One Word Wines

June 4, 2006

Following the decline in wines named after animals, it seems like the new trend is wines with one word in the title. Short, catchy and easy to remember, they don’t yet have the baggage carried by their annoyingly cute competitors. I’m tired of penguins and bears crawling across my sideboard and it’s time for something new. So this post is my tribute to some of the best one-word wines I’ve enjoyed lately.

Zed Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand – $12.40 @ the MLCC)

Being a contrary kind of person, I think I’ll start at the end of the alphabet. Zed (made by Montana Wines) is a new Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. (‘Zed’. ‘Zealand’. Very cute). It’s well-priced (especially for a Kiwi wine), well-made, has a neat label, a catchy name and it’s sure to be a success this summer.

And it’s really good too, even if it ain’t no Fish Hoek. Loads of lemons, herbs and melon on the nose and in the mouth, with softer fruit than you typically find in a Kiwi Sauv. It’s got the zippy acidity so common to this part of the world, but it’s not overwhelming, and is a great introduction to New Zealand at a good price.

Bloom Riesling (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer – $13.99 @ DeLuca’s)

Like many other people in the wine world, I’m a sucker for a good Riesling. Especially at this time of the year. Spring just seems tailor-made for crisp, light white wines.

Bloom has a beautifully floral nose (almost like lilacs) with some mineral overtones. Having recently moved eleven yards of gravel around my backyard, I’d say that it has a hint of gravel to it. But since I didn’t wear a dust mask, everything has a hint of gravel these days.

In the mouth, it’s a classic German Riesling. Loads of peaches, more flowers, some sweetness and lots of acidity to balance it off. It’s as close to perfection as you’ll find from Germany for under $15. We served it up with a selection of fine Indian dishes from Ivory and it went well with everything – and was even better the next day.

And I love the marketing. My biggest problem with German wines is the labels. I’ve learned to figure them out, but I’ve seen people walk away from some beautiful German wines just because they can’t decipher the labels. Dr. Loosen (maker of the fabulous ‘Dr. L’ Riesling) gets it, and so do the folks at Bloom. Marketing is key when there are such a wide selection of good Rieslings to choose from.

So kudos to the folks at DeLuca’s. I’m glad they took a chance and brought this one in. There’s also a Muller-Thurgau from the same folks with a similarly-catchy one word name, which (strangely enough) runs for $15. I haven’t tried it yet, but I can’t imagine it being better than the Bloom.

Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon (California – $18 @ Kenaston Wine Market)

One of the few downsides to living in Canada (aside from the weather) is that American wines are really expensive. I travel to the States pretty regularly, and it’s hard going to Minneapolis and finding wines for $7 or $8 (US) that you can’t find for under $20 at home. Having said that, the Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon is a great value for $18 (Canadian).

Avalon Winery focuses on making fine Cabernets. They have a California bottling and a Napa Valley bottling. Both are fantastic, but only one is a ‘one-word wine’. I’ll cover the Napa Valley bottling another day. I think they are also connected in some way to the folks who make Rock Rabbit (Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc) and Mark West (Pinot and Chardonnay).

Suffice to say that the name may be short but the wine is not. Lots of beautiful berry, plum and chocolate flavours shine through here, and are wrapped around a core of soft and tasty tannins. You’ll even pick a little hint of the dustiness that I’ve found in great Napa wines (although this is mostly sourced from Central and North Coast fruit).

For $18, it’s a great California wine. And the companion Avalon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is an even better value for $25.


  1. I am really curious about the ‘Bloom’. The new labels coming out of Germany are as great as the wines. Have you checked out the Lingenfelder?

  2. Yes, I really like the Lingenfelder Bird Label Riesling, but I haven’t tried any of their other wines. Have you? I think they have a few reds out there, which I’m very curious about.

    The Dr. L Riesling is still my favourite though.–>

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