Tom Gore Cabernet Sauvignon California

With the Canadian dollar trading at .70 cents versus its American counterpart there’s been an impact on any winelover who likes a California Cab. So I was pleasantly surprised by a recent tasting of this affordable red. I gave it about a forty five minutes in a decanter to help open it up. Even then I couldn’t help but notice a pleasant aroma of cherries before pouring the first glass. This is a medium bodied Cab with plenty of cherry flavours along with a hint of blackberry and chocolate. There’s a bit of sweetness on the finish but nothing like what you find in manufactured wines popping up far too often on store shelves. This is a likeable, easy drinking wine that’s great for a backyard BBQ. Hello summer!

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

Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2014 California

So the long wait is over and Vancouverites are ready to embrace our favourite time of the year. BBQ season. If that means burgers, ribs and steaks here one of the best red wines to complete the meal. A big, robust Zinfandel that comes from Ravenswood who
proudly make Zin and only Zin. One taste will tell you why. First, open this wine and give it about an hour of air before pouring the first glass. Drink in the beautiful aroma of red fruit that jumps out of the glass. Then enjoy a terrific full bodied and savoury wine that’s loaded with black cherry flavour, dark chocolate along with a hint of smokiness. This is a complex and sophisticated Zinfandel that’s well worth the price.

Price: $22.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores

Quails’ Gate Rose 2016 B.C.

I know the sunny weather will arrive at some point in this dreary spring so here’s my antidote to the grey skies. A glass of Okanagan summer from one of B.C.’s most reliable wineries. From the beautiful pale pink colour to the last sip in my glass I can’t say enough about the current Quails’ Gate vintage. This Rose is 70% Gamay (which won me over quickly) 20% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Gris. It’s a bone dry wine loaded with strawberry jam and beautiful lip smacking acidity. It’s impossible to stop after one glass. I’m recommending Quails’ Gate Rose as a prime example of a wine that really overdelivers for the price. Always keep a couple of bottles on hand to share with friends or to pair with anything and everything. Food meet Rose. You’re a perfect match.

Price: $16.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores and Everything Wine in North Vancouver and South Surrey
Price: $17.52 (plus tax)
Available: Sutton Place Wine Merchant on Burrard street
Price: $17.99 (plus tax)
Available: Village VQA Wines in Kitsilano

Road 13 Honest John’s Rose 2016 B.C.

As the B.C. wine industry matures I’ve noticed continued improvement in both quality and consistency. That means you can develop your own list of favourites that always deliver year in and year out. Road 13 has been on my list for a decade. If you would like an introduction to their wines pick up a bottle of the Rose. It’s a delicious blend of Merlot, Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Viognier, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. A deeper pink in colour than other examples of this popular wine I think it’s a hint of what to expect in the glass. It’s more complex while retaining familiar flavours of cherries and strawberries. It’s a mouthful of southern Okanagan summer that pairs well with all of your favourite patio dishes. From burgers to seafood, salads to BBQ ribs this is a food friendly wine. Drink Pink!

Price: $16.49 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores and Everything Wine in North Vancouver and South Surrey
Price: $18.39 (plus tax)
Available: Village VQA Wines in Kitsilano

Bubbles by the Glass-The Wine Bar

I thought The Wine Bar-Provence Marinaside couldn’t top their wines by the glass program but then I hadn’t met Joshua Carlson. The affable wine director wanted to build on the city’s most expansive “by the glass list” by adding bubbles. Thanks to modern technology you can pop the cork and pour a glass and restore the fizz! Who knew? Joshua did the research for us and now we can enjoy twenty-four sparkling wines up to and including Champagne! All because of the Le Verre de Vin system that keeps the bubbles without affecting the flavour. No longer do you need to buy an entire bottle to enjoy your favourite bubbly. The price per glass ranges from $8 for prosecco to $110 for a glass of Cristal if you feel the urge to party like a rapper. The wines Joshua has chosen include B.C. favourites from Bella and Evolve, prosecco and cava that offer tremendous value and Champagne from some of the best houses including Lanson, Bollinger and Moët et Chandon. Something for everyone and in all price points. Plus, drop in for Sparkling Saturday at The Wine Bar and all day you can save 25% on your bubbles of choice. What a deal! Save room for me please.

