Bench 1775 Malbec, Okanagan Valley, BC

Yes – you read that right! Malbec from the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley! And it’s a fruity beauty (try saying that after a couple of glasses). It’s no wallflower at 14.7% ABV but as a tribute to the winemaking skills at Bench 1775, it doesn’t show as being hot or overly alcoholic. The nose is all blueberries and blackberries, but there’s something deeper and more earthy behind those brighter notes, almost a hint of sensuous and pungent cumin.

It’s a full bodied wine, ideal for Alberta when either it’s cold and you want to curl up in front of the fire with the TV or a good book, or of you’re out on the patio because it’s glorious outside and you’re celebrating the moment. Light the BBQ and enjoy with whatever you put on the grill – sausages, chicken drumsticks, pork chops, or rare steak will all become very good friends with this wine. CSPC + 896670 $27

Joel Delaunay Touraine 2015, Loire Valley, France

What a delightful wine! Elegant and shy, this is a very pretty sauvignon blanc from its home in the northwest of France. It opens with aromas of elderflower, and sweet citrus like lime sherbet, giving way to a refreshing and lively, yet still restrained, medium bodied wine with a delicious fruitiness yet a tarragon note too, and a little saltiness. I don’t want to serve this wine too cold so I can taste all the lovely subtle herbal flavours, and I do want to be eating a seafood casserole with it, or avocado and asparagus sushi, or with asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and lightly grilled. CSPC +595157 $20

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