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Column: The neon wines of Broadway

“They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway!” But the wines on Broadway are pretty bright and very tasty too.
Broadway Wine Shop
Broadway Wine Shop’s Chris Reid proudly displays his two recommended wines.

“They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway!” But the wines on Broadway are pretty bright and very tasty too.

Last week I was at a birthday celebration for Blue Grouse’s winemaker, Bailey Willamson, at Broadway International Wine Shop on Broadway at MacDonald in Vancouver. I had been to the store a few times years ago, but this happy event made me realize what a gem this wine shop is.

Their motto, “A shop for wine lovers,” is very appropriate.

It is not on a grand scale like Everything Wine. Instead, it is on an intimate human scale. Like a small bookstore compared to Chapters, you won’t find every wine from every region. What you will find are wines that customers regularly buy and those that the owners want to promote because of their quality.

And you actually get to talk to their owner like Chris Reid who has taken over the family business that began in 1986. I asked Reid for two recommendations at around $25. His first suggestion was a white Pansa Blanca Xarel-lo ($25.99). It is from the closest winery to Barcelona, Spain, is family-run and organic.

The grape Xarel-lo is most commonly found in a blend that makes the sparkling Cavas. Here it is a solo artist and it has a fresh floral and citrus fruit bouquet that is very refreshing. I thoroughly enjoyed the lemon-lime-ginger bursts of flavour. It reminded me of an amplified Verdejo.

Reid’s second recommendation was a Narrative 2016 Cabernet Franc/Merlot ($21.99) from the Okanagan Crush Pad. The Okanagan Crush Pad, located in Summerland is a first of its kind in Canada in two important ways. In addition to producing their own wine brands, Narrative and Haywire, it has facilities for grape growers to make and bottle their wine without the expense of building a winery.

Furthermore, Okanagan Crush Pad winemaker Matt Dumayne uses egg-shaped concrete fermenters, which adds an elegant style to the organic wines. The Cabernet Franc Merlot is produced from Okanagan fruit from the Golden Mile and Black Sage sub-regions. It’s delicious with its black cherry bouquet and its black and red fruit on the palate. The Narrative has a smooth medium-light body, which reminded me of an elegant Beaujolais.

Fruit forward, it’s a joyful splash of spring: juicy, light and cheerful. Wonderful to sip by itself but versatile enough to stand up to a medium-rare sirloin steak, served with beef stock and a splash of the Narrative.

Eric Hanson is a Richmond wine writer whose favourite wine is the next one he uncorks!

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