By Henry Yuen
Last November’s trip to Whistler for Cornucopia was once again very rewarding. The various wine seminars I attended were hosted by wine connoisseurs and industry stalwarts where the panels shared their discoveries and expertise. They always provided a mix of facts and anecdotes related to these wines to make the sessions entertaining. There were no doubt many good wines to be sampled and purchased, nevertheless, it’s impossible to go through each one of them. I shall, however, shared a couple of very enjoyable events I participated.
At the event the panel of wine experts broke down and recommended a list of good-valued wines that are definitely more than impressive but great buys for the holiday.
Out there in the market there are many choices, with varietals, different styles and price points, it is mesmerizing to many, be it beginners or frequent buyers. One of the objectives of the panel was to showcase wines from unfamiliar places or varietals not commonly found and this was what I found both eye-opening and educational. Let me go through some of my favourites out of the “Top Value Wines list” the panel put forward. The great news is, the most expensive wine is still under $30 (please note these prices are approximate and before taxes):
Selbach Riesling “Fish Label” from Germany at $16. At 11% alcohol, it is light but with good fruit and acidity. If you don’t know what authentic German Riesling taste like, try this.
Laurenz V Singing Gruner Veltiner 2013 from Austria at $20 is a dry Riesling with free flowing minerality and citrus. We don’t see much Austrian wines in this part of the world.
Blue Mountain Pinot Blanc 2014 from the Okanagan at $21 is clean and crisp with abundance of grape fruit and green apple aroma. Best expression of BC Pinot Blanc and well-crafted by this winery that has been around for a long time.
Angiolas Costmolina Vermentino di Sardegna 2014 is from the island of Sardinia at $18. Rich, juicy and a hint of minerality makes you want to drink more. Vermentino is not a common grape varietal we encounter very often.
Masi Campofiorin 2011 is from Italy at a reasonable $20. This Ripasso is from the Veneto region in the north eastern part of Italy. Lots of dark fruits, rustic and silky smooth. Ready to drink.
Monte del Fra Bardolino 2013 is also from Italy at $17. The wine provides some sweetness from the fruits with a hint of herbs and spices to enhance the balance.
Castano La Casona Monstrell 2014 from Spain is a steal at $9. Medium bodied with good tannins. Decant for an hour before serving to get the tightness out.
Mud House Pinot Noir 2014 at $19 is from the Otago region of New Zealand. Lord of the Ring scenery sounds familiar? That’s the terroir of this wine. This is a typical New Zealand Pinot with good fruit and adequate weight for a well-priced Pinot.
Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2013 at $21 is from the Black Sage Bench in the Okanagan. Cabernet Franc loves the clear sky and the dryness of the Okanagan and it ripe early. Lots of toasty oak due to the American oak treatment but still have good fruit and tannins. Candidate for cellaring to allow time to settle in the bottle.