Not sure what to serve or even how to choose what’s good? Wine columnist and author Natalie MacLean shares her top picks of the month of mid-priced wines currently available near you. Her no-fail scoring method guarantees a quality bottle every time. Look for MacLean’s column, Pulling corks, in each issue of the magazine.
GOLDRIDGE ESTATE ‘PREMIUM RESERVE’ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2005 Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand ($19)
A refreshing and zesty white bursting with herbal goodness. Pair it with salads, seafood and vegetarian lasagna.
SCHLOSS SCHÖNBORN RIESLING KABINETT 2002 QMP, Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg, Germany ($18)
The Schönborn family winemaking tradition goes back to 1349. This lovely riesling has aromas of ripe pears and peaches. Drink it with chicken and cream-sauce pasta. Score: 90/100
GRAY MONK PINOT NOIR 2004 VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C. ($18)
This is the most northern winery in the province, and it produces spectacular reds and whites. This pinot has pleasing notes of tart cherries, beetroot and red berries. Serve it with salmon, pâté or chicken.
D’ARENBERG ‘THE STUMP JUMP’ GRENACHE/SHIRAZ/MOURVÃDRE 2005 South Australia ($14)
A delicious, full-bodied red with layers of black plums, berries and spice. Drink it with steak, barbecue fare and other hearty meat dishes.
Wines are scored using a scale of 100 points – although wines under 80 points aren’t included – who wants to keep track of all the less-than-stellar wines when there are thousands of good ones? Wines scored 80 and above are all worth drinking – it’s up to you to decide your own cut-off point for scoring and whether a wine at 86 is worth $12, $17 or $25.
80-84: These wines are pleasant – something you’d be happy to bring to a casual get-together with friends or drink on a weeknight.
85-89: These wines are delicious and have more depth of flavour and texture – something you might break open on the weekends (though, of course, you can treat yourself any time).
90-94: These are the wines that make you pause – they are rich in character with a unique and complex flavour.
95-100: These wines are extraordinary, spectacular – words fail to capture them. Truly a treat.
Natalie MacLean is the author of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass. She was named the Worldâs Best Drink Writer for the articles and wine picks in her free wine newsletter available at available at nataliemaclean.com. Look for her column in every issue of Chatelaine!