3 Killer French Reds Worth Seeking Out at Winefest

Vancouver International Wine Festival runs February 22 to March 1. Here's are a trio of bottles worth tracking down.

Chateau Montus 2014 $36

The theme of this years festival is France, and I can’t think of any French grape that gets less respect than Tannat. Like its travelling brethren Carmenére, it’s had to go all the way to South America to get some love (make sure to visit Uruguay’s Bodgea Garzon, who’ll be pouring there amazing Reserve Tannat). But Brumont makes a classic version Francaise of the thick-skinned grape and it’s really a revelation. Tannat has a well-earned reputation of being a grape that needs time (the 2014 is the current release) and this baby comes out almost black in the glass. Leathery, dark fruits and a tannic slap in the face tells you this is a wine than needs so major time (like six years, easy) to chill the cuss out.

Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages 2018 $23

After years of somms trying to get every customer to fall in love with Gamay, people are slowly coming around to the charms of the grape. But what we see on most lists in town are the variations that skew to the more natural end of the Gamay spectrum. And don’t get me wrong, the grape shines with the freshness that comes with low-intervention—but I also love the more structured, brawny take on the grape that I think of synonymous with Jadot and this is a great introduction top the style.

Jean-Luc Columbo Terres Brulées Cornas $68

Well, this is special wine. Thanks to its low production and high price points, the Northern Rhone remains a bit of a mystery to most wine consumers. It’s funny because as the Okanagan syrah producers continue to really shine with a mixture of polish and power, it’s to the Northern Rhone that we compare them to. Cote-Rotie may be the bight lights appellation in the Rhone, but if you want to get nerdy and save some (not a lot, but some) money, then it’s Cornas. And if it’s Cornas, then it’s Jean-Luc Columbo. Spice x dark fruit x acidity. A wonder of a wine.