Stag's Hollow Winery 2016 Syrah Grenache Rosé - 89pts

Stag's Hollow Winery 2016 Syrah Grenache Rosé (Okanagan Valley) BC

Availability
: Direct from winery here and VQA stores
Cost: $21.99 + taxes
Alcohol: 13.3%
Date Tasted: May 25th, 2017

Tasting Notes: A blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache sourced from multiple sites in the Okanagan Valley grown specifically for this aromatic and lively r
osé. Excellent texture on the red fruit driven, well-balanced palate with added herbs and spice flavours and brisk, mouth-watering, citrus acidity. Finish is crisp with lingering spice and cranberry-citrus notes. Drink now-2019.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Finca Decero 2014 Remolinos Vineyard Malbec - 91pts

Finca Decero 2014 Remolinos Vineyard Malbec (Agrelo) Mendoza - Argentina

Availability
: Special order, private wine stores
Cost: $23.99 + taxes
Alcohol: 14.5%
Date Tasted: May 23rd, 2017

Tasting Notes: A well-balanced Malbec sourced from a single, high altitude vineyard in the Agrelo appellation of Mendoza offering layers of concentrated, dried, dark fruit aromas and sweet vanilla and crushed violet notes on the refined nose. Spends 14 months maturing in French oak barrels and neutral tanks (90/10 split, respectively) prior to bottling, contributing a lushness to the wine and rounding the edges of the tannins and natural acidity. Palate is smooth, concentrated and offers good continuity from the nose. A lengthy, spice-laced finish lingers pleasantly.
 Drink now-2020.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Kaiken 2012 Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon - 89pts

Kaiken 2012 Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza) Argentina

Availability
: Special order, private wine stores
Cost: $24.99 + taxes
Alcohol: 14.5%
Date Tasted: May 19th, 2017

Tasting Notes: An ultra smooth Cabernet Sauvignon with 10% Malbec blended in to contribute lifted blackberry aromas and flavours to the, otherwise, serious black fruit proceedings. Cassis and blueberry fruit lead the way with plenty of support from the spicy and savoury affects of 12 months prior in French oak barrels prior to bottling.


Offers, fine tannins and lively acid on the palate with a touch of smoke and spice that linger on the moderate-plus finish. Manages its 14.5% alcohol superbly. Starting to peak and ready to go now or over the next 2 years. Drink now-2019.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Kaiken 2012 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon - 86pts

Kaiken 2012 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Lujan de Cuyo) Mendoza - Argentina

Availability
: Special order, private wine stores
Cost: $14.99 + taxes
Alcohol: 14.5%
Date Tasted: May 20th, 2017

Tasting Notes: At 5 years of age, this well-made, budget Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendoza has already peaked with mature aromas and flavours blooming on the prune-spiked, blueberry'n'spice nose and on the similarly-flavoured, smokey-tannin, (nearly) off-dry, palate.
 Drink 2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Le Vieux Pin 2014 Retouche - 92pts

Le Vieux Pin 2014 Retouche (Okanagan Valley) BC

Availability: Not Yet released. Winery website here
Cost: $59.99 + taxes
Alcohol: 13.7%
Production: 117 cases
Date Tasted: May 18th, 2017

Tasting Notes: Le Vieux Pin's Retouche is an ode to the long-abandoned practice of spiking Bordeaux wines with Syrah from the Rhone Valley when the native fruit was lacking in depth and intensity. 
The 2014 blend is a departure from recent vintages with a final assemblage of 43% Cabernet Franc, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 15% Syrah creating a round, feminine wine with both red and blue fruit, light herbs and spice, menthol and subtle, toasted oak aromas and flavours.

Appropriate for mid-term cellaring, though, this beautiful, full-bodied wine is very approachable in its youth, with good complexity and length. Drink 2017-2021.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2015 Oldfield Reserve Chardonnay - 89pts

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2015 Oldfield Reserve Chardonnay (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Upon release, direct from winery here
Cost: $TBD
Alcohol: 13.5%

Date Tasted: May 18th, 2017

@TinhornCreek

Tasting Notes: A 'big' Chardonnay, bursting with ripe, melon and tropical fruits, buttery-brioche, French vanilla cream and persistent citrus aromas and flavours. Barrel fermented and aged in oak for 18 months prior to bottling, this wine is plump on the entry with dominant oak and malolactic characters, yet, finishes smooth, almost lean, thanks to the fine, lemon-drop acidity and light, mineral notes. Spice and a hint of caramelized apple linger through to the next sip.
 Drink now-2020.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Liquidity Wines 2015 Chardonnay - 90pts

