Posts Tagged ‘wine from Chile’

TOP PICKS: 7 wines for under $15

Posted by Julie

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

This Vintages release is guaranteed to  be pick-up for anyone with holiday hangovers & January blahs. The LCBO often kicks off the new year with a “Smart Buys 2017” edition with a fabulous assortment of tried and true wines for every palate and budget with great tastes around the $15 price point.

I vowed I would not go to the ATM before mid-January, but this is better than Boxing Day or Black Friday.Too many values to risk the miss. (try saying that after a few glasses !)

For the Scotch lovers, Robbie Burns Day is around the corner, but you don’t need expensive Scotch when you’ll find something delicious in my “budget-conscious” recommendations.

It is not often that I can offer you 7 wines with my $100 budget… so go wild.

Smart Buys here we come!



 If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday January 7, 2017


Marynissen Estates Chardonnay 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.00 (Vintages #907683) 13% alcohol

Introducing a white wine with pale golden colour, light body, fresh and clean with soft blossom aromas. Must have been fermented in stainless as it’s almost flinty with minerality, baked pears, almonds a lingering touch of pineapple on the finish.

Perfect for lighter foods or would stand up to grilled cheese and simple salad – sounds like one great lunch to me!


Budureasca Feteasca Regala 2015

DOC Dealu Mare, Romania
$11.95 (Vintages #416800) 12% alcohol

I know we are in January, but this is what I’d call the perfect summer white wine. At this price point, I’ll be picking up a bunch of bottles!

Light and citrusy, loads of soft lemon flavours and one easy sipping wine. There’s little savoury notes on the finish (perhaps from the vineyard soils?). It’s fresh with a really easy mouthfeel that has lots of appeal at this rock bottom price tag.


MAN Free-Run Steen 2015

WO Coastal Region, South Africa
$13.95 (Vintages #126847) 13% alcohol

Does the grape variety Steen have you wondering what this wine is all about?  It is the name that the South Africans use for Chenin Blanc grapes.

Fresh, clean and crisp, this free-run style white wine is packed with fruit flavours.  There is no usual pressing of grape skins in the making of this beautiful wine.  The grapes are left intact to allow the weight of the bunches naturally crush to create juice and ferment for 3-4 months before bottling. A very hands-off winemaking approach that magically makes great wines like this one.  Open a bottle of this wine and you will enjoy a balanced full bodied white wine with lingering acidity.  Great on it’s own or it would hold up to chicken pot pie or even a spicy curry. Another great buy.


Heartland Stickleback Red 2013

Langhorne Creek, South Australia
$14.95 (Vintages #116574) 14.5% alcohol

Simply put, you cannot go wrong with a red wine blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Grenache and Merlot.  Unbelievable that it is under $15!  Black fruit flavours, plums and blueberries play on the palate and some savory pepper on the finish. Matured in oak which lends richness and texture to this dark delight.

Another easy sipping red wine on a cold wintery evening or to enjoy when you go under cover to fire up the BBQ in the winter for a feast of spicy ribs or steak!


Michelle Chiarol Barbera D’Asti Superiore 2014

DOCG, Italy
$13.95 (Vintages #265413) 13.5% alcohol

Some wines are just meant for the easy spaghetti night.  You know what I mean…those evenings when you just want to open up a jar of tomato sauce to smother on fresh pasta, then sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese and open a bottle of easy drinking red wine.  This one has lots of red berry fruit – think raspberries & strawberries – it’s neither huge nor bold in taste and the finish is short, but it’s a great table wine for the simple nights where we can just enjoy an uncomplicated dinner.

And Mama Mia! Another wine under $15


The Goatfather 2014

WO Coastal Region, South Africa
$14.95 (Vintages #11072) 14% alcohol

You just have to love a South African wine (not to mention the name) that is made from various Italian grape varietals: Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon (the latter) from Stellenbosch. It’s a deep ruby red, hints of violet on the nose, loads of red fruit flavours, noticeable tannins that offer backbone to the wine.

It’s an easy going wine. I’d serve it up with cheeses, burgers, charcuterie.


Santa Carolina Reserva Estate Pinot Noir 2015

Leyda Valley, Chile
$12.95 (Vintages #480574) 13.5 % alcohol

It is no surprise that I selected this red wine from the 140 year old Santa Carolina vineyard wines especially with it being awarded Winery of the Year 2015. (I really like their whites too!). At this unbelievable price point, you have a Pinot Noir that offers a smooth, velvety mouthfeel, sweet and sour tart cherries, with noticeable ripe acidity and soft tannins that meld into a long fruity, earthy ending.

This is a delicious red wine that is hearty enough to stand up to a beef and mushroom stew or some sautéed salmon with dab of pesto.  A beaut of a wine!


Grand Total – $ 97.70 …and that is for 7 wines!


