Okay, second last wine blog of the year, and let’s focus on the best BC wines that are currently available in the government liquor stores.
Reds first this time, starting with what may be the best BC red wine value since the 1998 Tinhorn Creek Merlot. It’s another Merlot, although this time from Cassini Cellars, and what an amazing wine! Purple, super ripe – but not jammy – black plums, a touch of earth and herbs, and no oak in sight anywhere. Incredible wine, and for $17.99, a ridiculous value as well.
For a couple of bucks more, a nice Pinot Noir from one of BC’s most consistent wineries. Nk Mip Cellars makes very nice Pinot Noir, year in, year out, and the 2010 is no exception. Look for a Cali/Burgundy cross here from a style perspective – lots of ripe, red cherry fruit, but also earth, spice and a bit of mushroom. At less than $20, this wine would give many Pinots from around the world a serious run for their money.
Finally, a Bordeaux blend. Now, nobody faint – I know they are not my style of wine. But this one – from Moon Curser – is very nice, and nicely priced! The 2010 Border Vines is a mix of all the usual grapes, but much riper than most of these kinds of wines. It shows black currants, oak and cedar, but the former is equal to the latter, making it very nice to drink. And that is the case both now and for the future, as there are some tannins here that will allow it to age and develop for 3 – 5 years. It’s $24.99 – compare that to $45+++, and you will see the value!
So what about white wines? Well, Quail’s Gate once again gives us a nice dry Riesling, which might be their best wine (next to the Marechal Foch). Bone dry, it has classic flinty, minerally, citrus fruit – crisp, medium bodied, and very nice to drink now. It is also very reasonably priced at $16.99.
Moon Curser grabs another recommendation for five bucks more with its 2010 Afraid of the Dark. This is a rarity for BC – a blend of white Rhone grape varietals, and it is a beauty. Avoiding the resiny taste that sometimes comes with these wines, it is dry, not too fruity, and surprisingly full-bodied. For $21.90 it competes well with other wines in that price category.
The final white is another new addition to the BC Liquor stores – the 2010 Alibi by Black Hills. Because of drastically increasing costs, this is the only wine I can still recommend from the winery (the red Nota Bene is over $53 now!!!). It is a gorgeous Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend, very much like a white Graves from Bordeaux. Look for a touch of oak, crisp, dry citrus, and medium body. At $24.90, it isn’t cheap, but its French cousins are more than twice that much, hence the value!
Finally, sweet and sparkling! For the latter, an amazing value given the style. The NV Brut by Neck of the Woods in Langley, B.C. tastes like a classic Champagne – toasty, yeasty, bone dry. Almost all wines of this style and quality are $50+++, so kudos to them for it!
Sweet wine recommendations are tougher in BC, but a fun one to try is actually made from fruit. In this case, its blackberries, and the NV Cowichan Blackberry by Cherry Point on Vancouver Island is like a good liqueur. A little goes a long way here, and it will do well at any holiday party!
So there is BC wines for the holidays! One more to go – my recommendations for Christmas Dinner next week.