NEW WINES

The Georgia Straight - - Front Page - The Bot­tle Kur­tis Kolt

The be­gin­ning of the new year has brought a good amount of new wine re­leases to re­tail shelves. I’ve re­cently had the chance to sam­ple through a bunch of se­lec­tions, whether new vin­tages or new wines to our mar­ket, and I’m pretty ex­cited about these fresh faces.

This col­umn will be a two-parter, with an­other slate of new­bies pro­filed next week. I have ev­ery­thing from lively sparkling wine to a sturdy, broad-shoul­dered Caber­net; we’ll look at things this week from light­est to heav­i­est.

CONO SUR BRUT ROSÉ (Bio Bio, Chile; $17.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) Cono Sur has al­ways de­liv­ered bang for our buck, and this sparkling pink wine al­lows the trend to con­tinue. The Pinot Noir in this fizz comes from Bio Bio in the south of Chile, a cool-cli­mate re­gion that keeps those plum and cherry flavours bright and buoy­ant with zippy acid­ity, car­ry­ing

’em to­ward the lengthy, cit­rusy, and slightly herba­ceous fin­ish. It’ll do just fine with as­sorted cheeses, char­cu­terie, and salty fried snacks.

CRUDO OR­GANIC CATARRATTO

ZIBIBBO 2016 (Sicily, Italy; $17.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) The is­land charm of Sicily is in full force here, with Catarratto bring­ing both lemon blos­som and orange pulp to the aro­mat­ics and front of the palate. Zibibbo, more com­monly known as Mus­cat of Alexan­dria, car­ries the end with a trop­i­cal chime; think hi­bis­cus, litchi, and pomegranate. There’s an oc­to­pus on the la­bel, which makes for fun brand­ing, but I can’t help but think it a good pair­ing sug­ges­tion as well.

SCHLOSS REINHARTSHAUSEN

DRY RIES­LING 2016 (Rhein­gau, Ger­many; $22.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) It’s Ries­ling, it’s dry, and it’s re­ally floatin’ my boat these days. There’s a lit­tle bit of a spritz here, keep­ing things nice and fresh. While ex­pected com­po­nents like lime and green ap­ples are in­deed on of­fer, there’s a lovely twang of guava and a drop or two of honey added to the mix, pro­vid­ing a lit­tle ex­tra char­ac­ter.

DO­MAINE DE L’OLIVETTE BLANC 2016 (Pays d’oc, France; $15.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) This blend of or­ganic Grenache Blanc and Marsanne sings with yel­low plums, goose­ber­ries, star fruit, and Hon­ey­crisp ap­ple. A def­i­nite crowd pleaser, and at this price, it’d be handy to have an ex­tra bot­tle or two around, ready for un­ex­pected com­pany. GARNIER ET FILS CHABLIS 2015

(Bur­gundy, France; $37 to $42, pri­vate liquor stores) I grabbed a bot­tle of this Chablis most re­cently at Mar­quis Wine Cel­lars on Davie Street and was smit­ten with the lemony aro­mat­ics, along with the tangy river-rock el­e­ments on the palate all drenched in fresh-squeezed pomelo and pink grape­fruit. The big fail on my part was not hav­ing fresh seafood at the ready. DO­MAINE LAFAGE CÔTÉ EST ROUSSILLON BLANC 2016 (Côtes Cata­lanes, France; $17.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) There’s a waxy rich­ness to this Grenache Blanc and Ver­mentino blend; the wildas­para­gus and young-al­mond flavours are livened up by jas­mine and gar­de­nia flow­ers, with a lit­tle

squeeze of man­darin orange as it trails off to­ward the end. There’s a good weight here, too: per­fect for mild cur­ries, bar­be­cued chicken, and sharp cheeses.

JEAN-MAU­RICE RAFFAULT

CHINON 2016 (Loire Val­ley, France; $22.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) This Caber­net Franc is fresh as can be, zippy and bright with red bell pep­pers and heir­loom toma­toes, dusted with fresh oregano, thyme, and basil, then fin­ish­ing quite min­eral and dry. It’s quite light on its feet; do en­sure it’s served with a bit of a chill to keep all those won­der­ful flavours el­e­vated. AR­ROWOOD KNIGHTS VAL­LEY CABER­NET SAUVI­GNON 2013 (Sonoma, Cal­i­for­nia; $51.46, Ev­ery­thing Wine) It’s tough to find de­cent Cal­i­for­nia Caber­net at a good price these days, es­pe­cially one as well-built as this. If you’re look­ing for an op­u­lent red ul­tra­plush wine with sweet, ripe fruit, this ain’t it. What we have here in­stead is a bal­anced com­po­si­tion of red and black cur­rants, dusty co­coa, es­presso, cedar, and eu­ca­lyp­tus, all on point and show­ing well. There’s also a good streak of min­er­al­ity and dusty tan­nins keep­ing ev­ery­thing in check. Hey, it’s still a Caber­net Sauvi­gnon; feel free to give it a good de­cant­ing first so all those flavours can eas­ily de­velop. Food pair­ing–wise, think lamb shank, sir­loin steak, ham­burg­ers, and other meaty de­lights.

Make sure you have seafood handy when you try Garnier et Fils Chablis.

Cono Sur’s Brut Rose, Do­maine Lafage’s Roussillon Blanc, and Ar­rowood’s Caber­net Sauvi­gnon are some fresh faces on the shelves of our wine stores.

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