Despite careful planning and good intentions, the holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without an urgent need to pop out to the shops for a missing item or ingredient. If wine is on that shopping list, I’m happy to recommend some that offer good value without compromising on flavour or quality.
There are a few evergreen selections on this year’s last-minute club list. In this season of goodwill or any other time of year, Cono Sur and Cusumano are always good names to know for their ability to consistently deliver across their portfolios. The juicy and refreshing Fleur du Cap Chardonnay is another well-priced, widely available wine for party planners or value hunters to set their sights on.
Value for money exists at every price category so I’ve also added a few more expensive bottles that will reward your investment. There are some fresh whites, satisfying reds and even a stylish rosé – an essential wine to pair with traditional turkey dinner for my family – to consider. It’s worth noting that some of these wines are benchmarks for their region, notably the immensely reliable riesling from Trimbach in Alsace or utterly charming pinot grigio from Elena Walch in Alto Adige, which makes them stress-free selections that are appropriate for any occasion.
Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2020 (Chile), $12.50
Chile’s Cono Sur pays careful attention to pinot noir, crafting a range of styles including this affordable expression. The mix of cherry/berry and spicy flavours are easy to appreciate. The lighter style means you can serve this slightly chilled to show its aroma and flavour in the best light. Drink now. Available at the above price in Ontario, $12.99 in British Columbia and Manitoba, various prices in Alberta, $14.49 in Saskatchewan, $13.99 in New Brunswick, $14.29 in Nova Scotia, $15.50 in Prince Edward Island.
Cusumano Nero D’Avola Sicilia 2020 (Italy), $12.90
This simple and appealing dry red from Sicily, which is made from the nero d’avola grape, offers classic bistro wine character. Its concentrated savoury, spicy and fruity flavours make this a winning pizza, pasta or burger wine. Drink now. Available in Ontario at the above price, $18.99 in British Columbia ($16.99 until Dec. 31), various prices in Alberta.
Elena Walch Pinot Grigio 2021 (Italy), $23.95
Expensive by pinot grigio standards, this refreshing and flavourful white from Alto Adige truly delivers. Its pleasing mix of pear, peach and apple fruit with subtle peppery spice and herbal accents offers more character and complexity than you might expect. The fresh and focused style is truly compelling. Drink now. Available in Ontario.
Fleur Du Cap Chardonnay 2020 (South Africa), $14
Produced with chardonnay grapes grown in Robertson, Stellenbosch and Somerset West, this flavourful and well-structured white wine offers a pleasant array of apple and citrus fruit with some toasted oak notes. There’s a nice balance of richness and refreshment on offer. Drink now to 2024. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta, $14.15 in Quebec, $17.49 in New Brunswick, $16.50 in Nova Scotia, $16.99 in Newfoundland.
François Villard L’appel des Sereines Syrah 2019 (France), $20.95
Don’t be deceived by the humble vin de France appellation of origin, this expressive red wine continues to be one of the best values on the market. The mix of ripe berry fruit, spice and floral notes offers charm and complexity. The quality for the price makes this a serious house wine candidate for wintery days ahead. Drink now to 2026. Available in Ontario.
Invivo X, SJP Sud de France Rosé 2021 (France), $19.95
Summer isn’t the only season you can enjoy delicious dry rosés like this one from the creative partnership between Sex in the City star Sarah Jessica Parker and New Zealand based Invivo Wines. Produced in the South of France, this tasty and refreshing pink wine, with its fresh berry and citrusy character, is a perfect complement to a festive turkey dinner or a stylish aperitif. Drink now. Available at the above price in Ontario, various prices in Alberta, $29.99 in Nova Scotia.
Laurenz V. Friendly Gruner Veltliner 2020 (Austria), $21.95
Friendly is a good way to describe this approachable dry white wine made from Austria’s signature white grape, gruner veltliner. It offers classic citrus and apple flavours, with some honey and spicy notes that add depth and richness. The bright and balanced style makes this enjoyable on its own or with a meal, especially if seafood is on the menu. Drink now. Available in Ontario.
Trimbach Riesling 2019 (France), $24.95
Trimbach specializes in producing dry and distinctive rieslings from Alsace, starting with this fresh and fruity example and up through a range topped by racy and refined single vineyard expressions, including the stellar Clos Ste Hune. This is made in a precise, refreshing and citrussy style that’s well balanced in terms of acidity, alcohol and fruit. Drink now to 2025. Available at the above price in Ontario, $35.99 in British Columbia (2020 vintage), various prices in Alberta, $23.85 in Quebec (2018 vintage).
Vida Organica Malbec 2021 (Argentina), $11.45
This affordable Mendoza malbec is made by the Zuccardi family, which has enjoyed tremendous success in the Canadian market with its extensive portfolio. This organic and vegan-friendly red wine is dry and nicely balanced with dark fruit and spice flavours that fall squarely into the crowd-pleasing category. It’s not as powerful as other malbecs, but that adds to its appeal. Drink now. Available in Ontario.
Yalumba Organic Shiraz 2019 (Australia), $19.95
Made with certified organic shiraz grapes grown in South Australia, this is a ripe and plush red wine with attractive plummy and spicy notes. It shows the generosity of the grape variety while maintaining vibrancy and freshness. Drink now to 2024. Vegan-certified. Available at the above price in Ontario, $19.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta, $16.99 in Manitoba, $17.95 in Quebec.
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