Whether you're chilling out in your backyard/balcony or heading to the cottage this long weekend, there's no such thing as having too much wine on hand. You never know when you might get an impromptu invitation to a barbecue or have guests that pop by your place.
So here's a May long weekend six-pack -- no reds, just a bubbly and five whites to pop open (or crack open, as the case may be; four of these wines are bottled under screwcap) and enjoy. These are wines I've tried recently that are fresh and drinking well on their own, but are extremely food-friendly, too.
If you need to stock up this weekend, rest assured most Liquor Marts will be open regular hours (except Cityplace, Churchill and Steinbach, which will be closed, and Brandon West End Liquor Mart Express and Pembina Village Liquor Mart Express, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m). Same goes for private wine stores -- if you're not sure, call ahead.
Oh, and if you're looking for my "best of the fest" picks, visit www.winnipegfreepress.com, scroll down to the Blogs section and find my blog, The Grape Nut.
SEGURA VIUDAS 2008 BRUT VINTAGE (Cava, Spain -- $17, Liquor Marts and beyond)
The 2008 Brut Vintage -- two-thirds Macabeo and one-third Parellada -- is lean and stony on the nose, with green apple and lemon-lime notes as well as some chalky and herbal aromas. It's a remarkably bright, lively bubbly. Light acidity works well in augmenting the tart apple and lime notes, while the hint of fresh peach in the background provides some fleshier ripeness. This was the first wine I tried during the week of the Winnipeg Wine Festival, and it made an impression. Drink with oysters, fresh fruit or light cheeses. 90/100
SOUTHBROOK 2011 CONNECT WHITE (Ontario -- $17, private wine stores)
Made from organic Vidal grapes, the Connect white delivers crisp pear, red apple floral and light honey aromas. It's a fresh, off-dry Ontario white that focuses on sweeter red apple flavours on the light-plus bodied palate, with lemon and pear candy notes and just a splash of acidity. At just nine per cent alcohol, it's a warm-weather white that's great for the patio and a plate of fresh fruit. This one's just at Kenaston Wine Market -- try it with milder curries, Thai fare or fresh peaches (the freshest you can find in May in Manitoba, at least). 86/100
GOUGUENHEIM 2011 VALLE ESCONDIDO TORRONTES (La Rioja, Argentina -- $11.60, Liquor Marts and beyond)
While the floral, tangerine, spice and peach aromas are pretty on this Argentine Torrontes, it's on the palate where things really come alive. In a recent visit to Winnipeg, proprietor Patricio Gouguenheim mentioned they pick about 30 per cent of the grapes for this wine a month earlier to retain tartness and acidity. You get that here -- the crisp citrus and fresh acidity that balance the peach notes are racy. There's more complexity to the aforementioned flavours than one might expect for under $12; try with grilled shrimp with a mango salsa. 86/100
BODEGA GOTICA 2011 BADAJO (Rueda, Spain -- around $13, private wine stores)
This Spanish white made from the Verdejo grape has never disappointed. There's some pineapple on the nose as well as red apple skin, mineral and floral notes. A dry, nearly medium-bodied white, the Badajo brings together light pineapple and apple skin flavours with an almost-herbal, stony characteristic before finishing with a viscous, clover honey component on the finish. This killer value flirts with sweetness but never goes there -- try with white fish, grilled kebabs or salads. This one's at The Winehouse, De Luca's and Calabria. 88/100
PETER LEHMANN 2010 CLANCY'S WHITE (Barossa, Australia -- $14.92, Liquor Marts and beyond)
A blend of 53 per cent Semillon and 47 per cent Sauvignon Blanc, the Clancy's brings expressive floral, tropical, peach and lemon aromas, reflecting the two grapes that make up this stalwart Aussie blend. The Clancy's white is medium-bodied, highlighting the tropical fruit flavours as well as red apple and honey (thanks to the Semillon), with a splash of grapefruit (from the Sauvignon Blanc) providing some acidity. An excellent food wine -- try with cedar-plank salmon. 88/100
SANDHILL 2011 CHARDONNAY (Okanagan Valley, B.C. -- $17.99, Liquor Marts and beyond)
Apple, fig, pear and peach show well on the nose of this single-vineyard B.C. Chardonnay. It's certainly not over-the-top in the oak department, but rather keeps the fruit and barrel aging in balance. Medium-plus bodied and rich, there's enough tropical and stone fruit on the palate to stand up to what time the wine does see in barrels. Try with lobster, grilled chicken or medium cheeses. 89/100
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