Posts Tagged ‘wines under $20’

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, February 17th, 2017
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Diverse discoveries is the theme of this Vintages release at the LCBO. Those that peaked my interest were wines from Israel with a feature of Kosher wines for Passover (which begins April 14th ). There some great wines coming from Israel with it’s Mediterranean climate and distinct wine growing regions. In fact, the wine industry is in Israel is skyrocketing. Flipping through the photos in the Vintages catalogue, it looks like any wine region – could even be mistaken for Ontario – with picturesque vineyards, barrel rooms, goat cheese dairies, even craft breweries.

Don’t think that wines from Israel are all for ceremonial purposes – for from it. They can be enjoyed by absolutely everyone. The LCBO carries over 60 Kosher wines & over 25 Mevushal wines, yet with the upcoming Passover celebrations, the store shelves will have even a greater selection of wines from this emerging wine country. It is time to give them a try!

And now for trivia…

Did you know that the Israeli wine industry was founded by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, owner of the Bordeaux estate Château Lafite-Rothschild, in France?

Just like the box of chocolates there’s always something new to find.

L’chayim –  (a Hebrew toast “to life”),

– Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday February 18, 2017

 

Recanati Chardonnay KP 2014

Upper Gallilee, Israel
$24.95 (Vintages #128322) 12.5% alcohol
Kosher for Passover, Non-Mevushal

Kosher wine is produced according to Judaism’s religious law and observant Jews must supervise the entire winemaking process. The fact that this wine also states that it is Non-Mevushal means exactly that, this wine has been made in the usual standard winemaking process, respecting the Kosher methodology. All Kosher wines – no matter where they are made in around the world, will bear on the label one or more of these symbols (left)– usually on the back label. Rest assured that Kosher wine is not really that different – all the more reason to buy this wine and enjoy the delicious discovery.

The grapes in this Chardonnay were hand-picked and vinified in French oak for 9 months. Aromas of caramel custard and flavours of tropical fruit dance on the palate. Rich and full-bodied tastes of baked pears and almonds make this one delicious easy sipping Chardonnay with a lingering finish of soft fruit.

Would make a beautiful partner with a “Sedar Plate Salad”, roasted chicken or pasta with a creamy sauce.

 


13th Street Winery Cabernet/Merlot 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages #56598) 13.5% alcohol

In my humble opinion, the 13th Street Winery has to be one of the loveliest wineries in the Niagara/Jordan region. Not only is there an art gallery but a bake shop beside the winery that has butter tarts to die for! Situated in a ravine like setting surrounded by statues & art, it is easy to spend hours here.

This beautiful red wine blend has violet and red fruit aromas that embodies a mélange of red & black currants that play on the palate. Medium bodied with soft tannins, this wine has texture and weight with some cedar on the finish. It’s an easy sipper or first class dinner partner for a roast beef with all the trimmings.

 

Finca Flichman Expresiones Reserve Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Mendoza, Argentina
$15.95 (Vintages # 17111) 14.5 % alcohol

Bold, rich, dark and fruity with aromas that boasts nothing but berries. This nectar spent 12 months in French oak which gives it density, character and loads of sensual dark plums even over ripe blueberry flavours. Bone-dry and a full-bodied red wine that you would expect from Argentina, there’s some mocha and tobacco in the long finish.

Mark my words, this is my style of wine. With BBQed ribs it would make me very VERY happy with a BBQed dinner.

 


Oscar’s Estate Vineyard Shiraz/Viognier 2013

Barossa Valley, South Australia
Small Gully Wines
$18.95 (Vintages #287961) 15% alcohol

Loads of personality here. Heavy duty dark black fruit hits the nose and palate with some peppery savoury notes that command attention. A medium to full-bodied red wine, weighing in at 15% alcohol is a hefty kick with loads of creamy warm flavours that satisfy the aftertaste and make you long for another sip.

