Best BBQ Wines Under $20 – As of Now

June 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

Can you believe the weather we have had? Two years ago we were talking ‘June’-uary and now this. Wow!

It is no surprise that the number of grills being fired up each evening have increased significantly and I would imagine that the number will increase 10 fold on Father’s Day (forecast for the Victoria area 21C with a few clouds). With this in mind here are my Top Wines for the Barbie that are Under $20 and currently available in the market. Enjoy and please wear an apron, no need in showing up at work on Monday with 3rd degree burns in unmentionable places.

Best BBQ Wine for Steakimage

Tinto Negro Malbec – Over Delivers & I Love It! Score ~ 7.8/10

$13.79 – $14.99

Sorry Alberta but I have to say that the best steak I have ever had in my wine driven travels has been in Argentina. Juicy, thick and so amazingly flavourful that it made be jump up and do the Tango, not that anyone else in the restaurant recognized it as the tango- just some gangly gringo gyrating away.

Part of the reason Argentine steak is so good is because it’s paired with Argentine Malbec. Big, robust, juicy, layered with savoury herbs, black pepper and lavender. Grab a bottle or 10 of the Tinto Negro and I promise you will Love It!

Original Review: TintoNegro Malbec

Best BBQ Wine for Salmon

This category was tough so I took the easy way out and chose two wines that are equally awesome and a great pairing but deliver a totally different flavour experience.

Casa Viva Pinot Noir – Best Buy & WOW!! ~ 9.1image

Silky, cherry explosion with hints of cola and pepper. This wine has it all and is such a great value that I’m surprised that more stores, and by extension, people haven’t found its beauty. When paired with Salmon there is a flavour marriage that is greater than the sum of its parts with the added bonus of a silky seductive finish that relaxes the mind and body.

Original Review: Casa Viva Pinot Noir

Domaine Houchart Cote de Provence Rosé – Over Delivers & I Love It! ~ 8.7/10Houchart Rose

$15.69-$17.99

Bright, vibrant strawberry freshly picked. Add a hint of black pepper and a fresh crisp texture and you have a refreshing glass of luxury. This wine enlivens the palate and when paired with fresh west coast salmon right off the barbie… sky rockets in flight! (If you are over the age of 40 you are now singing the song in your head).

Original Review: Domaine Houchart Cotes de Provence Rosé

Best BBQ Wine For White Line Fish (Halibut, Cod)

Lurton les fumees blanches Sauvignon Blanc – Over Delivers & I Love It! ~ 8.6/10image

$13.29 – $14.99

Tis the season for fresh, right off the line Halibut and it is sooo good. Our local cod has to be some of the best in the world as well and both are readily available at your local grocer or, if you’re in the Victoria area, head down to Fisherman’s Wharf and get some right from the boat.

For me this wine had so much going on. It is fresh, it is vibrant, it won’t rip your tongue out with ripping acidity, it has bright stone and tropical fruits along with hints of cut grass and asparagus. Chill it down, not to cold otherwise you cover up the fruit and complexity. My rule of thumb is that if there is condensation on the bottle when it comes out of the fridge, it’s too cold. Wait 8 minutes and then enjoy.

Original Review: Lurton fumees blanches Sauvignon Blanc

Best BBQ Wine For Chicken

Masia F Vino Tinto – Best Buy & WOW!! ~ 9.3/10image

$10.99 – $11.99

I don’t care if you are doing Beer Butt chicken or simply grilling some chicken thighs, legs and/or breasts, there is not a better value on the market than this wine. Many un-oaked wines are one dimensional and lacking in character. To produce a world class wine un-oaked wine it’s all about the vineyard. This wine is unoaked and shows incredible depth, layers of flavours, juicy fruit, spice. When all put together in the glass that sits besides a plated graced with chicken right from the barbie, it is heaven. I guess this is what the Sommelier at the world’s only 7 star hotel (Bariq Al Arab, Dubai) saw to, as the Masia F is their house wine.

Original Review: Masia F Vino Tinto

Best BBQ Wine for Burgers (Beef)

Terra Andina Carmenere – Syrah – Best Buy & WOW!! ~ 9.1/10IMG_0660

$10.99 – $11.99

I picture a big thick burger made of ground Angus beef, slathered with your grandmother’s secret BBQ sauce, a generous amount of melted cheese (Cheddar, Gruyere, Cambazolla are my faves), thick cut fresh tomatoes, caramelized onions and maybe some mushrooms, mustard, ketchup all within a fresh Pretzel bun… salivation nation! The only thing that makes this better is when it is paired with the right, juicy, bold wine that features dark fruits, red berries, black and white pepper and a supple finish… and that wine is the Terra Andina Carmenere – Syrah.

