Tight Wad Oenophile – Frugal Finds

by Dave

As we enter a new year and work our pocketbooks through the holiday season hangover, there is nothing better than finding delicious wines that fit a budget. It happens to us all: we have a fantastic and very busy Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, or just time of the year where it seems like everything is and festive and celebratory. There are so many reasons to spend more money over the time, so it is fair that when January comes around all you want to do is tighten your wallet a bit but still enjoy the pleasures of life! That is what these tastings are all about. Finding wines that speak to you and don’t beat up your bank account. We try to find value-driven wines that are still well-made and delicious.

Going into this tasting I faced some of the dilemmas that I always seem to fight, which wines should I pour? I want to make sure that they are something that will be enjoyable for everyone, something different that we have never tried before, as well as things that are interesting. We are spoiled for options in the store so trying to decide what would work best is definitely something that takes some planning and creative decision-making. In the end, I was able to come up with a fun line-up and paired with some of the best cheese and charcuterie around from our neighbour’s Peasant Cheese.

Villa Marchesi Prosecco $15.99
I love bubbles and can’t think of a better way to start a tasting than with a clean, delicious, crisp sparkling wine. Prosecco is a fantastic inexpensive way to enjoy some delicious bubbles. There are other great options out there as well but hard to go wrong with something this yummy at this price point.

A floral and vibrant style of prosecco. Expect notes of white blossom, grape, citrus and apple. To be paired with soft cheese, salad, chicken and even pork. The Cabert vineyards are a panorama of sun-kissed lands, covered with prized vineyards since ancient times. Cabert, established in 1960 in Bertiolo, is located in the famous “Grave del Friuli” plain. Fruili is now one of the most renowned grape-growing zones of Italy’s Controlled Origin Denomination. Cabert’s distinction lies in its owners, belonging to one of the oldest and most acclaimed families of the region. Centuries of passion, hard work and keen attention to the vine have developed a rich cultural heritage handed down from generation to generation.

Lakeview Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2016 $18.99
Sauvignon is definitely a fun grape to start a tasting off with, just because it can be so crisp and refreshing. This was one that did not disappoint. From the Niagara region, this is from Lakeview Cellars, which is actually the third largest wine producer from Ontario.
This Lakeview Cellars white wine shows traditional notes of tropical fruits, gooseberry and melon, which is also present on the palate along with intense citrus flavours. Pair with goat cheese, green vegetables or oysters.

Thornbury Pinot Gris 2017 $16.99
It seems like did this a bit backwards. I could have showcased a Sauvignon from New Zealand and a Pinot Gris from Ontario, but as I said I like to keep things interesting and show stuff that is not always the most common. Variety is the spice of life, after all! The Pinot Gris was showing quite delightfully. They produce the wine by leaving it on the lees, which helps to give it a bit more structure. It also has a little bit of residual sugar, not enough to really make it sweet but just the right amount to make it dangerously quaffable.
The wine displays lovely delicate floral Pinot Gris characters of fresh citrus, white pear and hints of lychee and spice. The palate is textured and mouth-filling finishing with excellent freshness. Best enjoyed young, either on its own, with fish, chicken or a simple salad.

Riverlore Pinot Noir 2017 $19.99
Ah, Pinot Noir! Pinot Noir is one of my love affairs. It can be such an elegant and wondrous wine, it can also be really bad. Unfortunately, it can be a bit difficult to find a delicious Pinot Noir for a great price. This one does pretty well though. From New Zealand, where it is typical to find these wines, this delightful little gem looks fun and tastes pretty darn good too.

A lovely vibrant coloured wine with aromas of dark fruits. The palate has bright cranberry, raspberry and strawberry flavours with smoky oak and earthy finish. Enjoy with a variety of cuisine – New Zealand lamb and venison are a particularly good match.

Speri Valpolicella 2017 $19.99
This is a young, immediate red, which retains the essence of the earth from which it was cultivated. A delightful blend of 60% Corvina Veronese, 30% Rondinella, and 10% Molinara. It is characterized by fragrant scents and fresh flavours. Ruby red colour with purplish highlights and an intense, vinous bouquet, with hints of violets and cherries. A medium-bodied, fruity wine, to be enjoyed young. Ideal for accompanying hors-d’oeuvres, soups, pasta and typical Mediterranean dishes.

Cap de Dansa Red 2017 $19.99
This is a new exclusive wine to us that has been sourced by our Spanish negociant. It is from the Terra Alta region, which is on the SW region of Catalonia. These wines are from a co-operative that work together to produce great wines at affordable prices. This impressive region provides spectacular grapes and gives great value. This was our favourite of the night and not surprising either. Everyone loved it!
Deep ruby. Fresh and ripening black fruits dominate the nose, backed by tart red berry fruit and herbal notes. Penetrating, fresh fruit flavours with lively acidity, structure and noticeable length. The perfect go-to wine for social events. 70% Grenache – 30% Syrah – 10% Carignan.

Heartland Stickleback Red 2015 $16.99
The Stickleback blend is chosen for optimum flavour and texture, with each variety bringing a unique character to the wine. A delightful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz gives this wine a rich, savoury character and good structure. A splash of Lagrein contributes spice & tannin. The tightness and structure of the Lagrein pulls the wine together and makes this blend a perfect match with food. Great to have with red meats, stews, or just by itself. Delicious weekday wine that doesn’t break the bank.

Remy Ferbras Ventoux 2014 $16.99
From the Ventoux region of the South Eastern Rhone, this terrific tasting red is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. Look for a bright and deep ruby colour. Aromas of red fruits mingle with enticing notes of spicy vanilla. The taste is quite full and silky. This is definitely a “people” friendly red and one you can buy by the case for the winter months ahead. Great with cold weather fare like hearty stews or braised meats.

As always it was wonderful to be hosting this tasting again and I had a great time being able to enjoy the wines with others. I love being able to try new wines and hope that you do too. These classes I find are some of the best ways to come across something new that could be your next favourite wine.

Until next time,

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