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Column: Go-to value wines

Six "value" wines to try with the start of the new year.
Richmond News columnist Tony Kwan believes M. Chapoutier Crozes Hermitage Les Meysonniers is an undervalued wine that will only go up in price.

With the New Year, everyone is looking for ways to save money.  So here is my list of go-to value wines that, year in and year out, provide consistently great quality at affordable prices. But with inflation, everything is going up in price so catch these wines before they are no longer "value" wines anymore!

Domaine Bousquet Malbec ($17.99) – this wine always produces intense dark fruit flavours with a touch of smokiness, tar and tobacco integrated with a good tannin structure. The wine is produced by grapes coming from the high-altitude vineyards in Gualtallary, Tupungato, a district of the Uco Valley in Argentina’s Mendoza region, close to the border with Chile.  It is typically fermented in stainless steel and uses 100-per-cent Malbec grapes so it will not be overly oaky.

Escudo Rojo ($18.99) – one of the best value expressions of the Carmenere grape, which is now predominantly grown in Chile.  Carmenere produces wine that has a deep red colour with red fruit and spice flavours and aromas.  The tannins are gentler and softer than Cabernet Sauvignon wines so you will get a medium-bodied wine ready to drink.  The wine is produced by Baron Philippe de Rothschild, who also owns high-end wineries like Opus One, Almaviva and Chateau Mouton Rothschild.

M. Chapoutier Crozes Hermitage Les Meysonniers ($29.99) – this is a tremendously under-priced wine that will eventually skyrocket in price.  M. Chapoutier is one of the top wine producers in Rhone, France and Crozes Hermitage is a region in Northern Rhone known for producing very high-quality wines.  You don’t normally get value Northern Rhone wines so this is definitely an outlier.  The wine is a blend of 85-per-cent Syrah and 15-per-cent Marsanne and Roussanne grapes.  The wine is aged for 12 months: 85 per cent in concrete tanks and the remaining 15 per cent is aged in barrels.  It always produces a hearty wine with rich, vibrant fruit and a tremendous depth of flavours.

Cusumano Nero D’Avola ($19.99) – Italy has so many interesting grape varietals and this wine from Sicily is made with the dark Nero D’Avola grape. Nero D’Avola grapes produce wines that have sweet plum and peppery flavours with good acidity and aromatics. It is a heavy wine so great with all types of Italian cuisine. 

Wild Goose Autumn Gold ($20.99) – one of my favourite BC white wines every year is this wine.  It is an off-dry wine made with a blend of Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Blanc grapes.  It is a wonderful summer sipper or an aperitif wine but also pairs nicely with cheeses and light seafood dishes.  You will get a lot of tropical fruit, peach flavours, and aromas.

Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay ($13.99) – it is hard to find a Chardonnay that is not overly oaky but still allows the expression of the delicate fruit flavours of Chardonnay.  This wine will give you peach and apple notes with nice balanced acidity.  The wines from Australian value producer Lindemans always deliver great quality for the price.  Ready to be enjoyed right away without further aging.

I hope you will take advantage of the prices of these wines and stock up on them before prices go up again.  Until next time, happy drinking!

Tony Kwan is a Richmond News columnist. Lawyer by day, a food and wine lover by night, Kwan is an epicurean who writes about wine, food and enjoying all that life has to offer.