Original Review: Terra Andina Carmenere Syrah

Best BBQ Wine For Shellfish (Crab, Prawns, Lobster)

Mission Hill ‘5 Vineyards’ Pinot Blanc – Good Drop & I like It ~ 7.0/10IMG_0678

$14.99 – $15.99

Walk through any grocery store this weekend and you will find that they all have fresh Spot Prawns. It is a great time of year for those that love great flavour experiences. Spot Prawns on the barbie with a glass of chilled  BC Pinot Blanc is a reward usually reserved for solving cancer or the federal debt, but is available to you just for grocery shopping or working with gravity to put your but in a chair.

Original Review: Mission Hill ‘5 Vineyards’ Pinot Blanc

Best BBQ Wine for Baby Back Ribs

Fascino Passo – Best Buy & WOW! ~ 9.3/10Fascino Passo 2011

$17.99

Making Baby Back Ribs on the BBQ is an art. An art that brings people to their knees in joy and has humbled many a chef. Timing, temperature and patience are all necessary. A wine, seemingly, specifically crafted for this dish, is the Fascino Passo. This wine is a blend of Negramaro and Primitivo which juicy, richly textured flavours of black and blue berry’s, savoury spices and, yes, cigar box. The grapes are first air dried to intensify their character, then the wine is barrel aged for at least 2 years, followed by 1 year bottle age before release. When opening this wine you want to give it some time to breathe or better yet, run it through your Vinturi. Timing & Patience.

Original Review: Fascino Passo

PS- Hey- You’ll likely notice that in each of the red wine posts suggest letting the wine breathe to get the most out of it. There is an alternative that you will see that I mention. It is for a product that I use myself and absolutely standby its value – the Vinturi Wine Aeratorworks and if you buy it via the link I get a little back that helps pay for the costs associated with the blog. It’s not much, but every little bit helps. The ‘Essential Red’ is all you really need.

PSS – You will see a new donate button on the sidebar and here. If you like this and other posts, click on the Donate button and donate $1 (that is the maximum that I have set). Thank You! Buy Now Button

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked.

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Les Dauphins 2013 Cotes du Rhone Reserve

May 27, 2015 § 1 Comment

Score: 7.4 ~ Over DeliversLes Dauphins

Price: $13.99-$14.99

I picked up this wine to indirectly honour the efforts put in by the sale rep here on Vancouver Island. As a former sales rep I can appreciate how much planning and elbow grease it takes to get a new wine to the market in so many stores in such good position.

Tasting Notes: The colour is purple with crimson hues, and nose is brimming with ripe purple and red fruits. There is a whole lot of youth in this wine with just a little hint of spice on the finish. This is very much a sipping wine and less a food wine.

Value: It’s pretty decent value and definitely a good drop however I thought is a little to one dimensional to suggest that it over delivered or was a best buy.

Added Value: This has more value when applied to occasions that require a crowd pleaser wine or for snuggling up on the couch and watching a movie.

Food Pairings: As for food, this worked well with simpler medium weight foods such as veggie or Margarita pizza, creamy mild cheeses, and simple grilled chicken.

Service: Twist the cap and let breathe for 15 minutes or let it run through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times.

Store Section: France

Appellation: Rhone Valley – Did you know that the Rhone Valley lies directly south of another famous French wine region – Burgundy. The story goes the Romans popularized the area as a wine growing region and that Emperor Probus is who introduced Syrah to the valley.

Syrah’s native home is a small town in Northern Iran called Shiraz. Probus loved the wines made from this grape and shipped vines from Iran to Gaul. It is said that he intended on planting these vines further north than the Rhone Valley, but the ship carrying the vines ran aground in the Rhone Valley and that is where the vines were planted. A happy accident for all of us.

Grapes: Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre

Purchased From: Metro Liquor Tuscany Village.

Also Available At: BC Liquor Stores, Metro Liquor Tuscany Village, Cork & Barrel

ABV%: 13%

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked

PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.

Baccolo 2013 Rosso Veneto

April 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 6.7 ~ Good Dropimage

Price: $16.99

You have heard the phrase ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’? That is how the wine growers and makers of Veneto region have been approaching wine for over two millennia. This wine is a reflection of that tradition but with a modern twist. This is a blend of Merlot & Corvina which until recently would have been unthinkable… even in the wine world, steeped in all its traditions, has rebels within it.

Tasting Notes: Nice plum, cherry and blueberry aromas and flavours. Touches of savoury herbs and licorice don the finish. The texture is very soft. Pillowy soft you might say. I liked it but like a pillow, it met my expectations and did its job well, but was rather unremarkable.

