20 Under $20 in BC : June 2016
Ohh, Summer Wine
We made it. The 2016 half way mark. How can it possibly be June already? Though I’m certainly not going to complain about long summer days on the patio, with an ice bucket, BBQ, friends and 20 wines under $20 to keep us company.
Summer is only a couple of weeks away but temperatures across the country would suggest it’s already here. I went looking for a few friendly whites to cool you down.
The quintessential BC pinot blanc is made at Lake Breeze most every year and the Lake Breeze Pinot Blanc 2014 is no exception. Great with goat cheese, halibut steaks and chicken/kale salads.
Another reliable white, this time from Italy, is the Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2014. Look for a delicious cleansing style white that pairs well with seafood, pesto and vegetables. Good value too.
Perhaps my favourite summer sipper that makes almost any food better is the Ormarine Picpoul de Pinet 2014. Great value and perfectly suited to screwcap. Seriously, try something different.
Locally one of the juicy, fun, gulpable whites to come out of the Okanagan is the Quails’ Gate Chasselas – Pinot Blanc – Pinot Gris 2015. Some times the simple stuff is the best. Fish tacos, sushi, or a Margherita pizza all work here.
Ernie Loosen has been trying to revive the dry Riesling style of his grandfather’s wine for more than eight years and he has finally done it with his Dr. L Riesling Dry 2014. Expect a fresh, citrus palate flecked with grapefruit and guava and all with super fresh acidity and a clean, stony mineral back end.
Similar in style if not in grapes is the new Stoneboat Stone’d White 2014. The Black Sage Gravel bar is home to this eclectic mix of minerality and orchard fruits made from 25/23/22/20/7/3 mix of pinot blanc. müller thurgau, schönburger, kerner, pinot gris, viognier.
Finally two gewürztraminers to loll away an afternoon in the warm summer sun are the Blasted Church Gewurztraminer 2014 and Sumac Ridge Gewürztraminer Private Reserve 2015. Both are light on the pocketbook.
Rhys Pender MW
It is now hot in BC wine country and I want dry rosé and crisp juicy whites and reds to soothe against the heat. Or at least nothing heavy and cumbersome.
My first pick is a great value French rosé. The La Vieille Ferme Cotes Du Ventoux Rose 2015 is just $12.50 a bottle and provides all the things you need for a rosé to drink by the pint load. Dry, crisp, fresh and great value. Better still, you can get a magnum at some BC Liquor Stores for just $19!
Another proper dry French Rosé is the Racine Rosé 2015 from Provence. It is soft, round, incredibly drinkable with some nice spice and zest notes.
When we think of rosé many of us think immediately to the south of France. But Spain can also make some pretty tasty rosado wines. They are usually a little fuller flavoured than the light delicate French versions but equally as tasty. A great value wine from the newly released 2015 vintage is the Muga Rosé 2015 from Rioja in Spain.
A tasty and affordable white for this month’s list is the Ormarine Picpoul de Pinet Les Pins De Camille 2014 from the Languedoc region of France. It is nicely dry and crisp and has plenty of complexity for the price.
A great value red wine that is not super light and juicy but by no means heavy and just exceptional value is the Château Terrefort-Quancard 2010. It is from Bordeaux. It is under $20. It is from the delicious 2010 vintage. It is very tasty. Buy it. Now.
I taste wine every single day, filing notes, moving through the queue. Every so often, I taste something so strikingly good I just have to stop and drink. Even better result when it’s under $20, and as accessible as the CedarCreek 2014 Riesling. Standing out for its vibrant, mouthwatering lime and sherbet and steady line of acid amidst the softer 2015’s, this new release riesling will be getting some serious play at the Trevehouse this summer.
Seven Directions is BC’s first and only rosé-exclusive winery, with a trio of single vineyard releases this year. My favourite of the three just so happens to be the least expensive – bonus! Seven Directions Fruitvale Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Franc Rosé 2015 is from Osoyoos’ Fruitvale Ridge Vineyard, whole cluster pressed and cool fermented to preserve strawberry, rhubarb fruit in a dry, light style. More like this please.
From a brand new BC rosé to a classic, the 2015 vintage of JoieFarm Re-Think Pink! Rosé is a generous and supple 70/30 pinot noir/gamay blend, with strawberry shortcake, rhubarb, Rainier cherry and pear all tightened by sun-sweet pink grapefruit and finely rasped pink peppercorn.
Wines like the Tolloy 2014 Pinot Grigio – from the foothills of the Dolomites – prove that Italian pinot grigio doesn’t have to be boring and forgettable. Tight and lean, with almonds, meadow, bitter lemon, medicinal herbs and quiet white florals riding along a river bed of stones – lovely with summer vegetable risotto or shellfish.
Fizz is fun and I drink a lot it, so I always stock up for unexpected situations (like thirst). It helps when you find cheery affordable sparklers, like the Charles de Fère Brut Merite Mousseux Premium. Traditional method blancs de noir, with an untraditional blend of merlot, grenache, pinot noir and gamay, this carries a lot of red berry fruit before a tight and crisp finish.
The Parés Baltà Cava Brut B is another go-to fizz in my house. Organic and biodynamically farmed, this dry and apple crisp cava carries wild herbs, cracked stones, lemon and nuts, lifted with sharp acidity and cushioned by creamy mousse. Serious stuff.
Spain is a hotspot for amazing value wines, and the new releases from Bodegas Borsao exemplify this. Monte Oton 2014 is from 15-25 year old garnacha planted on the slopes of extinct volcano Moncayo, in the arid Campo de Borja DO. Light-medium bodied, this bright red practically vibrates with jittery energy and pepper, along with light balsamic, black raspberry, candied cherry and plum.
WineAlign in BC
In addition to our popular 20 Under $20 shopping guide, we publish the monthly Critics’ Picks report which highlights a dozen of our favourites from the last month (at any price point), as well as Rhys Pender’s BC Wine Report, a look at all things in the BC Wine Industry. Treve Ring pens a wandering wine column in Treve’s Travels, capturing her thoughts and tastes from the road. Lastly, Anthony Gismondi closes out the month with his Final Blend column – an expert insight into wine culture and trends, honed by more than 25 years experience as an influential critic.
Editors Note: You can find complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names, bottle images or links. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 60 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!