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Cassini Cellars 2013 Cabernet Franc - 93pts

Cassini Cellars 2013 Cabernet Franc (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC 

Availability: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $34
Alcohol: 15%

Production: 295 cases
Date Tasted: January 20th, 2017

Tasting Notes: The nose of this Cabernet Franc is stunningly beautiful and not like anything I've encountered in BC previously. Tasted blind, I'm confident visions of a Eucalyptus-lined vineyard from California's 
Central Coast or Australia's Limestone Coast would be evoked. Yet, this is BC fruit from a single vineyard in the Southern Okanagan. Fantastic.

Notes from previous vintages have mentioned subtle spearmint notes, but for the 2013 release the mint is in full bloom and mixed with pine, honey, perfume and intense blackberry extract aromas. The full-bodied, expressive palate follows with excellent continuity - it tastes just as it smells with an elegant texture thanks to silky-smooth tannins and acidity. Finishes long with lingering spice and blackberry purée notes. Ready to go now and will hold for many years. Drink now-2021+.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017

Bench 1775 Winery 2014 Groove - 87pts

Bench 1775 Winery 2014 Groove (Osoyoos) Okanagan Valley - BC

Availability: Direct from the winery here
Cost: $19.90 including taxes
Alcohol: 13.8%

Production: 550 cases
Date Tasted: January 19th, 2017

Tasting Notes: A well-priced, entry-level blend of 87% Merlot, 11.5% Malbec and a splash of Cabernet Franc (1.5%) which produced a vibrant red wine with fresh, dark fruit and soft, dry herbs on the lightly perfumed nose and on the mouth-watering, dry palate. A pleasant wave of spice follows the meaty, grape-seedy tannins on the moderate finish. A BBQ/peppercorn steak wine to be enjoyed in its youth.
 Drink now-2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017

Monte Creek Ranch 2014 Hands Up Red - 86pts

Monte Creek Ranch 2014 Hands Up Red (Kamloops) Okanagan Valley - BC

: Direct from winery here
Cost: $16.49 (including taxes)
Alcohol: 13%
Date Tasted: January 17th, 2017

Tasting Notes: Opens with a fresh nose of dark fruits and brambly berries with briny undertones and a touch of oak. The palate is bright, even slightly sharp, with 
tangy, wild berry flavours and acidity and a savoury-rustic layer of earthy spices and oak. As recommended by the winery, the natural pairing for this wine is blackened, BBQ Salmon. Drink 2018.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017

Cupcake Vineyards 2014 Chardonnay - 84pts

Cupcake Vineyards 2014 Chardonnay (Monterey County) California - USA

Availability: Widely available at BCLDB stores
Cost: $15-16
Alcohol: 13.5%
Date Tasted: January 15th, 2017

Tasting Notes: A super-chewy, oaked and MLF'd Chardonnay from Cupcake Vineyards, aptly named for its infusion of baked-goods-essence into their wines. This Chardonnay is rich, fruity and slightly sharp, in tone, with some residual sugar adding body and crisp citrus notes keeping the finish (mostly) dry and refreshing. Fruit and savoury flavours fade fairly quickly with only raw lemon peel and a hint of spice lingering on the finish. Lacks a distinguishing character. Drink this Chardonnay in its youth, it will not improve with age. Drink now-2017.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017

Sileni Estates 2016 Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc - 88pts

Sileni Estates 2016 Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) New Zealand

Availability: BCLDB stores
Cost: $18.49
Alcohol: 12%
Date Tasted: January 15th, 2017

Tasting Notes: The 2016 Sileni Sauvignon Blanc offers greater balance than recent vintages thanks to a more perceptible layer of lees and baked orchard fruit notes beneath the prominent citrus and mineral characters on the stonefruit-infused nose and textured palate. 
Enjoy this wine in its youth. Drink now-2019.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017