Value: The value here is for those looking to turn their brains off, and just sink into a quiet glass of wine.

Added Value: This wine would shine best for those looking to delve into the variations of Merlot. Not only will you get a great representation of Merlot grown in the Veneto, but also how Merlot works with Corvina. This is also a great wine for burgers and meats done with BBQ sauce.

Food Pairings: Burgers with all the fixins. Grilled or slow roasted meats. Medium but flavourful cheeses.

Service: Pull thercork and you are ready to go, however the wine does blossom well over time. Run it through the Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a few times and you are good to go.

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Veneto – Veneto is in North Eastern Italy and is home Bardolino, Valpolicella, Amarone and a lot of Prosecco. It is a great place to travel through as it features rolling hills, lakes, mountains and stretches to the sea and the city of Venice.

2013 vintage was fair to good as vintages go but the 2012 is the vintage you will find for most reds right now and it was a pretty damn good vintage. Best vintages in recent years have been 2010 and 2006. There are still some Amarones floating around from these vintages and they are truly outstanding.

Grapes: Corvina, Merlot

Available: Everything Wine

ABV%: 13.0%

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked

PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.

Bonpas 2012 Costieres de Nimes

April 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 7.8 ~ Over DeliversBonpas Costieres de Nimes

If I had to be a French peasant during the 17th & 18th centuries, I would hope I was living in Costieres de Nimes. When I look at the label of this wine I picture a Noble Manor replete in oil paintings of Grand Dukes and Duchesses. Around the side of the castle is the stables where 10 white steeds are groomed and rode each day. The peasants who work the vineyards and make the wine must have been the happiest of their lot. I know I would be if my beverage at lunch and dinner were this wine.

Price: $15.49

Tasting Notes: The colour is dark crimson/purple and the aromas are very complex for a wine of this price. Violets and rosemary, raspberry, cherry and licorice. The palate is of medium weight and shows layers of flavours that reflect the aromas. The finish is soft, velvety and features dark red berries, lavender and pepper.

Value: I think this wine over delivers for the price, certainly more so than many others in the price point, but its real value will come to those who already enjoy the fruits of the French vine.

Added Value: This wines has added value for Foodies as it is a great pairing for grilled and roasted meats. This is also a great wine for those looking to explore the wines of the Rhone and Languedoc regions of France.

Food Pairings: I would go with pulled pork first and foremost, but classic pairings of grilled and roasted meats are also fantastic

Service: Pull the cork and let breathe for 20 minutes or so. If you have a Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
, give this wine a run through a few times.

Store Section: France

Appellation: Costieres de Nimes – this region is the southernmost in the Rhone Valley, although it was one of the first to have grapes planted by the Romans. In the 16th and 17th centuries the wines of the Costieres were the wines of choice for the Papal cellars. This is when the wine culture of region really took hold.

Mostly red grapes are planted, however some absolutely opulent and delicious white wines can be found here.

2013 is considered to be one of the best vintages from over the last 5 years.

Grapes: Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre

Available: Everything Wine(Exclusive)

ABV%: 13.5%

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked

PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.

Fascino Passo 2011

April 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

Fascino Passo 2011Score: 9.3 ~ Best Buy

You know how some scents can instantaneously transport you back in time. My grandfather used to smoke White Owl cigars and when I was a kid I used to climb up onto his lap and he would tell me stories of his hockey playing days. His favourite cardigan held the subtle scent of a freshly unwrapped cigar. Some of my best and favourite memories of being with my grandfather automatically invoke the wonderful, delicate aroma of an unwrapped cigar. As I first opened this wine and put my nose to it, I was immediately transported back to my grandfather’s lap. It brought a smile both to my face and heart.

Price: $17.99

Tasting Notes: The colour is dark red with violet highlights on the edges. The aromas show red tree fruit such as cherries, ripe black plums, hints of violet and licorice and something that I absolutely adore, the scent of a freshly unwrapped cigar. The palate is velvety, juicy, well balanced and of medium to full weight. Flavours of cherries, leather, savoury spices, dried plums and pepper come alive. The finish is almost silky and juicy with a final cherry kiss at the end.

Value: This is a case buy for sure. After my first purchase I have gone back and grabbed few more bottles. If I have $18 to spend I would be hard pressed not to make this my choice if I were having lamb, beef, or just a simple platter of cheese and charcuterie.

Added Value: This wine really shines as a BBQ Wine, Comfort Food Wine and because of its sultry, velvety nature, as a Date Night Wine. I would also highly recommend this wine to anyone who is looking to explore either unique grape types or regions.

Food Pairings: As mentioned above, this wine works beautifully with roasted or grilled beef or lamb, but my favourite pairing is a simple platter of cheeses, cold cuts, olive oil and some olives.

