Life’s too short for Sauvignon Blanc alone.
In B.C., we’re lucky to have the opportunity to enjoy so many incredible wines from all over the globe, yet most of what we see (and taste) comes from the same 40 or maybe 50 varietals.
This may seem like a lot, but with literally thousands of different grapes grown in the world, it makes sense to experiment a little.
We’ll start with whites this week. You’re likely to find more than a few new favourites along the way; here are some of mine.
Moon Curser Arneis 2013 ($22, winery direct)
I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve sampled from this Osoyoos-based winery, and its first vintage made from the Arneis grape, native to Piedmont, in northwestern Italy, is no exception. Crisp flavours of pear, citrus, and almonds with a pleasantly creamy finish.
Terravista Vineyards Fandango 2013 ($24.90, winery direct)
I liked the 2011 when I tasted it a couple of years ago, and to date this wine remains the only Canadian blend of Albariño and Verdejo that I know of. These are two Spanish varietals that blend as nicely in the Old World as they do in the new. The 2013 offers notes of melon, pineapple, and grapefruit with a sweet herbal finish. Pair with a cheese and fruit plate.
Benjamin Bridge Tidal Bay 2013 ($23.99)
Two of the well-received wines of Nova Scotia’s Benjamin Bridge are finally available in B.C. liquor stores, including this blend of white grapes that includes L’Acadie Blanc, Ortega, New York Muscat, and some new grape called Chardonnay, which I’ll bet will become popular one day. Plenty of balanced sweetness here, with flavours of mandarin orange, kiwi, and white flowers. This will appeal to you if you like your wines not so bone-dry. Tasty for the price and elegantly packaged. Going to a barbecue this week? This is its perfect partner.
Forbidden Fruit SauVidal 2013 ($22)
Most of us are familiar with Sauvignon Blanc, but Vidal is a grape that sees less of the spotlight. The latter varietal dominates this luscious blend and delivers notes of canned pears, sweet tarts, honey, and butter, similar to a pecan or butter tart. The finish is off-dry but would pair well with an apple-glazed pork tenderloin, if you happen to have one handy.
Ironstone Obsession Symphony 2012 ($16.49)
For fans of Gewürztraminer, Ehrenfelser, or even Riesling or Muscat, this wine is a delicious alternative. I’ve tasted and reviewed several vintages, and I’m pleased that they’ve retained the aromatics while reducing some of the overt sweetness of the 2012 vintage. It has an alluring nose of vanilla musk, star anise, and ripe stone fruits. The tasting panel thought this would pair perfectly with an Alsatian choucroute garnie meal.
Domaine de la Rosiere Jongieux Blanc 2013 ($18.99)
It’s rare to see a wine from the Savoie region in the Alps of eastern France, and it’s a treat to be able to enjoy one for under 20 bucks. Made from the native Jacquère grape, this wine is clean, light, and crisp, like biting into a fresh green apple. Its natural pairing is with fondue, allowing the acid to cut through the richness of the cheese.
A Mano Fiano Greco 2011 ($19.99, private stores)
From Puglia in southern Italy, A Mano blends 75 percent Fiano for its rich and fruity aromatics with 25 percent Greco for body and structure. The finish is fresh and creamy, with additional flavours of nectarines and rose petals.
Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli 2012 ($29.99, private stores)
Famous in the Basque region of Spain, this wine is a lovely accompaniment to our local seafood cuisine and has to be tried at least once, ideally with food. High in acid but full of pleasant saline minerality and with a slight fizz, it shows notes of lemon, green olives, and apples. Oysters, oysters, oysters.
Domaine Wachau Terraces Grüner Veltliner 2012 ($17.99)
Great to see a few more Grüners showing up in the local market, all the way from their native Austria. Word is that the new Culmina winery in Oliver has produced one, but I haven’t tried it yet. In the meantime, this is the real deal. This clean, dry white shows notes of fresh citrus and honey, and a kiss of pepper. A bargain for the price and worth picking up in pairs.