After a summer vacation we have the credit card statement to look forward to, so while we might be heading to more value wines now, it doesn’t mean we have to drink bad wine, but reach for wines that drink well beyond their price tag.
I love discovering and introducing people to wines like this – it’s not rocket science to open a $100+ bottle of wine and everyone gasps, ’ooh ah, isn’t that fabulous!’ but it’s far more fun and rewarding to pour a wine under $25 and get the same reaction.
I hope there’s still plenty of opportunities for patio sipping and BBQs before summer’s out, so here’s a selection of wines that will bring smiles to everyone’s faces – without breaking the bank.
Louis Bouillot NV Rosé Brut, Cremant de Bourgogne, France
This sparkler from Burgundy is a beautiful colour from the pinot noir fruit, and made in the traditional Champagne method. It has a creamy mouth-feel with tiny bubbles, yeasty aromas, and a delicate strawberry flavour with citrus acidity. A no-brainer with salmon and a done deal with charcuterie. $19 +745430
Kendall Jackson AVANT Chardonnay 2012, California
California may not be the first shelf you visit for value wines, but Avant took Top Value in the 2014 Alberta Beverage Awards chardonnay category against stiff competition. Bright, crisp and refreshing, you’ll likely taste green apples, pineapples and a little pear and lemon too in this this well-structured wine. Fresh oysters please! $17 +745198
St. Urbans-Hof Estate Old Vines Riesling 2012, Mosel, Germany
This wine is a great example of quality Mosel riesling, my go-to valley for this grape. Elegant and ripe, with flavours of apples and spice with slate minerality, this wine is perfect with Thai dishes like Shrimp with Lemongrass and Green Curry Chicken, but also with kale salads, schnitzel and lots more. $22 +730217
Yalumba 2012 Old Bush Vine Grenache, Barossa, Australia
From Australia’s oldest family-owned winery comes this organic, vegan-friendly, lush and polished wine. I love their explanation of the old vines, “They are not good because they are old; they are old because they are good.” It’s an expressive wine that punches well above its weight, with tastes of blueberries and plums. $22 +531228
Norton Privada 2012, Mendoza, Argentina
Tasted blind, you’d never guess the cost of this Bordeaux blend of almost equal parts cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec, as it drinks well above its price. It’s a powerful wine, smooth and polished, and definitely a wine for Calgary palates with notes of cassis, smoke, menthol, and dark cherry. Fire up the BBQ! $25 +722964
Sileni Cellar Selection Late Harvest Semillon, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
And to finish, here’s a great value dessert wine, sustainably grown, and ripe with luscious flavours of apricot, pineapple and enough citrus acidity that it isn’t at all cloying, but clean with a good balance and length. Pair it with crème brûlée, custard-filled pastries, cheesecake, panna cotta…the list is endless! 375 mL $19 +723434