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Don’t wine for me Argentina

Wine can appeal to every taste and budget. Great wines do not need to be expensive but they do need to taste like real care and attention was taken with their production.

Wine can appeal to every taste and budget. Great wines do not need to be expensive but they do need to taste like real care and attention was taken with their production.

In my opinion, these are the wines that excite me - wines with some depth and more than one or two dimensions.

I believe the following three wines are multi-dimensional, and have had the care of serious craftsmen.


Champagne isn't the only sparkling wine that France produces, and the laws that govern the making of champagne are pretty much applied throughout France. All are made using the classic traditional method but different grape varieties are permitted outside the defined Champagne Appellation. The Veuve Du Vernay NV (209023) I tried recently is one of those sparkling gems.

This wine comes from the Bordeaux region and is a cuve, or blend, of three white grape varieties. The blend here is interesting as it has equal parts of Colombard and Sauvignon Blanc, with 20 per cent Chardonnay.

The French call a wine using only white grapes a blanc de blancs. Although the wine will come from a single year this sparkling wine is labelled non-vintage, or NV, so the winemakers have the option of blending wines of different years to maintain the quality if needed.

This lighter-bodied bubbly has a light golden straw colour and offers up aromas of pear and apple with a promise of a zesty citrus tinge. In the mouth, fine persistent bubbles refresh and enliven the taste buds with those tree fruit flavours. For $14.99 I'll remember this wine the next time I have seafood, especially prawns, or an egg omelette.


Susana Balbo, an Argentinean, has been making wine since she got her degree in oenology in 1981. Today she makes more wine varieties than anyone in Argentina and still finds time to do consulting work for winemakers around the world.

She has also started making her own wine with her name on the label, ensuring its quality. The label we have on our shelves is her Crios line which, of course, is made with Malbec, Argentina's signature grape. This 2008 Crios Malbec (442061) from Mendoza is a fairly full-bodied red wine with aromas of the flesh of a ripe black cherry and toasty oak coming from spending months in brand new French oak barrels. This is a wine that excited me by the aromas alone, and the flavours only confirmed the scent.

This purplish, red wine had flavours of cherry jam that were tamed and balanced by the tannin, toast and spice. This is a nicely-balanced wine that I'm sure Susana had no trouble adding her name to. This is an all-occasion wine that can be enjoyed with or without food. However, at $17.99 a bottle, I'd serve it with braised beef ribs, grilled steak or any medium strong cheese.


From its origin in Burgundy, France, the Chardonnay grape has found its way across the globe and can be found in every wine-producing country. Chardonnay is a versatile grape that lends itself to almost every winemaking technique known. I hear people say they don't like Chardonnays, but if all the possibilities are explored, I know they'd find one to suit their tastes. After tasting the Australian 2008 Cooralook Chardonnay (878389) I was so impressed that I can't see anyone not liking it.

This wine - called a smart buy and given 90 points by the Wine Spectator - comes from the Strathbogie Range of the State of Victoria. The cooler southern climate and elevation of the vineyards produce a lemon-gold coloured wine. This wine has light and delicate aromas of pear, apple, lemon and lime with an underlying suggestion of oak. There is no hint of vanilla on the nose or palate, so I am betting that French oak was used. And on the palate you can find flavours of tree fruit, fresh oak and a refreshing citrus zing. This mouth-watering and refreshing wine made this $15.99 bottle of Chardonnay one of my current white wine favourites. This is an ideal wine for anything creamy and white, including white meats or fish.


Al Spoklie is a product consultant at the B.C. Signature Liquor Store, Pine Centre. The bracketed numbers are the product codes for the B.C. liquor stores.