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Ornellaia Le Volte 2010
A Tuscan superstar from coastal Bolgheri, Ornellaia is a shining example of the Italian way with Bordeaux blends…for anyone with $200 to invest. Le Volte, while not quite a bargain in B.C., is a more affordable way to understand this great estate. Unlike its bigger sibling, it includes Sangiovese as well as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. The 2010 has fine structure: good bones with plenty of firm, generous flesh. Plums, blueberries, spice, and licorice-rich and opulent, with an extended finish-call for bistecca alla Fiorentina grilled with olive oil, rosemary, and salt, and finished with a squeeze of lemon.
Castello di Gabbiano Riserva 2008
Castello di Gabbiano took top honours for both Medium Red and Light Red in our 2013 wine awards for its beguiling expression of Chianti. The Riserva is a more modern interpretation of the Chianti canon, mainly sangiovese with a splash of merlot. Garnet red, it shows an appealing violet floral nose, then bitter cherries and plums, with plenty of earthy spice, tea, coffee, licorice, and leather flavours. It’s the kind of wine that makes you want to cook, maybe big veal meatballs with ricotta and parmigiana in tomato sauce, so that the sharp bite of acid at the end sparks the appetite. Beautiful and a bargain.
For more great bottles, see our Wine Pick of the Week – every Thursday
Invermere-born Walker, amateur winemaker and sommelier at Yew, the Four Seasons Hotel’s seafood restaurant and bar, oversees an eclectic list of unexpected, little-known wines as well as the classics
The start of your interest in wine?My first wine job was at The Terrace at Mission Hill, which had a great training program, then working for Mark Anthony wine stores. Everything was so new, so delicious…like Dr. Loosen riesling with peanut noodles. I was captivated.
Hardest thing about building a list?Striking a balance between your own favourites and what guests like. It can’t all be about me.
Best way to learn about wine?Comparative, not competitive, blind tasting. You experience what’s in the glass without preconceived notions.
Red wine with fish?Beaujolais, sancerre rouge, lighter barbera.
Home drinking?Our own cabernet franc from Washington grapes. Otherwise I’m completely Loire obsessed. Chenin blanc is brilliant.