As I mentioned in my previous article on my top rated white, sparkling, and fortified wines for 2017, there were so many excellent wines that I tasted this year. As I review the red wines that I’ve listed below, there are many wines from Italy, in part due to the many visits by Italian wineries to Vancouver this year. From Italy, most of the wines are Valpolicella DOCG. I separated the Italian wines from the rest of the world wines for you.
The wines come from around the world, as well as here in BC. BC does make top quality wines. Enjoy reading my tasting notes and I invite you to purchase these wines and share them with family and friends. Celebrate.
Albino Armani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG Reserva 2012, Italy (needs BC rep) – Ripe, dark fruit along with a whiff of nutmeg on the nose. Full-bodied, with a nice fruit to acid balance. Flavours of sweet, ripe cherries, vanilla and nutmeg.
Ornellaia 2014, Bolgheri DOC Superiore, Italy – A quite famous winery from the Tuscany region, this DOC, Bolgheri, can produce Bordeaux blends, without any Sangiovese. This one has 34% Cab Sauv, 32% Merlot, 14% Cab Franc, and 20% Petit Verdot. It has a nice light cassis and oak nose. Fuller bodied with a medium mouthfeel and firm tannins. Ripe black fruit flavour and medium oak. This wine needs 5-10 years in order to fully enjoy it.
Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine Valpolicella DOC Superiore Ripasso Romeo & Juliet Famiglia Pasqua 2015, Italy – Smoky, coffee and black fruit aromas in the glass. Dry, medium plus body and round mouthfeel. More smoky, coffee, black fruit and nutmeg on the palate. Intense flavours. Medium acid and fine tannins. –
Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine Amarone Della Valpolicella DOCG, Famiglia Pasqua 2013, Italy – Very nice nose with a mix of cedar, allspice and red fruit aromas. Full body, dry, but very fruity and spicy. Red fruits, red cherries, sweet spices. Cedar toward the finish. Lots of complex flavours.
Cantina di Verona Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Terra di Verona 2014, Italy (needs a BC rep) – Red cherries and plums along with light oak on the nose. Round, fuller bodied, with ripe sweet black fruit and cassis. Cedar/Old World oak. Pepper and nutmeg. Very good quality. –
Masi Agricola Costasera, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico D.O.C.G. 2012, Italy – Light intensity dark fruit and chocolate aromas. Fuller body, round, with rich, dark chocolate and black cherry flavours, along with light sweet spices. Medium acidity and fine tannins. Super tasty. –
Umani Ronchi Fonte del Re, Lacrima di Morro d’Alba D.O.C. 2016, Italy – A wine I really enjoyed and pointed out to other attendees to try. Lacrima is an indigenous red grape, and is the Italian word for “tear”. This grape I was told was given this name as its skin is very thin and fragile and if you hold it the juice from the grape will seep out in tears. This wine was very floral and as well had raspberry aromas. Its dry, medium bodied with a light mouthfeel. Floral, light spices, lychee, red apples and red fruit on the palate. A delight to drink! –
Ilatium Morini Amarone della Valpolicella “Campo Leon” DOCG 2012, Italy – A blend of 70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, and 10% Oseleta and Croatina. Barrel aged for 30 months! Very rich aromatic nose; cherries, dark fruit, and nutmeg. Sweet taste, with medium body and light, fine tannins. Sweet black cherries and vanilla flavours. A wine with a long life ahead of it. –
Fattoria Le Calvane Quercione Chianti DOCG 2015, Italy ($18.99) – Medium garnet, translucent to the core. Medium plus intensity nose; quite fruity, with aromas of very ripe, sweet red cherries and raspberries, red fruit, and light vanilla. I also picked up some cedar on the nose with decanting. The wine is dry with a lighter mouthfeel, and some roundness. Lots of bright red cherry flavour, along with other red fruits, red plums, and hints of raspberries, blackberries, vanilla, oak, and cedar. Medium plus length finishing with red cherries, bitter dark chocolate and pepperiness. The wine does have a firmer tannic finish, but it still is overall soft. Very good quality to enjoy now, and you can age it for at least another 3-4 years. –
Pasqua Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2010 “Mai Dire Mai”, Italy – Old World oak, cedary, vanilla and blackberry fruit on the nose. Fuller bodied with flavours of ripe dark fruit, sweet spices, in particular cloves, and chocolate. Very tasty. –
