Posts Tagged ‘wines on a budget’

If I only had $100…I would buy these Canadian wines!

Posted by Julie

Friday, June 20th, 2014
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It’s time to head to LCBO Vintages to stock up on fine Canadian wines to celebrate Canada Day. Oh Canada!!  In this blog, I pay tribute to our young – but rich in history – country with a selection of all-Canadian wines. Whether you are on Parliament Hill, at a cottage, on a golf course or just sitting back in a deck chair, this is our time to shine.

LCBO Vintages June 21As we all know, Canada Day is our national day celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act. I’d best not get on my history train, but it seems that in the past couple of weeks, we have seen many milestone commemorations including the 70th year anniversary D-Day invasion.  Raise a glass of European wine that are featured in this release to honour our Canadian veterans.

I had not planned to review 3 rosés but these are just so outstanding, I hope you pick up at least one to help make your Canada Day sparkle.  From coast to coast, thank you to our wineries and winemakers who have given us such outstanding selections.

With true patriot love of all our Canadian wines & Happy Canada Day from coast to coast to coast!

Julie

If I only had $100, I would buy these wines
at LCBO Vintages…
June 21st, 2014 

 

Norman Hardie Riesling 2012

Prince Edward County, Ontario
$21.00 (Vintages 131169)  10.2%

Norman Hardie does not make huge amounts of wine so when this wine comes to Vintages, I would grab a few bottles. Many of his wines are only available to enjoy at a handful of restaurants in Prince Edward County, Kingston, Ottawa and in Toronto. This white wine is light-bodied, crisp clean and delicious, with tastes of limestone and citrus with a great seam of minerality . A more than perfect summer afternoon sipper with a modest alcohol content. If you are having a crowd, stock-up, since I guarantee, it will literally disappear before your eyes.

 

Union Squared RedUnion Squared Red 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$17.95 (Vintages #292359) 13.8% alcohol

This is a perfect wine for juicy burgers – lamb, beef, even vegetarian. It is bright cherry in colour, a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir. You can never go wrong with these persistent grape varieties since they grow so well in Ontario soil. This red wine boasts ripe red fruits with grippy tannins which is why is would soak up a juicy rare burger and is bone dry. There’s also a little pepper floating on the palate and makes for an interesting blend.

 

Mission Hill Five Vineyards RoséMission Hill Five Vineyards Rosé 2013

VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
$14.95 (Vintages # 229716) 13.5% alcohol

Years ago, my husband and I visited Mission Hill and it is as memorable as any chateau in France. Lush expanses of vineyards, a tasting room reminiscent of a high end department store and a terrace to lunch which has more view than any room. Despite strong watermelon and strawberry flavours, this rosé could stand up to any grilled chop. Crisp, dry with lots of fruit on the finish. Yum.

 

Tawse Sketches RoséTawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages# 172643) 12.5% alcohol

I’m sorry but some wines are just worth repeating! Winery of the year for three years running – 2010, 2011, 2012 – would indicate to anyone that Tawse makes premium VQA wines. This Sketches Rosé just bursts with red fruit flavours of multiple grape varieties. I find it just slightly off-dry with structure and strength to offer versatility to many foods. Refreshing ripe cherries, cranberries and plums with a great squirt of acidity to keep you coming back for more. Definitely a partner for salmon or pork tenderloin.

 

Pondview Cabernet Franc RoséPondview Cabernet Franc Rosé 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$14.95 (Vintages #241802) 13% alcohol

Many decades ago, as the story goes, winery owner Lou Puglisi was wandering about his property and said to his wife “what a great view of the pond”- hence the name Pondview.  Winemaker, Fred Di Profio allowed the grape skins to remain in contact with the grape juice for several hours creating this beautiful light cranberry colour.  Whether it is the power of suggestion, I taste lots of tart cranberry flavours with hint of pink grapefruit. Bone dry, great acidity and very crisp this medium bodied wine would be fabulous with a charcuterie or just on its own.  Does the yum never end?

 

I totalled my price & realized I had $15.20 left in my $100 budget, so here is a non-Canadian choice of a great summer sipper.

 

Alamos TorrontésAlamos Torrontés 2013

Catena, Argentina
$13.95  (Vintages #81539)  13.5% alcohol

This white wine frequently finds its way to my shopping basket. Torrontes is Argentina’s signature white grape varietal and a great price point. Pale in colour, white blossom aromas, lots citrus, lemon-lime flavour, a little grassy on the finish. It kind of reminds me of a Sauvignon Blanc but is short on the finish. What you taste is what you get, but I love the refreshing clean taste and it’s a great summer wine.

