Haywire “The Bub” 2015 B.C.

Sure we’d all like to drink champagne but who’s got a wine budget big enough to shell out $60-$70 a bottle when we need a bubbly fix. Thankfully we live in B.C. where winemakers are producing superb sparkling wines like “The Bub.” This comes from the dynamic duo of the Okanagan Crush Pad…winemaker Matt Dumayne and sparkling wine specialist Jordan Kubek. I’ve been a fan of this wine since its first vintage. Made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the champagne method you’re drawn in with the first sip. It’s a dry, well balanced, crisp bubbly that captures the taste of orchard fruit that made the Okanagan famous. What I love is the brioche or toasty notes I associate with France but which carry this B.C. beauty. There’s citrus flavours too, good acidity and lovely, tiny bubbles. At a fraction of what you’ll pay for champagne this is a lot of wine for the price.

Price: $27.64 (plus tax)
Available: Sutton Place Wine Merchant on Burrard street
Price: $28.99 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown
Price: $32.09 (plus tax)
Available: Marquis Wine Cellars on Davie street

Hester Creek Merlot 2015 B.C.

Fall and winter should be renamed the “comfort food” season. So if stews and similar dishes are in need of a “comfort” wine grab this B.C. beauty. Hester Creek is doing a superb job with their red wines, no matter the price point. The Merlot is a personal favourite for me and not just because it’s so well priced. The nose and flavour is loaded with dark fruit. From the first sip you’ll get a rich and savoury Merlot that’s easy drinking to the last drop. I’d put this wine up against more expensive Merlots and I’m confident it would hold its own. Don’t hesitate to add this to your holiday wine list.

Price: $17.35 (plus tax)
Available: Sutton Place Wine Merchant on Burrard street
Price: $18.99 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown and Village VQA Wines in Kitsilano

Campo Maccione Vermentino 2015 Italy

The world is awash in Pinot Grigio. You’ll find it on many wine lists and much of it is bland, unremarkable and little more than a delivery system for alcohol. Italy is so much more and let me suggest you discover the beauty of Vermentino. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be good as Rocco delle Macie proves with their Campo Maccione. This is a surprisingly complex wine considering its price. That means another reason to give it a try. You’ll taste peaches and pears with some lime and a hint of nuttiness. This is the perfect wine to pour at your holiday party. It’s also really good friendly whether you’re eating tacos or sushi.

Price: $14.95 (plus tax)
Available: Sutton Place Wine Merchant on Burrard street

La Posta Pizzella Malbec 2015 Argentina

There’s a lot of Malbec to choose from when you walk into your favourite wine or liquor store. It ranges from OK to very good. I think La Posta belongs in the top tier as a fine example of quality and value. From the world renowned Laura Catena, this is her tribute to the small vineyard owners who provide the grapes for her wines. This Malbec is enjoyable on so many levels, from the beautiful aroma of dark fruit with a hint of cocoa, then the rich flavour of black cherries, plums and a little spice. Couple that with a long finish and the experience is complete. This full bodied red will reward you even more if you open it an hour before pouring. If I haven’t convinced you yet to try this Malbec here’s one more reason. The price! It’s on sale until November 25th.

Price: $17.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores

Monte Creek Ranch Riesling 2016 B.C.

For a young winery Monte Creek has made impressive strides with their Riesling. This vintage hit all the right notes for me. There’s a hint of petrol on the nose followed by flavours of peaches and apples and plenty of lime. The citrus and acidity really stood out in this dry Riesling. The long finish surpassed my expectations because of the very attractive price. A great Riesling to keep on hand when you need the right pairing with your favourite spicy dish. Well done Monte Creek.

Price: $17.99 (plus tax)
Available: Everything Wine in North Vancouver, South Vancouver and South Surrey
Price: $17.99 (taxes in)
Available: Village VQA Wines in Kitsilano

Perez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2014 Chile

Is it any wonder so many wine lovers turn to Chile when they’re looking for value and quality? Perez Cruz has crafted a well balanced, juicy Cab that’s an absolute steal. Beautiful earthy aromas combined with black fruit hints at what’s to come with first sip. Plums and blackberries in a medium bodied, smooth red that’s great as an everyday wine. I’d keep a couple of bottles around when company is coming or to pair with savoury stews, pot roasts or root vegetables like squash or sweet potatoes. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better bang for your wine buck.

Price $13.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores

Blue Mountain Pinot Noir B.C. 2015

When the temperature drops and I hunker down for fall and winter my wine choices turn to more reds. I also tend to eat more savoury dishes which compliment red wines. If this sounds like you here’s a splurge wine to add to your autumn wine list. Blue Mountain has won many raves for its Pinot Noir and it’s easy to see why. While this Pinot is a light red in the glass that’s not what I tasted. A beautiful rich mix of red and black fruit, loads of flavour in a polished wine that can stand on its own against the best from France and California. I loved the subtle hints of spice and lingering finish. Make this your special occasion Pinot. Please note the wide price range so shop around.

Price: $30.39 (plus tax)
Available: Sutton Place Wine Merchant on Burrard street
Price: $34.70 (plus tax)
Available: Marquis Wine Cellars
Price: $39.85 (plus tax)
Available: Legacy Liquor store in Olympic Village

Wild Goose Pinot Gris B.C. 2016

Everyone has a favourite varietal or three and near the top of my list is Pinot Gris. When made well it offers a complexity that far exceeds its modest price. Among my picks for B.C. Pinot Gris is this gem from Wild Goose Vineyards. What stands out is the rich fruit flavour of peaches and pears. Add in notes of honey and spice and there’s almost a sense of a late harvest style of wine. This Pinot Gris has it all, a lovely aroma, great balance and a lingering finish that is an absolute bargain at less than twenty dollars. Pair it with salmon or other seafood dishes.

Price: $17.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores
Price: $19.00 (includes tax)
Available: Village VQA Wines in Kitsilano
Price: $18.99 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown

Monster Vineyards Rose 2016 B.C.

I know the weather is cooler and wetter but what better time to embrace summer’s signature wine? I’m a year round rose kinda guy because it helps me chase away the dreary fall and winter seasons. Monster makes the perfect Rose for sunshine challenged days. Using a blend of Malbec, Syrah and Merlot the winery has crafted a medium bodied wine that’ll stand up to any hearty cuisine. There’s an aroma of watermelon that gives way to flavours of red berries, grapefruit and the slightest hint of cranberries that adds a subtle tartness. I really enjoyed the mouth watering acidity in this Rose which makes it so food friendly. Plus the price is so affordable you now have your everyday pink whether it’s January or July!

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

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Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut B.C.

Blue Mountain has earned much acclaim for their bubbles and the Gold Label is the perfect introduction for sparkling wine lovers. From the glass full of tiny bubbles to the toasty, crisp flavour this is a delicious wine that delivers on every level. The aroma of berries and lemon draws you in but the mouth feel will capture your taste buds. It’s creamy, medium bodied and with great acidity and a lingering finish. A complex wine made in the traditional method found in Champagne but at a fraction of the price. A perfect companion for celebrations of all kinds or pair it with seafood.

Price: $26.01 (plus tax)
Available: Sutton Place Wine Merchant on Burrard street
Price: $28.99 (plus tax)
Available: Liberty Wine (various locations)
Price: $29.00 (plus tax)
Available: Kits Wine Cellar on 4th avenue