If I only had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

For someone who is not a winter person the LCBO Vintages release this Saturday Jan 23 are real perk me ups. This release features the dynamic duo of Argentina and Chilean wines and since Buenos Aires is on my travel list, it’s great timing. Not to mention there are fabulous wines at a popular price point.

LCBO Magazine Sat Jan 23Don’t forget that Robbie Burns Day is right around the corner and if you are a whisky lover the LCBO has whisky tastings to help you celebrate. While I can’t fit many single malts into my shopping basket without going over my $100 budget, there’s nothing to stop YOU!

If you have cabin fever, I noticed that all over Ontario, the LCBO is offering workshops on everything from wine appreciation, to pairings to “bubbles”. So if you have the winter blah’s, one of these workshops, plus a couple of new releases will surely beat the mid-winter blues.

Light the fire & enjoy a glass of one of these wines,


Trivento Amado Sur Malbec Bonarda Syrah 2013Trivento Amado Sur

Mendoza, Argentina
$16.95 (Vintages #37036) 14% alcohol

A powerful trio of 70% Malbec, 20% Bonarda and 10% Syrah this black inky beauty is one fine red wine. Loads of ripe blueberries, blackberries and plums. If you like big fruity and dense wines, this one is for you. Although the Malbec grape steals the show, the Bonarda grape, offers the black cherry easy going fruit flavours. Soft tannins, creamy and smooth, a great hallmark for a classic Argentinian blend. Charred meats, grilled veggies, it’s worth the splurge of a porterhouse steak under the oven grill.


Trapiche Broquel Bonarda 2013Trapiche Broquel Bonarda 2013

Mendoza, Argentina
$14.95 (Vintages #055558) 14.5% alcohol

The Bonarda grape slipped into the country in the 19th century (sounds like an illegal) and has mysterious origins. There’s 3 different Bonarda grape varietals grown in Italy, one in Croatia and another in California where is known as Charbono. It’s the second most planted grape in Argentina after Malbec and has become known as a workhorse for its easy, less demanding growth compared with other varietals.

Lots of juicy plum and chocolate flavours in this red wine, very smooth sipping and spicy on the long finish. Talk about Argentina’s best kept wine secret, this one is a steal.


Santa Alicia Gran Reserva de Los Andes Cabernet Sauvignon 2011Santa Alicia Gran Reserva De Los Andes Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Maipo Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #60244) 14% alcohol

Maipo valley is the closest wine region to Santiago, the capital of Chile, extending east from the city to the Andes mountains. Although Chile is known for its Carmenere, the Maipo valley is often described as the Bordeaux of South America with its rich fruit-driven Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in French oak , this nectar offers scents of dark fruit and ripe red berry flavours that follow through on flavour of this red wine. The finish delivers easy going tannins with pencil shavings, tobacco and a little spice. Fantastic value with great character.


Gnarly Head Viognier 2013Gnarly Head Viognier 2013

$17.95 (Vintages #396416) 13.5% alcohol

Great Viognier at a reasonable price tag is hard to find. These golden hue beauties often have a higher alcohol content than other whites since the thick-skinned grape has to be left on the vine a long time before developing its characteristic heady aromas. That said, when the scents of orange blossoms, apricots and honeysuckle hit the olfactory, it is paradise to the nose. Slightly off dry, creamy smooth with loads of orchard fruit flavours make it extremely palatable. There is not much acidity, but its a lovely sipper or try it with a seafood casserole. I’m already planning my next dinner party.


Duck Pond Cellars Pinot Gris 2014Duck Pond Cellars Pinot Gris 2014

Willamette Valley, Oregon
$19.95 (Vintages #333286) 14% alcohol

Pale in colour but not in taste. The Pinot Gris grape originated in France and is the same grape varietal as the Italian Pinot Grigio but the change in names have come to infer a slightly different style of wine. The latter being more light-bodied with stone fruit and floral aromas. I never used to pay much attention to the Pinot Gris grape varietal, but recently I’ve found such fabulous citrus and zesty acidity; this one really shines. Layered with vibrant fruit and a medium rich texture: honeymelon, yellow and green apple, aromatic nectarines and lots of citrus. How could anyone not love this white wine? It’s fresh but the earthy minerality at the end adds interest and depth. It’s a versatile match for all kinds of lighter fare food. Delicious.


Symington Altano 2013Symington Altano 2013

DOC Douro
$12.95 (Vintages #579862) 13.5% alcohol

Some wines are just meant for cheap and cheerful spaghetti nights and this is one of those.

Altano is the name given to warm summer thermal winds that blow across the vineyards. Ripe blackberries, blueberries and cherries pretty much sum up this red wine, medium bodied with firm tannins. A little young and bone dry and made for the above.


Grand Total – $98.70