My wonderful next-door neighbours are Spanish, and also retired restaurateurs – which is to say that they know their wine. And they’re generous, too. Pablo sometimes hands me a bottle when he makes a discovery and recently it was a Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, the 2015 Puente Negro made by Familia Orueta. A great bargain at $10.50, it was fresh and round in the mouth, a vivid combination of dark berry flavours lifted with a hint of spice. Quick, fire up the barbecue!
Sticking with Cabernet but moving north to California, maybe celebrate someone’s birthday with the classic Liberty School. Well balanced and approachable, this reliable performer from the Paso Robles region shows what $25 can buy: a seductive aroma that is followed on the palate by a cascade of black cherry, plum, raspberry … and a hint of eucalyptus. The long, satisfying finish is an extra present.
It’s summer, so let’s talk whites for a moment. Clean Slate Riesling hails from Germany and it is appropriately off-dry but in no way cloying, with vibrant acidity and a core of peach, citrus and tropical fruits that would delight most taste buds. Refreshing and palate cleansing, this is a Riesling for those who tend to veer away from “sweetish” wines. At $15.50 it is very good value.
And here’s something equally quaffable, but from B.C.’s Okanagan Falls. For more than two decades Wild Goose Vineyards has produced an aromatic white blend, Autumn Gold, that is a luscious and mouth-filling combination of Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Blanc. This is a deliriously flavourful wine that will make your glass overflow with seductive notes of stone fruit, apple, citrus, rose petal, ginger, and sweet spice. It’s easy to see why Wild Goose is considered an Okanagan star. Fairly priced at $19.50. (All prices include tax.)