Af­ford­able bub­bles to ring in 2019 D

FOOD rink

The Georgia Straight - - Food - By

TKur­tis Kolt

he clock is tick­ing closer to mid­night on De­cem­ber 31, and we’re go­ing to need some sparkling wine, stat!

The knee-jerk re­ac­tion for many may be Cham­pagne, but most of us are way more likely to try to keep things un­der the $25 mark.

There are plenty of bot­tles of bub­ble avail­able at this price, and there are cer­tainly some gems, but I’m afraid there are also a lot of duds.

We don’t have time to chase ex­clu­sive bot­tles all around town, so I’ve combed the selec­tions widely avail­able at B.C. Liquor Stores to come up with a roundup of my top 10 bang-for-your-buck, $25-or-less sparklers. A small hand­ful have been high­lighted here over the course of the year, but the ma­jor­ity are new to these pages. For­tu­nately, there’s ex­tra value of­fered, with many of them dis­counted through De­cem­ber 29, so best to jump on those selec­tions.


(Penedès, Spain; $13.99)

A ridicu­lously good, year-round bar­gain. This Cava bursts with lemon, lime, and Granny Smith ap­ples and is so fresh and lively that keep­ing your stamina up past mid­night will be a breeze. SEGURA VIUDAS BRUT RESERVA CAVA NV

(Penedès, Spain; $16.99, $15.49 un­til De­cem­ber 29)

Segura Viudas has been a peren­nial favourite in our mar­ket, de­liv­er­ing top-tier qual­ity at lower-shelf prices. In this mix of in­dige­nous Ma­cabeo, Parel­lada, and Xarel-lo va­ri­eties, those fresh-out-of-the-oven sour­dough aro­mas greet or­chard fruit like Gala ap­ples, Bosc pears, and Red Haven peaches on the plate.


(France; $15.99)

The folks be­hind this French fizz keep their cards close to their chests; it’s tough to pin down ex­act va­ri­etal or re­gional com­po­nents. No mat­ter. At 16 bucks, I’m lov­ing this dry pink wine for its zippy red berry fruit, solid lash­ing of white pep­per, and quite dry fin­ish.

CONO SUR SPARKLING ROSÉ NV (Bio Bio Val­ley, Chile; $18.99, $16.99 un­til De­cem­ber 29)

I pro­filed this wine ear­lier this year and can’t stop think­ing about it. It’s 100 per­cent Pinot Noir from the cool-cli­mate Bio Bio re­gion in the south of Chile, and we get lovely va­ri­etal el­e­ments of plum, cherry, and black­berry, with lively acid­ity and plenty of charisma.


(Penedès, Spain; $16.99)

This Span­ish Cava in­cor­po­rates the wine style’s com­mon in­dige­nous va­ri­eties—xarel-lo, Parel­lada, and Ma­cabeo—but they’re rounded out with a nice juicy splash of Chardon­nay. A mix of cit­rus fruit with a hand­ful of ap­ples is fin­ished off with a burst of pineap­ple and a small pinch of tar­ragon.


(Mosel, Ger­many; $17.99)

If spicy snacks or dishes are on the ros­ter, then head to Ger­many’s Mosel re­gion for this lively Ries­ling from one of the coun­try’s most no­table pro­duc­ers. Honey-drenched pears, quince, lemon, and hazel­nut carry a lit­tle bit of resid­ual sugar at the end, per­fect for en­velop­ing any heat your dishes may carry. STELLER’S JAY MÉTHODE CLASSIQUE BRUT 2015 (Okana­gan Val­ley, B.C.; $22.99, $20.99 un­til De­cem­ber 29) Def­i­nitely one of the best-value wines com­ing out of Bri­tish Columbia, the Steller’s Jay sparkling made in the clas­sic sec­ond-fer­men­ta­tion-in-the­bot­tle Cham­pagne method is a brioch-y, cit­rusy charmer of a wine, com­posed of Chardon­nay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir. I’m not go­ing to say that some may be fooled into think­ing it’s Cham­pagne—but I’m not not go­ing to say that, ei­ther. CHAN­DON CAL­I­FOR­NIA BRUT NV (Napa Val­ley, Cal­i­for­nia; $29.49, $24.49 un­til De­cem­ber 29) Speak­ing of Cham­pagne, the Cal­i­for­nia out­post of this renowned French pro­ducer de­liv­ers a juicy, toasty cul­mi­na­tion of Chardon­nay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Me­u­nier with enough in­ten­sity to han­dle bold-flavoured dishes—or even those with spice—with ease. LOUIS BOUILLOT “PERLE D’AURORE” CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE ROSÉ BRUT NV (Bur­gundy, France; $25.99, $23.99 un­til De­cem­ber 29)

Pinot Noir from the Côte d’or and Côte Chalon­naise joins Ga­may from the Mâ­con­nais, then spends 15 months on the lees, re­sult­ing in a creamy straw­berry, cream soda, and fresh cran­berry.


