When it comes to wine, just like travel we all have our regular go to destination…each spring I visit a stretch of the Mayan Riviera that I just love and while there are definitely other great beaches in the world for some reason every year I return to same place. It’s the same with wine, considering there is so much great wine from around the world I always seem to go back to the Italian ones.
Trying to step out of my comfort zone this summer I decided I would take a trip around the world one bottle at a time via the wines offered up at my local liquor store. Considering I live in the burbs the selection isn’t half bad. My buggy was full and the total came to a tidy sum but I tried to make sure I kept to bottles under $20 so as not to break the bank because even for this adventure there was a budget.
I ended up with wines from Spain, Alsace, France, South Africa, Italy, California, Australia and even a couple of local ones from Ontario. Some I loved, some not so much and others really surprised me when I wasn’t expecting them to. Here’s the ones that really surprised me and are worth taking a trip to the liquor store for.
Red Guitar: Old Vine Trempranillo Garnach 2010 Navarra,Spain $12.95 (total steal) My husband and I were totally surprised by this one as we tend to shy away from Spanish wines. I’m not sure why, as Spain is well known for some really great wine but usually I defer to Italy when it comes to full-bodied reds. This has a deep ruby colour and tasted of rich dried fruits and spices. It was terrific with the grilled t-bone steak and fingerling potatoes. We both said we would definitely buy it again.
Porcupine Ridge 2012 Syrah Swartland, South Africa $14.95 This comes from the boekenhoutskloof winery
and is named after the crested porcupines that live in the region. Tasting of blackberries, spices and vanilla it’s also a great match for grilled meats and we enjoyed it with pork tenderloin medallions, fingerling potatoes (these are my hubby’s favourites so they make the menu a lot), ripe tomatoes with a dash of olive oil, salt, pepper and some fresh basil.
Willy Gisselbrecht Sylvaner 2011 Alsace $13.95 But it’s now on clearance for $10.25 so if you want to try it you’ll have to hurry. This is a terrific full-bodied white wine that goes extremely well with seafood especially oysters. Certainly not as appreciated as a Riesling which is definitely the most respected grape varietal from Alsace, a Sylvaner from a good producer can certainly hold it’s own. It was cool and refreshing and as I’ve already searched the LCBO data base I’m going to my local store where they still have 6 bottles to pick up the rest.
Ascheri Barbera D’Alba $14.45 Piemonte, North West Italy this one was recommended by a friend who had it recommended to them by the sommelier who insisted it was a great go to wine if it’s on the wine list when you are out for dinner. The first time I tried it I knew this would be something I’d have on hand in the cellar for those everyday occasions. Made from 100% Barbera grapes which have now become the third most-planted red grape variety in Italy after Sangiovese and Montepulciano. It’s medium bodied and amazing with pasta.
So take a chance because you never know what you’ll find and hey for under $20 you can barely get lunch at a fast food joint never mind a great bottle of wine to go with dinner.
Are you willing to take a chance and step out of your comfort zone? If you find a great wine you’d like to share let us know.