Savour a dozen hot new wines for the fall season

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      I’ve been spending plenty of time—by attending winetastings and catching up with local importers as much as possible—considering the best wines Vancouverites can put in their glasses in this home stretch of 2018. (I know, I know—it’s a living!) This week, I’ve assembled a virtual case of wine for Straight readers, full of bottles that should suit your season well.

      Fabulous Ant Pinot Noir 2015

      (Tolna, Hungary; $12.49 B.C. Liquor Stores)

      Yup, it’s a Pinot Noir from Hungary, and it’s fantastic! Put a bit of a chill on the handsome little number and revel in its breezy, bright red berry fruit, fresh thyme, and perfumed edges. Definitely a buy-it-by-the-case bargain.

      Cuvée Jean-Paul Gascogne Blanc Sec 2016

      (Côtes de Gascogne, France; $14 to $18, private wine stores)

      A crisp white wine for crisp autumn days. This cheery blend of Colombard and Ugni Blanc is teeming with lime, basil, and a little sprig of mint on the finish. A perfect accompaniment to any piping-hot, creamy pastas.

      Cuvée Jean-Paul Vaucluse Rouge 2016

      (Côtes de Gascogne, France; $14 to $18, private wine stores)

      Grenache and Syrah, strawberries and plums, tarragon and pepper, cheap and cheerful; this wine really punches above its weight class.

      Casa Contini Verso Rosso Salento 2017

      (Puglia, Italy; $18.99, B.C. Liquor Stores)

      From bush vines grown in mixed clay soils in the heel of Italy comes this chewy blend of Negroamaro, Primitivo, and Malvasia Nera loaded with dark currants, black licorice, blueberries, and baking spices. A small percentage of the fruit that went into this went through the appassimento process, where dried grapes are added to the ferment, which brings lovely richness and depth.

      D’Arenberg “The Stump Jump” Shiraz 2014.

      D’Arenberg “The Stump Jump” Shiraz 2014

      (McLaren Vale, Australia; $18 to $22, private wine stores)

      I love that the current vintage of this wine in our market is 2014. That extra bit of age brings a nice savoury, meaty character to the black berry fruit, white pepper, and rosemary notes that sail across the palate with ease.

      Niepoort Diálogo 2015

      (Douro, Portugal; $21.99, B.C. Liquor Stores)

      You don’t have to know the particulars of the Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, and Tinta Amarela grapes that are combined to make this rustic red blend. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy all those blackberries, mulberries, cocoa, and balsamic notes while detecting some charming fresh violets strewn across the palate from start to finish. Oh, and if you know how to grill a steak well, that’ll probably come in handy, too.

      Bodegas Aroa “Le Naturel” 2017.

      Bodegas Aroa “Le Naturel” 2017

      (Navarra, Spain; $22 to $26, private wine stores)

      Ticking all the “natural wine” boxes of being vegan, organic, unfined, and unfiltered, without any added sulphur, this Grenache-dominated red wine is jam-packed with black and purple berry fruit along with a splash of fruity espresso.

      Lungarotti Rubesco Rosso Di Torgiano 2014

      (Umbria, Italy; $25.99, B.C. Liquor Stores)

      A mix of sand, clay, and limestone provides good footing for this Sangiovese that gives Chianti a good run for its money. There’s a warmth and generosity to this wine, cradled in toasty oak for a year, reminiscent of a plum galette dusted with fresh herbs.

      Penner-Ash Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015

      (Oregon, USA; $42 to $46, private wine stores)

      Although this Oregon Pinot sits around the mid-$40 mark, if I were blind-tasting I’d venture it much pricier. Brambly forest-floor notes lift a host of pretty raspberries and blackberries to lofty heights, where they meet cardamom, bergamot, and nutmeg. Silky ,with well-integrated tannins, even at this fairly young age it’s really hitting its stride.

      Orin Swift Abstract 2016.

      Orin Swift Abstract 2016

      (California, USA; $45.99, B.C. Liquor Stores)

      When you want a wine with heft that’ll stain your teeth at first sip but still deliver balance and complexity, look no further. Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and a hearty lashing of French oak bring the delicious in a big way, making it obvious why this wine has such a notable cult following. Gobs of purple fruit and a pile of gingerbread are just the beginning.

      Jean-Marc Brocard Premier Cru Montmains 2016

      (Chablis, France; $47.99, B.C. Liquor Stores)

      This pitch-perfect Chardonnay offers tangy citrus, Granny Smith apple, and a good dose of juicy acid and salinity, along with a nice crack of mineral character. Fresh, lively, and so damn bright. It’s oyster season. You know what to do.

      G. D. Vajra Barolo Bricco Delle Viole 2014

      (Piedmont, Italy; $95.99, B.C. Liquor Stores)

      The family behind this wine are some of the nicest people I’ve met in the industry. They collaborate in their scenic vineyards and winery to create showstoppers like this ode to the region, bringing us everything we’re looking for in classic Barolo (tar and roses! dried herbs! fresh cocoa!), with elegance and grace. The vineyard this wine comes from is tiny, less than five hectares. This wine will take you there.