Wine Guy: Palate pick-me-uppers

Opinion: It’s time to turn to a few palate pick-me-uppers to add a little pizazz to the dreary state of current affairs.

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The doldrums have arrived. It’s late-January and the skies seem to forecast permanent grey. The holiday season is well behind us, the resolutions are (possibly) waning and, frankly, winter feels like it’s never-ending.

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All right, perhaps a tad dramatic. But is it really? While we patiently await more sun — and, frankly, daylight in general — it’s time to turn to a few palate pick-me-uppers to add a little pizzazz to the dreary state of current affairs:

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Sunday Cider Acid Life Cider.
Sunday Cider Acid Life Cider. jpg

Sunday Cider Acid Life Cider, B.C. ($20 for 750 mL, available through the cider and select private liquor stores).

What qualifies as a palate pick-me-upper? There’s no science or preset formula. More like a “you-know-it-when-you-taste-it” kind of thing. But, generally speaking, there will be evident acidity and bright fruit.

Fun fact, these traits can certainly come from apples, and for a cider named Acid Life it’s not altogether surprising that the label proclaims this is “a jamboree of acids: magic, lactic, acetic.”

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It’s true and, furthermore, there’s ample apple and tropical fruit aromas leading into a juicy entry and a lighter-bodied cider. It’s truly crisp, with lingering acidity on a lengthy finish.

Bottom line: B+, fresh and crisp.

Chateau Nekresi 2020 Kisi-Khikhvi Qvevri Amber Dry Wine.
Chateau Nekresi 2020 Kisi-Khikhvi Qvevri Amber Dry Wine. jpg

Chateau Nekresi 2020 Kisi-Khikhvi Qvevri Amber Dry Wine, Georgia ($25.99, No. 362059).

Well then, here’s something different! We still don’t see many Georgian wines available locally, even though the country has millennia of winemaking history.

Part of this distinct history are qvevri, large clay fermentation and storage vessels. Earthenware is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance in winemaking circles, so it’s the right time for Chateau Nekresi’s Kisi-Khikhvi’s skin-contact, qvevri fermented and aged amber wine to find its way to our shelves. A blend of Rkatsitell, Kisi and Khikhvi grapes — file this bright white under “intriguing.”

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Floral, citrus pith and honeyed aromas lead to nuances of tea leaves and dry fruit, with evident liveliness building before a tannic but crisp finish.

Bottom line: A-, a zesty wine curve ball.

Gray Monk 2020 Pinot Noir.
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Gray Monk 2020 Pinot Noir, B.C. ($23.99, No. 251835).

Count on Pinot Noir to be a palate-pick-me-upping red.

(Not always, to be sure — there are unfortunate examples of overtly fruity, massaged Pinot Noirs.)

But in its proper form Pinot Noir is a wine offering utmost engagement: for tastebuds, mind and soul.

In this sense local Pinot Noirs generally fare well, including stalwart Gray Monk’s perennial Pinot Noir palate pleaser. Pouring an honest ruby colour verging on garnet, it brings bright red berry aromas complemented by a toasty oak edge. Lithe and lively, its fruit gives way to herbs, scrub brush and oak before a fresh finish.

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Bottom line: B+, lithe and lively red.

The swirl: Weathered Beer Celebration

Feeling the greys? Weather got you down? May as well embrace the season and turn things positive by attending this year’s Weathered Beer Celebration.

Taking place Feb. 17-18 at Heritage Hall in Vancouver (3102 Main St.), Weathered bills itself as “a one-of-a-kind craft-beer tasting experience somewhere in-between a beer festival, a pop-up bar and a bottle-share all in one.”

Tickets are $75 for Friday’s B.C. Night and $105 for each of the two, four-hour Saturday sessions (plus fees and taxes).

For complete details and to purchase, head to

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