Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wine Barbarian returns with news of Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2011 available in British Columbia


Only in British Columbia you say?  Pity!

Quinta do Crasto - 93 points

Vincent Girardin - 92 points

Cloudy Bay - 92 points
First - I apologize.  My best intentions to keep this blog more active have merely paved the road to more wine drinking research and less writing!


However, having not one but two blogs - my political Bill Tieleman website - makes life more complicated, since "news of the day" seems to take priority over "wine of the day", sometimes sadly.


Nonetheless, and without a new years resolution, I will do my best to be more wine current.


And to start - here are three truly excellent wines recognized by the Wine Spectator magazine as members of the Top 100 Wines of 2011 - and still available in BC Liquor Stores, as well as in other locations around the globe.


The Top 100 does not comprise the highest rated wines in the world - that would be prohibitively expensive for all but the 1% who occupy their wine cellars with first growth Bordeaux.


Rather, the Wine Spectator explains their criteria this way:


"More than 5,400 of these wines earned outstanding or classic ratings (90 points or higher on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale). We narrowed the list down based on four criteria: quality (represented by score); value (reflected by release price); availability (measured by cases made or imported); and what we call the “X-factor”–the excitement generated by a rising-star producer, a benchmark wine or a significant milestone for a wine region. 


But no equation determines the final selections: These choices reflect our editors’ judgment and passion about the wines we tasted."


And so, the wines you can find in BC - there were a few others but I suspect more limited quantities quickly disappeared.  I'm happy to say I've tried them all!


First, the 2008 Quinta do Crasto - Douro Reserva, Old Vines - 93 points, ranked #62 - a blockbuster wine from Portugal, one of the most overlooked and underrated wine producing countries in the world.  


Too many still think it only produces Port when in fact there are fabulous red wines made there from grapes we don't know, let alone know how to produce.


Listed at US $46 it's actually cheaper in BC at $42.99 and there are over 1,000 bottles available according to the BC Liquor Stores website, which has location details at the link I'e just posted.


The Spectator says: "A solid core of savory spice and leaf notes provides a supple overlay to the flavors of dried berry and smoke. The deft finish lingers, with touches of cream and vanilla as well as plenty of cocoa powder notes. Very elegant and suave. Drink now through 2017."


I agree but think it will last much longer.  I also found a good blackberry bouquet to it.


Second - 2009 Vincent Girardin - Moulin-à-Vent Domaine de La Tour du Bief Clos de la Tour - 92 points and ranked #54 - a mouthful to say and full of good taste! 


This wine from the Moulin a Vent appellation in the Beaujolais region of France, and yes, named after a windmill in the region.


It retails for $29.99 at BC Liquor Stores but is in short supply - just 74 bottle left, most in Vancouver. US retail is a touch lower.


The Spectator says: "Lush fruit flavors of blackberry and blueberry mix with a core of spice and dried herb notes in this fresh and silky red, which has lightly chewy tannins, followed by lingering hints of dark chocolate and cardamom on the finish. Drink now through 2016."


I agree again with this description - but am inclined to leave it a bit longer to develop rather than drink it all now.  But I admit I had to try 2 bottles before making that difficult decision!


Lastly, an old favourite that is perennially in the Top 100 - 2010 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc - 92 points, ranked #29 - a big pow in your mouth New Zealand SB from the Marlborough region with layers of different tastes.


It retails for $31.50 in BC Liquor Stores and their website indicates a surprising 1131 bottles available.  Slightly cheaper in the US.


The Spectator says: "Tangerine, mango and citrus flavors are pure and focused, smooth, round and wonderfully refreshing, with peach, Key lime pie, mineral and floral elements that really take off on the finish. Drink now." 


Yes, it's a tropical fruit punch!  If you've never had Cloudy Bay SB don't delay - it is simply delicious.  I'm not sure how long it will keep but certainly a year's aging will do no harm, if you can leave it there.


So there you have it - my first but not last post of 2012 and three wines you don't want to miss.


Don't delay - these wines will disappear very, very soon - and all the sooner because I've let you in on the secret!


Cheers!


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1 comment:

craig Speirs said...

Yummy wines all! I had the pleasure of attending a wine tasting at the Bayshore put on by the Brotherhood of the Beaujolais and led by George DuBeuf. They poured all 9 grand Cru (#10 was added a year or two later). I think it was 1988 or 89, anyway it proved that there was a lot more than light little wines available in the region. Moulin-a-Vent was of course the biggest and meatiest. It was a seminal tasting that started me on a wine journey that continues to this day.

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