Wine category: RED

Vancouver International Wine Festival

There’s no better place to be if you’re a #winelover than VanWineFest. 1700 wines are being poured at Vancouver Convention Centre through Saturday night. I’m posting my picks on social media so make sure you’re following Ron Wilson on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. This is a rare opportunity to try wines that are only available at the Festival. Cheers

Castleforte Pinot Grigio and Corvina Italy

Who doesn’t like wine on sale? Here’s a white and red from Italy that’s just the ticket when you’re having a house party and don’t want to break the bank. The Pinot Grigio has the aroma and flavours of lemon and lime. Clean and crisp with good acidity. Enjoy on its own or with any seafood appies. The Corvina grape is used to make Valpolicella but on its own I thought it was a great value, everyday sipper. Flavours of black cherries in a medium bodied wine that is great with pizza or BBQ ribs.

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

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

Vancouver International Wine Festival

If you like wine then the annual VanWineFest in February should be on your radar already. The annual celebration of the grape is the largest and best wine festival in our country and this year’s event will celebrate Canada.
It’s a unique opportunity to try wine from around the world, chat with the people who made what’s in your glass and make new wine friends. There’s no better way to grow your wine IQ than by tasting something new.
You can also buy tickets to wine dinners where some of Vancouver’s best chefs will create a unique culinary experience paired with wines chosen to compliment each course. A rare opportunity and a sensory experience that’s not to be missed.
Tickets go on sale at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and you can get all the details at www.vanwinefest.ca. Check out the website ahead of time so you know what’s on offer. I’ll see you next month at VanWineFest!

Cecchi Chianti Italy

There’s so many reasons to add this Chianti to your red wine list. First, is taste, second, price, third, availability. I could go on but you get the point. It ticks all the boxes for a wine I want to add to my website. Chianti is a lovely wine on its own but also works well with most of your favourite Italian dishes. Loads of cherries to savour which you expect with Chianti. From the aroma to first sip. This is a medium bodied red with smooth tannins when you give it some air. Like all reds you should let it breathe. I paired it with a rustic pasta dish of pancetta and peas. I’m going to add this to my pizza wine list too.

Price: $14.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores and Everything Wine in North Vancouver and South Surrey

Vina Perez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon Chile

Is it any wonder Chile has emerged as the go to country for great value wine. Here’s another example and that’s not just my opinion. Noted reviewers like James Suckling and Decanter magazine have awarded this Cab 92 and 90 points respectively. Plus it’s on sale this month to make it a perfect pick for my #10daysofchristmas series. Beautiful flavours of black cherries and cassis in a full bodied wine that really over delivers for the price. If you BBQ year round like me here’s a great wine to pair with meat off the grill. If lamb is your choice for the Christmas feast you’ve found the right match.

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

Sandeman Ruby Port Portugal

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy a good port and this Sandeman Ruby Porto is the proof. If you’ve wanted to try this rich desert wine and been put off by the high price can I suggest you start right here? Sandeman has been making port since the late 18th century so you can trust them to deliver the goods. The ruby port has a beautiful flavour of fresh cherries along with some raisin notes and a nuttiness that completes the wine. It’s a medium bodied wine with a hint of sweetness. Perfect to take the chill off a cold winter night or to finish a big meal. Even better it’s on sale until the end of December!

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