Luscious and ripe, the savoury notes at the end would make it a perfect pairing partner for a rack of lamb laden with rosemary and thyme and all the trimmings. It’ a kind of “stay at home in front of the fireplace” red wine where you can enjoy the rest of the bottle after dinner – absolute delicious.

 

Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres Syrah/Mourvedre/Grenache 2013

AP Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres, France
$18.95 (Vintages # 413245) 14% alcohol

 I don’t know anyone who cannot be lured by the heady fruit aromas of a GSM blend (winespeak GSM = red wine blend made with grape varieties – Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre). This unusual blend is gaining in popularity and it is no coincidence that I have been featuring several bottles by winemaker Gérard Bertrand. His wines never disappoint.

Medium-bodied and dry, rich berries so lush this red wines reminds me of cherry pie filling with a little mocha and sweet spice on the finish. Well-structured with soft tannins. It is so juicy. Rabbit in a mustard sauce would be a powerful accompaniment in true French gastronomy style.

 

GRAND TOTAL = $99.75

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, February 3rd, 2017
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I’m never sure how LCBO Vintages team decides the country combo to feature every 2 weeks. For example, this release highlights are 3 – European Discovery, South Africa and Valentine’s. The latter is pretty obvious because Valentine’s Day comes every year and there aren’t many gifts better than a bottle of something special.

The pages depicting the European Discovery reminds me of a Riverboat brochure I recently picked up. I’m in Lalaland dreaming about sipping fine wines on the Rhine or Rhone or Nile Rivers.

And since South Africa is another dreamy travel destination for those of us still surviving the cold weather. I sort of get it. This release reminds me that I don’t have to go on a riverboat cruise to explore new wines. Discovering these wines regions at home is a fraction of the price…although South Africa is on my Bucket List!

Happy cruising or shopping,

Cheers!
-Julie

 

 

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday February 4, 2017

 

Dirty Laundry Say Yes Pinot Gris 2014

Okanagan Valley, BC
$19.95 (Vintages #423202) 12.7% alcohol

Always love finding a wine from British Columbia at Vintages! This white wine is a soft golden apple colour with enticing aromas of white blossoms and citrus. It’s a mouthwatering Pinot Gris with citrusy tangerine-lime overtones on the long fresh finish. It would be a crowd pleaser for sure and an easy wine to always say yes – more please, one delicious winner.

This crisp & refreshing white wine would pair nicely with creamy chicken dishes or white fish.

 

Barone Montalto Collezione Di Famiglia Viognier 2015

IGT Terre Siciliane, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages #435479) 12 % alcohol

A pale straw coloured gem with outstanding aromas of baked pears, melon, apricots and almonds that follow through on the palate. This medium-bodied white wine, is rich and juicy with a fabulous seam of acidity and lemon citrus in the long refreshing finish.

It would be a great luncheon wine with a grilled cheese on artisan bread or served with a quiche with goat’s cheese or sipped just on its own. Can’t wait to get one of these wines in my shopping basket.

 

Gérard Bertrand Cotes Des Rosé 2015

AP Languduedoc, France
$18.95 (Vintages #373985) 12.5% alcohol

Without explanation the bottle alone and dreamy pale pink colour markets itself just in time for Valentine’s Day. We all know Rosé is an all year round drink, but it is always a surprise (that creates a smile) when you are offered a glass of rose wine in February. Talk about blowing away the winter blahs and thinking of spring.

Fresh, pretty, clean and lively with some red berry undertones and a little lime zest on the smooth aftertaste. It is a crisp beauty in appearance and taste that triggers a reminder that summer will be here soon enough.

 


Flagstone Dragon Tree Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz/Pinotage 2013

WO Western Cape, South Africa
$16.95 (Vintages # 37549) 14.5% alcohol

 Made with predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, this is a fantastic red wine blend. Warm, ruby red rich in colour that has great complexity on the nose. At first, there is smoke and savoury aromas which are surprising since black ripe berries, and raspberries explode on the palate. There is alot of backbone, full-bodied and creamy in texture.

The lingering spicey fruit on the finish is amazing and a great price point – only $16.95) for a wine that is oh-so luscious. Serve with anything grilled and meaty for a spectacular match.

