Posts Tagged ‘white wines under $20’

C is for Chile!

Posted by Susan

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

This week we feature Chilean wines that Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins recently discovered when she was invited to a wonderful tasting hosted by Wines of Chile.

While Susan learned about the country & the culture while sipping & sampling on a range of Chilean wines, the host, Lisa Ulrich of Andros Communications, focused the tasting on Chile’s regional diversity. Susan shares what she learned about this country that is 4,300 km in length and only 177 km at its broadest point & offers recommendations of wines to purchase that are readily available at the LCBO for you to explore Chile too.

Wines of  Chile – Quality and Value in One Great Package

The tasting was held at Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen & Bar in Ottawa’s Byward Market where chef Jonathan Korecki wowed the guests with the visually stunning and fabulously tasty food matches he created for the Chilean wines.

Chile is protected by the Atacama desert to the north, the Pacific to the west, the Andes to the east, and the Patagonian ice fields to the south. These natural features protect the vineyards from pests and disease and provide a geographic diversity that allows for tremendous variation in terroir.  Variations in altitude, the cooling effect of the Pacific currents, healthy well-drained soils all contribute to the success of the wine industry in this country. As a result of a benevolent climate and these natural barriers, Chile has become a centre of sustainability and organic viticulture.

A commitment has been made to a Sustainability Program, which includes close attention to the environment, the people and the economic bottom line. The goal is to be the number one producer of premium, sustainable and diverse New World wines by 2020. Fourteen Chilean wineries have now been certified in the first segment of the Sustainability Code, which pertains to vineyard management processes and management.

With many wines to choose from, here are two Sauvignon Blanc white wines that Susan recommends to pick up at the LCBO:

Errazuriz ‘Max Reserva’ Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Aconcagua Valley
13.5% alcohol

Sourced from a hillside estate only 12 km from the Pacific Ocean, the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged 3 months on the lees, providing a silky texture and good volume on the palate. Fragrant with tropical fruit and citrus aromas, this wine also proffers subtle herbal notes. Dry, medium bodied and tangy, the wine offers a lovely balance of refreshing acidity, soft texture and fine underlying minerality. Flavours of passionfruit and fresh herbs mingle on the lasting fresh finish.


Quintay ‘Q’ Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Casablanca Valley
13.0% alcohol

More in the classic New Zealand style of Sauvignon Blanc, there’s bright pungency on the nose with aromas of nettles, herbs, fresh-mown grass mingling with citrus and tropical fruit. Zesty, fresh and vibrant in texture, the grassy notes replay, while grapefruit and passionfruit mingle on a pithy energetic finish. This was a great match to chef Korecki’s Papaya salad with torched albacore tuna sashimi.





These Australia white wines impressed our Sommeliers!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Taltarni T Series Sauvignon Blanc Semillon

Victoria, Australia
VINTAGES 19471, 12.5% Alcohol

Winery owner, John Goelet grew up in a family of wine merchants in Bordeaux, France. After searching around the world for a property comparable to the great vineyards of Bordeaux, in 1972, he established Taltarni – meaning red earth in the native Aboriginal language.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A unique blend where the Sauvignon Blanc grapes were picked in two separate harvests (at night!): early harvest for fresh, zesty citrus characters & a few weeks later for blackcurrant & passion fruit flavours. The Semillion adds in straw & guava notes for a truly refreshing wine.

Suggested Food Pairing: This is definitely a wine to pack for a picnic, steamed mussels or shrimp on the barbie!

Tahbilk Estate Viognier

Victoria, Australia
VINTAGES 271387, 14.0% Alcohol

Viognier (pronounced vee-on-nyeh) is a grape variety that has deep roots in France.  Now California, Canada & Australia are growing this ‘hidden gem’. In fact, in Australia, Viognier is often blended with Shiraz to add a little body & sweetness.  At Tahbilk meaning place of many watering holes –  they commit to use Viognier not for blending, rather to craft the ultimate wine, that has now become a benchmark Viognier wine in Australia.

Now this is impressive! Tahbilk was nominated by Australian Vignerons magazine in 2004 as producing one of the “Benchmark” Australian Viognier releases. And if that was not enough, the wine has gained great recognition on the Australian Wine Show Circuit.  The wine has numerous awards since the inaugural 2000 vintage, 2 Trophies, 14 Gold, 18 Silver & 47 Bronze Medals.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: “OMG! One of the finest Viogniers I have tasted”, remarks Savvy Sommelier Debbie…and Julie agrees too! Striking aromas & tastes of tangerine, mango, pineapple & even banana with honeysuckle that continues into a delicious creamy finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Delightful on its own, with cheeses (try the Parmasean Crisp recipe below), spicy foods & seafood.



An easy recipe that will be delicious with these sipping wines

There are so many versions of this recipe but nothing could be simpler, or more delicious to match with this sparkling wine. The fruity bubbles in the wine compliment the saltiness in the cheese and just send you back nibbling for more. I sometimes serve them a little red pepper jelly on the side. A perfect hors d’oeuvres – beware, folks inhale these!

Parmesan Crisps

From the kitchen of Savvy Sommelier Julie

1-1/12 cups of grated Parmesan depending how many crisps you would like to make.

Should yield about 20 small crisps.


  1.  Preheat often to 400 degrees and put a heaping tablespoon of the Parmesan onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I would space the spoonfuls about an inch apart.
  2. Bake about 8 minutes or check them after 5 and they should be just slightly golden.


Eager to go to Australia?

Come with me on Taste Your Way Around Australia trip that I will be co-hosting in March 2013 organized by Aussie Travel.  It’ll be a 23 day extravaganza of delicious Australian cuisine, winery tours, dinners with chefs, boutique hotels & unique cultural excursions.

Warning: you may not come back!