Every once in a while, I get a visit from my friend Jane who comes up from Calgary to offer samples from her great portfolio of wines. This time was no different except that today’s offerings were all under the $25 retail price. She started with:

Varichon & Clerc Privilege Blanc de Blancs Brut

From Savoie in France, this sparkler is a blend of Chardonnay, Colombard, Chenin, Ugni Blanc and Jacquere. It’s a clear straw colour with good persistent perlage (bubbles). The nose gives bright, clean, fresh straw notes with sandalwood and citrus playing in the background. Lovely dry attack that opens to a creamy soft tangerine palate. Jane gets asian pear and I get a bit of melon in the background. Lovely. Great for any occasion…like tuesday night, for instance! Super long finish. +764966 $ INsane bargain! Way over-delivers! Christmas toasting wine. GORGEous. Buy It!! at Color de Vino

Octavia 2013 Central Coast Pinot Noir.

Perfect clear mid-ruby. Earthy, cherry-cola nose. Fresh and pretty with tangy, oaky notes of perfume…maybe Miss Dior?… with a hint of dill. Lovely, silken attack of herbaceous fresh fruit with just a hint of oak. Beautiful on the palate with a savoury-sweet balance that brings the perfume forward. Well constructed, interesting Pinot Noir. +767702 $$ Another over-deliverer. Ask for it.

Octavia Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Clear ruby hue. From three sites in Paso Robles. The nose is fresh Cassis with salt air, but with sweet notes of violet. Oh! Lovely fresh attack of bright fruit, violet and chewy dry tannins. Excellent! +767703 $$ cheap. Buy it now!

Octavia Monterey County Merlot 2012

This woman wine-maker is really delivering the goods. Her Merlot has a silky, mid-ruby hue. Lush, fruity nose with a touch of oak, thyme, juniper and licorice. Splashy bright attack that carries wide open tannins and dark, deep impressions of black currant and black plum skin. 100% varietal. No blending. Delicious, great value. Look for it at Color de Vino +767701 $$

Octavia Santa Barbara County Chardonnay

From two vineyards, this wine has a very clear light straw colour. Very apple-like nose with earthy notes of dried fruit, smoked lemon and just a hint of oak. The chalky, citrus attack opens to fresh melon and cantaloupe. Jane gets star fruit and she’s bang on. Fresh and right. Very visceral after-taste. +767704 $$ great price.

Encanto Mencia Roble (in oak) from Bierzo

Sustainabley farmed/organic harvested from old root-stocks of the local Mencia grape. The wine has a lovely mid-ruby hue. The nose is toasted marshmallow with chocolate and grand marnier orange notes. It continues with butter-tart, raisin tones on a caramel-corn backdrop. Smokey and elegant. Magical, sweet, smokey dry attack that brings on jammy fruit without overwhelming the palate. Underlying notes of iodine and jalapeno add depth and spicy interest. Good stuff +767815 $ Buy it!!

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