We’ve all been there: some poncey wine person reciting an endless list of descriptors, each more esoteric and ridiculous than the last. Has there ever been anyone in the history of the world who has sought out a wine because it tastes of pencil shavings sprinkled on a freshly paved road passing through a plum orchard?

We’re not here to rail against complexity in wine—but there’s a time and a place for the truly deep dives that seem commonplace these days. So as an antidote, I’m giving you three wines that to my palate express one lovely note with vim and vigour. No, they’re not one-trick ponies, and they’re all well-made so they contain layers of different notes throughout each sip. But they also have the very fun Whap! off bringing a single identifiable taste as soon as they hit your palate. So without further hesitation—your one-note tasting guide.


Red Barn 2023 Transfiction Rosé, $30

Lest you think that this one-note business is some sort of backhanded compliment, let me start by saying that is the best B.C. rosé I’ve tasted this year—it is absolutely electric in the glass. This is the first time winemaker Kaylee Barss has used 100% Gamay for this rosé, and what an inspired choice. And concrete fermentation adds some textural mouthfeel and helps nicely deliver the keen acidity. All these clever things I though about after my first sip, which caused me to say “Grapefruit!”Not a sad grapefruit from Safeway’s citrus aisle, but one of those ripe, less tart Israeli grapefruits Costco sometimes gets. Or, if I’m being honest, maybe an artisanal grapefruit soda that would be used in the best Paloma you’ve ever had.



Lakeboat Chardonnay 2022 $27

I flipping love Chardonnay, and I ain’t embarrassed to say it. Sure I generally gravitate towards the Chablis end of the spectrum, but I likewise don’t mind leaning into a rich, tropical bottle of Sonoma-Cutrer Les Pierres now and then, bought at a Safeway on vacation. This wine, from the new Kaleden-based winery Lakeboat, falls somewhere in between. Winemaker Mireille Sauvé uses some oak, but not full Cali butter. But it does bring to what I like about the Golden State: that rush of tropical fruit—this reminds me of a spit-roasted pineapple I had at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal 20 years ago. And the wonderful thing about pineapple—and this wine, is that there’s always acidity riding shotgun with sweetness so there’s a great balance at play.



Monte Creek Living Land Riesling 2022 $22

Lime zest is not that uncommon a tasting note for Riesling, but this bottle from Kamloop’s Monte Creek is the juiciest and most focussed I’ve had in a while and I absolutely love it. To be fair, it’s not as tart as biting into a lime but there’s a very sense of bracing acidity that is literally mouthwatering, with enough residual sugar that everything is all in balance. Seriously, next time someone is grilling fish tacos, this should be a mandatory accompaniment. And under $22? Are you kidding me? It’s cheaper than buying Corona.