By Robert Moyes
Now here’s a memorable mouthful of California sunshine! The Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay has deservedly been a bestseller for 25 years. Bold and flavourful, this has fruity and seductive aromas that follow through on the palate with tropical fruit flavours alongside peach, melon, a drizzle of honey, and a hint of oak. Soft and round in the mouth, this has notable intensity and a long finish. Worth the splurge at $27.60 – maybe with some Christmas turkey? And sticking to California, let’s acknowledge their fire-ravaged wine regions with a glass of Maggio Petite Sirah ($21.50). A vivid and juicy crowd-pleaser, the 2015 vintage of the fruit-forward and full-bodied Maggio is jammed with flavours of black currant, black cherry, cinnamon, dark chocolate and some herbal nuances. Even with a recent bump in price, this lush and sumptuous wine is still a good-value bottle for those who like them big.
The Nero d’Avola grape is Sicily’s most important contribution to the world of red wine. And when Barone Montalto combines it with Cabernet Sauvignon they produce a medium bodied wine that treats the palate to dark fruits and spices. Earthy and complex and boasting a long finish, this easy-drinking charmer pairs well with pasta, pizza, or grilled meats. It’s great value at $13.50, and would make an excellent house wine. Now let’s consider a very different blend, this one from the Similkameen Valley. Sandhill’s 2015 Cabernet Merlot ($22), lush and flavourful and framed by a hint of oak, is poised and eager to please. Flavours of blackberry, plum, and raspberry are lifted with notes of spice and white pepper. The lingering, palate-pleasing finish helps mark this as a special-occasion wine. Plus there are enough tannins to park this in the cellar for a few years. Try it with a lamb shoulder chop … yum! (All prices include tax.)