Wine category: RED

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

Sperling Vineyards Market Red B.C.

The Vancouver International Wine Festival is like Christmas morning. So many presents under the tree and sometimes you have to wait a few weeks before you can find the wine on a store shelf. It’s always worth the wait though and here’s a prime example. Sperling Vineyards has earned a reputation for making superb sparkling wine but you shouldn’t overlook their Market Red. This is a well crafted, flavourful red blend that is a perfect companion for a day on the patio. This blends Old Vines Foch and Pinot Noir and I was impressed by the soft, impressive taste that had me thinking Burgundy even though it’s 100% B.C. I think this is one of the best value red blends I’ve tasted from our backyard. I hope once you taste it you’ll agree.

Price: $17.38 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wine Store in Yaletown
Price: $18.00 (plus tax)
Available: Village VQA wines in Kitsilano
Price: $19.99 (plus tax)
Available: Liberty Wines-Ladner and check with other Liberty stores

Pascual Toso Limited Edition Malbec Argentina

When Malbec exploded onto the wine scene more than a decade ago, the name Pascual Toso was front and centre. The familiar orange label is a staple of many a restaurant wine list. It’s been flying off the shelf at wine stores for years. But for just a few dollars more, the Limited Edition grey label is worth every penny. This is a more sophisticated Malbec, aromatic, loaded with black fruit, that carries a long rich finish. There’s a hint of spice and smoke in the wine which just adds to the complexity. Pair this with your next roast beef or steak off the BBQ.

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

Poderi dal Nespoli 1929 Sangiovese Italy

I love charcuterie and tomato based pasta dishes so it’s not surprising that I drink a lot of Italian wine. Thanks to the always solid recommendation of Peter Harlos at Sutton Place Wine Merchant I have another red to add to my website. This 100% Sangiovese is an earthy, fruity and aromatic wine. Aromas of dark fruit with flavours of black cherries, plums and spice. A solid, everyday table wine that makes a good companion for pizza too. Make sure to decant or aerate this red beforehand to fully enjoy the wine.

Price: $18.22 (plus tax)
Available: Sutton Place Wine Merchant on Burrard street

Mountain Fish Agiorgitiko Greece

Like many Canadians I have fond memories of backpacking through Greece but my only wine memory is of Retsina. Suffice it to say it was not a pleasant memory. Decades later I’m adding a Greek wine to my website and this is an absolute pleasure. There’s just a handful available on B.C. wine shelves and this is the newest. You couldn’t ask for a better introduction to the wines of Greece. Wine geeks love using “approachable” in their reviews but I’m a simple man so I’m going with drinkable. As in, this wine is deserving of being added to your drinkable list. I loved the flavours of cherries and plums along with a hint of spice. I think it compares quite favourably to Rhone Valley wines. That means Mountain Fish is also very good friendly. From roast chicken to lamb chops this is a terrific match. Give it a try and I bet you’ll be back for more.

Price: $18.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores

StoneCap Syrah Washington State

I’m a big fan of Syrah because it offers so much variety of flavours depending on where its produced. B.C. is rightfully proud of our Syrah and so should our wine neighbours to the south. StoneCap makess an impressive, full bodied Syrah that’s perfect with beef stew now or with BBQ when the weather warms up. The flavour and aroma is black plums with hints of smoke and chocolate. A rich and smooth wine that has a lovely, long finish that begs for a second glass. This is the first time I’ve tasted Stonecap wines but it won’t be the last.

Price: $20.99 (plus tax)
Available: Everything Wine in South Surrey
Price: $21.95 (plus tax)
Available: Dundarave Wine Cellar in West Vancouver
Price: $23.95 (plus tax)
Available: Legacy Liquor at Olympic Village

Mission Kitsilano Happy Hour

I’m such a fan of restaurants that offer interesting wine with their Happy Hour. Mission in Kits is an exceptional food experience complimented by an enjoyable wine companion. Both the red (pictured) and white are French. Each costs $5.00 during Happy Hour when they offer appetizers at 50% off. The red is a traditional red blend, think Rhone valley, while the white from Gascogne was a pleasant, medium bodied and food friendly wine. Speaking of the food, it was superb. The pork terrine (pictured) came with crackers, chutney and mustard and all are house made. They also offer artisanal cheese from Farmhouse cheese in Agassiz which is not to be missed. Other snack choices include beef croquette and hummus. Once you visit for Happy Hour you’ll want to come back for dinner. Another reason to add Mission to your dining out list is their weekend brunch where every bottle of wine on their impressive list is 50% off! That includes Champagne. Enjoy.

Mission Kitsilano
2042 West 4th Avenue
Happy Hour M-F 5:30-6:30

Carmen Right Wave Pinot Noir Chile

Pinot Noir is called the “heartbreak grape” because it can break the heart of many a winemaker to get it right. A good Pinot is usually $20+ but this Chilean beauty comes in at $11. It’s a juicy, fresh and delightful wine that ticks all the boxes for an everyday sipper. Cherries are wafting out of the glass and dance across your tongue when you take your first taste. This red is a throwback to a farmer’s market in summer because it really is a basket of red berries. A medium bodied Pinot that’s great on its own but it’ll pair nicely with grilled salmon or roast chicken.

Price: $11.49 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores