Top 20 under $20 in BC (June 2014)
It’s Father’s Day this month (June 15 – mark your calendars kids), and no matter your father’s personal tastes, he wants you to save your pennies. This month’s 20 Under $20 selections will satisfy both dad’s thriftiness, and palate. In addition, June kicks off the World Cup, welcomes the official start to summer, sends out eager graduates into the world and blooms with rosé season – all great reasons to crack a cap or pop the cork on one of these great values this month. Our 20 Under $20 wines are readily available in BC Liquor Stores and VQA stores across the province for your shopping convenience.
Summer is a great time to move off your standard wines picks and spread your tasting wings a bit. Gazela Vinho Verde is Portuguese classic. At 9% alcohol and crazy fresh citrus note sit will slay the heat.
On a similar theme the Trivento Amado Sur Torrontés Viognier 2012 will enliven any patio party. Think chicken and seafood salads all summer or sip solo.
My last white pick is a ridiculous value chardonnay Finca Los Primos Chardonnay 2013 from Argentina. Stylish beyond its price.
Still with out-of-doors dining and barbecue a sip of Gayda Grenache 2011 and its juicy fruit and spice will transport you to the south of France for the evening.
Finally 100% durif or petit sirah, Caravan Petite Sirah 2012, is a barbecue head turner not to mention a new experience for shiraz and cabernet fans.
I’ve chosen a killer pool of World Cup wine contenders, in honour of the highly anticipated pageantry of the Beautiful Game that starts next week. They all deliver champion value and express an admirable sense of place as well.
Argentina has been in four World Cup finals since the tournament’s inception in 1930, netting two victories in 1986 and 1978. It’s been gratifying to see more and more well-made examples of perfumed Torrontés on our shelves, and the Anko Torrontes 2012 is one of the finest. It will get you in the South American spirit as you sip along to the opening ceremonies.
Germany is a football juggernaut, making the final match seven times and winning twice. In a tough pool this year with Portugal, Ghana and ever-improving USA, German nerves will be as taut as this refreshing, gulpable riesling. The Rudolf Muller Bishop of Riesling 2012 is fruity and forward, but it’s got a jolt of Riesling’s lick-smacking acidity to keep it between the goalposts.
Italy, home of unmatched wine diversity, has four World Cup trophies in 6 attempts, last in 2006. The knockout Cavit Alta Luna Phases Dolomiti 2010 is a cheerful, snappy red that delivers both interest and great value.
Australia may never win the World Cup, but they have qualified for this heroic tournament four times (unlike our great nation!) and you just have to cheer for a team called the ‘Socceroos’. Easy to cheer for the honest Zonte’s Footsteps Peacock’s Tail 2011 from McLaren Vale, showing a fruity first half, but a savoury finish.
Then there is France, still smarting from the notorious headbutt incident and their emotional penalty kick loss to Italy in the 2006 final. I’d prescribe some chewy/silky, village-level Côtes du Rhône Village 2012from Louis Bernardas a consolation prize; it’s restorative in every way.
Rhys Pender MW
Selecting wines under $20 that are worthy of a spot in this guide is no easy task. There are many wines that are okay in this price range but few that are exciting and really qualify as a best buy. Quite a number of wines need to be sifted through in order to find those that offer the best value and the most interest for $20. With summer just around the corner, I have recommended five white wines that are very interesting without breaking the bank.
Cheap Chardonnay can be bland and boring and is usually overtly simple. For just $14 in BC, the Inniskillin Okanagan Estate 2012 Chardonnay is fantastic value, made in the modern, restrained oak, nutty and fresh style.
There is more and more top-notch Riesling coming out of BC and the Stag’s Hollow Amalia Vineyard Riesling is a great example of an off-dry style that can still pack some punch. It is fresh, crisp, mineral and long lasting on the palate.
Of the sea of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc out there, one of the best value bottles is Stoneleigh. The 2013 vintage is very crisp, racy and refreshing with a nice leanness making it perfect for spring, particularly during asparagus season.
For a different take on Sauvignon Blanc and offering great value is the Grand Bateau Bordeaux Blanc 2012. Still very young but showing the potential to be very good, the use of oak and the Semillon proportion of the blend give it a little more weight and texture making it perfect with roast chicken or rich white fish.
Gewurztraminer is a pretty distinctive beast and not for every occasion. But where it comes into its own is for rich Asian dishes, particularly Indian curries. The best value out there is undoubtedly the Pfaffenheim Gewurztraminer 2012. It is rich and just off-dry enough to handle a bit of spice in a dish.
June’s sunshine has me donning glasses – rosé coloured glasses. When the daylight stretches into the evening and the solstice peaks, fresh rosés feel like a natural fit. Here are 5 dry 2013 rosés that circle the colour spectrum and the globe.
The juicy peach blossom, red currants and tangerine of the dry Pasión de Bobal 2013 from DO Utiel-Requena will bring the sun through the clouds with its fresh acidity and bright fruit.
With the outback energy to stand up hefty grilled foods, Lillooet’s Fort Berens Pinot Noir Rosé 2013 will make a welcome addition to the BBQ pit this summer.
Another wine that craves food is the savoury and crunchy Bieler Père & Fils Sabine Rosé 2013 from Coteaux D’Aix En Provence. Think grilled salmon or prosciutto wrapped melon.
From the folks behind The Grinder wines comes this brand new release and label. The Wild Olive Rose 2013 is a punchy WO Coastal Region blend with sappy tree fruit, prickly pear and bitter melon notes.
I adore the hue, silkiness and structure of the Domaine Houchart Côtes De Provence Rosé 2013 from Côtes De Provence. Perfect with a patio, plate of charcuterie, warm herbed olives and a sunset.
That’s it for this month’s 20 Under 20. For more on what’s happening in British Columbia, be sure to read DJ Kearney’s recent post on the 2013 vintage. Later this month we will be back with more Critics’ picks at any price.
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