It’s hard to imagine a more attractive entry-level California Chardonnay than the 2017 Artius ($15).
Supple, medium-bodied and surprisingly elegant, the Artius has an enticingly fruity bouquet that follows through with flavours of apricot, lemon, melon, and a hint of pineapple. The velvety mouthfeel and long finish are further indications that the Artius should be of interest to other than just budget shoppers. And this little beauty even goes on sale fairly often!
The Puglia region of southern Italy produces many affordable and very quaffable wines. Case in point is the Codici Salice Salentino ($17.25), which is made predominantly from the Negroamaro grape. Deeply coloured and full-bodied, this aromatic wine has an enticing palate of dark fruits such as blackberries and prunes that are complemented by hints of olives and a lick of spice. This would be great with lamb or beef or a garlicky pasta, but is also attractive just as a patio sipper.
The Okanagan’s Hester Creek has been making fine wines for decades and certainly has a handle on Pinot Gris, B.C.’s most popular white varietal. Their full-bodied 2018 vintage ($22) is on the dry side, with pear and green apple on the nose, followed by a palate of melon, apricot and a hint of citrus. Although it would be great with Asian dishes, my wife and I had this with fresh pan-seared Pacific halibut steaks tweaked with pesto – delicious!
My two-man “Wine Club” had been in serious disarray for a couple of months but when we finally had a meeting recently we came back strongly with the 2015 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone ($28.75), a Syrah-dominant blend. Rhone wines have a high quality-to-price ratio and this one delivered from the first sip: a spicy nose was followed by lush dark fruits on the palate, and nicely endowed with those herby “garrigue” notes characteristic of serious Rhone reds. Delicious now, but could cellar for a few more years.
(All prices include tax.)