The Small Parcels program at Kim Crawford winery in New Zealand means some micro-climate, almost always cool-climate wines can be made in reasonably plentiful amounts (in this instance, 5,000 cases)—so the world gets to taste some fairly site-specific wines, such as the Spitfire sauvignon blanc ($26). Coming from the Selmesbrook Vineyard, the Spitfire reveals all kinds of stone fruit and grapefruit, with a nice minerality to hold it in balance. Fantastic to sip on while you cook, and a perfect segue into whatever that first course might be.
Bodega Norton has been producing some leading examples of value-driven Malbec from Argentina for a very long time. The latest non-vintage Barrel Select Malbec ($14) is in some ways the most reclusive in the series, with plenty of bottle age possible. Still, over those barbecued ribs this evening, while you watch the Canucks try to climb upwards on a greased slide, the wine will reveal some delicious dark berry flavours, ample structure, and a nice finish. It will all become even more expressive over the next two or three years, making it a real bargain.