Perfectly Potable with Robert Moyes
I’ve been a fan of Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel for years and the 2019 is a California beauty. This is classic Zin: luscious and palate draping, with oodles of dark fruits like plum and cassis and blackberry, some brambly wildness and hints of spice and mocha. The long finish is almost sweet and undeniably succulent. If you love Pinot Noir, look elsewhere; but if big and bold does it for you, this is one of the best $22 reds on the market.
A tipoff from a talented chef (and cherished in-law) led me to this remarkably good-value Pinot Grigio from Peller Family Vineyards. A bit off-dry and quite round in the mouth, the wine blends notes of apple, pear, melon and citrus into a crisp, bright and refreshing crowd pleaser.
A silver medalist in a festival for low-priced wines (who knew there was a “plonk Olympics”?), this tasty sipper pairs well with everything from chicken to creamy seafood pastas. A steal at $10.35.
Chile produces a lot of impressive wines, and a reliable performer is the Santa Carolina Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon. Yummy red fruits and cedar aromatics begin the seduction, followed by a sweet kiss on the palate, as flavours of plum, cherry, cassis and licorice roll onwards and conclude with hints of chocolate and a long, flavour-rich finish. Medium bodied, smooth and well balanced, this $16 charmer is a pleasure to drink now, and even has a bit of cellaring potential.
California hogs the limelight when it comes to American wine, but Washington State makes a lot of wines every bit as good. Which brings us to Chateau Ste. Michelle, the state’s oldest winery. Its 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is ripe and round and silky smooth, with a core of luscious dark fruits such as blackberry, cassis, cherry and plum.
Hints of oak and spice carry forward into a long, luxuriant finish. If you are looking for a tasty splurge this would be $28.75 very well spent. (All prices include tax.)