores special order
Cost: Average $144 CDN as per Wine-Searcher.com
Alcohol: 13%
Date Tasted: October 30th, 2016

Tasting Notes: From the cellar. Following the much heralded 2005 vintage, the 2006 Pauillacs may be under the radar for many. This was an exquisite vintage for Pontet-Canet and for a (relatively speaking) bargain price. 
At 10 years of age, this blend of 62%, Merlot 33%, Cabernet Franc 3% and Petit-Verdot 2% is still youthful but headed in the right direction with burgeoning graphite and iron notes integrating seamlessly with the pure black fruit profile and silky smooth tannins. So elegant and long with lingering spice on the finish.

As good as it was, we opened this beauty too early and I would look for a 2020-2024 window to sip this one in its prime. 
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca