October 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
The data shows that household spending drops well below the annual average in the weeks following Thanksgiving up until the 3rd week of November.
The fact is that you don’t have to give a good glass of wine with dinner or after a hard day, you just have to find the best of the ones that fit your budget.
What follows is a list of 3 whites and 3 reds that provide great value and don’t break the bank.
Jean Louis Blancs de Blancs (Sparkling) – An everyday Sparkling wine. Yeah that’s right an everyday sparkling wine to celebrate life’s small victories. Delightful ripe apple and pear, a very decent mousse for the price. Just a fine glass of wine for the price. ~ Score 8.2/10 ($12.99-$14.99)
Cono Sur Gewurztraminer – For those who enjoy a lighter style wine that is a touch sweeter. This is a light bodied quaffer that shows flavours of lychee nut, white peach and pear. ~ Score 7.9/10 ($9.99 – $11.99)
Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay – A richer wine that embodies the sun of the country it comes from. Tropical fruit flavours with a touch of caramel on the finish. I love this wine as it has not really changed its price since the wine came into the market back in the early 90’s. ~ Score 7.8/10 ($10.99-$12.99)
Giacondi Sangiovese Merlot – Buy this one by the 1.5L (Magnum) as it works out to being about $6/Bottle. This wine is one of the most consistent and best values on the Market. Cherry, berry and plum flavours with a medium body. Do me a favour, let this wine breathe for 15-30min. before enjoying. If you do you will be handsomely rewarded. ~Score 7.9/10 ($11.99 1.5L)
Tocado Grenache – This is a super juicy, ripe wine and it will be tough to stop at one glass. Ripe raspberry, currant and blueberry flavours with a gentle soft palate. I know you can get this at Cascadia stores for $11.99 and $9.99 if you buy it by the case… and it is worth buying by the case. ~ Score 7.8/10 ($9.99-$11.99)
Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah – I would be hard pressed to find another wine of structure that provides better bang for the buck. The Tocado above is all about juicy-ness and a soft palate, this wine has some structure and is filled with plum, blackberry and cassis. ~ Score 7.6/10 ($9.99- $12.99)
June 28, 2016 § Leave a comment
Have you ever watched the move My Summer In Provence? Every scene that involves a meal has a bottle of Rosé. It makes perfect sense because Rosé can be incredibly refreshing and wonderfully versatile. In fact Rosé goes with a broader spectrum of foods than does white (I know I know I am generalizing). So when the temperature rises to above 20C and the grass starts to bleach out, I get a craving for rosé.
As I strolled through my local wine shop I saw a signficant increase in the number of rosés from Provence, which is classic. Prices ranged from $15-$25 which is what I expected, but then I say a lonely wine from Gascogne. Not your typical rosé hotbed and you know how I love to find great values where they are unexpected, so I grabbed a bottle of the Domaine de Pellehaut 2015 Rosé.
Price ~ $18.99
Score ~ 8.1 Over Delivers
If you follow me on Instagram (rod_phillips) you no doubt saw the photo I took of the wine. The colour is a deep rose, and the nose shows bright fruit of strawberry, raspberry. and currants, while the palate is fresh, alive and bursting with finesse and elegance. The finish shows all the fruit and is dry. It is not possible to not want more of this wine, as evidenced by my instagram photo. This is a highly shareable wine and my recommendation would be to have 6-10 bottles kicking around for when friends drop by as one will not be enough.
Grapes ~ I had to do some research for this one as the label doesn’t really tell you anything. Tannat, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon & Malbec
Store Section ~ France
Availability ~ Private Stores only
June 3, 2016 § Leave a comment
As you know the purpose of this blog is to provide useful reviews of wines under $20. The goal is to weed through the plethora of inexpensive wine to find the true values. This wine perfectly encapsulates this.
This wine didn’t have a sale tag but, for those in the know, it is significantly under priced for it’s appellation. Cotes du Rhone-Villages is one cut above Cotes du Rhone, yet most Cotes du Rhone’s on the market are in the $20 range. With that in mind, this wine had all the potential of being a truly magical find.
