Life
    Wine & Food

    Wines of the month: try Canadian fizz from British Columbia

    23 January 2020

    2017 Fairtrade Malbec, 13%vol, (£7.50; Co-op)

    Produced by La Riojana co-operative in Argentina, this little gem was named best Fairtrade wine in the world by the 2020 International Wine Challenge. Proceeds from its sale have so far helped fund a secondary school and bring clean drinking water to remote areas. And as a wine, too, it’s spot on. Crammed with rich, ripe damson/blackberry/blueberry fruit, it’s delectably juicy and concentrated.

    2018 Domaine du Grand Mayne Sauvignon Blanc, 13%vol

    (£8.79 if you visit the Domaine du Grand Mayne website or call 01256 772898 and quote SPECTATOR, down from £10.99, minimum 12 bottles)

    A real charmer from the Côtes de Duras, an Appellation Contrôlée region next door to Bordeaux, which makes wines similar to its grander neighbour, but at a fraction the cost. Owned by over 900 wine-loving investors, D du GM produces exemplary vino and this is a peach: 90 per cent Sauvignon Blanc with splashes of Sauvignon Gris and Sémillon, it’s vibrantly fresh, flinty and tropical.

    2018 Chapel Down Bacchus, 12%vol (£10.49 down from £13.99 until 18th Feb; Waitrose)

    Bacchus, particularly English Bacchus, used to be a byword for dreary, bland vinous rubbish. No longer. In the right hands, such as those of Josh Donaghay-Spire, head winemaker at Chapel Down in Kent, it can really sing, inviting comparisons with Loire Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp, zesty, refreshing and heady with gooseberry and elderflower notes, it makes a fine aperitif.

    2018 Tesco Finest Central Otago Pinot Noir, 13.5%vol, (£13; Tesco)

    A worthy gold medal winner at the 2020 International Wine Challenge, this, produced expressly for Tesco by New Zealand’s most celebrated winery: family-owned Villa Maria. Pinot Noir of this quality, at this price is almost impossible to find and the soft, smooth, juicy, mellow-yet-fresh, concentrated redcurrant/blackcurrant fruit will please many a cash-strapped Burgundy lover.

    2018 Lenton Brae Semillon/Sauvignon, 13.5%vol, (£16.50; Private Cellar)

    Lenton Brae is one of the leading lights not only of Margaret River but also of Australia itself. Perfect fruit and immaculate winemaking from Ed Tomlinson has resulted in a corker of a wine. 55 per cent Sauvignon Blanc and 45 per cent Semillon, steel-fermented with just a touch fermented in French oak, it’s extravagant yet reserved; fresh, rounded and mouth-filling. In short, it’s a beaut.

    2013 Haywire Vintage Bub, 11%vol, (£26.99; Selfridges)

    Yes, Canada does make wine and, yes, it makes darn good wine. You might have come across Canadian ice wine from Niagara, but how about Canadian fizz from British Columbia? Well, this is a belter. An equal blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, bottle fermented and presented under crown cap, it’s a sparkler to relish, full of citrus and crunchy apple flavours and a lingering whisper of toast and nuts.