20 of the best wines you’ll want in your glass ASAP

By Eric Hanson

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Whistler’s 11 day Cornucopia Food and Wine Festival offers something for everyone, from cooking demonstrations to drink seminars, winery dinners to gala tastings, and more.

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The festival featured the Top 20 Wine competition judged by a panel of 13 esteemed industry experts in a closed, blind-tasting session.

The competition illustrates the enormous talent existing at Cornucopia, presented by BlueShore Financial, pitting a vast selection of exceptional wines against each other to reveal the festival’s Top 20 wines.

This year’s competition saw an impressive number of submissions, especially from B.C. The results are in and the top white wine was the 2017 TIME Winery Riesling ($24.99.) Capably made by winemaker Nadine Allander, it displays delicious mineral aromas of lime, lemon zest and stone fruit. The winner is the only Riesling to win in this year’s Top 20 Wines.

“We are honoured to receive this recognition from Cornucopia. For a British Columbia wine like the TIME Riesling to win Top White Wine, it helps to showcase the quality of our local wine region and encourages more people to try a glass of wine from British Columbia,” said Harry McWatters, president of TIME Winery.

Switching colours, the Top Red was the 2015 C.C. Jentsch Cellars Small Lots Malbec ($49.90). The Oliver winery’s website describes the wine as “Rich and bursting with flavours of blueberry and elderflower, this luscious four barrel lot of Malbec aged for 16 months is concentrated and yet delicate. Dark fruit such as black currant and plum, hints of dried herbs and licorice combine with a smooth palate that together with powerful underlying tannins leads to a finish that seems to last for an eternity.”

The Top 20 wines for 2018 from Cornucopia

  • Top White: TIME Winery Riesling 2017 
  • Top Red: C.C. Jentsch Cellars Small Lots Malbec 2015

Best of the Rest, in alphabetical order:

  • Arrowleaf Pinot Gris 2017 (Lake Country, BC)
  • Basel Cellars Claret 2014 (Walla Walla, Washington)
  • Basel Cellars Co-ferment Syrah 2015 (Walla Walla, Washington)
  • Blasted Church Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (Skaha Lake, Okanagan)
  • Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Gold Label Brut NV (Okanagan Falls)
  • Bodegas Monterebro Seleccion 2013 (Jumilla, Spain)
  • C.C. Jentsch Cellars Syrah 2016 (Oliver, Okanagan)
  • Church & State Marsanne 2017 (Oliver-Osoyoos, Okanagan)
  • Church & State Viognier 2017 (Oliver-Osoyoos, Okanagan)
  • Deep Roots Winery Parentage Red 2016 (Naramata, Okanagan)
  • Deep Roots Winery Syrah 2016 (Naramata, Okanagan)
  • Hedges Family Estate ‘La Haute Cuvée’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Red Mountain, Washington)
  • Lunessence Pinot Blanc Oraniensteiner 2017 (Summerland, Okanagan)
  • Narrative Rosé by Okanagan Crush Pad 2017 (Summerland, Okanagan)
  • Road 13 5th Element 2013 (Golden Mile, Okanagan)
  • Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2015 (Sonoma, California)
  • Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 2016 (Mendoza, Argentina)
  • Zuccardi Q Chardonnay 2015 (Mendoza, Argentina)

Obviously many of these Top 20 wines will not be available for long. For the B.C. wines, check your local VQA store or go to the winery’s website. For the international wines, check the BC Liquor Store’s online product catalogue or call your local private store.

Eric Hanson is a retired Richmond teacher and wine educator.