Food and drink 

2007 International Value Wine Awards: The best wines under $25

Is there anyone who doesn’t like a great wine buy? I think not because it’s the question I’m most often asked by consumers and, frankly, it may be the toughest to answer.

Late last week Wine Access magazine released the results of their annual search for great wine buys in Canada that sell for less than $25 via its 2007 International Value Wine Awards. Once again, I had the privilege of overseeing the week-long event where nearly 1,000 wines competed for the judge’s attention.

Not surprisingly we found value at several price points. For the majority of wine drinkers money is always an issue and in their lexicon “value” wine means affordable. For many that translates to wine under $10 — highly desirable if almost impossible to find. The $10 to $15 sweet spot is probably the best zone to uncover great values.

As you head on up toward $25 you approach the level where most everyday wine drinkers draw the line on value. The International Value Wine Awards set the value bar at $25 because it meant that close to 95 per cent of all the wine sold in Canada would be eligible to compete, and compete they did.

In some of the key categories, such as cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, shiraz, merlot, pinot noir and sauvignon blanc, most of the labels that fill our national shelves, were put to the test by 27 judges from across the country.

The results are not only significant but well worth investing in if you like paying $14 for a wine scoring 87, 88 or 89 points. In some cases the price-to-points ratio is so favourable you should think about buying a case immediately because the thing about value wine is that it tends to disappear quickly.

As they were last year, the results this year are also illuminating. Please note that because this was a national competition, I’ve taken the liberty of picking and choosing some of the very best wines, regardless of price, that you will most likely find in the Whistler area.

Keep in mind that here you pay the most for wine in the world thanks to a highly punitive provincial wine tax, so while each of the entries sell somewhere in Canada for less than $25, they could be over the limit in B.C.

Good hunting!

( Editor’s note: the number in front of the name is the point scoring for that particular wine .)

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