 

Domain Mega Spileo Red 2010

Peloponnese, Greece
$29.95 (Vintages # 466110) 14% alcohol

This bright ruby red coloured slightly unusual red wine in terms of taste, is comprised of 60% Mavrodafne (a black wine grape from the Achaea region, northern Greece) and 40% Mavro Kalavritino (a red grape variety also native to Greece). I thought it would be fun to feature a new to Vintages release from a relatively unfamiliar region.

Loads of cherries and red berry flavours, medium-bodied, noteable tannins and this red wine blend calls loudly for food. It’s tight but interesting, I found that the wine grew on me – I always went back for another taste.

There is a little coffee and spice on the finish. There’s lots going on (often called “strucutre”) between initial flavours and a smokey aftertaste. I make Moussaka once a year, and this would be a spectacular match with my recipe!

GRAND TOTAL= $101.75

 everyone can find a spare loonie and 3 quarters 🙂 

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If I only had $100, I would buy….wines from Argentina!

Posted by Julie

Thursday, January 19th, 2017
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This time last year, my husband and I spent a month in Buenos Aires, so when I saw that this release focused on Argentina, I was VERY excited to see what new wines would come into LCBO’s Vintages. Here are 3 wines from Mendoza (Argentina’s largest wine region) since it is the leader in quantity and quality of Malbec wines.

Three interesting facts Argentina & their wine:

Fact #1 – 80% of the country’s wine production is centered in this desert region located sandwiched between the Andes Mountain range (that borders Chile) and about 650 miles west of Buenos Aires. The region rarely sees challenges of insects, fungi or mould due to the high altitude and low humidity. And honestly, the daily temperatures ranged between 26C to 30C…that is certainly sounding pretty good right now as we suffer through a cold snap.

Fact #2 – In 2010, the Argentina government declared wine as Argentina’s national liquor. Tuck that one away for trivia night!

Fact #3 – Canada is the 3rd largest market for Argentina wines…behind England & the US.

As they say in Argentina ‘Salud’,

-Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday January 21, 2017

 

Joseph Cattin Brut Rosé Crémant D’Alsace

Méthode Traditionnelle, AC, France
$19.95 (Vintages #264572)

Before I get into the Argentina feature, I must shine the spotlight on this sparkling wine.  Often found gracing the Vintages shelves, this beautiful pale cranberry coloured bubbly is always an elegant crowd-pleaser. For those of you who like sparkling wine and Rosé, it is a first class choice.

Made entirely from the Pinot Noir grapes, it’s characterised by cherry and currant flavours. It’s dry, creamy and refreshing. A perfect aperitif, celebration wine or even served with dessert – a strawberry cheesecake or fruit torte it could be magical. I’m definitely going to give it a try!  Now if I could only find juicy strawberries in January…

 

Colome Torrontes 2015

Calchaqui Valley, Salta, Argentina 
$15.95 (Vintages # 357913) 13.5% alcohol

Whenever I serve Torrontes wine to guests, people always ask what wine I am serving, where it comes from, where they can buy it. It is a great find! Often there are one or two Torrontes wines available in the Vintages section of the LCBO. While not common, Torrontes has become the signature white wine of Argentina.

Dry as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, there’s a little lanolin or honeyed taste that coats the palate while many soft citrus flavours explode. Mandarin oranges, lemons, apricots with lingering finishes of savory and grass.

It’s a great tapas wine: sardines, almonds, olives, chips or just on its own.

 

Fabre Montmayou Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 

Mendoza, Argentina  
$18.95 (Vintages # 261891) 14.5% alcohol

Although Christmas is long gone, that heavenly aroma of traditional fruit cake and Christmas pudding loaded with dark ripe dried fruit and nuts reminded me of how great wine aromas like this one can trigger memories & fill your senses.

Medium bodied and dry, dark red/blackberry flavours dance on the palate and your senses are filled with some divine vanilla in the aftertaste.  It’s a great on its own or with the usual grilled fare.  Absolutely. Delicious.