A va­ri­etal pro­file of Bur­gundy: Pinot Noir, Chardon­nay, Ga­may, and Alig­oté are har­mo­nious in what they all bring to the plate. Fresh lime, guava, red cur­rants, and lemon­grass are wo­ven to­gether grace­fully; a lovely, lovely ode to the re­gion.

No mat­ter what’s in your glass as we bring in the new year, I raise my glass to you and look for­ward to shar­ing an­other year’s worth of ex­pe­ri­ences and de­li­cious­ness in 2019.


FES­TIVE CEL­E­BRA­TIONS call for sparkling cock­tails. You can’t go wrong with a French 75, per­haps the most el­e­gant of them all. (Gin has largely re­placed co­gnac, the spirit in the orig­i­nal recipe, which dates back to the 1920s or so, but the drink still has grace.) The mixol­o­gists at Notch8 Restau­rant and Bar in the Fair­mont Ho­tel Van­cou­ver put a hol­i­day spin on the clas­sic by adding a splash of pome­gran­ate juice for a pretty pop of colour and burst of flavour. With a bal­ance of sweet and sour, the Fes­tive 75 in­cor­po­rates aro­matic rosemary to evoke the out­doors and crisp Steller’s Jay Moun­tain Jay Brut from the Okana­gan Val­ley for B.C. flair.

next gen­er­a­tion, and the scarcity of af­ford­able homes,” Col­lier re­flects. “It feels like we are quite con­fused right now and are awak­en­ing to this re­al­ity. For me, it feels like a real tip­ping point.

“Daniel has writ­ten a piece that chal­lenges us to awaken to those things,” she adds, “and he has a cen­tral char­ac­ter that is seek­ing re­demp­tion in a way—she has a per­sonal re­volt and takes a great risk to chal­lenge all of that.”

With Rose play­ing the woman on a quest to rec­on­cile her hus­band’s cor­rupt legacy be­fore she dies, the cast fea­tures Shaw Fes­ti­val vet Jim Me­zon, Bard on the Beach stand­out Dean Paul Gib­son, and Betrof­fen­heit’s Jonathon Young, as well as Jil­lian Fargey, John Ng, and Jenny Young.

The Full Light of Day

Col­lier seeks to use tech­nol­ogy, some­what para­dox­i­cally, as a way to cre­ate an in­ti­mate connection between those ac­tors’ char­ac­ters and the au­di­ence. The mul­ti­ple cam­eras and pro­jec­tions of­ten zoom in on their in­ner lives.

“I re­ally wanted to make a live­based tech­nol­ogy and use tech­nol­ogy to fill in the gaps,” she ex­plains. “With the cam­era, you can get closer to the char­ac­ter and you can see the things that the script de­mands. I want ev­ery­thing to be live for the au­di­ence and not me­di­ated.

“All of this tech­nol­ogy is also an ex­pres­sion of who we are now,” she adds. “I think it’s an hon­est re­sponse to to­day. It’s this epic, huge mod­ern tragedy and you don’t want to re­duce it to a cer­tain lo­ca­tion.”

Of course, over­see­ing all these mov­ing parts in the Play­house space will take Col­lier to new heights of mul­ti­task­ing—but the the­atre artist, who’s helmed ev­ery­thing from Van­cou­ver Opera’s Sweeney Todd to Bard on the Beach’s Ti­tus An­dron­i­cus

and Elec­tric Com­pany’s own cin­e­matic and wide-tour­ing No Exit, em­braces the chal­lenge.

“It’s a very com­plex piece. But it has been a grow­ing strength for me to man a big ship,” she says, then adds that the full ef­fect of all the el­e­ments com­ing to­gether in The Full Light of Day might not re­veal it­self un­til open­ing night at the Play­house: “I’m a vis­ually based di­rec­tor; I play things out in my mind and on pa­per, but you can never quite know how to pre­dict that. You can never know till you feel the rhythms, and see how they hit the body and mind.”

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