Tag Archives: Value wines

Weekend Wine Picks that WOW

Rolf Binder Ma I? Have This Evening Shiraz/Mataro 2009 (Barossa Valley, Australia)

Have This Evening?
Have This Evening?

Great value alert: I love to start with a wine that tastes like it should cost much more. This Barossa Valley red is a blend of 80% Shiraz and 20% Mataro grapes. It is structured and elegant with blackberry and hints of dark chocolate. And I admit it, I am a sucker for an Australian wine with a lovely label and this one is a beaut.The Australians and Californians often have great labels and still manage to get the wine right. All too often the memorable label is a strong sign that the wine will be anything but.  And I must give honourable mention to Ontario’s Megalomaniac wines that produce award-winning labels and terrific wines. More on the art of the wine label next week.

Cecchi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2009 DOCG $19.95 LCBO, $18.80 SAQ

Value Vino
Value Vino

OK I was seduced by a wine I love at a price that seemed too good to be true. This is another great value wine. Strong cherry and tobacco notes, the wine is extra dry.  It could benefit from decanting. While this is not as smooth as some of  the wines of its Tuscan neighbours, you don’t often see Vino Nobile di Montepulciano at this price. 12.7% alcohol.



Quinta Da Lixa Pouco Comum Alvarinho 2011 $14.95

Fresh and Crisp White
Fresh and Crisp White

This white from Portugal’s Minho region is aromatic and crisp. Think citrus, think lime – a wine that is ripe with opportunity. It is fresh and balanced, but with substance. At $14.95 – if you haven’t ventured past Charodnnay and Pinot Grigio, give yourself a new grape to try. It comes from northern part of the country, a region best known for Vino Verde – refreshing whites with a green tinge.




The Splurge of the Week

Bold and Beautiful
Bold and Beautiful

Mollydooker The Boxer Shiraz 2010 (South Australia) $29.95

I love this wine. I love this winery’s philisophy and I would love to have its two founders, Sarah and Sparky Marquis ,over for  dinner. Mollydooker is Aussie slang  for left hander – because Sarah and Sparky  are both lefties.  Just last month, I wrote about Mollydooker’s Maitre D’. This week I was delighted to see a new and equally distinctive label on the shelf at Vintages.  The Boxer is a guaranteed crowd pleaser if you like full-bodied, fruity, rich, bold, delicious – and I could go on and on wine. While this style of fruity, highly alcoholized wine is not to everyone’s taste, it has a lot of fans. Sarah and Sparky’s story is as rich as its wines.  They went from the brink of bankruptcy to almost overnight success. Check out their fabulous web site. It is as creative as their labels. Their wines get rave reviews and they can’t produce enough of it.  It is a splurge, but I am sipping it as I write, and it is ripe with blackberries, blueberries, spice  and plenty of promise that keep delivering. Alcohol: (hold on to your hat) 16%

What attracts your eye to the bottle? The label, the grape, the region or the rating?

Italian Wines that WOW and other Weekend Wine Picks

Every two weeks, LCBO’s Vintages  delivers a flutter of joy to my inbox. If you are over 40, it’s the same kind of greedy excitement you felt when the Sears’ Christmas Wish Book came to the door. If you are under 40, it could be the Victoria’s Secret, Restoration Hardware or Canadian Tire catalogue that gives you the same kind of thrill. The Vintages online catalogue features the new releases and each edition spotlights one particular region. Last week, joy of joys – the feature: Tuscan Triumphs – featuring  many affordable wines and others that are wishlist worthy.

While I start to make my way through the new releases, a few of them made The Women of WIne’s weekend picks.

Teruzzi & Puthod Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2011 DOCG (Tuscany)

Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2011
Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2011

The Italian white is fresh and lively- think citrus and green apples – pale straw coloured and nicely aromatic with a creamy  texture. The Vernaccia di San Gimignano appellation was the first wine designated DOC – an Italian mark of quality. It was later upgraded to DOCG or quality guaranteed.  The Vernaccia grape is grown in the stunning area surrounding San Gimignano, the Tuscan town declared a UNESCO heritage site. If you have ever seen the movie Tea With Mussolini, starring a trio of British treasures: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Joan Plowright, part of the film was shot there. Like this wine, the movie too, has a big finish. I won’t spoil it, but definitely worth watching with a glass of this wine in hand.