 

GRAND TOTAL – $98.75

 

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Star quality wines have landed at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Thursday, November 7th, 2013
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Looking to economize while drinking great wines? Entertaining season is just around the corner so I am game for the challenge to see how far we can stretch my $100 budget that I have been ‘given’ to do this blog. This weekend’s LCBO Vintages release features wines of “Premium Star Quality” along with an assortment of dessert wines. While we all tend to know what premium star quality means, I am on the mission to find wines of star quality that won’t break my budget with their price tag.

So what did I pick?

With the exception of two wines, I have chosen wines under $15 a bottle. I have also put together a selection that can easily take you through many dinner parties from appetizers through to dessert, without breaking the bank. 

I did not have the opportunity to taste two wines I am recommending – sound strange?  Don’t worry I taste wines for a living!  I am confident that knowing the wineries that they produce only quality wine.  And from previous wines that I have reviewed from these wineries, they have never disappointed. There are also a couple of wines from Italy that never fail to inspire and match any number of food dishes. 

I also wanted to tip you off a couple of the wines found in the LCBO’s general list area of the store that are under $15 & somehow always find their way into my shopping basket:

Cave Springs Riesling VQA at $14.95
Creekside Sauvignon Blanc VQA $13.95
and  L.A.Cetto Petite Sirah 2011 at $11.95

All that to say, you can have lots of star quality with $100 to spend.

Julie

 

 Abbazia Moscato D’Asti 2012

DOCG, Italy
$14.95 (Vintages #265397)  13% alcohol 

With a slight touch of sweetness, this off dry white wine is always festive, pretty and a lovely start to any party. It is nice to start with something spritzy especially if the rest of your dinner wines are packed with punch and/or you are serving wines with different courses. It has aromas and tastes of stone fruits: peaches, apricots, pears with delicate moussey bubbles that could accompany shrimp canapes or parmesan crisps. 

 

Rockway Small Lot Reserve White Assemblage 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages #359315) 11.5% alcohol 

Golden straw in colour, this delightful white wine blend of Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewurtztraminer is aromatic and tastes of all these grapes. The Chardonnay has some creaminess being aged in oak but there’s lots of stone fruit and apples from the other grape varietals. Great acidity and is beautifully balanced; just another example that we never have to look further than our own backyard. It would be perfect to sip with an uncomplicated boston lettuce salad with a soft olive oil, a little artisan bread or a spicey soup to start your evening. 

 

Cavit Alta Luna Phases 2010

IGT Vigneti della Dolomiti, Italy
$14.95  (Vintages #354340)  12.5% alcohol 

A fabulous red wine blend made with the Teroldego, Lagrein and Merlot grapes from the foothills of Italy’s Dolomite Alps.  Dark plums and cherries fill the palate and being aged in oak, the wine has a richness to the taste with great tannins and a spicey finish. A great pizza or pasta wine or with some cheese.

 

Zuccardi Organica Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Mendoza, Argentina
$13.95 (Vintages #68452) 14% alcohol 

The Mendoza province is by far the largest wine region in western Argentina located on a high-altitude plateau at the edge of the Andes Mountains. The altitude is an important terroir characteristic since it means long sunny warm days that extend the growing season and contribute to ripe, rich grapes that do not sacrifice the acidity.  This dark cherry coloured baby is one red wine packed with punch. This red wine would make a fabulous partner with roast pork or a spicy sausage and eggplant pasta dish.

 

Natura Carmenere 2012

Colchagua Valley, Banfi, Chile
$14.95 (Vintages #56887)   14.1% alcohol 

For us red wine lovers, you can’t go far wrong with a blend of Carmenere, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Juicy and full, dark fruits, some spice, smokey and peppery all conjure up pictures of the beautiful Colchagua Valley (on my travel list !). I’m thinking ribs or beef stew.

 

Konzelmann Special Select Late Harvest Vidal 2011

VQA Ontario
$19.95 9Vintages #359216) 13.5% alcohol 

When presenting this finale to your dinner party you might want to mention that this late harvest wine was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2013 Ontario Wine Awards. There is citrus and apricot flavours with a creamy sweetness; you just want to roll it around your tongue to make it last. Serve with cheese, chocolates & fresh fruit for a beautiful ending of a feast. 

 

Grand Total: $95.70

 

 

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