By Robert Moyes
There are lots of “cheap and cheerful” wines out there these days, but how many of them are really good? Let’s start our parade of best-buy bottles with the Fantini Farnese Sangiovese. Hailing from Abruzzo on Italy’s Adriatic coast, this one definitely over-delivers at $14. Well balanced and surprisingly layered, the smooth and nearly full-bodied Farnese has aromas and flavours of strawberry and black cherry. Vivid and instantly likeable, this would be a boon companion for any meaty pasta dish. And sticking with Italy, let’s head south to the Puglia region to check out Mezzomondo ($11.50), a winery that, year after year, puts out fine wine at a great price. The Negroamaro grape is indigenous to Puglia, and makes versatile, rustic-style wines that are great with a range of foods. The 2015 vintage from Mezzomondo is simple, sure, but has delightful cherry aromas and cherry-plum flavours lifted with a hint of spice and chocolate. Call it an affordable Chianti.
One of the real wine bargains in B.C. is the Wine O’Clock brand, which is a blend of domestic and imported grapes.
Their Sauvignon Blanc ($11, available at Artisan Wines) is a bit rounder than many SBs, with melon and apple on the palate, and just a hint of citrus moreso than dominant notes of grapefruit. Crisp and refreshing and silky in the mouth, this is an eager-to-please tipple ideal with chicken or seafood. And we’ll finish with Spain’s Protocolo Tinto, which is made entirely from Tempranillo and has been aged for three months on American oak. Light-bodied and delicious, this has been rated a “top value” by Robert Parker. With cherry-berry aromas that carry forward to the palate, along with spices and vanilla, this would be great with lighter meals or as sangria. Available for $15 at the Four Mile Liquor Store in Colwood. (All prices include tax.)