 Valiano Poggio Teo Chianti Classico 2008 DOCG (Tuscany) 

Valiano Poggio Teo Chianti Classico 2008
Valiano Poggio Teo Chianti Classico 2008

The scent of a good Chianti is one of life’s true pleasures. This deep ruby wine is full of plum, cherry preserves, spice and chocolate notes. Its tannins will make you pucker so decanting is a good idea. This is 100% Sangiovese and comes from Chianti Classico, an area within the gorgeous Chianti region. This wine also has the favourite WOW (women of wine) characteristic. It tastes a like it should cost more than it actually does.  13.5% alcohol. $18.95




Out of the New World WIne

Barista Pinotage WO 2011 (Western Cape, South Africa)

Barista Pinotage
Barista Pinotage

Pinotage is South Africa’s specialty. It is a cross between Cinsault and Pinot Noir and when it is good, it is very very good. The name is highly appropriate. Barista is like sipping from a strong cup of coffee with mocha flavours all wrapped up with red fruit and oak. I have not always been a big fan of Pinotage, but some of the latest releases have been terrific. And at $14.95, so is the price. 13.5% alcohol. Have it with a burger or even biscotti.




Deal of the Week

Vina Alicia Paso de Piedra Malbec 2008 (Mendoza, Argentina)

Vina Alicia Malbec 2008
Vina Alicia Malbec 2008

This is an exceptional value wine. Deep and delicious with black cherries and spice. It is 100% Malbec, the signature grape of Mendoza which produces 70% of the wines of Argentina. This wine is full-bodied and fruity. And if you need an official rating for proof, uber-critic Robert Parker gave it a 92 points. Not bad for $19.95. Buy one for yourself, one to hold and one to gift to someone you love.



Splurge of the Week: A Few More Dollars But a Lot of Delicious

Poliziano Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano 2009
Poliziano Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano 2009

Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2009, (Tuscany)

Cherries and spice and everything nice – this is a superb example of this noble wine of Tuscany made by Poliziano, one of the region’s top producers. Some refer to Vino Nobile di Montepulciano as a baby Brunello at a more affordable price.  I am a big fan and not just because Montipulciano is one of my favourite places on the planet. Sure, like any type of wine,  some are better than others, but when a Vino Nobile is well-produced – like this one, it is elegant, giving, well-structured  and keeps you wanting more.  It is 85% Prugnolo Gentile (a Sangiovese clone) and 15% blend of Canaiolo, Merlot and Colorino grapes. Pick up a bottle, they are going fast – or even better – get yourself to Montipulciano – it will taste even better. I promise.  14.5% alcohol. $25.96

Have a great weekend. Let us know if you try out one of the picks or if you have another to suggest.


Fabulous February Wine Picks

7858376214_a0c50318d6I’m always looking for great wines under $20 – something that can help me get the weekend off to a good start – but also doesn’t put a huge dent in the budget.

So on a particularly stressful day recently  when I wanted to transport myself  into the closest LCBO to buy and fly,   I decided to cosy up to the tasting bar at Queen’s Quay – one of my favourite 10-minute adventures. A tasting bar is basically a wall of opportunity. You can taste wines that you can’t afford, and even in that one ounce sip – you can recognize greatness. But the more practical reason, you can avoid post-corking disappointment when you try before you buy.

This week’s list featured some of the finest Super Tuscans, some of BC’s best offerings and French wines that are in a stratosphere way beyond my pay scale. There were six that fit my under $20 criteria. You can taste 4 x 1/2oz or 2 x 1 oz.

For this week’s wine picks I included two wines not on the tasting menu that I highly recommend: one under  $20 and one splurge that curled my toes.

valdivieso Valdivieso Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Maipo Valley

The LCBO description describes this wine as a juicy and ripe with notes of vanilla, blackberry and woodsmoke. One slurp and I didn’t need more convincing. Now, I will admit that I have not been a big fan of most Chilean- but if this Cab at this price is an example of what is coming out of the Maipo Valley today – I will go back for more. LCBO $19.95

Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2010 Spain

Full-bodied, black cherries and spice with strong vanilla notes – the rich dark ruby colour has been compared with wines from Northern Rhone. Uber critic Robert Parker went a step further and called it the winery’s “interpretation of Chateauneuf du Pape” but at a non-Chateau price. LCBO $19.95

Pinotage The Grinder 2011 WO, Swartland, South Africa 

 the grinderPinotage is South Africa’s signature grape – a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault (my Wines 2 teacher would be so proud). In can be the best or worst of wines – at worst it has an overiding scent of burnt rubber, at best rich coffee and dark chocolate. Enter The Grinder. It is a good example of a quality Pinotage – meaty and mocha – perfect to pair with a rich stew. And at $13.95 a bottle at the LCBO, you can’t go wrong.