 

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2013

Uco Valley, Province of Mendoza, Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #723478) 14% alcohol

This is a classic expression of Malbec. Deep and dark in colour, violet aromas tantalize and blueberry blackberries and savoury play on the palate. Tannins are soft and smooth with a little mocha and tar on the finish.

Last month, Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm spent a day at the new Zuccardi Winery and was WOWed by the setting, the vineyards,  the hospitality & of course…the wines.  “What impressed me is that the winery is using concrete tanks rather than the typical stainless tanks commonly used.  And there are only a few oak barrels in the cellar….the winemaking team at Zuccardi focuses on creating wines to bring out the natural flavours without the help of oak. That is incredible and the result is pure and outstanding.”

Uncork this red wine to enjoy with a herb encrusted pork tenderloin or Sunday roast beef. Guaranteed that there will be smiles around the table.

 

Susana Balbo Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Uco Valley, Province of Mendoza, Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #260919) 14% alcohol 

With over 20 years as a consultant winemaker for national and international wine companies, when Susana decided to build a winery, she did in style and with much panache.  In 1981, she was the first woman in Argentina to receive a degree in enology, and in 2012, she was recognized as one of the most influential women winemakers by The Drink Business Magazine.

This Cabernet Sauvignon is one charmer from start to finish. Full-bodied, ripe currants, herbal notes, tobacco, savoury – loads of complexity and backbone. This red wine overflows with character and strength.  Roasts or grill meats & vegetables would be fabulous.

 

Grand Total – $ 94.75

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6 wines under $100 – total!

Posted by Julie

Monday, January 11th, 2016
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2016 is off to a great start.  The LCBO Vintages kicks off the year with their annual ‘Smart Buys’ issue. This is always a time to introduce wine drinkers to some new finds under $15 or $20 that will give you the best bang for your buck – quality to price ratio. I tried many and found lots that I could not wait to recommend.

160104-NewArrivals01_enBefore the LCBO fills the Vintages shelves, I have the opportunity to taste too many to count wines and this time I found all kinds of gems at literally, thrilling price points. Even I was amazed at all that I could find for my budget of $100 – that doesn’t happen often!

So as winter settles in, bundle up, venture out to Vintages and load up your shopping cart with my picks of Smart Buys to uncork or stash away.

Happy New Year,

Julie

 

 

 

If I only had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday January 9, 2016

 

sparklingLoosen Bros. Dr. L. Sparkling Riesling
Mosel, Germany
$14.95 (Vintages #296095) 12.5% alcohol

I hadn’t planned to do a sparkling wine after featuring several in the last release but after tasting this and at this under $15 price point, I had to share the news. Light, fruity, and fragrant moussey bubbles, made using the Charmat method (winespeak: the second fermentation is done in a pressurized tank to preserve the bubbles), it is an absolutely fabulous sparkling wine. Crisp with orange-lime fruit flavours flowing on the palate and while bone dry, there’s a pinch of sweet lemon curd in the soft mousse (bubbles) that burst in the mouth. A great brunch wine or afternoon delight. It’s too good to be true – stock up!

 

 

fielding chardonnay unoakedFielding Unoaked Chardonnay 2014
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages #164491) 12.5% alcohol

Always a fan of the Fielding wines and the family, I couldn’t resist putting this delicate Chardonnay in my basket. It is the kind of wine that would change the minds of folks who say they don’t like Chardonnay. (Not that I personally know many!) Light to medium bodied, fermented in stainless steel, it has soft fruit aromas and flavours of tropical fruits: green apples and apricots. It tastes fresh and pure and is a great sipper on it’s own or with some pasta in a creamy sauce. Again, another steal under $15!

