Food and Drink 

Looking for Mr. Good Bargain

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Authenticity and reliability are the story of Famiglia Bianchi Malbec. Of course the dense lush fruit and its savoury undercurrent make this glossy red an attractive dinner option especially with grilled meats. Category Champion: Famiglia Bianchi 2007 Malbec, San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina $18


There is something about Central Otago pinot noir that makes it so appealing in the glass. In this case, the Rabbit Ranch is soft and round on entry with black cherry, mineral aromas and spicy, thyme, rhubarb, black cherry, orange peel, celery root flavours. A solid, uncomplicated pinot that pairs well with duck or pheasant. Category Champion: Rabbit Ranch Pinot Noir 2007, Central Otago, New Zealand $25


In five years this Minervois that blends 60 per cent mourvèdre with grenache and carignan from 70-year-old vines has performed admirably. The wine has a supple sweet ripe fruit entry, fine length and tasty mocha, sweet spicy fruit. Another Languedoc success story. Still a bargain at this price in B.C. Category Champion: Château de Sérame 2007 Minervois, Minervois, Languedoc, France $26


Frescobaldi's Remole is predominately sangiovese with a bit of cabernet sauvignon tossed in for structure and it helps. The judges loved the freshness here and the complexity of the blackberry, cherry fruit and peppery, earthy, undercurrents. Spaghetti Bolognese, anyone? Category Champion: Frescobaldi 2008 Rèmole, Tuscany, Italy $15


The judges cited the elegant styling of this Washington riesling as the key to the success and surprise of this wine. Expect it to be floral with peachy, ripe red apple flavours and of course refreshing acidity. Washington State has the largest riesling plantings outside of Germany, which explains the moderate price. Think Pan-Asian foods. Category Champion: Chateau Ste Michelle 2008 Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, United States $15


Our annual appraisal of Segura Viudas Brut at seldom wavers, and it would appear the judges at Wine Access agree. The palate is fresh, with a creamy mousse and more dried pears, citrus, apple, nutty honey almond flavours. A grade "A "sparkler made for appetizers or light meals. Judges' Choice: Segura Viudas N/V Brut Reserva, Cava, Spain $16

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