Food & Drink » Anthony Gismondi on Wine

Food and wine: Days of killer-value wine and roses

Some of the most valuable info any wine drinker will want to meet

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It seems appropriate that in a week when Whistler’s two magnificent mountains were joined at the tips, adding increased value to any alpine tour, Canada’s national wine magazine, Wine Access , released its annual value list highlighting many of the best wines selling for $25 or less in the country.

The judging for 2008 International Value Wine Awards (IVWA) was held this summer in Calgary and involved just under 1,000 listings, tasted blind, by some two dozen wine experts from across the country.

To be clear, you should know that in another life I’m the editor-in-chief of Wine Access magazine and responsible for heading up the IVWA competition and its panel of judges. As someone who is constantly bombarded by results from foreign wine competitions it is a pleasure to delve into the results of a competition with which I’m intimately familiar.

Given how much I know about the wineries who entered, how the competition is run and the final results, it’s much easier for me to say that the results are the most valuable information available to wine drinkers anywhere in the country.

In all, the magazine released results for best varietal wine and best of country boasting 26 varietal category champions and 11 winners by country. It also released a list of the best red and white wines in Canada available for less than $15. You can get the full report on the more than 1,000 wines entered from 16 different countries in the October/November issue of Wine Access magazine, now on newsstands.

While every wine entered in the IVWA must sell in at least one Canadian locale for less than $25 it goes without saying that here in B.C., where we pay the most for wine in the country, not all the winners can be bought for less than $25 — but what else is new for locals? We continue to pay the most for wine in North America, making the IVWA results even more important.

Today, I’ll walk you through some of the major values you can find in and about Whistler and the Lower Mainland.

Let’s begin with the big four varietals: cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz.

Many will know the J. Lohr 2006 Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon $23 from Paso Robles. The hearty red stood tall amongst almost 100 cabernet sauvignon entries. Rich and glossy with a touch of spice, it is still a very reliable cab. Other top picks include: Painter Bridge 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon $14, Galil 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon $18 or the Michel Torino Don David 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon $16.

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