 

Estancia Pinot Grigio 2014bottle-estancia-contemporary-pinot-grigio
California, USA
$16.95 (Vintages #418285) 13.5% alcohol

Warm days and cool nights, give this wine its depth of character. Aromatic and crisp, lots of yellow apple, cantaloupe and ripe pear on the palate. There’s some flinty lemon lime in the aftertaste and very pale in colour so be sure to serve it in a stem glass, otherwise it could be mistaken for water! While that in itself may not appeal to some, I found the wine deliciously fresh. Perhaps better suited for a summer’s day, but if you like or plan on serving a white wine as an aperitif or sip in the afternoon, this is sheer delight at any time of year.

 

sisters run cabernetSister’s Run Bethlehem Block Cabernet 2013
Barossa Valley, South Australia
$15.95 (Vintages #360636) 14.5% alcohol

Talk about a crowd pleasing beauty. Plush, dark, inky layered with red and dark berry fruits that keep you going back for one more sip. Soft tannins mingle in the mouthfeel with something slightly herbaceous at the end. It’s juicy, with a long, fruity, plum ending.

It had so many gold seals on the bottle, I didn’t keep track of the numbers, but more than one wine judge loved this…and I did too!

 

Don’t Hesitate Shiraz 2013dont hesitate
McLaren Vale, South Australia
$17.00 (Vintages #434159) 14% alcohol

You have to wonder where these names come from! As the name suggests…don’t hesitate to pick this up. TIP: pick up more than 1 bottle! It’s another fruity crowd-pleaser, smooth texture makes it easy sipping. Intense dark berry and plum flavours, rich, creamy and velvety with a pinch of sweet spice and pepper on the long finish. If you enjoy Shiraz, this one delivers 100%!

 

felinoFelino Malbec 2014
Mendoza, Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #118067) 14.9% alcohol

When I have many wines to taste, I’ve starting playing a little star game. Obviously self explanatory but I go back and review – price dependent of course – to offer you as many of my 5 star wines as possible. This was no exception; I had stars and circles that made this sure fire hit jump out of my notes! I did not want to miss sharing this tip with you. Smooth as silk, blackberries and blueberries and other dark berry fruit are layered and bursting with flavours, a little leather and tobacco on the finish. Medium to full bodied with soft tannins, excellent balance and strong Argentinian character. Grilled meats, ribs slathered with spicy sauce, hearty burgers or the finest of roasts, this is one well-made wine….and tastes more than the price tag.

 

GRAND TOTAL: $99.75

6 wines for under $100 – that’s the best yet!

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Great value wines for the long weekend!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, May 15th, 2009
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As seen on CTV Ottawa News @ Noon  – May 15, 2009 
WATCH SEGMENT

 

CTV Ottawa’s News @ Noon host Leanne Cusak joined me at the LCBO Hunt Club store to fill up our shopping carts with wines that are great value & perfect to uncork when you fire up the BBQ on this long weekend.

Wines in LCBO Under $15
Sparkling Wine
Bottega Vino dei Poeti Prosecco, Italy,
$14.95
A crisp, dry light bodied bubbly – pop the cork off to celebrate the first long weekend of the summer

White Wines

Trumpour’s Mill Pinot Gris VQA, Prince Edward County, $14.75
Do you drink Pinot Grigio from Italy? Well, Pinot Gris is the same grape variety, just grown outside of Italy.  Dry & crisp, this is a medium bodied wine from Ottawa’s wine region – Prince Edward County…only a 3 hour drive away.

 

Lurton Pinot Gris, Argentina, $10.95
Argentina’s equivalent to Pinot Grigio – dry, crisp with refreshing acidity.  Unwind after a hard day with a chilled glass of this easy drinking wine.

 

Trius Riesling VQA, Niagara, $13.75
Wines with Riesling grapes are terrific ‘crowd pleasers’.  Crisp, lemon-lime tastes & a hint of sweetness. Serve chilled with hors d’oeuvres, BBQ chicken & pork chops.

Rosé Wine

Fuzion Syrah Rosé, Argentina, $7.45
To me, there is no better way to chill out on a summer afternoon or evening than with a glass of rosé wine.  As a follow-up to the ever popular red Fuzion, this rosé has delicious aromas & tastes of strawberry. NOTE: Oodles more Rose wines will be on the store shelves in early June.

