Six Wines Under $100 – Total!
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.
Before the LCBO fills the Vintages shelves, I had the opportunity to taste more wines than I could count, and this time I found all kinds of gems at 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,
If I only had $100, I would buy …
Saturday January 9, 2016
Loosen Bros. Dr. L. Sparkling Riesling
$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, considering its under $15 price point, I had to share the news. Light, fruity, and withfragrant 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 bubbles that burst in the mouth. A great brunch wine or afternoon delight, it’s too good to be true – stock up!
Estancia Pinot Grigio 2014
$16.95 (Vintages #418285) 13.5% alcohol
Warm days and cool nights give this wine its depth of character. Aromatic and crisp, it has lots of yellow apple, cantaloupe and ripe pear on the palate. There’s some flinty lemon lime in the aftertaste and the wine is 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.
Fielding 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 its own or with some pasta in a creamy sauce. Again, another steal under $15!
Sister’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!
Felino Malbec 2014
$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.
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%!
GRAND TOTAL: $99.75
6 wines for under $100 – that’s the best yet!