Wine category: RED

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

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

Moraine Vineyards Meritage 2014 B.C.

If we’re celebrating B.C. on Canada Day I want to open a big, bold red. Meritage is the name given to the Bordeaux blends that have become the premium wine from our vineyards. Moraine has crafted an award winning Meritage that belongs on your table. Moraine combined Merlot (45%), Cabernet Franc (33%) and Malbec (22%). The result is a sturdy, full bodied blend that is truly the sum of its parts. Once I decanted the wine for an hour the aroma of dark fruit started to emerge. The taste of cherries and plums is deep and delicious. A great long finish completed a truly exceptional wine experience. Don’t forget to decant. You’ll be glad you did. Pair this with a rib-eye steak for the perfect holiday BBQ. Shop wisely though because the price for this Meritage starts at $25 and hits the mid-thirties at some stores.

Price: $25.13 (plus tax)
Available: Sutton Place Wine Merchant on Burrard street
Price: $29.00 (plus tax)
Available: Village VQA Wines in Kitsilano
Price: $29.99 (plus tax)
Available: Swirl Wines in Yaletown

Anciano Gran Reserva Tempranillo Spain 2008

One of the joys of the Vancouver International Wine Festival is that it’s the gift that keeps on giving. This Tempranillo from Anciano is a perfect example. I couldn’t wait to share this discovery on social media and now on my website. Partly because it’s damn tasty but just as importantly is the remarkably low price. I was so impressed with this elegant wine that won me over with the first sip. The aroma is a subtle melange of red fruit…notably raspberry. I tasted black cherries and vanilla along with a touch of balsamic. A medium bodied wine that’s lovely on its own but I paired it with a grilled ribeye steak and know it’ll be a BBQ staple.

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

Narrative Cabernet Franc B.C.

Hundreds of wines were poured at the Vancouver International Wine Festival which meant your palate gave out long before the wine ran out. One of my favourites was this Cab Franc. Winemaker Matt Dumayne has carved out a deserved reputation for the less is best style of making wine. By that I mean a pure representation of the vineyards where the grapes are grown. The result is an authentic, true taste of the Okanagan. You’ll enjoy flavours of blackberries and plums with subtle herbal notes. This is a savoury wine that needs decanting to release its full flavour. If you aren’t familiar with Cab Franc let Narrative be your introduction. A very well priced wine you can taste at the Okanagan Crush Pad booth at VanWineFest.
Price: $21.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores

Johnny Q Shiraz Australia

It’s always fun to happen upon a wine that is such a terrific buy you want to pull an Oprah. You get a bottle, you get a bottle and so on and so on. Johnny Q has a richly deserved following because this is so much wine for such a good price. It touches all the right buttons for an everyday tipple. Loaded with fresh fruit along with liquorice and spice in a soft, long finish….what’s not to like? It’s a lovely sipper on its own and a remarkably food friendly with everything from burgers to pizza, charcuterie to beef kabobs. I bet you can’t say no to a second glass.

Price: $13.95 (plus tax)
Available: Sutton Place Wine Merchant on Burrard street
Price: $16.49 (plus tax)
Available: Everything Wine in North Vancouver, South Vancouver, South Surrey and Langley
Price: $17.30 (plus tax)
Available: Marquis Wine Cellars on Davie Street

Torres Grand Coronas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Spain 2013

I’m so glad the Vancouver International Wine Festival turned the spotlight on Spain and Portugal this year. The two featured countries are delivering some fantastic wine at a great price. This Torres Cab is a prime example. After decanting the wine for about an hour I could already get a hint of what’s to come from the aroma. This is a bright, sunny glass of Spain. Flavours of blackberries and liquorice with some smoke and spice to add to the taste. This is a lush, balanced Cab that’s great with charcuterie or rack of lamb. We need more Espana in my opinion!

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

Sarmentero Tempranillo Spain 2015

I review Spanish wines regularly because they offer a lot of bang for the buck. So I’m more than a little excited to share this review particularly after the Vancouver International Wine Festival where Spain was a featured country. This Tempranillo is a beauty. There’s plenty of fruit and spice in the aroma along with vanilla. The flavour is rich and juicy, soft and smooth and medium bodied. A great wine on its own but really food friendly too for everything from charcuterie to burgers. If you haven’t tried Spanish wine here’s a great introduction to an old world producer with a new world sensitivity.

Price: $21.99 (plus tax)
Available: B.C. Liquor stores