Price: $8.00-$110.00 per glass
Available: The Wine Bar adjacent to Provence Marinaside in Yaletown

Joie Farm Brut B.C.

Every winelover I know loves bubbles and luckily our B.C. sparkling wine options have never been better. Here’s another example from one of the Okanagan’s best wineries. Joie Farm Brut is a delight from first sniff. I detected an aroma of their fabulous A Noble Blend white when I poured my first glass. This bubbly is a blend of Riesling (90%) and Chardonnay. (10%) It has a beautiful mouth feel as the tiny bubbles dance across your tongue. Plenty of lemon and lime in this juicy, everyday bubbly that completes the experience with a lovely toasty finish. What a wine! However, supply is limited so don’t wait to grab a bottle or two of this sparkler or you may be disappointed.

Price: $22.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores

Wild Goose Vineyards Pinot Gris B.C.

Here’s a home grown hero that was chosen as the best in show at the Cascadia Wine Championships. That’s an impressive achievement given the excellence of wines produced in the Pacific Northwest. I was drawn in by the beautiful aroma of flowers and stone fruit. The flavours of peaches and pears with a subtle spicy undertone is complimented by a long, lingering finish. If Pinot Gris is B.C.’s signature grape this is one of the best examples. Easy to see why the judges chose Wild Goose as best of the best. Pair with all your favourite seafood dishes or on its own with family and friends.

Price: $17.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores
Price: $18.00 (plus tax)
Available: Village VQA Wines in Kitsilano
Price: $18.25 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wine Store in Yaletown

Escorihuela 1884 Family Reserve Malbec

Since Malbec stormed the wine world more than a decade ago there’s been a dramatic improvement in quality and consistency. The 1884 makes that point with this impressive vintage. I always like opening and decanting Malbec because it adds so much to the experience. So after giving this an hour of breathing I poured my first glass. It’s a deep purple loaded with aromas and flavours of dark fruit. Think blackberry and plum with a long, smooth finish that speaks to the excellence of the winemakers. Another reason I enjoy Malbec is that it’s a perfect pairing with burgers, steaks or BBQ chicken which are all on my list of favourite dinners. This wine is on sale until the end of April so great time to stock up for patio season.

Price: $16.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores

Santa Ana Reserve Malbec Shiraz Argentina

The world wide popularity of Malbec will only be enhanced with this blend that adds Shiraz (Syrah) to the mix. This is a dark and delicious blend that shows off the best characteristics of both varietals. A basket full of black fruit to taste along with some great spice to compliment each sip. Yet it still comes in at a great price even though it’s a very polished wine. Whether you like a glass of red while relaxing or need a good BBQ wine you’ll be hard pressed to find a better bargain. I think I’ve found my new house wine.

Price: $13.49 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores

Trumpeter Malbec Argentina

With spring comes warmer weather and what better time to roll out the BBQ and its best friend, Malbec. The Trumpeter Malbec has many of the characteristics of this varietal with a noticeable difference. It’s more subtle, softer but still loaded with ripe, dark fruit. The flavours of cassis and cherries dominate with some mild spicy notes. So while you still get the Malbec experience that’s so popular with many you’ll also think of this wine as its younger cousin. I’d pour Trumpeter as an after work sipper but still open a bottle when I’m grilling ribs. This Saturday Marquis Wines will pour an assortment of Malbecs at a free tasting that includes Trumpeter. It’s an early start on #MalbecWorldDay and gives winelovers a chance to compare the many options of this famous varietal. Go to the Marquis website for details.

Price: $20.78 (plus tax)
Available: Marquis Wine Cellars on Davie Street