Red Wines

Black Prince Winery Cabernet Franc VQA, Prince Edward County, $15.75
…oops!  I just realized that this wine is in fact over $15 – yet still a great value for its bold taste.  Uncork when you fire up the BBQ for homemade burgers.

NOTE: this winery will be featured in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club…Subscribe & 3 bottles of Ontario wine hand selected by our team of Savvy Sommeliers.  The wines that are delivered to your home or office are ones that you won’t find at the LCBO …now that is a new way to shop!

 

Vina Tarapaca Reserva Carmenère, Chile, $12.65
Be on the look out for wines from Chile made with Carmenere – Chile’s newest signature grape variety.  Big, bold & delicious…another wine to serve with BBQ foods.  At this price , why not stock up?

 

Pelee Island Pinot Noir Reserve VQA, Lake Erie North Shore, $14.75
Another favorite Ontario wine at an incredible price! Light to medium bodied, with aromas & flavours of cherry, this wine can be served at room temperature or slightly chilled for a different taste. Perfect for BBQed salmon, grilled Portobello mushrooms & pork tenderloin.

NOTE: Pelee Island Winery’s has been featured in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club…they dusted off some special wines from their cellars to send to our subscribers.  Why not join in the fun? Contact Debbie

 

Cline Zinfandel, California, $14.60
Not to be confused with sweet rosé wines made with Zinfandel, this wine is deep red in colour.  A full bodied wine with delicious aromas & tastes of red fruit to pair with grilled beef & veggie shish kebabs

Wines in Vintages Under $20

White Wines

Symphony Obsession, California, $14.95
Not all wines in the Vintages area of the LCBO are high priced.  This medium bodied white wine has delicious floral aromas & refreshing tastes. Serve chilled & unwind after a busy day.

 

Malivoire Chardonnay VQA, Niagara, $19.75
There is a story behind every wine…especially this one.  Why is there a ladybug on the label?  At Malivoire, rather than spraying the vines with pesticides, they have millions of ladybugs flying around their vineyard ridding of the insects.  This medium bodied Chardonnay is perfect with steamed mussels, poached fish, crab cakes & roasted chicken.

NOTE: this winery was featured in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club last month.  At Malivoire, they make several wines that are not available at your local LCBO. Subscribe to Savvy Selections & receive 3 bottles of Ontario wine hand picked by our Savvy Sommeliers.  You will not see any of the featured wines at the LCBO….there are other ways to shop for wines. Just ask Debbie!

 

Red Wines

Wakefield Merlot, Australia, $16.75
Australian wineries make more than just Shiraz & this is a good example.  A big red that is begging for burgers or a steak.

 

Raimat Abadia, Spain, $14.75
Spain tends to have some reasonably price wines…especially if you like reds.  This medium bodied wine has concentrated aromas & tastes of cherry, smoke & vanilla.  Serve with pizza, lamb shish kebab or Spanish classic rice & seafood dish called ‘paella’.

 

Perrin Nature, Côtes du Rhone, France, $17.75
This organic wine will WOW you! It is a blend of Grenache & Syrah grapes (typical to Rhone Valley) resulting in a well balanced medium bodied red wine with a velvety smooth taste & light tannins.  Serve with sausages, roasted chicken or simply with soft cheeses.

 

Windy Peak Pinot Noir, New Zealand, $18.75
New Zealand is becoming famous for it’s Pinot Noirs.  Usually $25 & up, this one is a steal for $18.75.  Light to medium bodied, Pinot is great to serve when you can’t decide whether to open a bottle of red or white wine.  Serve lightly chilled (10 mins in the fridge) & notice how the flavours change as the wine warms up to room temperature.  A classic match is grilled salmon.

 

Cheers & have a terrific long weekend!

-Debbie

Debbie Trenholm
Accredited Sommelier & President
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/savvydebbie
Read more of my blogs: www.savvycompany.ca/debbie

 

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