Top 20 under $20 in BC (May 2014)
There are many reasons to celebrate May in BC : Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, the Victoria Day long weekend, the kick of to Spot Prawn Season and ever longer daylight hours. We’re also celebrating the kick off to our new monthly column, 20 Under $20, where our BC critics bring you 20 wines readily available in BC Liquor Stores and VQA stores across the province.
You don’t get much for $20 in government because most of that money is tax, shipping, packaging and well just about anything but the juice but I’m knocked out by the pinot character in the 2013 Lomas del Valle Pinot Noir from Casablanca, Chile
Looking for a party riesling? The 2012 Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling from Washington State is fresh and skinny with quaffing, candied, red apple and lime flavours. Drink all summer.
Italian pinot grigio gets a bad rap but your pals will be rapping if you share a bottle of 2013 Oxford Landing Pinot Grigio from South Australia. Juicy, slightly sweet palate with light lees, lemon, butter, peach and grapefruit flavours shouts grilled pizza.
How about a delicious example of bio-dynamically grown fruit at a giveaway price that you can serve to crowds. Reach for the 2012 M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut Rouge packed full of plummy, wild smoky, peppery, fruit flavours.
Back to Chile for the 2012 Cono Sur Single Vineyard Block 25 Syrah from Valle de San Antonio $20. Great value in a single vineyard offering with fresh plummy peppery fruit roast pepper flavours.
Riesling from the sunny Pfalz usually guarantees generous ripe fruit, and the off-dry Rudolf Muller Bunny Riesling 2012 does exactly that for under $15 bucks.
Try these two local rosés next time you are ordering Vietnamese or Thai take away; the SpierHead Rosé 2013 is dry, snappy and brimming with Okanagan identity, while the Hester Creek Rose 2013 shows a brashly fruit-forward style and will take on incendiary chili heat.
Sometimes a few glasses of friendly light white is what you need to get to know a new grape. Austria’s signature white variety Gruner Veltliner embraces a range of styles from rain-water fresh and delicate, to bone crunchingly dry and austerely mineral. The Meinhard Forstreiter Grooner 2012 sits at the lighter end of the spectrum; value-priced, crisp and screwcapped for freshness.
The new vintage of Bodegas Castaño’s La Casona Monastrell 2013 shows great line and length for under 10 bucks and is a staggering value here in BC. Bring out the best in old vine monastrell with a smoky burger or spicy-tangy grilled chorizo.
In the category of great bargains that fly under the radar, Nederburg Winemaster’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 does what real wines should do: show grape and place with ease and confidence.
Rhys Pender MW
Californian Cabernet seems to either be sweet and candied or just too expensive so the Louis Martini 2012 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon is quite refreshing. A little old school with lots of oak but also lots of fruit and it is dry.
A lighter, fresher and juicier option is the Mt. Boucherie 2012 Family Reserve Gamay Noir. There isn’t much acreage of Gamay in BC, surely there should be more?
Another crisp juicy red that embraces rather than fights the cool 2011 BC vintage is the Bartier Scholefield 2011 Red. Try it slightly chilled on a warm afternoon.
There is lots of excitement about cool climate Syrah and Chile is one of the best positioned to make this style. Try the Errazuriz Max Reserva 2011 Syrah to see what it is all about.
Right about now I need some bubbly (which is true whenever you might read this) and the Segura Viudas Brut Rosé Cava is always a great value. Serve it on its own or with just about anything that isn’t red meat.
If you are a Food Network fan, search out Entwine Chardonnay 2011 from Californaia. Karl Wente, 5th generation winemaker, teamed up with the Food Network’s executive chef to concoct an approachable, modern chardy to pair with food.
Many aromatic white blends are a cacophony of grapes. In Stoneboat Chorus 2012 however, the old vine Germanic grapes come together in complete melodic harmony.
You can enjoy the classic flavours of Mosel Riesling at an amazingly affordable price with the dependable and consistent Dr. Pauly Bergweiliger Riesling 2012. Pass the spot prawns!
There is no mistaking the spring sunshine and fresh cut grass in this vibrant glass of The Ned Sauvignon Blanc 2013 from Marlborough’s Waihopai Valley. It could be spring in the middle of winter if you’re drinking this.
That’s a wrap for this first edition of 20 Under $20. Stay tuned for our Critics Picks Buyers Guide coming the third week in May – a round up of the most interesting wines our intrepid B.C. team has tasted in recent weeks.
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