Quails’ Gate winery has always embraced a bit of unorthodox production, such as their delightful chenin blanc and sturdy, elegant marechal foch (which they even make a late harvest version of). The new vintage of their chasselas/pinot gris/pinot blanc in a 37/31/32 percent blend ($17.50) is a fantastic trip off the beaten path, well worth seeking out. There are some apricot and even tangerine notes, and although the winery describes it as “off-dry”, the acidity here, especially if properly chilled, makes this a great paring with almost any light appetizer dishes, or for sipping on the patio, trying to forget about the latest NHL draft lottery results.
Two Hands is a boutique Australian winery, although production has risen a bit over the years, in response to huge demand and adulation. Founded in 2000, the winery has gone from success to success. Though they are known mainly for their shiraz-based wines, their Sexy Beast cabernet sauvignon ($30), with its luscious blackberry and purple plum notes and almost silky tannins, is a wine that any barbecued lamb would pair with beautifully. Plenty of structure and depth, this is ready to drink now, but capable of a few years’ bottle age, if you can resist drinking it.