The Best of Tight Wad Oenophile

Tasting from February 28, 2017

I have been extremely lucky to be teaching our Tight Wad Oenophile class for the last 6 or 7 sessions at the Kensington Wine Market. I always try to use different wines from different regions and grape varietals and to adapt my class to the season or the taste of the moment at the shop. After a few classes, I realised that one of the most entertaining parts for me about this class is to try to guess which wine is going to be the favourite of the night. Sometimes, it is fairly easy and predictable. Some wines have such a crowd pleasing profile and over deliver for the money in a way that makes it the perfect candidate. Sometimes, on the other hand, you have surprises. That’s why I decided to test our guests with the ultimate experience: a blind tasting of our 7 champions (selected either as the favourite or runner-up in a previous Tight Wad edition) to decide what is the absolute favourite wine under 25$ from our customers. What a better way for me to conclude my experience as a wine educator at the Kensington Wine Market!

The Wines:

2015 Fattori Gregoris Soave $21.99
100% Garganega
DOC Soave, Veneto, Italy
Antonio Fattori is one of the most talented white winemakers in the Veneto. Although he also makes Valpolicella reds, his white Soave expressions are the true standouts,” according to Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. It is this quality and winemaking expertise that you can taste in your glass. Enticing aromas of peach, melon, ripe pear, jasmine, and almond. The palate is very fleshy and expressive for a Soave, soft and fruity, with notes of yellow plums, chamomile, and pomelo with a fresh creamy finish. Great alternative to pinot grigio!

2015, Bodega Amalaya Blanco Altura Torrontes $17.49
85% Torrontés, 15% Riesling
Valle Calchaquí, Argentina
This Torrontes-Riesling blend comes from extremely high vineyards (1800 metres above sea level), which benefit from brilliant sunshine during the day, but cool nights that slow the ripening so that the grapes retain their crisp acidity while having time to develop flavour. Rose petal, fresh melon, apricot, peach and ripe grapefruit notes lead into a well-balanced taste of minerals laced with a touch of honey. Best pairing partners: seafood and spicy Asian dishes. 95 Points World Wine Award by Decanter Magazine!

2016 Viña La Rosa, La Palma Rosé $14.99
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
Cachapoal Valley, Chile
La Palma is Spanish for palm tree and at Viña La Rosa, the vineyards share the land with thousands of native Chilean palm trees – hence the name. Here’s a Rose blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. Aromas of wild strawberry and passion fruit and a hint of red orchard fruit (apple and pear) and rose water. Voluptuous in the mouth. Fresh and fruity with crisp acidity and a clean finish. Get ready for the spring with this lovely dry rosé!

2014 Umberto Cesari Moma Rosso $19.99
Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
Emilia-Romagna, Italy
A fantastic blend of mostly Sangiovese, with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the mix. What great value, from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. The taste is soft and velvety, with delicious notes of sweet summer raspberries and blueberry, vanilla and cedar… and a hint of tomato soup! Delicious by itself, it is also a very good wine to pair with food because of the refreshing acidity and lower tannins of the Sangiovese grape, as well as the woody finish. A brilliant replacement to Chianti Classico wines!

2014, Château L’Euzière Tourmaline $23.99
70% Grenache, 30% Syrah
Languedoc, France
Tourmaline is the entry-level wine for this Languedoc jewel. The blend 70 % Grenache, 30 % Syrah, shows aromas of cherries, freshly crushed raspberry and red plums with anise and wild flowers. Wonderfully smooth and full-bodied with well-integrated tannins. This estate is located in the village of Fontanès in the Pic St Loup Crus north of Montpellier. It is owned by the Causse family and has been run by Marcelle and her brother Michel since 1984. Marcelle produces only 4,000 cases of wine in total per year! Serve with roast chicken or vegetarian fare. Cheese always works too! A KWM exclusive and an absolute staff and customer favourite.

2013, Casa Los Frailes $17.99
Monastrell & Garnacha
Navarra, Spain
Here’s a delightful red from the Valencia region of Spain. Made from a blend of Monastrell and Grenache grapes this wine is fresh, very aromatic, intensely fruity and medium-bodied. Los Frailes Monastrell-Garnacha has an expressive nose of plum and fruit, with a slight background of fennel and dried herbs that give freshness. The attack on the palate is soft, almost sweet. The wine caresses the palate and then come the woody and smoky notes of barrel ageing. And did we mention this vintage scored 90 Points from Robert Parker and that the wine is 100% organic? What’s not to love!

The Results:
*There were very few differences in the number of votes for the favourite and the two runners-up.
#1 Umberto Cesari Moma Rosso

#2 Bodega Amalaya Blanco Altura Torrontes

#3 Casa Los Frailes Monastrell

Thank you for reading and don’t hesitate to visit the store to pick up a few bottles of theses delicious wines. They were, after all, selected by our customers as la crème de la crème of the wines under 25$!

Christine Parent
Twitter: @eat_dream_drink
Instagram: @eat_dream_drink

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