Top Wine Picks! Big Reds to Warm Up

On the East Coast, the days are still cold and even though May is just around the corner, we’ve had only a very small glimpse of Spring. My top picks this week are a prescription to lift you up; these full-bodied red wines will keep you warm and cozy until the Summer finally breaks through.

The Canadian climate is not always conducive to making rich, full-bodied red wines that exude ripe flavours. However, it is possible. Below are some wineries that have been successful at this.

  1. 2011 Road 13 Syrah Viognier, $25

Definitely one of the grapes that has the most potential in the Okanagan Valley. This well priced Syrah has a dash of Viognier in the blend, which adds some nice violet notes. The pleasant deep and gamy flavours will work like a charm with your favourite hamburger. Bison is my pick!

  1. 2012 Laughing Stock Portfolio, $45

I always thought that David and Cynthia Enns had their style dialed down. Even though the quality of this cuvée has evolved, the style has remained the same. Inspired by Bordeaux, Portfolio is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Nice ripe flavours balanced by some earthy and cedar notes. Reminiscent of a Bordeaux blend from Washington, one of Enn’s early muse. Rack of lamb please!

  1. 2012 Painted Rock Red Icon, $55

If you like it big and full, this wine will strike a cord. Also inspired by Bordeaux (blend of 31% Malbec, 28% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Franc, 15% Petit Verdot), the Red Icon is getting refined as the years go by. With only 50% new oak, the lavish vanilla notes that were more prominent in previous vintages are more integrated in 2012. A serious wine that can be enjoyed on its own (gentlemen, if you like cigar go for it). A great match with grilled steak.


Michelle Bouffard is a wine educator and journalist who splits her time between Montréal & Vancouver. She co-owns the Vancouver-based company ‘house wine’ and is the president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. She Tweets @michellebwine and Instagrams @michellebouffard.

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