Santa Carolina Reserva Sauvignon Blanc Pinot Noir Cabernet Sauvignon Chile 2017

When you’re having a big party and you’re on a budget you shouldn’t have to sacrifice quality. This trio of Santa Carolina Reserva wines more than delivers the goods and they’re on sale until the end of December. The Pinot Noir is medium bodied with loads of cherries and very food friendly. The Sauvignon Blanc is a crispy, fruit forward style with a touch of lemon. The Cabernet Sauvignon is remarkably deep for such a young wine with loads of black fruit and a hint of spice. Don’t miss this triple threat of tasty wines at a bargain price.

Price: $11.49-$12.49 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. liquor stores

Evolve Pinot Gris B.C. 2017

From its first vintage I’ve been an unabashed fan of Evolve wines. I’d be hardpressed to think of another B.C. winery that has a better price to quality ratio than Evolve. Nobody should be surprised considering its DNA can be traced back to Harry McWatters. This Pinot Gris is another example of how Evolve delivers the goods. The nose is an Okanagan orchard in summer with aromas of apples, peaches and nectarines. For Gris fans you’ll enjoy a crisp, fresh wine with a good balance of citrus and mild acidity. This is the perfect holiday party sipper because it’s a good match for most any appy. As you’d expect from Pinot Gris the lemon cries out for seafood too. Well done Evolve, again!

Price: $18.49 (plus tax)
Available: Everything Wine in North Vancouver, South Vancouver, South Surrey and Langley
Price: $18.59 (plus tax)
Available: Save-On Wines at Pemberton Plaza on Marine Drive in North Vancouver
Price $18.99 (plus tax)
Available: Village VQA wines in Kitsilano

Road 13 Seventy-Four K 2016/17 B.C.

There are many reasons why Road 13 was named Winery of the Year in Canada. Rather than read about it, can I suggest you open a bottle and let your taste buds tell you why. The Seventy-Four K is the perfect introduction. This delicious red blend combines Merlot and Syrah in a silky, dry wine that’s a perennial favorite. One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed Road 13 wines for so many years is the sense of place. From the moment you enjoy the beautiful aroma it’s as if you’ve been transported to their south Okanagan vineyard. The flavour is bold and spicy, plum and cassis with a lingering finish. I’ve paired this wine with steaks, roasts and turkey. You can also get it on sale until the end of December at several retail outlets so shop carefully. Both the 2016 and 2017 vintages are on the shelf depending on where you buy your wine.

Price: $23.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores, Save-On Wines on Marine Drive in North Vancouver and Everything Wine in North Vancouver, South Vancouver, South Surrey and Langley
Price: $28.73 (plus tax)
Available: Village VQA Wines in Kitsilano
Price: $28.99 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wine Store in Yaletown

Rust Wine Co. Gamay 2017 B.C.

I am a huge fan of Gamay and in B.C. there’s no shortage of excellent options. Road 13, Joie and Desert Hills are among my favourite examples of this varietal. If you haven’t discovered Rust Wine Co. make sure you add their Gamay to your list. From the nose to the palate this is one beautiful wine. The aroma of cherries with spicy notes is impressive but wait until the first sip. There’s so much depth to Rust’s Gamay with plenty of cherries in an earthy, savoury wine that demands a second glass. If you’re accustomed to lighter bodied Gamays, Rust will surprise you with a much deeper flavour. It’s lovely as a sipper but a very food friendly red too. Pair it with Brie or smoked salmon at any festive gathering. Another reason to love this wine is the price. Stock up for the holidays. It’s also available by the glass at TWB-The Wine Bar in Yaletown.

Price: $22.00 (plus tax)
Available: Everything Wine in North Vancouver, South Vancouver, South Surrey and Langley and Village VQA in Kitsilano
Price: 22.49 (plus tax)
Available: Save-On Wines on Marine Drive in North Vancouver
Price: $22.52 (plus tax) at Sutton Place Wine Merchant on Burrard street
Price: $22.99 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown

Le Vieux Pin Petit Rouge 2016 B.C.

I’ve had so many good experiences with wines from Le Vieux Pin. Their Syrah has been a favourite for years. The Petit Rouge is a solid addition to your everyday wine list. A Merlot dominant blend rounded out by Syrah and Cabernet Franc. The nose is earthy and loaded with black fruit like plums and currants. Make sure to give this wine some air and the payoff will be obvious with each sip. It’s full bodied, spicy and shows off all three grapes. A perfect companion for comfort food like a hearty stew or with any grilled meats. I’d pair this with charcuterie too.

