Black Sage offers upscale wine experiences for those with slightly more discriminating tastes. Twitter

WINE NOTES: Sumac Ridge offshoot a favourite discovery for 2019

Black Sage’s 2016 Cabernet Franc offers good value, plenty of flavour for medium bodied red: Moyes

Located south of Santiago in Chile’s Colchagua Valley, Cono Sur Winery was founded in 1993 and is well known for producing good-value, expressive wines.

Their “organic” Sauvignon Blanc ($17.25) is a vibrant, refreshing mouthful that balances a limey, citrus core with layers of melon, green apple and minerality. Juicily acidic and medium-bodied, this wine boasts vivid flavours and a youthful exuberance that would go well with oily fish such as sardines and mackerel or big garlicky prawns.

Robert Moyes, Monday Magazine wine columnist

An upmarket offshoot of the Okanagan’s Sumac Ridge Winery, Black Sage quickly established a reputation for intense and memorable wines. Of particular merit is their 2016 Cabernet Franc ($30.50), whose heady nose leads into a lush palate of blackberry, plum, black cherry, and spice. Medium-bodied but brimming with mouth-filling flavour, this Cab Franc sat on oak for 16 months and combines structure and balance with hedonistic charm. Possibly my favourite wine discovery of the year, it represents notable value. Try it with lamb, venison, or duck confit.

For those who think you have to fork out at least $30 to get a decent Rhone-style wine, better grab a bottle of the Chapoutier Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2017 ($20). Hailing from the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southeastern France, the Bila-Haut is a full-bodied blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan that combines flavours of plum, cherry and dark berries with subtle hints of dried herbs. Suave, smooth and delicious, this would be ideal with fennel sausages just off the barbecue – yum!

And drinkers who like their wines to be organic and fair trade should check out the lineup offered by Argentina’s Believer winery. I can particularly recommend their blended white, which is predominantly Pinot Grigio, but gets a bit of spiciness from the addition of Torrontés, an unusual varietal indigenous to Argentina. Aromatic, full-bodied and dry, this attractive blend offers pear, peach and green apple flavours and a long finish. Fairly priced at $18.50.

(All prices include tax.)

Robert Moyeswine

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