Wine Guy: Getting back to the ABCs of wine

Wine offers a world — and an entire alphabet — of delightful options, beginning with this week’s three bottles.

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It’s back to the beginning, but by no means necessary back to square one. The new year does, however, provide good opportunity for a reset.

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When it comes to wine think of it as a chance to return to the basics, or the wine ABCs, if you will. For wine offers a world — and an entire alphabet — of delightful options, beginning with this week’s three bottles.

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Casa Santos Lima 2019 Quid Pro Quo, Portugal ($12.99 on sale until Jan. 28, #62235)

A is for Alicante Bouschet and Alentejo: Portugal is known for its bold red blends, which typically incorporate indigenous grape varieties. As exhibit A look to this bottle of Quid Pro Quo. Hailing from the southeastern Portuguese wine region of Alentejo, this robust red features a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Syrah and Alicante Bouschet — a cross of Petit Bouschet and Grenache that is interestingly one of the few teinturier, or red-fleshed, vitas vinifera grapes. All this to say this is a fruit-forward, heady and aromatic red featuring dark fruit and floral tones that comes across juicy, balanced, and quite easy to get into.

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Bottom line: B+, Solid value

Mouton Cadet 2018 Cuvée Heritage, France ($24.99, #83332)

B is for Bordeaux: Don’t forget that not all wines are named according to grape typ. Labelling wines by jurisdiction remains the standard, particularly in the Old World of wine. Speaking of which, it doesn’t get much more classic than Bordeaux, the famed wine region in France’s southwest. And while Chateau Mouton Rothschild produces some of the more classic wines from Bordeaux, the winery’s Premier Cru bottles tend to run into the thousands of dollars. Thus for the rest of us there is the more accessible, rich and robust Mouton Cadet Cuvée Heritage, a “re-edition” blended from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that pays homage to the look of the brand’s original 1940 labels.

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Bottom line: Mouton Cadet 2018 Cuvée Heritage, France ($24.99, #83332) Pair with prime rib or roast lamb

Township 7 2020 Provenance Series Chardonnay, British Columbia ($25.97, available through the winery)

C is for Chardonnay: There was a time when wine ABC was shorthand for “anything but Chardonnay.” Fortunately, the newly-released vintage of Chardonnay from Township 7 smashes this dated notion and serves as the antithesis to those forlorn, overblown Chardonnay of yore. This engaging white comes across lean and fresh, sporting notes of citrus, white flower, and green apple. But enticing texture builds through the mid palate, no doubt thanks to partial French oak barrel fermentation. It all adds up to a charming, textured yet lithe style that makes for an easy pouring partner with everything from poached fish to roast chicken.

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Bottom line: A-, Engaging Chardonnay

The Swirl: Art, Eat and Sip Granville Island

The artists and local artisans of Granville Island are set to host another extraordinary night of art, eating, and drinking. The event takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25 as part of Dine Out Vancouver. During the evening participants will use their “digital passport” as a guide to leisurely walk through Granville Island enjoying dishes, bites, and sips — all while meeting artists and chefs, touring breweries and a distillery, and discovering more around the island. Tickets are $89 per person until Jan. 20, then $99.00 (plus taxes and fees). For complete details and to purchase head to

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