Anthony Gismondi: B.C. wine for the week of March 31, a bottle to cellar and calendar items

Vancouver Sun wine expert Anthony Gismondi’s news from the wine and food world, recommended B.C. wine of the week, and a wine to add to your cellar.

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Wine Growers, British Columbia (WGBC) has launched the Wines of B.C. Ambassador Program, with an introductory Level One course available globally to industry professionals and wine enthusiasts.

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It is a three-part series of educational courses focused exclusively on B.C. wine for those making, growing, serving, or simply enjoying B.C. wine.

Developed in partnership with Okanagan College, Level One introduces B.C. wines presented in a multimedia platform accessible entirely online. The interactive, engaging modules focus on regional characteristics, history, top varieties and styles, sustainability, food pairing, etc. In celebration of B.C. wine month all April, the WGBC offers free access to the Level One course valued at $75+GST using the promo code: BCWINEMONTH.

For years I’ve talked about how important it is to be an educated, savvy wine buyer. The idea was to avoid buying an inferior large production wine like a commercial Chardonnay when you could enjoy something like a tasty Albariño from Spain.

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However, today in B.C., getting educated is more about not getting fleeced when buying wine.

Case in point: a delicious 2019 Torres Pazo das Bruxas Albarino sells for 21.95 in Ontario LCBO stores. The exact wine, the same vintage, is currently listed as an “exclusive” in B.C. Liquor Stores for $34.99! Note that my annual quota of using an exclamation mark has been used here.

B.C. wine of the week

Red Barn at Jagged Rock Discordian Chardonnay 2020, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada 

$30 I 90/100

UPC: 776545340016

They had me at fermented and aged in concrete because in the Okanagan and particularly at Jagged Rock, the Chardonnay has earned the right to be made with as little intervention as possible. Fans of ‘Next World Chardonnay’ will embrace this mineral, flinty, wet stone affair with fresh-cut pear and green apple mixed with nectarine skin. The acidity is lively but in check, and the creamy textures that come with concrete aging add mid-palate weight and length to the wine, filling out its lime, pear, sea salt finish. The label depicts a red coloured fish swimming with some authority against the school — does that remind you of any B.C. winery proprietor? Unfortunately, it’s only sold online at Artisan Wine Shop.

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Wine for the cellar

Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico Sangiovese — Merlot 2018, Tuscany, Italy 

$33-$42 I 89/100; sold in select private wine shops

UPC: 799987002809

At Arceno, the Chianti Classico Annata 2018 has been described as exuding the powerful fruit of 2015 with the racy structure of 2013. We concur. The fruit is exuberant and plentiful but in a European manner with cherry, plum, licorice and a spicy finish. Lush but supple tannins run through the 85/15 blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. Tenuta di Arceno spreads across 1,000 hectares of classic rolling hillside containing vineyards, forests, and medieval stone castles. The vineyards have been replanted and expanded into a series of micro-crus relating to the property’s 12 distinct meso-climates over the last 20 years, vastly improving the fruit that gets to the winery.

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