Santi Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico 2010 “Proemio”, Italy – Very aromatic, with aromas of prunes and dried black fruits. Full bodied with medium plus tannins and medium acidity. Flavours of dark fruit, chocolate, and pepper. Very good. –
Scriani Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico 2012, Italy – Deep, dark fruit nose with a meaty, sweet spice edge. Full body with firmer tannins and heavier mouthfeel. Ripe dark fruit and sweet spices, finishing peppery in the mouth. –
Valentina Cubi Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Classico Superiore 2014 “Arusnatico”, Italy – An organic wine. This wine has nice sweet red fruit and apples on the nose. Dry with a light mouthfeel. Red apples, red fruit and vanilla on the palate. Very flavourful. Some pepperiness. A light and elegant wine. –
Valentina Cubi Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico 2007 “Morar”, Italy – A mix of dark and dried fruits on the nose. Medium to full-bodied, with a soft and silky mouthfeel initially and finish with firm tannins. Dark fruits, capsicum and spice on the palate. A complex wine. –
Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico 2013, Italy – Sweet, deep dark fruit and ripe raspberry aromas. Full body with firm tannins. Dry with medium acidity. Raspberries, ripe dark fruit and chocolate flavours. Peppery finish. –
Musella Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva 2009, Italy – A mix of bruised apples and red fruit aromas. Medium body and mouthfeel. Drying, firm tannins. Red fruit, sweet red cherries and peppery flavours. –
Vietti Barbera d’Alba Tre Vigne 2014, Italy – All of the wines I tried from Vietti were excellent. This one has a nice full red fruit nose. Light body, round and dry, with soft tannins. Red fruit and some Old World Style oak. –
Vietti Barolo Castiglione 2012, Italy – Light intensity aromas of roses and sweet red fruits. Medium minus body, medium mouthfeel. Firm tannins. Juicy red fruit and red cherries. Really firm tannic finish. –
Brancaia Maremma Toscana – Brancaia Ilatraia 2013, Italy (Spec) – A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Petit Verdot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and not a drop of Sangiovese. Interesting for a Tuscan wine. This wine has intense dark chocolate and dark fruit aromas with a hint of capsicum. Medium plus body, round with medium tannins. Ripe red fruits and some cedar. Spiciness and ripe cassis on the finish. –
Reds from the Rest of the World
Tinhorn Creek The Creek 2015, BC (barrel sample) – A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec, and 3% Petit Verdot. Deeper, almost opaque garnet. Deeper than the 2014. Medium intensity, dusty, dark fruit, cocoa and cedar notes on the nose. Full body, round and soft, with flavours of light nutmeg, red cherries and a hint of floral. Fine tannins. With the heat and softer tannins, this wine will probably not age as long as the 2014, but it can be enjoyed as soon as it becomes available for purchase, so do not hesitate to open it when it is ready for the market. –
Arrowleaf Rose 2016, BC – Very aromatic; ripe strawberries, cranberry and grapefruit nose. Higher acidity, slightly off-dry to start then the acidity in the wine makes the wine taste drier. Strawberry, citrus and grapefruit flavours. A bit of pepperiness. Cranberry on the very finish. Very good. –
Privato Vineyard & Winery Tesoro Pinot Noir 2014, BC – Complex nose, tea leaves, red fruit, and sweet spice nose. Med body soft. Mouth-filling. Silky. Rich. Red fruit and sweet spice. Light floral. –
Alpha Box & Dice Winery ‘Blood of Jupiter’ 2014, Australia (~$32.99) – A “Super Tuscan” blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. A very aromatic nose; with ripe cassis, plums and vanilla. Medium plus body with higher acidity. Ripe cassis, red fruit, black pepper, and sweet spices. A complex wine. Highly recommended. –
Boschendal Elgin Pinot Noir 2015, South Africa – Mainly using the Dijon 777 clone, which is known for its strong, intense colours and aromas. This wine is medium translucent garnet in the glass. Nice nose, with aromas of ripe raspberry, red cherry and sweet spices. Medium plus body, silky and round, with softer tannins. Red fruits, raspberries and red cherries, along with sweet spices and some bramble on the palate. Very fruit forward. Firmer tannins on the finish. Nice! –
Flowers Pinot Noir 2015, California – Beautiful nose! Sweet red fruit, cedar, light oak and flowers on the nose. Medium body, dry with medium acidity. Floral and red cherries; getting peppery from the mid-palate to the finish. Some sweet spices as well. Awesome.