Virgen Del Aguila Artigazo 2007 artigazo

I mentioned this last week when I tried it at the tasting bar, but now that I have had a full bottle, I am giving it another shout out. This juicy wine from DO Carinena – just south of Rioja region is a blend of 40% Garnacha, 30% Syrah and 30% Cabernet SauvignonLCBO $18.95.




Bonus Tracks:  Vinaceous! Raconteur Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Barossa Valley South Australia

Tell Me About It!

This Barossa Valley Cab is one for the road – get it out of the store and into your glass. It’s big and fruity and lush with black cherry and cassis notes. I love the Aussie labels. The web site is absolutely stunning and while it says you can hold on to it for 10 years. I don’t know how or why you would wait that long.  It is rich and smooth, very well-balanced. LCBO $19.95




The Big Splurge: Mastrojanni San Pio 2008 IGT Tuscany, Italy

Some of the best wine discoveries I have ever made are completely random. In this case Isan pio was reading a Globe and Mail article by Eric Reguly about the head of the Illy Coffee dynasty and how they shared a glass of wine (who says you can’t mix business and pleasure?). The wine came from Mastrojanni – a winery owned by the Illy family. Later that day in the LCBO I see a bottle of Mastrojanni San Pio 2008 and thought I deserved a splurge. I decanted. I sniffed. I savoured. I loved. It is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Sangiovese Grosso – the grape that creates the magic that is Brunello. It is 14% alcohol but so balanced, so smooth, it is simply superb. LCBO $30.95

 Enjoy the picks for next weekend and if you have tasted something that has you going back for more, let us know!

It’s Time for Weekend Wine Picks

From the Land of Super Tuscans

While I am thankful for so many things after the Thanksgiving weekend,  in addition family,friends, health and some leftover turkey, I discovered some awesome wines that I have to share.

I admit I couldn’t abandon the Italy section of Vintages after it had just brought me so much joy recently. But I also needed top expand my horizons. So here are my picks of the week.

Michele Satta Bolgheri Rosso 2009  I am a big fan of this region along the coast of Tuscany. This is the home to Super Tuscans. This deliciouis offering is 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, 10% Syrah, 10% Teroldego (first time I heard of that varietal). Deep ruby colour, with intense flavours of red fruit. Great buy at $19.95 – but give it a chance to breathe.


Perfectly Delicious Pinot

2009 Picnic Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir has been touted as a perfect pairing for turkey. It is medium bodied and can be  the best of tastes and the worst of tastes. This one appealed because I had tried a bottle from the same produicer a couple of years ago and came away impressed. This one from Two Paddocks of Otago, New Zealand was even better than remembered. It’s got plenty of flavour of luscious cherry fruit and definitely became a table favourite. Note – I am not usually a fan of celeb wines (which everyone says even though there are some very respectable wines – ie Sting’s Sister Moon) – but this one by actor Sam Neill is winner and worth the $25.95 at the LCBO.



Great White at Great Value

Silver Point East Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2009

My girls are committed drinkers of white wine, and while they lovingly tell me their favourite wine is Fuzion, I feel committed to helping them expand their horizons. Both gave this one the thumbs up. From New Zealand’s Marlborough area, it has a cool crisp citrus flavour that makes you wish for a warm day just so it can refresh you. At $13.95 a bargain for sure!

Did you have any great picks worth sharing? Let me know.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday Wine Picks from the WOW

Light and refreshing, with some lovely warm weather still in store for us a nice a chilled Rosé matches with almost any dish. Here’s one I think you might all enjoy.

Triomphe a Triumph

Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rose 2011 gets a vigorous nod this week. I bought a couple of bottles when I took the @iyellow wine tour last month and stopped at Southbrook, a  gorgeous winery in the Niagara region. Neither my husband or I are big Rosé drinkers, but I must admit, this one was really good. Not too sweet, red berry flavours made it  a great choice for a glass with lunch Ono this lovely weekend.

$19.95 Vintages LCBO #279117
But of course just at we head into fall, the weather is often unsettled.  Lots of rain and cooler temps, perfect for curling up with a good book and a glass of Shiraz.
A Shiraz with Legs

Fifth Leg Old Dog New Tricks Shiraz

This medium-bodied red from Devil’s Lair Winery in Western Australia is cherry and spine and everything nice. I have had their their Shiraz, Merlot, Cab before and it one a blind tasting among friends even up against some much pricier options. Definitely worth a try especially at is price.
 $15.95 LCBO #281345