5 Affordable Red Wines Only Available at Wine Fest

Stock the cellar with some Iberian (and other) rarities without breaking the bank at VIWF.

March 1, 2018

By Neal McLennan

Earlier this week, we were talking about great white wines to not only try, but to buy at the on-site liquor store at the Vancouver International Wine Fest. Today it’s the reds turn—and given that Spain and Portugal are the featured countries there’s a lot of variety from the usual cabernet, merlot and pinot suspects.

1. Crasto Superior 2012, $28

Crasto has been a stalwart in our market for years—but not this bottle. It’s a step up from the “normal” Crasto we’re used to with tannins that are smoother and fruit that’s more vibrant. Plus it’s sold out in most other markets—this bottle has some nice age to it—and it was #25 on the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list way back in 2015. Sort of a steal. The proviso—while the BCLDB clearly states they will be selling the 2012, the festival catalogue says it’s the 2015 being poured—still a great wine, just not such a great deal.

UPDATE: It is not the 2012 as feared. The 2015 is fine, is still a little wild.

2. Lamadrid Bonarda 2015, $24

Bonarda is the fun-loving red grape of Argentina that forever lives in the shadow of the more popular malbec. It’s a cheerful grape, but this iteration from Lamadrid has a little bit more depth and earthy tones than most giving it enough gravitas to stand up to heavier dishes.

3. Marques de Murreita Finca YGay Reserve 2007, $36

Ok,  this has to be a mistake. The BCLDB website says this wine is $36,  but the pour list for the festival lists this as Marques de Murrieta Castillo YGay Gran Reserva Especial 2007—which is a wine that sells for $90 US! I assume it’s a typo—but check the listing—if it’s not, back up the delivery truck.

UPDATE: Quel Surprise-not only did the BCLDB get this wrong, they either sold out of the 2007 Ygay or never had it. Nuts.

4. Finca Decero Remolinas Vineyard Malbec 2016, $22

Two things separate Decero’s malbecs from the pack—aromatics and acidity. This is a vibrant, lively wine that feels far lighter on it’s feet than most malbecs. And—even though I know you don’t care for lists—it was #34 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2017. And while it’s technically available at one other BCLDB store in Victoria, practically that ain’t a lot of use.

5. Feudi San Gregario Aglianico Rubrato 2015, $26

Again, we may be dealing with a misprint here as the BCLDB site list this as a 2006. I think it’s more likely that it’s 2015 but it doesn’t matter for a few reasons: aglianico is one of the greatest grapes of Italy that never gets its due (just when it was about to a few years back, in barged Nerello Mascalese to hog all the spotlight). If you know Feudi San Gregario it’s probably for their white falanghina wines that were so good they almost single-handedly brought that grape back into the conversation. This is a big wine now, but not unwieldy and if you choose to lay it down it will easily settle and improve for the next decade.

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