The classic California cab, Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, features luscious fruit flavours, writes Robert Moyes. joshcellars.com

The classic California cab, Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, features luscious fruit flavours, writes Robert Moyes. joshcellars.com

PERFECTLY POTABLE: Bold reds that make you stand up and take notice

Monday wine columnist Robert Moyes weighs in on a trio of fine reds and a yummy late harvest white

As winter deepens, now is a particularly apt time to break out some “big reds” at the dinner table.

The Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon ($23) is a classic California Cab, with gorgeously ripe fruit yielding flavours of blackberry, plum, cassis and black cherry that are complemented by hints of cinnamon, pepper, spice and vanilla. In short, this is a bold delight that is also good value. Ideal for rack of lamb or a pepper steak.

Monday wine columnist Robert Moyes

Sticking with California, but by way of Kentucky, is the exotic Stave & Steel ($23), which is another Cabernet Sauvignon albeit one aged for four months in Kentucky bourbon barrels. Lush, full-bodied and complex, the Stave & Steel has a generous core of black cherry and plum that is enriched with a seductive bourbon influence that adds notes of vanilla, caramel and spice. Smooth and generous on the palate, this would be a treat with barbecued ribs.

Feudo Maccari’s Neré is a lovely example of Nero D’Avola, the signature grape of Sicily. This heritage varietal loves the heat and typically yields fragrant wines that are dry and slightly astringent, but also round and full-bodied – one of the rare Italian wines that is fine for sipping on its own. Fairly priced at $24, the vividly aromatic Neré offers juicy flavours of blackberry, cherry and plum. Try this with charcuterie or your favourite pasta.

And moving from big reds to a big treat, let’s finish with a “late harvest” dessert wine from the Okanagan. For those who find B.C.’s glorious ice wines prohibitively expensive, the Hester Creek Late Harvest Pinot Blanc ($22) makes an attractive alternative. Made with fruit harvested from 50-year-old vines, this silver medal winner at the 2019 National Wine Awards of Canada lays out a banquet of pear, apple, honey and peach flavours accompanied by a pleasantly sumptuous mouthfeel. Not too sweet, this one’s a crowd pleaser.

(All prices include tax)

Find other wine columns at mondaymag.com/author/robert-moyes/

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