The annual InterVin International Wine Awards competition offers an unwavering look at the state of winemaking around the world. With nearly 1,300 entries from 16 countries entered this year, judges were able to gauge the range of wine styles that are available to Canadians.
The top-scoring wines this year proved to be from relative newcomers to the world of wine. The seductive Cavas la Capilla 2011 Penitente Malbec Reserva from Mendoza, Argentina was the top-scoring wine in the competition this year, while a wonderfully fresh and rich wine from a new Okanagan Valley producer took top honours among the white categories. The mouthwatering Tyler Harlton Wines 2012 Viognier Pinot Gris wowed judges with its abundant fruit and spice flavours.
Both of those wines are small batch offerings, with limited availability across the country. Harlton, for instance, sells most of his wines via thwines.com. They are truly amazing examples, worthy of their top scores, but the bottles that often garner the most attention in the InterVin winner’s circle are the Best Buy selections.
This year, 29 wines that retail for $15 or less in at least one market in Canada (prices might vary slightly in other provinces) were rated as silver medallists or higher. These attractive bargains hail from most corners of the globe, including strong representation from Australia, Argentina, Canada, South Africa and the United States.
This year’s highlights include flavourful reds such as Bodegas Trapiche 2012 Syrah Reserve Mendoza, Argentina, $11.95 (222281), d’Arenberg 2011 The Stump Jump Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre South Australia, $14.95 (173294) and Woodbridge Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon California, United States, $12.95 (048611).
Some standout whites to seek out include Mike Weir Wine 2009 Chardonnay Niagara Peninsula, Canada, $14.95 (000026), Jacob’s Creek 2012 Reserve Chardonnay Adelaide Hills, Australia, $14.95 (270017) and Robert Oatley Vineyards 2012 Tic Tok Pocketwatch Sauvignon Blanc Western Australia, $14.95 (187039).
Bargain wines that truly deliver are always in demand, but interest always intensifies as the holiday entertaining season kicks off. Certainly the goal for this column has always been to point you towards widely available bottles that I believe to be exciting and well-priced wines. In the case of InterVin Award winners, you don’t just have to take my opinion. These are wines that top sommeliers, winemakers and educators feel stand out from the crowd. Buy with confidence.
Wines of the Week:
d’Arenberg 2011 The Stump Jump Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre, South Australia
BC $14.99 (607085) | AB $15 | MB $12.99 (000755) | $14.95 (173294)
This juicy and generous Australian red is pitched in a nice medium-bodied style that’s equal parts restrained and rewarding. A great introduction to why South Australian Grenache blends should be your new favourite wine.
Woodbridge Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Calif., United States
BC $13.99 (048611) | AB $14 (048611) | MB $12.99 (048611) | ON $12.95 (048611)
Here’s a nice surprise from one of California’s most iconic producers, Robert Mondavi Winery. True to type, cassis and red berry notes are a big part of the appeal of this fresh, easy-drinking style of Cabernet.