Price ~ $14.99
Score ~ 6.8 Good Drop
It is a good wine, but it didn’t wow me like I was hoping. For the cork dork looking for elegance and finesse as expressed by bright acidity and relatively delicate palate, this is a great wine. However for those looking for the boldness one comes to expect from Rhone wines, you will not find it here.
I loved exploring this wine as it unfolded on my palate. Cerebraly it kept my attention glass after glass, but it left friends over for a barbeque, wonting.
The nose shows savoury spices, raspberry and dark plum. The palate is medium bodied and filled with complexity if you choose to let it show.
For food pairings, this is great for chicken and pork on the grill and certainly cheeses like mild Gouda.
Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah, Carignan
Store Section ~ France
Availability ~ Both private and public stores.
April 1, 2016 § 2 Comments
Castelao, Castelao, Castelao! If you say that 3 times fast wine miracles happen I promise.
I was in the liquor store the other day and ran into a friend of mine who is on the floor as a product consultant. It was great to catch up to her and I was reminded that we are all looking for a great glass of wine.
I told her I was looking for a killer wine but it had to be under $20. She looked both ways, looked back at me and said, “come over here.” We silently strolled past a few other people in the store and went to the Portuguese section. She silently reached down and picked the bottle up. After staring at it with a smile for a few seconds she handed it to me and said “this one.”
Price ~ $11.29-$12.99
Score ~ 7.4/10
This one is called Monte da Baia from the Ermelinda winery in Portugal. It is a blend of Castelao, Touriga Nacional and Syrah. The nose shows blackberry, plum and black cherry. The spice offers some dark cocao, but what is truly amazing is this sense that I’m tasting the soul of mother nature. I know that sounds dramatic, but I’m telling you there is an earthy sense, that slows the heartbeat to slow down, makes you feel connected to something more than a collection of grapes, tanks, a label and some words.
For food I would suggest simply grilled steak, or chicken with BBQ sauce. A roast ham would do well to. Perhaps a Ham and Pepperoni pizza.
Grapes ~ Castelao, Touriga Nacional, Syrah
Store Section ~ Portugal
Availability ~ both public and private stores.
PS- below is a link to the Wine Folly book on Amazon. Yes this is an affiliate program and it helps us keep the blog going, having said that I highly recommend this book and use it myself. It is colourful easy to read book that you can have a resource. Enjoy.
January 8, 2015 § 1 Comment
Score: 9.1 – Best Buy
About the Wine: Juicy, seductive, spicy, layered sub $15 bliss. The nose shows generous lush dark plum, blackberry and black pepper, while the palate is lush. The complexity of this wine suggests $15/bottle easily. It does the job from start to finish. Speaking of the finish, it is very long for an $11 wine, and leaves you with a spicy, juicy kiss goodbye.
I recall a time about 10 years ago when I was an importer and we carried this winery and wine. The price then was $14.99 and we had trouble keeping it in stock. At $10.99/$11.99 this is a steal. Best Buy indeed.
Value: Put down the Fincas Los Primos or Copper Moon Malbec and trade up to this wine. In fact I would save myself a buck or two and choose this wine over Beringer Stone Cellars Cab Sauv or the Vina Maipo Carmenere.
Added Value: Those who would serve this as a wedding wine or having a BBQ will find extra value in this wine.
Service: Twist off the cap, wait 5-10 minutes and enjoy.
Grapes: Carmenere, Syrah
Store Section: Chile
Appellation: Central Valley
Available: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Legacy Liquor Store,Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Hillside Liquor Store, Liquor Express, Liquor Depot
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January 7, 2015 § Leave a comment
Score: 7.5 – Over Delivers
About the Wine: This wine is the child of the new generation of winemaking and viticulture in New Zealand and it shows through. Bright youthful aromas of citrus, gooseberry and melon greet your nose. What you notice on the palate is the freshness of the wine without it having biting acidity. The palate shows flavours of citrus, melon and gooseberry as mentioned above, however there is the addition of fresh-cut grass and peas. Think of these last two flavours like little kids playing hide and seek; giggling but a little shy as well. In balance these all work together beautifully. The finish is crisp and refreshing.