Service: Room temperature is best and let it breathe for a good 20-30 minutes. If you have a Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
, run the wine through a couple of times and you are good to go.

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Salento – The Salento region of Italy is on the heel of the Italian boot. As you can imagine it is a very warm region which produces voluptuous red wines that are very dark in colour. Did you know that Primitivo is the Italian cousin of California’s Zinfandel. Have a little fun and try a Cali Zin beside a Salento Primitivo and sense the differences.

Grapes: Negromaro, Primitivo

Available: Everything Wine

ABV%: 13.0%

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked

PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.

Tre Saggi 2011 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

March 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

imageScore: 7.6 ~ Over Delivers

Price: $19.95

It takes a little while for the true beauty of this wine to show itself. It’s kind of like a self-conscious super model. All the senses tell you that she has everything it takes to be great, however her true beauty only comes out when you get to know her.

Tasting Notes: This wine starts as a classic Montepulciano experience. The colour is deep dark crimson and the nose is shy. This wine needs time to blossom. I found this wine to finally show itself after 2 days being open. When I first pulled the cork, the nose showed a little fruit and a little dried herb, but after two days it showed ripe plum and berry, dark cherry, dried savoury herbs, hints of leather and anise.

The palate is dense and structured, but shows wonderful complexity and depth. The finish is long showing both muscular and sweet tannins. In other words it was both puckering and mouth-watering.

Value: The real value for this wine is when you can let it breathe for a couple of days. This is not a great buy for those who want a wine to consume within a couple of hours of purchase. However if you are patient this is a great buy for this weekend BBQ or to stow away for a number of years.

Added Value: As I said above, this wine has added value when intended for a BBQ featuring steaks, and or slow roasted pork. This also has added value for the Foodie in the crowd, especially when you pull it out of your cellar after Canada wins the Gold Medal for Hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Food Pairings: This is a great match for a hearty pasta, a thick seasoned steak, meat lovers pizza and, slow roasted pork.

Service: Open this up and let it breathe for as long as you can but at least 60- 2 days minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a number of times.

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: d’Abruzzo – d’Abruzzo lies directly to the East of Tuscany and, like Umbria, is often overlooked when it comes to premium Italian wines. It is home to as much Sangiovese (Rosso Piceno) as it is Montepulciano. For centuries the wines of the d’Abruzzo were rustic and made for the ‘less than discerning’ Italian wine market. In recent years producers like Talamonti and Mascarelli have applied viticultural techniques known to increase the quality of the grapes to their vineyards, and have produced some of Italy’s most sought after premium wine. The great news is that a premium wine from d’Abruzzo, even a super premium wine, doesn’t fetch anywhere near the same price as its cousins from Tuscany or Piedmonte.

Grapes: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Available: BC Liquor Stores

ABV%: 13.5%

 

Charles & Charles 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon – Syrah

March 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

imageScore: 7.9 – Over Delivers

Price: $17.99-$19.99

It was a cold and rainy night. Seriously it was. After an unbelievably beautiful warm Spring, this day was cold, wet and miserable as is expected on the West Coast at this time of year. That inspired me to find an under $20 Washington State wine that would warm the soul with its power and elegance.

It is remarkable to me that the wines of Washington State are not more popular. Typically they feature robust Cabernets and Merlots, meaty Syrahs, and refined whites. I suppose part of the issue is the fact that most stores shelve the few Washington State wines that we have here in BC, in close proximity to the numerous California based offerings. However overshadowing, more often than not, has the effect of giving more bang for the buck.

Tasting Notes: The colour is deep dark reddish purple which immediately conveys power and intensity. The nose shows cherry, plum, cassis and just a hint of smoked meat and black pepper. The palate is rich, juicy and very well balanced. This is not a simple juice bomb but offers lots of juicy character with the added bonus of being elegant and fresh. Look for flavours of black cherry, plum and pepper to dominate. The finish is juicy and of medium length showing some sweet and bold tannins.

Value: This is a great wine for those who love big bold Cabernets but want something with a little more finesse and elegance than the juice bombs of California (Apothic, Cupcake Red Velvet).

Added Value: This wine would shine at a BBQ, with Comfort Foods and for a Date Night.

Food Pairings: This wine loves a big steak that is simply seasoned with Salt and Pepper or Montreal Steak Spice. This is also a great choice for Spaghetti and Meat Balls, Pizza and, of course, Sunday Night Roast Beef.

Service: Open this up and let it breathe for about 15-20 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a few times.

Store Section: Washington State or USA

Appellation: Walla Walla

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Metro Liquor

ABV%: 14.5%

 

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