Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Wine Buys this Month

So it's scorching hot, by Vancouver standards, with daily highs consistently in the 25C+ range the past 6 weeks and dry as a bone by anyone's standards. Since May 1st Vancouver has had 17.5mm of recorded rainfall, to put that in perspective the average monthly rainfall for May & June are usually in the 60mm range for each month and July is around 40mm, so generally by mid July the rainfall for May, June & July would be in the 140mm range.

What this means for me is lots of salads and lots of grilled dinner. I generally prep a big bowl of Greek salad and another of coleslaw, undressed, keep them in the fridge and dress what we need at dinner, or I grill veggies after I've taken the protein off the Weber and let the protein rest. As for that protein it runs the usual course, fish (mostly tuna or salmon), pork (tenderloin or ribs) chicken and a bit of beef, but regardless the fact remains that grilled means bolder flavour and that means wines that will stand up to those flavours. For white wines that means Sauvignon Blanc and Rieslings, for reds the varietal doesn't matter as much as the balance . I am generally a huge fan of acidity in red wine but for the summer and the sweet, smoky flavour of food off the grill I tone it down and look for softer wines that won't duke it out with the robust grilled meats .

Anyway as you should know the BCLDB price changes happen generally on the last Sunday of the month and since stores are now open Sunday you can get there early and scope the deals. The other alternative is to check my blog a day or two afterwards, or a couple of weeks in today's case, for some of what I think are the better monthly price reductions. There are generally around 300 wines that are placed on sale each month, these are known as LTOs, limited time offerings, and come about by the agents for the wines choosing to release there price for a month to either stimulate a flagging brand, to capitalize on a hot brand or sometimes to introduce a product to wider audience. Often these reductions are in the $1 a bottle range and I generally don't test drive those ones but once you get up to $2 a bottle I may get interested. So given that it's hot and we want BBQ wines here are my picks for this month's wine buys, remember all prices will have 15% tax added on plus a 10 cent deposit so, for example, a wine that is on the shelf at $13.99 will ring up as $16.20.
Red Wine Bargains

Jackson Triggs Reserve Merlot Okanagan Valley, reduced $2 to $9.29 - stupidly cheap, for BC, solid entry level Merlot

Errazuriz Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Chile, reduced $2 to $11.29 - good entry level fruity Cab with some smoke & peppers, medium length

Jacob's Creek Reserve Barossa Shiraz Barossa Valley, Australia, reduced $2 to $12.79 - this wine used to retail for $20, it's not as good as their Coonawarra Cab but it's a helluva bang for the buck $14.80 all in

St. Hallet's Gamekeepers Reserve Barossa Valley, Australia, reduced $2 to $12.99 - this beauty is a blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Touriga Nacional and has lots of sweet fruit and spice, great mouthfill

Red Rooster Merlot Okanagan Valley, reduced $2 to $13.69 - cooler climate BC Merlot with some nice chocolate and plum, some more Cancon

Yalumba Organic Shiraz - South Australia, reduced $2 to $13.99 - the rather generic South Australia appelation could give pause but this is a nice drinking soft Shiraz without the over the top fruit that many less expensive Aussie reds exhibit. I actually just had this with grilled grass fed striploin in the middle of writing this post and it was great.

Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot Columbia Valley, Washington, reduced $2 to $15.39 - this is just really, really good Merlot it's got all those mocha, cherry, red fruit flavours we love in Merlot with a big velvet finish save this one and the next one for the steaks.

Graham Beck The Game Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon South Africa, reduced $2 to $16.29 - big, big Cab with a bit more Old World austerity than the other wines on this list it has a more tannic bite and a long finish with black fruits and menthol in the mix, crack it 20 minutes before dinner and have it with the leg of lamb.

White Wine Bargains

Inniskillin Okanagan Estate Riesling Okanagan Valley, reduced $2 to $9.29 - nice entry level Riesling it's fruit forward with enough acid to keep it fresh, finishes alittle short but at this price great for patio sipping or with spicy chicken
Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva Chile, reduced $2.20 to $10.09 - I like Chilean SB, it treads the line between the often overly assertive style of New Zealand and the blander California "Fume", this has hints of grapefruit and a nice finish at a great price

Sauvignon Blanc Sileni Cellar Selection Marlborough, New Zealand. reduced $2 to $13.29 - more on the tropical fruit/gooseberry end of the SB scale this is pretty textbook Marlborough for a good price. More assertive than the Santa Carolina it will be better with fatty fish like salmon

Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling Columbia Valley, Washington, reduced $2 to $13.29 - oh it's just so pretty, blended from a variety of Columbia Valley fruit this is lovely off dry Riesling, white peach and lime on the palate with a little wet stone and honey on the end, great with spicy grilled chicken .

Wild Goose Vineyards Gewurztraminer Okanagan Valley, $2 to $14.29 - Gewurztraminer, called "goo" in the trade is great with spicy food and Wild Goose's goo is made with 25 year old vines producing something with spice and roses and grapefruit rind, big mouthfill, a little off dry and a lot delicious.

Sandhill Pinot Gris "Hidden Terrace" Okanagan Valley, reduced $2 to $14.59 - I'm not a big fan of Pinot Gris but this single vineyard bottling for Sandhill is an exception, it's not flabby like so many examples but has a nice acidity and crisp apple/pear flavours .

Chateau St Jean Chardonnay Sonoma, California, reduced $2 to $17.29 - it's big ticket for the BBQ at $20 with tax in but it's still a chance to have a really good example of why California Chardonnay has been so popular for so long, full bodied with lots of apple, vanilla and toasty oak it embodies the Californian "buttery" style without becoming oak soup.

Wow, that was a lot longer than I thought it would be, and before you ask about Rosé there are none on sale, plus overall the selection is hideous.

These wines are on sale until July 25th, I'll try and post about next month's bargains a little earlier than 2 1/2 weeks into the four week cycle.

I'll leave you with a photo of me grilling the grass fed strip loins mentioned above.


  1. Anonymous9:38 AM

    Hi Wine Guy,

    LTO's, (Limited Time Offers) are marked by the BCLDB and always end in 99 cents, but be wary of prices that end in 7 cents. They are clearance items and might not be restocked. FYI... especially if you find something you like!


    1. Thanks Anonymous, I get a lot of comments from you, I think I was pretty clear about what LTOs are and the process and make it a policy not recommend clearance items without clearly identifying them as such.