Price: $21.49 (plus tax)
Available: Save-On Wines on Marine Drive in North Vancouver
Price: $26.99 (plus tax)
Available: Everything Wine in North Vancouver, South Vancouver, South Surrey and Langley
Price: $27.99
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown

Lot 185-Cafe and Wine Bar

When you’re a #winelover like me, the arrival of a new place to enjoy your favourite libation is a reason to celebrate. Lot 185 offers a cafe to start your day and a wine bar to wind down after work. It’s two levels on the west side of the Vancouver Convention Center beside Jack Poole Plaza. If you’ve been to the Vancouver International Wine Festival you’ll recognize the 2nd level as the former coat check location. It’s a bright and airy space that will offer patio seating next summer. For now you can enjoy breakfast sandwiches or pastries from the in-house bakery. Later in the day the 2nd level Wine Bar will offer a great place to drop in for a glass or two accompanied by interesting small bites. Check out my social media feeds for plenty of pictures. Pizza, duck confit sliders and and freshly shucked Kusshi oysters are just some of the choices. The wine list includes Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir, Quails’ Gate Dry Riesling and Culmina R&D Rose to name a few. You’ll also find wines from France, Spain, Italy and New Zealand so something for every palate. I’m told they hope to work with smaller B.C. wineries in the future. For example I’d welcome seeing Lock & Worth, Blue Grouse and Rust wines to help grow our exposure to newer and smaller wineries in our province. For now though I’m happy to see our city’s wine culture grow with Lot 185 Cafe and Wine Bar.

Location: Vancouver Convention Center with access from Jack Poole Plaza

Goats Do Roam Red Blend South Africa 2016

There are times when you run across a wine that’s surprisingly complex given its price. Such is the case with this much loved red blend from South Africa. The blend is dominated by Shiraz (syrah) at 66%. It also includes the popular Rhone varietals Mourvèdre and Grenache. In fact you can taste some similarities in the popular Rhone valley blends and what you’ll enjoy in Goats Do Roam. This is a smooth, fruit forward red that’s easy drinking and very well priced. It’s great on its own but another reason to buy this wine is because it goes so well with everything from stew to pizza. This would top my list for a grab and go red that delivers plenty of flavour for the money.

Price: $15.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores

Haywire Pinot Gris 2017 B.C.

There’s enough Pinot Gris being produced in our province to make it B.C.’s official white wine. Most fall into two categories. Lip smacking acidity or softer, more fruit focused. To my palate Haywire falls into the latter category. It’s often the Gris I pour with crab cakes or a simple, grilled fish. Flavours of peaches and pears with a great underpinning of citrus. A lovely sipper on its own but a perfect partner with your favourite seafood dish. This is a white I enjoy regardless of the season because of its consistency and authenticity. A tribute to Haywire’s team.

Price: $21.98 (plus tax)
Available: Save-On Wines on Marine Drive in North Vancouver
Price: $21.65 (plus tax)
Available: Marquis Wine Cellars on Davie street
Price: $22.99 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wine Store in Yaletown
Price: $23.99 (plus tax)
Available: Everything Wine in North Vancouver, South Vancouver, South Surrey and Langley

Monte Creek Ranch Pinot Noir 2016 B.C.

For a Winery that’s so young I can’t help but be impressed by the quality and maturity of their wines. This Reserve Pinot Noir is perhaps the best example. A Platinum winning wine at the Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards in the spring and a Brinze medal in this summer’s All Canadian Wine Awards. So this is another splurge buy for those of you who’ve saved money on my lower priced wines. From start to finish this is a terrific Pinot…made with polish and finesse. Beautiful floral aroma followed by a silky smooth wine tasting of strawberries and blueberries with some hints of nuttiness and a long finish. This medium bodied Pinot paired perfectly with grilled sockeye. In the fall I’m going to try it with mushroom risotto. Congratulations Monte Creek on the wine and the awards.

Price: $29.99 (plus tax)
Available: Village VQA Wines in Kitsilano and Swirl Wines in Yaletown

Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay South Africa 2016

I’m always on the lookout for an everyday wine that you can count on and this Chard fits the bill. I had the pleasure of sipping through a number of wines from Boschendal and all of them hit the mark. This is their entry level white. An uncomplicated Chardonnay that has an aroma of stone fruit…peaches and apples with a touch of citrus. The lemon is what stood out to my palate with some buttery notes. It’s a rich and full bodied wine that works well on its own. I also paired it with grilled chicken kebabs and it gets full marks as a food wine.

Price: $19.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores