Best value in The Worlds – Nov 16, 2013

By Anthony Gismondi buy-viagra-powered-by-phpbb

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Earlier this summer I was holed up in a hotel ballroom near the Toronto airport for eight days searching for the best value wines sold in Canada.

I know you have heard that “best value” phrase a few times, but at The WineAlign World Wine Awards of Canada, a.k.a. The Worlds, it really means something.

The majority of the WineAlign team joined me at Wine Access magazine in the past to look for the best value wines under $25 in the country, and the annual issue was a big hit with readers. After the demise of Wine Access we wanted to make sure the awards continued without missing a beat or any of the judges so the WineAlign World Wine Awards were launched this summer.

We expanded the price parameters to include wines up to $50, hoping to examine some of the key wines you see in restaurants and that might be candidates for the wine cellar at home. If you are from British Columbia, the new $50 limit shouldn’t faze anyone since routinely we now pay $5-10 more per bottle for the same wine as folks in Ontario.

I predict the price of imported wine will continue to rise in B.C. as the provincial government continues to subsidize local producers, brewers and distillers who somehow feel entitled to avoid paying the same hefty taxes levied against foreign producers simply because they are B.C.-based, but I digress.

At the Toronto competition, the wines were grouped in flights by price and variety and or style and the results were sliced and diced on the strength of numbers. All the large categories were tasted by price: Under $15, $15-25; and $25-50. The largest categories yielded Category Champions and Judges’ Choice selections regardless of price, in effect the best of the best. We also declared the best wine from each price category. Each of the wines recognized were judged at least twice if not three times by a minimum eight judges and often by as many as 12 or 16.

When you put 19 highly opinionated and widely experienced judges in the same room as 1,000 wines you have the potential for amazing results that speak to value. You could say it is arbitrary, or subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; it could be contingent solely on one’s discretion but it’s not the case. After a week of tough scrutiny, tasting blind, under similar conditions, the best wines work their way to the top.

As for value, it is hard to argue against any of the winners. In three separate tastings the wine bested several competitors. If I was to describe a winning wine (its value not withstanding) it has balance as in its not too dry and not too sweet and in some cases not too fruity. It has a hint of complexity or a head-turning “what-isthat?” factor and the finish is persistent and clean. That may sound easy but that kind of wine is not as prevalent as you might think in the modern wine world.

I have little compunction in saying there is and will continue to be a shortage of good wine in this world, especially as New World consumers add wine to their daily diet.

Recently in Montreal I tasted several of what are historically referred to as the best red wines in the world, including one that sells for $3,000 a bottle in Vancouver. In Priorat, Spain, last week, I tasted the best wine I’ve had all year and it sells for 36 euros, proving that value like beauty comes at many price points and that maybe the emperor has no clothes.

Today we feature just six of the winning wines sold in British Columbia as judged at The Worlds. For a complete list of winners go to

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