Sunday, January 1, 2017

My Top Wines Tasted in 2016

Most people will be happy to see 2016 go-after all, if we could have one drink for each celebrity who passed away or other bad news story aired on the news, we'd all be blasted drunk. But for me, 2016 was one of my best years as an adult. On the family front, I spent the year at home with my 2 young daughters. I watched my baby girl grow into a curious, active toddler, and saw my oldest daughter start kindergarten at school. I will be sad to see 2016 go as I return to my non-wine day job in 2017. Back to reality...

I also had a good year in the world of wine. I considered 2016 as "my year of Champagne", and I tasted my way through a variety of non-vintage bruts from some of the well known houses of Reims and Epernay. Red and white wines from France also dominated my palate, along with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Bordeaux blends from the Okanagan. You will see plenty of wines from all of these regions on my top wine list for 2016, along with a few surprises! And with that said, let's get down to business.

Top Red Wines

I tasted so many great red wines this year, it was hard to narrow down this list to just a top 5. Prices range from $20-$35 CDN for all wines except for the top wine, which is $70 +.

1. Les Hauts de Smith by Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2005 - Pessac-Leognan AOC, France

2. Tedeschi Corasco Appassimento 2010 - Venezie IGT, Italy

3. Domaine Lafage Tessellae Old Vines GSM 2013 - Cotes du Roussillon AOC, France

4. Black Sage Vineyards Zinfandel 2012 - Okanagan, British Columbia

5. Blasted Church Syrah 2014 - Okanagan, British Columbia

Top White Wines

As per usual, France takes the #1 spot for my white wine of the year - and unlike previous years, almost swept the category! A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc takes the final spot. Prices range from $22-$35 CDN.

1. Joseph Drouhin Vaudon Chablis 2012 - Chablis AOC, France

2. Chateau Miraval Blanc Coteaux Varois 2014 - Cotes du Provence AOC, France

3. Domaine Francois Lichtle Pfersigberg Grand Cru 2008 - Alsace AOC, France

4. Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - Marlborough, New Zealand

Top Champagne & Sparkling Wines

This year's focus was on Brut Champagne, so the list is dedicated accordingly. You are looking to spend $45-$70 CDN on these bottles, but definitely worth the splurge for a special occasion!

1. Pol Roger Brut Reserve N/V - Epernay, France

2. Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut N/V - Epernay, France

3. Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut N/V - Epernay, France

4. Taittinger Brut N/V - Reims, France

Top Sweet Wines

Since my husband is a Port aficionado, Port is the go-to for fortified wines in our house. However, Canada dominates this year's list, with the remaining 3 spots. As most of the wines on this part of the list were gifts, I can't officially comment on price, with the exception of Cave Springs' Late Harvest Riesling; the price in CDN is $30.

1. Quinta do Vesuvio Port 1994 - Portugal

2. Kalala Chardonnay Icewine 2013 - Okanagan, British Columbia

3. Cave Springs "Indian Summer" Late Harvest Riesling 2010 - Niagara, Ontario

4. Black Sage Vineyards "Pipe" 2007 - Okanagan, British Columbia

Top Value Wines

This is where white wine really shone this year. I wasn't expecting that I would like these (with the exception of Wynn's CSM-I drink at least one bottle of it every year) but they did not disappoint! As per usual, these wines retail for under $20 CDN.

1. Batasiolo Moscato d'Asti Bosc d'La Rei 2015 - Moscato d'Asti DOCG, Italy

2. Wynn's Coonawarra Cabernet-Shiraz-Merlot 2010 - South Australia

3. Colinas de Uruguay Albarino 2015 - Garzon, Uruguay

4. Mission Hills 5 Vineyards Pinot Blanc 2013 - Okanagan, British Columbia

5. Pelee Island Gewurztraminer 2014 - Pelee Island, Ontario

Best Pairing

Italy takes the top 2 spots as Italian wines are made to be extremely food friendly. Blasted Church's Syrah grabs another spot on my list, as a divine pairing for Filet Mignon. The Porca de Murca Portuguese red is priced under $20 CDN, making it the best value in this category. All other wines listed here are priced between $24-$65 CDN, worth the splurge!  

1. Brigaldara Soave 2015 with Brioche Lobster Roll

2. Folonari Campo al Mare Bolgheri 2007 with Zuppa di Fungi

3. Blasted Church Syrah 2014 with Filet Mignon

4. Porca de Murca Tinto Douro 2013 with Cauliflower-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

5. Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne N/V with Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Winery of the Year

This is the first year I have awarded this category on the blog. There are 2 criteria I use in order to select the winery:

-Their wines must be listed in at least one category above
-They must be interactive with their followers on social media.

When deciding whether or not to use this category in years past, winners would have included producers such as Donnafugata, Tommasi, and Concha y Toro.

Therefore, the winery of the year is...Blasted Church Winery, located in Okanagan, BC!
Honourable mention goes to Champagne House Taittinger in Reims, France!

Thank you both so much for sharing your passion for your wines & champagnes with all your winelover fans!

So what's coming up for me in 2017? It's looking to be a busy one!

-Return to wine school in April to become a Canadian Wine Scholar
-Potential travel to the Okanagan and Washington State for wine touring & tasting,
-My Year of...New World Cabernet Sauvignon. Including regions of Chile, California, Washington State, Okanagan, BC, and possibly Australia and South Africa.
-Other projects include white wines from smaller Old World countries like Greece & Austria, and producer-focused blog posts

Hopefully you find this post useful when looking for recommendations, and maybe try a wine you haven't had before on this list or see a pairing idea you like. Cheers to a successful 2016, and I look forward to sharing more of my passion and thirst knowledge quest in 2017!