Kick back on the deck this long weekend
is rich, though the sweetness is kept in check quite well. It’s an easy, unpretentious sipper made by a Chilean winery. Look for flavours of cassis, blackberry, plum and mocha.
Price: About $15. It’s widely available, check your nearest liquor store.
Drink: Now, barbecued ribs, salmon or on its own. Cork; 14 per cent alc./vol. Quails’ Gate
2013 Chasselas-Pinot Blanc-Pinot Gris Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Perched above Okanagan Lake in West Kelowna, Quails’ Gate is marking its 25th anniversary this year. Always a top performer in the valley, the winery welcomed a new winemaker last fall when Calgary-born Nikki Callaway came down the road from nearby Mission Hill Family Estate winery.
The wines appear to be in good hands with Callaway, who trained in Bordeaux, France and worked in South Africa before returning to Canada. She has crafted a fresh and lively white blend featuring Chasselas, the first Vitis vinifera grape grown at Quails’ Gate. The blend exudes flavours of red grapefruit, peach, lime, green apple and a bit of flowery sweetness.
Price: About $20. It’s widely available throughout the city.
Drink: Now. Boasting vibrant acidity, this would pair well with oysters, scallops, crab cakes or cheese fondue. Screw cap; 12.5 per cent alc./vol. Wente Vineyards
2012 Riva Ranch Chardonnay Arroyo Seco, Monterey,
California Wente Vineyards’ winemaking history dates back to 1883 in California’s Livermore Valley, east of San Francisco. In fact, no American winery has been continuously owned and operated by the same family for so long.
The winery has built a strong reputation during the past 131 years, especially when it comes to Chardonnay, a grape that was embraced by the Wentes. Decades of working with the Chardonnay grape, originally from France, led to the development of a unique variety called the Wente Chardonnay clone. It is now grown by wineries throughout California.
Boasting ripe fruit flavours of peach, pineapple and stewed apple, with vanilla, browned butter and tarragon notes, this mediumbodied wine from Monterey, about 180 kilometres south of San Francisco, offers a smooth, fresh finish.
Price: You can find it for about $20. Try Costco, Crowfoot Centre Liquor Store, Oak and Vine Wine and Spirits, OK Liquor Store, Real Canadian Liquor Store, Spirits of Cranston and Willow Park Wines & Spirits. Drink: Now, with beer can chicken, baked pork chops or corn on the cob. Cork; 13.5 per cent alc./vol. Moraine Estate Winery
2012 Pinot Noir Okanagan Valley, British Columbia Moraine is a fairly new enterprise on the site of the former Zero Balance Winery on the Naramata Bench, north of Penticton, B.C. Owners Oleg and Svetlana Aristarkhov join the long list of former Albertans who have been lured to British Columbia by wine’s spell.
Oleg, an electrical engineer, and Svetlana were both born in Russia, though they lived in Edmonton for 17 years before purchasing the winery site in 2011.
This is the first Pinot Noir they have produced with winemaker Jacq Kemp. Medium-full-bodied and dry, it offers a smoky, earthy nose and flavours of currant, cranberry, wild raspberry, strawberry and tobacco, with some spice on the finish. There’s a nice depth of flavour here. A great first effort.
Price: About $32. Look for it at The Cellar, Maria’s Fine Wines and Spirits, Olympia Liquor Store, Sobeys Liquor, Willow Park Wines & Spirits.
Drink: Now, or set it aside for a few years. Enjoy it with duck dishes, lamb souvlaki or grilled mushroom pizza. Screw cap; 13.3 per cent alc./vol.