Liquidity Wines 2015 Chardonnay (Okanagan Falls) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $26 + taxes
Alcohol: 13.5%

Production: 384 cases
Date Tasted: May 17th, 2017

Tasting Notes: An elegant Chardonnay, nice and tidy with nothing out of place. Avoids the pitfalls of tasting forced with regards to winemaking decisions like so many others do. Subtle oak and partial malolactic fermentation notes frame the characteristics of the estate-sourced fruit nicely; medium intense, pear, peach and papaya fruits, light herbs and macadamia nut 
aromas and flavours with crisp, citrus acidity. Drink now-2020.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

The Grape Grinder 2015 Pinotage - 86pts

The Grape Grinder 2015 Pinotage (W.O Western Cape) South Africa

Availability: BCLDB stores
Cost: $13.49 +taxes
Alcohol: 14%
Date Tasted: May 13th, 2017

Tasting Notes: Though prominent on the label, and in previous vintages, I found the coffee-mocha theme more subtle in the 2015 release of the Grinder Pinotage with a higher emphasis on intense, blackberry and cherry puree aromas and flavours. Supporting, savoury notes and yumtastic, dark chocolate and spice characters help elevate the full-bodied palate beyond a one-dimensional, jam-fest. Though, folks who don't like their reds a little off-dry will want to steer clear.
 Drink now-2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Bench 1775 Winery 2015 Muscat - 87pts

Bench 1775 Winery 2015 Muscat (Okanagan Valley) BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here and VQA stores
Cost: $16.90
Alcohol: 13.6%

Production: 480 cases
Date Tasted: May 12th, 2017
@Bench1775

Tasting Notes: Actually a 85/15 split of Muscat and Riesling, respectively, sourced from vineyards in Naramata and from the Golden Mile, this wine is billed as a non-traditional Muscat and that's pretty honest and accurate. The nose is Sauvignon Blanc-ish with citrus, gooseberry, fresh herbs and blossom aromas and even a light hint of Oyster shells. The palate has some body and a nice texture to it with similar flavours (minus the seashells) but with more than a hint of spice and smoke. Definitely unique and offered at a great price. 
Drink now-2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

JoieFarm 2016 Muscat - 88pts

JoieFarm 2016 Muscat (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC 

Availability: Direct from winery here 
Cost: $22.90 (including taxes)
Alcohol: 10.8%
Production: 443 cases
Date Tasted: May 12th, 2017

Tasting Notes: The delicate, nuanced nose returns, with aromas of nectarine, peach skin, lemon-lime and light spice, though, the 2016 edition of the JoieFarm Muscat is noticeably more watery and acidic on the mineral'n'citrus adorned palate than recent, superbly balanced vintages of the 100% Moscato Giallo grape (see 2015 & 2014). Enjoy this brunch-friendly wine in its youth.
 Drink now-2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Sperling Vineyards 2015 Vision Chardonnay - 89pts

Sperling Vineyards 2015 Vision Chardonnay (East Kelowna) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here and VQA stores
Cost: $26
Alcohol: 13%
Production: 190 cases
Date Tasted: May 7th, 2017

Tasting Notes: Though fermented in French oak, the influence is subtle and the core characteristics of a cool-climate Chardonnay shine through: fresh orchard fruit, crisp acidity and stoney minerality. Should be a popular wine for restaurants at this price-point for its food pairing flexibility, refreshing palate and moderate, balanced finish. Serve with seafood or chicken dishes or hard cheeses like Gruyere. 


Should peak after 2018 with another year in the bottle to integrate and meld. Drink 2018-2020.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2016 Pinot Gris - 87pts

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2016 Pinot Gris (Okanagan Valley) BC

Availability
: Direct from winery here, BCLDB and VQA stores
Cost: $17.99 + taxes
Alcohol: 13.5%

Date Tasted: May 7th, 2017

@TinhornCreek

Tasting Notes: Ever a refreshing wine to quaff with bright, orchard and citrus fruit aromas, this Pinot Gris is fermented and aged in stainless steel and for 2017, sees its balance leaning towards off-dry and medium-plus body with sweet, pear, apple and apricot flavours complimented by a touch of spice and minerals. Lemon rind lingers on the moderate finish, priming you for the next sip.
 Drink now-2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

LaStella Winery 2016 Vivace Pinot Grigio - 90pts

LaStella Winery 2016 Vivace Pinot Grigio (Okanagan Valley) BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here and private wine stores
Cost: $22.99 + taxes
Alcohol: 13.1%
Production: 1301 cases
Date Tasted: May 6th, 2017

