2011 Martin’s Lane Riesling
Here’s the latest candidate for best value wine in the Okanagan. $25 for a Riesling a value? When it’s a handcrafted small production (400 cases) beauty like this the comparison is not Mission Hill’s neighbours, but the heavy hitters of Alsace—few of whom can offer a wine that has the combination of balanced acidity (this one’s great with food or without) with a concentration of peach and mineral backbone. This wine is tough to find, so if you strike out, there always Joie’s killer Riesling, dependable in the way that Gretzky was—that is, dependably stellar.
2010 Laughing Stock Syrah
I can’t recall ever being disappointed in a Laughing Stock wine, and while the flagship blockbuster Portfolio gets universal love from the critics, for a casual Canada Day barbecue, its relatively new Syrah is the best choice. It’s made in the Northern Rhone style, with 6 percent viognier thrown in to settle down the syrah. It’s boozy at 14.7 percent, but it carries the alcohol like a dancer and gives a full mouth feel without ever attracting the heat of high alcohol. Plus the bottle, as always, looks supremely cool tucked under your arm as you arrive at the shindig.