The new year starts in the pink (wines)


All of a sudden, I’ve got a fridge full of pink bubble. Not that I’m complaining, mind you; it’s high on my list of favourite things to drink. It just happened: gifts, samples, tasters—’tis the season for pink sparklers.

There’s a six-pack of piccolos from Spain by Segura Viudas, which we talked about here recently. One of those would be great for a lunch of leftovers. Then there’s a brilliant pink bubble from Roger Wong’s brilliant little winery in Lake Country, B.C., which is also home to Gray Monk and a couple of others. Wong, you may recall, made the best Riesling ever produced in Canada many years ago—only a single vintage, called Focus, and then an Okanagan wildfire spoiled his plans for more. I still have three in my cellar; time to see how they’ve held up.

The new one from Wong’s new winery, Intrigue, is called I Do. Slightly sparkling, crisp, full, and fabulous. It’s made from Riesling and, says Wong, “a kiss of Merlot”. For a toast anytime with family or friends. Find it at the Intrigue Wines website, a steal at only $19.90.

Someone with a bigger, better cellar than mine gifted me a bottle of Deutz Rosé 2004 for the holidays. Beautiful, rich, and still very lovely. No idea what it’s worth, but regular Deutz sells for upward of $100 in the LDB, and it’s not polite to ask the price of a gift.

Speaking of Segura Viudas, the regular 750-millilitre bottle of the super-popular Spanish sparkler, in a rosé, has to be the best buy among currently listed bubbles in our government stores. (It’s a speculative listing, meaning not all the stores stock it.) At $14.99, it’s a steal. You can drink it every day, and it goes well with any kind of food. If you can’t find the rosé, the regular white version (same price) seems to be more widely available.

A frizzante-style rosé called 8th Generation Vineyard Confidence 2012 is brilliant winemaking by proprietor Bernd Schales: an essence of fresh, ripe strawberry on the nose and palate, with beautiful fruit. It’s very much a wine for meals and celebrations, and if you can hang on to a couple of bottles, it will reward summer-on-the-patio sipping. Well worth any amount of effort to get some for your cellar, it costs $23 at the winery.

I’ve got my pink sipping cut out for me in the days ahead.

A few mixed bottles…

Fetzer ValleyOaks Zinfandel 2010 ($14.99, specialty listing) From California, this is a light-textured, typical Zin, redolent of fresh berries with a bright, rich finish. A bargain.

Tommasi Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2010 ($59.99, specialty listing) This is a special-occasion treat, rich and sweet and portlike. It’s delicious and full of fruit, big and dark, with lots of dark chocolate in the finish. Yes, it is 60 bucks, but let it be your step over the New Year’s resolution.

M. Chapoutier Cotes du Roussillon Domaine de Bila-Haut Blanc 2012 ($15.99, specialty listing) Green and bright, tart and gently grassy, appealing and fresh. There’s a red version too—Bellerouche Rouge ($19.99, a specialty-listed new vintage that’s just arrived in B.C.). Michel Chapoutier will be making a rare Vancouver appearance, headlining a number of events at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, which takes place February 24 to March 2. Both of the new vintages will be poured during the tasting evenings. Plan to sample them, as well as a handful of other Chapoutier labels.

The 16th annual Sun Peaks Winter Okanagan Wine Festival takes place very soon: January 11 to 19 at Sun Peaks Resort, near Kamloops. It runs for nine days this year, instead of just one weekend, with seven new events added, including “Snowshoes, S’mores and Mulled Wine”, “Comforts of Grilled Cheese & Wine”, “Wine 101”, and “Assemblage”, offering something for everyone from newbies to enophiles and foodies. Several events are already sold out, but tickets to a number of others are still available. More details are at Wine Festivals website. I attended the first and second festivals, and I can tell you they’re wonderful, especially if you’re fond of snow.

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