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Blog

Great wines under $25

September 14, 2019

By Erin

Here are a few lovely wines now available at the LCBO. They're (mostly) under $25 — and for that money you are getting excellent value and a little more bang for buck. Sure, they cost a little more, but you're worth it, right?

AUSTRALIA
Two Hands 2017 Gnarly Dudes Shiraz
Barossa Valley, South Australia
$24.95 (660043)
A perennial favourite, Gnarly Dudes shiraz is big and bold without apologies. Fans flock to this rich and full red for the way the concentrated, ripe black fruits of plum, black cherry and black berry mix so smoothly with hints of vanilla, licorice and faint minty herb. This big boy requires something equally powerful – try ribeye steaks or blue cheese burgers. ★★★★

CANADA
Fern Walk 2018 Rosé
Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (10125)
Fern Walk is a relatively new project from Mark Anthony Brands & Spirits, the same owners of BC’s Mission Hill. Sourcing grapes from the Okanagan and Niagara, there seems to be an aim at creating quality, premium wines with an easy going approachability. The grapes used for this rosé aren’t stated, but no matter. This delicate pink quaffer has mass appeal with notes of sweet strawberry, white cherry, raspberry. As we move into (hopefully) warm, fall days, this is a nice option to soak up the sun on the back deck before we get into hearty red wine weather. ★★★ 

CHILE
Casablanca 2017 Nimbus Single Vineyard Chardonnay
Casablanca Valley
$24.95 (638411)
With grapes hailing from the steep slopes of the Nimbus vineyard, this is a cool climate chardonnay showing crisp notes of lemon and pineapple, hazelnut and cream. Medium body, with lovely silky texture and bright acidity, pair this with chicken and corn stew, linguine and clams or simply roast chicken. ★★★★1/2

FRANCE
Louis Jadot 2017 Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Burgundy
$26.95 (162073)
A great gateway to Burgundy, this pinot noir is fresh and energizing with notes of red sour cherry, cedar smoke and a walnut skin finish. There’s a straight forward elegance to this wine, and it would make a lovely pairing for roast duck, cheddar cheese souffle or – beef bourguignon. ★★★

Famille Perrin Réserve 2017 Côte du Rhône Blanc
Rhône
$14.95 (499509)
A grenache dominated white blend that also includes marsanne, roussanne and viognier, look for zippy notes of lime, orange peel, and ripe peach along with white blossom and a touch of honey. Texturally rich on the palate with fresh acidity, this would make an ideal pairing for butter poached lobster, whole roasted branzino or Meditteranean couscous. ★★★

Laurent Perrachon 2016 Roche Bleue
Juliénas, Beaujolais
$20.05 (487165)
Now into its sixth generation, Perrachon has properties in six Crus across Beaujolais as the family works towards demonstrating terroir-driven wines. Juliénas is the northernmost Cru of Beaujolais, and one that typically offers red wines of power and structure with more earthy flavours ­– characteristics that shows through in this elegant but serious gamay. Loads of ripe dark fruit mix with a stony, graphite, mineral note, tannins are firm but fine, and acidity is juicy and fresh. Quite enjoyable. Pair with Shepherd’s pie, coq au vin or pasta in black olive tapenade. ★★★★

Thierry Delaunay 2018 Sauvignon Blanc
Touraine, Loire
$16.95 (391847)
Crisp and fresh with upfront herbal notes of tarragon, gooseberry, flint and some light tropical notes. A thirst-quenching wine that would do well with fresh oysters, chicken in cream sauce or grilled white fish. ★★★

De Chanceny Crémant de Loire Rosé Brut
Loire $20.10 (211466)
A stalwart sparkling around here, this is one of our regular can’t miss go-tos for delicious bubbles. Pale coral-pink with light froth, and zippy flavours of pink grapefruit, raspberry, white cherry, along with that lovely bready note and some mineral backbone. A traditional method sparkling from Cabernet Franc vines dating back as old as 30 years, this is delicious all on its own, or you can match it with baked ham, smoked ham or sushi. ★★★1/2

GERMANY
Balthasar Ress 2016 Hallgarten Riesling
Rheingau $19.25 (735241)
An absolutely intriguing riesling that shows deliciously fruity flavours ripe peach and citrus, along with floral and a hint of minerality. The vineyards are among the highest in the Rheingau, historically very cool, and it was only since the 90’s with increasing temperatures that grapes have been actually able to fully ripen. Still this is elegant and poised, a delicious partner to spicy Asian dishes, seared pork or creamy cheeses. ★★★★

ITALY
Scaia 2018 Rosato
Veneto
$17.95 (490987)
Interestingly made from 100% Rondinella, a grape usually partnered with Molinara and Corvina in the Veneto reds of Amarone and Valpolicella. Here, it makes a faint coral-pink wine that is fresh and lively with pleasing notes of red fruits, watermelon, orange and a bit of cherry blossom. Pair this with roast turkey, tuna niçoise or seafood paella. ★★★

Terra d’Aligi Tatone 2016 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Abruzzo
$14.95 (981399)
This is one of those wines that is kind of like an old sweater, it’s always been there, but often taken for granted and passed over for the newer, shinier discoveries. So it was a real joy to try this again – and an even bigger joy to be reminded this deep, inviting red is another terrific under-$15 bargain wine that punches well-above its weight. Full bodied and rich, this is driven by ripe black fruits, but a savoury black tar undertone creates interest and depth. Good tannic grip provides the solid structure needed to house the big fruit notes. A great cold weather wine to go with braised meats and beefy sauces, this has the stuff to cellar for a few years, but why bother? It’s drinking wonderfully now, and at this price, it’s worth serving all season long. ★★★1/2

SPAIN
La Maldita 2017 Garanacha
Rioja
$14.95 (645051)
We may still be a few months away from the high water entertaining season, but this under $15 red is worth picking up by the case a storing away for the holidays (they will be here before you know it). That rare blend of delicious and affordable is offered up here in a fleshy and round, medium bodied, smooth drinking red made of entirely Grenache grapes. Jammy strawberry and cherry flavours mingle with a slightly rustic herbal note. Juicy and satisfying, this could go with anything from prime rib to roast turkey with ease. ★★★★

Torres 2015 Altos Ibericos Crianza
Rioja
$15.95 (527291)
This pleasant and welcoming red is named after the town in which the winery is located – and shows easy drinking notes of red cherry and raspberry that give way to green peppercorn and gentle spice. Made from Spain’s tempranillo grape, the Crianza demarcation means the wine has only aged in oak for a year, which generally makes the wines fruitier and softer than the tempranillos destined for Reserva and Gran Reserva designations. Still, this is a joy to drink with grilled sausage, roast lamb or simple charcuterie. ★★★

gnarly shiraz