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WINE NOTES: From Spain to California, unveiling great value delights

Wine critic, Robert Moyes, gives us his “perfectly potable” suggestions for March
Columnist Robert Moyes photographed at the Artisan Wine Shop on Broughton Street. (Don Denton photography)

Kaiken is one of the major Malbec producers in Argentina’s premier Mendoza region, and its 2021 Selección Especial is sleek, complex, and fruit-forward. Aromatic and eminently quaffable, it offers flavours of ripe blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries, with notes of mocha and cinnamon. Oak-aged and offering a nice balance of supple tannins and juicy acids, this wine also benefits from a sweet core and an impressively long finish. Nicely priced at $18.40, it would be a welcome guest at any dinner table.

Smooth, easy-going, and richly flavoured, Barone Montalto is a delightful blended red from Sicily that combines Cabernet Sauvignon and Nero D’Avola. (This latter is a tasty varietal indigenous to suddenly popular Sicily, the setting for the luridly charming season two of HBO’s White Lotus.) Abounding with dark fruit flavours enhanced with spice and a hint of sweetness, the earthy yet elegant Barone is great with pizza and barbecue. It represents notable value at $15.

Fans of Sauvignon Blanc should definitely try Menade Verdejo, a vibrant and fruity white wine that comes from Rueda, just north of Madrid. Verdejo wines tend to be dry, fresh, and fragrant, and this one made by Bodegas Menade is sourced from 25- to 35-year-old vines that are grown organically. Delightfully aromatic, the Menade offers flavours of peach, passion fruit, and citrus, all enlivened with sparkling acidity and saline and mineral notes. Excellent with seafood, fish, and chicken, this is an exciting wine, well worth $28.

For nearly a century, the Louis Martini winery has been making some of the tastier splurge-worthy wines to come out of California. Their 2020 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon (not to be confused with its big brother from Napa) is delightfully soft in the mouth and undeniably seductive as it treats the palate to a medley of dark fruit flavours such as black cherry, blackberry, plum, and cassis. Framed in oak and lifted with touches of spice, chocolate, and marzipan, this is a balanced and generous wine that is hard to resist at $32. (All prices include tax.)

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