Only 3 of The Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Wines of 2016 are available at the BCLDB

But, surprisingly, their prices on them are pretty good.

December 2, 2016

By Neal McLennan

Each year the Wine Spectator puts out their top 100 wines of the year and each year oenophiles pretend not to be interested in things so crass as lists…and then immediately sneak out to buy the wines that made the cut. While the full list doesn’t drop until December 5th, the magazine teases us by announcing the Top 10 a week early and looking at the list this year it’s fair to say that there’s not much radical going on this year.

There’s a Barbaresco for the Italy’s largest Barbaresco producer, a landmark Super Tuscan from one of  all of Italy’s largest producers and even an iconic California Cabernet throw in. But for BC wine lovers the list is usually a double slap in the face—firstly because we can’t get most of the wines and secondly because when we can, our prices are absurd. But this years things aren’t so bad— sure we can only get 3 of the 10 wines (and seriously—you can’t by Ridge Monte Bello at the BCLDB? It’s like having a Ford dealership and not selling Mustangs. And Domaine Serene is likewise the most iconic Oregon winery in the world but not available in any form at the BCLDB) but the ones we can get are priced…wait for it…competitively. Take a look.


Wine #9: Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 2013 $106


One of the BCLBD’s huge strength’s is Barb Philip, the Master of Wine (and full disclosure a VanMag wine judge) and the head buyer for European wines at the board. As it relates to Bordeaux, Barb’s job is to taste the wine while still in the barrel and forecast a myriad of things from how it will develop, to what the worldwide demand will be to what what the local desire will be for the vintage. 2013 was not a good vintage in Bordeaux—the reds for the most part were merde—but Barb did one helluva job choosing—to wit this amazing white that’s both mineral-y and herb-y with some subtle but, persistent fruit. Sadly this is the one where our prices…it ain’t so good. $170, which $30 more than the Spectator says after you factor in currency exchange.


Wine #8: Tignanello 2013 $105


Tig, as it’s known to showy stockbrokers the world over, is with Sassicaia and Ornellaia the most iconic super-Tuscan (meaning it has non-Italian grapes in the blend) wine in the world. I haven’t tried the the 2013 but I had a bottle of the 2012 as the 4th bottle of red wine one night with my friend Derek and it tasted great. What’s new this year is a move to larger oak barrels and presumably as slightly less muscular and oak-y profile. The gang at the Spectator were clearly impressed. We don’t have the 2013 yet but the price for the 2011 and 2012 was $90, a full $50 cheaper than down South!

Wine #4: Chateau Climens 2012 $68


The good news is that this wine a Sauternes—the famed sweet wine of Bordeaux—and no one drinks Sauternes anymore so it should be easy to find and if necessary beat the few elderly fans to the shelf to scoop a bottle. It’s actually great wine pretty amazing wine—it’s 100% Semillon, which is rare, and it has great acidity to bolster it’s sweet ripe peach flavours. And the best part? At $69, we’re $21 cheaper than the price down in the US.


Still, who reads lists?



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