Value: This is a tough wine to put into perspective of the market. There has been a lot of price activity from the big boys of Oyster Bay and Kim Crawford where their wines are $17.99. This is most often matched (or exceeded; I have seen it at $14.99 and at that price it is a Best Buy) by Fat Bird. In relation to Oyster Bay at $17.99 Fat Bird is in good stead. A little more youthful and intriguing than Oyster Bay. Oyster Bay is classically New Zealand. In relation to Kim Crawford at $20.99, I would go with Fat Bird.
Would I trade up to Fat Bird from some of the Leyda, Limari or Casablanca Valley Sauvignon Blancs from Chile? I feel they at two (or four) different experiences. The Chilean versions are not only a few bucks cheaper, but they are also far more tropical and less vibrant than Fat Bird. When I’m in the mood to brighten my day I would go Fat Bird, if real money is issue I might go Chilean.
Added Value: For those having a Date Night, Movie Night, Girls Night Out, a Seafood BBQ, or are having the ‘Foodies’ over, there is added value in this wine for you.
Service: Chilled but not cold. Take it out of the fridge and if there is condensation on the bottle, then give a few minutes to warm up to enjoy. When it is too cold the wine shuts down its personality; the lovely vibrant citrus aromas and flavours, become muted which allows flavours and aromas of fresh-cut grass and peas to dominate. True enjoyment of this wine is in its balance of aromas, flavours and texture.
As for food (my mouth is watering as I say this), I absolutely adore this wine with fresh, local halibut when it is in season.
Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc
Store Section: New Zealand
Available: Everything Wine, Hillside Liquor Store, Vintage Spirits (Victoria)
Buy Online/Delivered To Your Door: Everything Wine
January 7, 2015 § Leave a comment
Score: 9.1 – Best Buy
Price: $11.99 ($22.99 for the 1.5L Bottle)
About the Wine: There are few better Chardonnay’s under $15 in B.C. This wine shows balance through and through. It offer generous fruit, bright freshness, a creamy texture, layers of spice and hints of vanilla. It provides a complete taste experience from start to finish on the palate.
It’s a big brand, and one doesn’t normally associate an artisan approach to wines from a global giant, but this is the wine that built the Lindeman’s brand and they seem to understand that it is the pillar of the brands growth and stability. I have tasted, bought and enjoyed this wine for each of the last 8 vintages and it has yet to disappoint.
For those fearful of too much oak in Chardonnay, particularly Australian Chardonnay, there is nothing to fear here. The key to this wine is balance and enjoyment. Best Buy for sure!
Value: It would be a mistake not to trade up in price to this wine from the likes of Barefoot, Naked Grape, & Copper Moon and save yourself a buck by trading down in price from Yellow Tail or Woodbridge Chardonnay.
Added Value: There is added value in serving this wine if you are doing any of the following: getting married, having a group of people over or going to a party, snuggling up on the couch for movie night, or enjoying a girls night out.
Part of the Story: I remember when Lindeman’s Bin 65 Chardonnay first gained popularity in B.C. It was a part of the first wave of Australian wine back in the early 90’s and Wyndham’s Bin 222 Chard was king. B.C. has long been known to pay the lowest prices to suppliers. Bin 222 was growing by leaps and bounds with every passing year and Wyndham Estate found themselves without enough wine to match global demand. Instead of raising their prices they simply cut supply to markets that paid the lowest prices… first on the list, B.C.
Without the market leader present on the shelves consumers were looking for an alternative and Lindeman’s Bin 65 became that alternative. It was the number 1 selling Australian white wine right up until Yellow Tail stormed the beaches in the early 2000’s. From what I understand from the agent, Lindemans Bin 65 is once again the most popular Australian white wine.
The price for Lindemans Bin 65 in 1995, and this adds to why this gets a Best Buy rating, $9.99. The price today $11.99. An increase of only $2 over 20 years is amazing. An increase of only $2 over 20 years while maintaining quality is priceless.
Service: Chill to about 8C. In the event that you don’t have a thermometer handy, if there is condensation on the bottle when you take it out of the fridge, just wait a few minutes for it to warm up a bit and serve. For food pairings this has always been a favourite of mine with grilled chicken or roasted pork tenderloin, but best of all is pairing this with a big bowl of hot buttered popcorn.
Store Section: Australia
Appellation: South East Australia
Available: BC Liquor Stores, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Everything Wine, Liquor Express, Metro Liquor, Liquor Depot
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