Frank Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, California – 2013 is one of the dream vintages of California and this wine does not disappoint. It has a very rich chocolate and dark fruit nose. Medium minus body. Ripe red and black fruit, mixed with sweet spice and vanilla. –
Soos Creek Champoux Vineyard 2014, Washington – The famous Champoux vineyard in WA state has recently been sold, and I have been told that Soos Creek will no longer get access to the grapes for this wine, so if you can find this wine, buy it. It has a beautiful nose, blending sweet red fruit, cassis and vanilla. Medium plus body, and round. Sweet red fruit, apples and some spiciness. –
Ogier Clos de l’Oratoire Chateauneuf du Pape 2014, France (listed) – Very nice nose; lifted cherries and raspberries. Dry, medium minus body and medium acidity. Tasty raspberry and floral flavours. Quite peppery as well. Fine tannins. One of my favourite wines. –
Vina Carmen Gran Reserva Carmenere 2014, Chile (listed) – Nice nose; a mix of coffee, cocoa, chocolate and dark fruit aromas. Medium plus body, dry and round, with medium acidity. Peppery, coffee and dark fruit flavours. A great value wine. –
Black Stallion Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, California (Spec) – Nice vanilla, ripe red cherries, cassis and cedar aromas in the glass. Dry, medium minus body, with light mouth feel. Peppery with firmer tannins. Ripe sweet red fruit flavours. Very good. Not an over the top, heavily extracted Napa Cab. –
Aviary Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, California – Nice ripe cassis nose, together with some sweet spices and chocolate aromas. Dry, medium plus body with a mineral streak. Cassis and a dash of sweet spices. Not an overpowering wine. Elegant.
Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Trailside Vineyard 2010, California – Nice nose, with aromas of vanilla and ripe cassis. Medium plus body, dry with medium tannins. Cassis, light sweet spice and oak flavours. Very good quality. –
Eco Terreno Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, California – These grapes are from 45-year-old vines that are own-rooted. The wine has a nice ripe, cassis nose. It has quite a salty minerality to it. Really big ripe black fruit flavours. Higher acidity and medium tannins. Finishes with some pepperiness. –
Schug Carneros Pinot Noir 2015, California – Schug makes one of my favourite Pinots in California. This vintage is no exception. The wine has a riper, red fruit nose. Dry, higher acidity with flavours of raspberries and other red fruits, along with some oak and sweet spices. Softer tannins. Top quality.
Antica Napa Bella 2013, California – A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. This wine has a ripe, juicy black fruit nose. Fuller bodied, mineral, with nutmeg, dark fruit, and a hint of McIntosh apple flavours. Fine tannins. Quality. –
Calipaso Tempranillo 2013, California – Lots of dill weed on the nose, together with a mix of black and red fruits. Medium body, with salty minerality and medium fine tannins. Sweet spices/nutmeg and red fruit flavours.