Value is a moving target and can come at any price. An expensive price tag does not guarantee quality, and a cheap wine is not always good value. There are many shortcuts that can be taken in grape growing and winemaking, and manipulation is not uncommon at the lower price bands. The following wines of great value express something special beyond your typical affordable bottle. They’re farmed responsibly, they’re well-made, they’re made with intent, and they have a story to tell.
First up is the Mánnara Pinot Grigio. It’s a cheerful, light, refreshing white from the deep south of Italy. Retailing for only $11.99 - this should be your dry and snappy house white.
The LaStella Leggiero Un-Oaked Chardonnay is a great example of a wine under $30 that offers tremendous value (it’s priced at $23.99). Crisp fruit flavours and pure minerality combine in this un-oaked, beautifully tart and crisp Chardonnay. It will pair well with crab or prawns.
The OCP Haywire Gamay Noir, priced at $27.99, is one of B.C.'s best-loved Gamay wines. As always at Haywire, handling is gentle and winemaking is hands-off: open top fermentation, manual punch-downs and a brief stint in aged French Oak have led to a Gamay Noir rich with bright red fruit — strawberry, raspberry and cherry — with gentle tannins.
The Echeverria Family Wines Valle Dorado Cabernet Sauvignon, priced at $13.99, is bright, lively and satisfying. At this price, it could easier be your weeknight rich red.
The beauty of this wine is its unexpected nature. Merlot is B.C.’s most planted red grape, and is usually shaped into heavy, oaky wines. Not so with this Lock and Worth Merlot. This Naramata winery takes the ‘less is more’ approach, and chooses to give the vineyard and grape free and uncompromising expression.