@LaStellaWinery

Tasting Notes: A lip-smacking Pinot Grigio with impressive, restrained intensity, excellent length and acute balance of its fruit, acid and (minute) residual sugar. Plenty of apple, pear, lime peel, honeydew, white peach and river stone, aromas and flavours to pick out and pair with or go for the no-brainer default: a 
sun-drenched deck with or without accompanying seafood dished of scallops or sable fish. Drink 2017-2019.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery 2015 Pinot Grigio - 87pts

Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery 2015 Pinot Grigio (Okanagan Falls) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Direct from winery here and VQA stores
Cost: $19.90 (including taxes)
Alcohol: 14%

Production: 422 cases
Date Tasted: May 4th, 2017

Tasting Notes: A Northern Italian-styled Pinot Grigio, meaning most elements are subtle and nuanced, offering a nice blend of orchard and citrus fruit with mineral undercurrents. F
inishes short and (mostly) dry with a hint of lingering lemon rind and vanilla. Drink now-2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Upper Bench Estate Winery 2014 Cabernet Franc - 88pts

Upper Bench Estate Winery 2014 Cabernet Franc (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Contact the winery here
Cost: $TBA
Alcohol: 14.3%
Production: 93 cases
Date Tasted: May 4th, 2017

Tasting Notes: A masculine Cabernet Franc with cool berry, menthol and spicy-licorice aromas on the nose and similar flavours on the full-bodied, mouth-watering palate which also showcases additional cherry and oak notes. The moderate-plus finish lingers with dry herbs and spice notes. D
rink late-2017-2020.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery 2013 Reserve Chardonnay - 86pts

Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery 2013 Reserve Chardonnay (Okanagan Falls) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability
: Direct from winery here and VQA stores
Cost: $29.90 (including taxes)
Alcohol: 14%
Date Tasted: May 3rd, 2017

Tasting Notes: An oaked (14 months in French barrels), fruit-forward Chardonnay with layers of citrus and nut characters. A little lean on the palate, after the initial wave of peachy-apple fruit and citrus acidity, leaving the finish a little short, though, a touch of vanilla and mineral notes linger, quietly. At 4 years of age, this Chardonnay has peaked and ready now. Drink 2017.

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

LaStella 2015 Fortissimo - 90+pts

LaStella 2015 Fortissimo (Osoyoos Lake Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $29.99 + taxes
Alcohol: 14.5%
Production: 1711 cases

Date Tasted: May 2nd, 2017

Tasting Notes: LaStella's ode to the tradition-challenging blends of Tuscany, the Fortissimo sees 63% Merlot blended with 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Sangiovese and 9% Cabernet Franc and strives for harmony and balance.


This is a pretty wine, with delicate fruit and pleasing herbs and sweet pipe tobacco aromas on the nose and good balance between fruit and savoury flavours on the food-friendly palate. 

Missing a little depth and length compared to recent, outstanding vintages, but we're nitpicking, nothing is out of place. There's oak and spice and everything nice. Drink 2018-2021.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Le Vieux Donjon 2010 Chateauneuf-du-Pape - 95pts

Le Vieux Donjon 2010 (Chateauneuf-du-Pape) Rhone Valley - France

Availability: BCLDB stores
Cost: $57.99 + taxes
Alcohol: 13.5%

Production: 8000 cases
Date Tasted: May 1st, 2017


Tasting Notes: From the cellar.
Complex, on the graceful nose and the refined palate with layers of dark berries, spiced plums, kirsch, black olives, bay leaf, incense and floral notes. Though still youthful in 2017, the tannins have mellowed, enhancing its exceptional smoothness and calming texture. The seemingly, never-ending finish resolves to lingering, cracked pepper and dried black currant flavours. 

Delicious today, but, to make the most of your investment, wait another 1-2 years. Drink 2018-2025.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Chateau Des Charmes 2015 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay - 86pts

Chateau Des Charmes 2015 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay (Niagara-on-The-Lake) Niagara Peninsula - Ontario

Availability
: Direct from the winery here and LCBO stores
Cost: $14.95 (including taxes)
Alcohol: 14.1%
Production: 2554 cases
Date Tasted: April 30th, 2017

Tasting Notes: A consistently well-made, straight-forward Chardonnay, priced just under $15 with a good balance between its many facets: orchard'n'melon fruit flavours, oak contact, green apple acidity and lees
'n'cream malolactic contact. A touch of spice lingers briefly on the short(ish) finish. Drink now-2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca