Girl on a Budget: Rosé Under $11

Summer time is amazing, but let’s be honest, it can get expensive! While I’d love to be sipping on Whispering Angel all season, sometimes a girl has to be on a budget. But if you’re a girl on a budget like me, that doesn’t  mean that you should have to miss out on rosé’ing all day this summer! I’ve listed for you my top 5 favourite rosés at the LCBO for under $11.00. And while not all wine under $11.00 is good, these rosés are tried (many times), tested and true! My top 5 rosés under $11.00  will keep a girl on a budget AND rosé’ing all day!

Astica Malbec Rosé  $8.90

The Astica Malbec Rosé is only $8.90 at the LCBO! From Argentina this pretty pale pink rosé is light bodied and dry. It has a lot of citrus and tart berry flavours that will appeal to those wine drinkers that like a very crisp and refreshing rosé. It’s certainly perfect for a hot summer day!

JP Azeitão Shiraz Rosé  9.25

If you follow me on Instagram, you know the JP Azeitao has been my go-to rosé this summer! And it’s not just me…as soon as the LCBO restocks it is quickly gone! The JP Azeitao is another pale pink rosé that’s light bodied and dry. What I love about this wine, is that the soft berry and floral flavours are balanced beautifully with a great acidic structure and crisp finish.

L’Orangeraie Rosé  $9.30

The L’Orangeraie Rosé is regular $10.80 at the LCBO, but is on sale right now for $9.30. So stock up! From the South of France, this wine is light bodied and extra dry. Notes of herb, bell pepper and floral are followed by tart cherry and citrus flavours. A classic example of a southern French Rosé, L’Orangeraie is sure to please any pink drink lover.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Rosé $10.05

I’ve talked about the Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Rosé before, because I really do enjoy it and think it’s great value! This Chilean wine is a medium-bodied dry style that’s bursting with bright flavours of strawberries, raspberries and cherries. It’s a great wine to pair with food. Enjoy this wine al fresco with sausage, grilled chicken or salmon.

Banrock Station Pink Moscato Rosé  $10.95 

If you like your rosé on the sweeter side, than the Banrock Station Moscato is for you! I typically enjoy a dry rosé, but this wine has a great acidity and some delicate bubbles that help to balance out the sweetness. Plus, it is the prettiest pale pink colour! For $10.95 at the LCBO the Banrock Station Moscato is perfect for a girl on a budget.

Cheers!~GDW

Girl on a Budget: Wine Magnums Under $20

The Victoria day long weekend marks the beginning of summer in Canada. And summer in Canada means weekend cottage trips, camping adventures and lots of barbeque parties. All of these events go best with great wine and friends. But if you’re a girl on a budget, the wine can add up! I find that when I’m packing wine for a weekend trip or stocking up for a summer party, wine magnums are the best value. Wine magnums are 1.5L bottles, which is equal to two regular wine bottles. If you can find a magnum for under $20, then you will have plenty budget left to pick up that cute swim suit for the cottage! But are wine magnums under $20 any good? They are not going to be the BEST wine that you’ve ever had, but I’ve listed below my top picks.

  1. Aveleda Vinho Verde  $19.60 – This wine is listed at #1 because it is definitely my #1 pick for wine magnums under $20! A light Portuguese white with zesty spritziness, it’s perfect for sipping by the pool. Plus, with a lower alcohol level, 9.5%, you can sip all day without the worry of a hangover!
  2. Barefoot Pinot Grigio $19.95 – The Barefoot Pinot Grigio is another light a crisp white, but with more an off-dry style (dry but with a slight sweetness). On a hot day on the dock, I enjoy this wine over a large tumbler of ice.
  3. Bodacious Smooth Red $18.75 – A mix of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, the Bodacious red is full bodied and smooth. It is definitely a crowd pleasing wine, so a great choice when hosting a backyard barbeque. It’s on sale until May 27th for $16.75, so now would be a good time to stock up!
  4. Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier $18.95 – The Cono Sur Viognier is bursting with aromatic flavours of tropical fruits and rounded out with great acidity. I just discovered this wine last month and was very happy to see it came in a magnum. Enjoy this wine with an extended al fresco Sunday lunch.
  5. Mateus Rosé $17.40 – This rosé is on the sweeter side, so I find that it works best mixed with sparkling water and ice to make a rosé spritzer. There’s nothing better than a rosé spritzer at the beach on a hot summer day!
  6. Folonari Soave $16.95 – The Folonari Soave has been one of my go-to magnums for years! It’s light, crisp and dry style makes it perfect for pairing with picnic pot locks in the park. Be careful though, this wine goes down like water!
  7. Jackson Triggs Shiraz $18.95 – When you’re having guests over for a charcoal grilled steak dinner, the Jackson Triggs Shiraz is a great choice. It’s a full bodied and easy drinking red wine that pairs well with friends and warm summer grill nights.
  8. Peller Estates Rosé $16.95 – This rosé is also on the sweeter side, but that makes it perfect to make frosé, sangria, rosé pops and spritzers. When you’re heading out of the city for a girls cottage weekend, pack a couple of these bottles to rosé all day!
  9. Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc $18.75 –  I always have a magnum bottle of the Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc in the fridge during the summer. It’s light and crisp with nice grapefruit, herb and citrus flavours. I find it works great as an après-work drink on the balcony.

If you’re a girl on a budget, wine magnums under $20 are your best choice to wine all summer! Weekend cottage trips, backyard parties and long beach days require wine at good value. While wine magnums aren’t always the BEST wine, my top 9 picks are all good choices that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

Cheers! ~ GDW

Beginner French: Where to Start With French Wine

French wine can be intimidating and hard to determine where to start. In North America, we classify our wines by the type of grape – like Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir. Whereas in France, the wines are classified by region – like Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy. France has 11 major wine regions, all with sub-regions, which together produce thousands of different wines. To put this into perspective, Wine Folly tells us that “If you drank a new wine each night, it would take 8 years to drink your way through France.” So, where to start with French wine?

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My partner, Matthew, goes on “wine binges” where he will spend a few weeks exploring one wine varietal from a specific region. And I must say, his approach can be very helpful! This is definitely what I suggest for the beginner in French wine (and trust me, I am only an advanced beginner). I think it’s helpful to start with those French wine regions that have the least nuances and complexities. My suggestion for where to start with French wine is Beaujolais, Burgundy and Provence.

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First up in the beginner French lesson is Beaujolais. Not only is Beaujolais easy to drink, but it’s also easy to understand! In Beaujolais there is only one wine varietal, one grape, one wine – Gamay. A Gamay wine from Beaujolais is typically a light bodied fruity red with high acidity and low tannin. Within the Beaujolais region there are 10 different “Crus”, which means the 10 best sub-regions, consisting of Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly. When you’re buying a bottle of Beaujolais, you want the label to indicate one of these 10 sub-region names. Life’s too short to drink bad wine right?!

My recommendation is to start with wine from the Fleurie cru. Fleurie wines have been described as “the Queen of Beaujolais” and “pretty pretty princess.” This is because they tend to have soft fruit flavours and lovely floral notes like rose, iris and violet. My favourite so far has been the 2015 Villa Ponciago La Réserve Fleurie. The Villa Ponciago La Réserve has a bright plum colour with a bursting bouquet on the nose and pretty flavours of cherry, blueberry and violet. This wine has some aging in oak barrels which adds a finessed smokiness. You can find the Villa Ponciago Fleurie in the LCBO vintages for $19.95. It’s a great example of a Fleurie and a perfect place to start your French wine lessons.

Chablis Wine

Moving north of Beaujolais is the wine region of Burgundy. To keep it simple, Burgundy has two main types of wine. Red wine is made from the Pinot Noir grape and white wine is made from the Chardonnay grape. Easy, right?! Within Burgundy there are 5 sub-regions – Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais. Within these regions, wines are classified by 4 different levels of quality – Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Village Wines and Regional Wines. The Burgundy classification system can get quite complicated, hard to decipher on the label and expensive! This is why I recommend starting your French wine exploration with the Burgundian region of Chablis; where the classification system is simpler, wine is clearly labelled and has good value.

Wine from Chablis is Chardonnay. Chablis is in the most northern part of Burgundy, so it produces cool climate Chardonnays that are zesty and acidic (think the opposite of a buttery California Chardonnay). Wines from Chablis are characterized as being pure and crisp with chalkiness and minerality. Some even describe Chablis as having a seashell quality (vineyards are located on prehistoric sea and seashells can still be found in the soil). While not described with any seashell notes, the 2015 Gueguen Chablis does provide you with a taste of the quintessential crisp and acidic Chablis. Like most Chablis, the 2015 Gueguen Chablis is clearly labelled and easy to find in the Burgundy section of the LCBO vintages.

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A beginner French lesson would not be complete without a look at Provence. Provence is the oldest wine region in France and while 36 wine varietals are grown, 88% are made into Rosé. I couldn’t agree more with Wine Folly that, “pink wine is chic and Provence is the benchmark for Rosé.” Pretty simple to understand, Provence = Rosé! Provence is divided into 9 sub-regions that are referred to as AOC (Appellation de’Origin Contrôlée). Each AOC has strict rules about the type of grapes that are grown and how they’re grown, harvested, produced and labelled. Lucky for the beginner French student, these strict labelling rules make it easy to decipher Rosé from Provence.

The largest sub-region (or AOC) is Côtes de Provence, who’s production is about 90% Rosé. This is where most Rosé in North America is imported from.  However, I was able to find a Rosé from a different AOC called Coteaux Varois. This sub-region is considered the “heart of Provence” as it sits in the middle of the region and produces mostly Rosé.  The Terres De Saint Louis Rosé Varois en Provence AOC is medium bodied and dry with the prettiest pale pink colour and delicate flavours of citrus and cherry. Found in the France section of the LCBO, the Terres De Saint Louis Rosé is only $13.95!

Wine and Cheese

While it’s confusing to determine where to start with French wine, I think that narrowing in on a few regions and types can definitely help. Start your studies with these 3 recommendations and you’ll be speaking French wine in no time. And what’s the best way to study French wine? Drinking French wine! Happy studying 🙂

Cheers!~GDW

 

March Wine Faves

Wine Favourites

As I went through the wines I drank in March, I noticed just how much rosé I had been drinking. If you are ready for rosé season, than my March Wine Faves is the list for you! As spring nears, wine drinkers also tend to navigate more towards white wine, so I’ve included some great white wines from Ontario that are perfect for spring sipping. With the warmer weather also comes outdoor grilling and there’s nothing better than a big red wine paired with a barbequed burger. I have three reds on the March Wine Faves list that are each at different price points, but all delicious! Hope you enjoy my favourite wines from March.

  1. JP Azeitão Rosé – There were a lot of new rosés at the LCBO in March, and this was one of my favourites. Plus, can’t go wrong at the $8.90 price point!
  2. Fancy Farm Girl Frivolous White –  I had to try this wine when I found out it’s made by one of Canada’s leading winemakers, Sue-Ann Staff. This aromatic and flavourful wine is perfect for a fancy country picnic.
  3. Henkell Sparkling Rosé – Spring brings an increase in parties and Henkell’s 3-pack of mini sparkling wines are fun and convenient for byob. Stick in a cute straw and you’re set to party!
  4. Mouton Cadet Bordeaux – If you’re looking for a well priced, consistent Bourdeaux than this is your wine. For $15.95 you’re getting a nice French red wine.
  5. Crossbarn Cabernet – If you’re looking for a bottle to splurge on, than this is your wine. The Crossbarn Cabernet is a classic example of a big, bold and smooth California Cab that will not disappoint.
  6. Casillero Del Diablo Reserva Shiraz Rosé – This was another new rosé in at the LCBO last month and I LOVED it. Vibrant raspberry flavours are followed by soft florals and ending with a clean finish. I also love the beautiful bottle!
  7. Pelee Island Tailwind Gewurztraminer Riesling – I tend to think that Gewurztraminer is too sweet for my taste, but this wine really surprised me! It was bursting with exotic fruit flavours, and the slight soft sweetness was balanced out with good acidity.
  8. Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Rosé – This Chilean wine is a big seller at the LCBO, and now I know why! Read my full review here, and learn why it’s one of my 5 spring must-haves for the wine lover.
  9. Cave Spring Rosé – I had been wanting to try this VQA wine for awhile and was not disappointed! Read about why I loved this rosé and what to pair it with in my post here.
  10. Southbrook Connect Organic White – If you’re looking to drink more organic wines you don’t have to look any further than Ontario! The Souhbrook Winery was the first wine estate in Canada to be both organic and biodynamic certified. Learn more about Southbrook and their Connect White here.
  11. De Chanceny Cremant de Loire Rose Brut – Spring is the season of celebrations, from wedding showers to graduations to birthdays. This French sparkling wine is great to celebrate with, or to bring as a gift.
  12. Beso De Vino Seleccion – This has been my go-to budget friendly wine for years. Read about even more budget friendly wines from the LCBO in my post, Girl on a Budget: Wines Under $10.

 

Cheers!~GDW

Wines for Easter Dinner

If you’re like me and always put in charge of bringing the wine to family celebrations, then I’m sure you’ve started thinking about what will pair best with Easter dinner. Most Easter dinners involve pork or bird roasts that are complimented best by medium-bodied white and red wines. I’ve found three local Ontario wines that will work great with your dinner and satisfy different wine tastes. Each bottle is under $20 and available at most LCBO locations. I suggest picking them up now before that the weekend rush!

Strewn Chardonnay Barrel Aged VQA

The Strewn Chardonnay from Niagara is a full-bodied and rich white that will pair really well with turkey or Cornish hen. It has toasty peach aromas and buttery fruit flavours. If you tend to steer away from oaked Chardonnays because of their overwhelming butteriness, you don’t have to worry with the Strewn Chardonnay as it’s really balanced with good acidity and a clean finish.

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G. Marquis The Silver Line Pinot Noir

The more adventurous culinary family is having lamb or duck for their Easter dinner, and these types of meats deserve a delicate and refined red wine. The G. Marquis Pinot Noir is a medium-bodied dry red that will match the flavours of the lamb or duck nicely. It’s really elegant with a smokey spice aroma, cherry flavours and a hint of violet.

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Cave Spring Dry Rosé VQA

The Cave Spring Rosé is a versatile and food friendly wine. It will pair well without a lot of menus, but particularly if you’re having ham or salmon. This rosé is a medium-bodied dry wine made up of 57% Pinot Gris, 18% Riesling, 14% Pinot Noir, 7% Cabernet Franc, 4% Gamay. It’s lovely aroma of ripe red cherries is followed by flavours of red berries and finished with a refreshing acidity.

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Hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend filled with fresh new wines for Spring!

Cheers!~GDW

 

 

 

Girl on a Budget: Wines Under $10

Sometimes a girl is on a budget and needs decent wine for cheap. While it’s nice to drink expensive vintages, there are times that call lower price point wines, like a when you’re hosting a big party or saving for a trip. But a girl on a budget does not mean that good taste has to be compromised! I’ve rounded up my top three wines from the LCBO that are under $10 and don’t taste like bathwater.

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1. Beso de Vino

Beso de Vino is a red blend from Spain. It’s a full bodied dry wine with a deep purple colour.  I was introduced to it by a friend several years ago and it’s been a constant go to since then for hosting, gifting and weeknight drinks. Beso de Vino is a crowd pleaser! I haven’t met someone that doesn’t enjoy this easy going wine. It’s has luscious dark fruit flavours with a hint of spice and licorice. Available at the LCBO for $9.95.

2. L’Orangeraie Rosé

If you’re in the mood for Rosé, the L’Orangeraie is a great budget friendly option. From the South of France, this wine is medium bodied and extra dry with good acidity. Notes of herb, bell pepper and floral are followed by tart cherry and citrus flavours. A classic example of a southern French Rosé, L’Orangeraie is sure to please any pink drink lover. When I was first putting together this post, L’Orangeraie was at the LCBO for under $10, but recently increased to $10.25 – still a good deal!

3. Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc

Most wine drinkers at some point have probably had the Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc. This white wine from South Africa is light bodied and dry  with flavours that will not offend anyone. Easy drinking and crisp, the Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc has light tastes of soft citrus and grapefruit. It’s guaranteed to be enjoyed on a hot summers day! The 750ml bottle is $9.95 at the LCBO, but you can get the 1500ml bottle for only $17.95 – perfect if you’re hosting a summer party!

Cheers!~GDW

 

February Wine Faves

I’m really excited to be starting a new blog series on my favourite wines of the month. The first post is about my wine faves from February. There’s a good mix of varietals, regions and price range. I also have a liqueur listed that isn’t a wine, but I was so impressed I had to include it! Take a read below for my thoughts on each of the wines and links to details at the LCBO.

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  1. The 2016 G.Marquis Chardonnay is a full-bodied and rich Ontario wine, perfect for winter white sipping – $17.95.
  2. The 2014 Frog’s Leap Zinfandel was one of my favourite wines from my trip to Napa last year and is now available at the LCBO! – $49.95.
  3. The 2016 Domaine des Aspes is a French blend of Chardonnay and Viognier that offers the perfect balance of crisp vibrancy and rich creaminess – $16.96.
  4. The 13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé is everything I love about a sparkling wine; delicate bubbles, bright acidity and a creamy finish – $27.95.
  5. The Henry of Pelham VQA Rosé is dry, fruity and easy drinking. Definitely a crowd pleaser – $14.95.
  6. The Cave Spring Cellars Pinot Gris is a wonderfully perfumed and aromatic wine that you should definitely try if you haven’t explored this style – $16.95.
  7. The Julia Florista is a full bodied and fruity red blend new into the LCBO from Portugal. Great value! – $8.95.
  8. The 2012 Château Mont-Redon is everything wonderful you expect from a Châteauneuf-du-Pape! It’s a good price point to start your exploration of this amazing French region – $45.95.
  9. The Sandbanks French Kiss is a great option if you’re looking for a full-bodied Ontario red – $19.95.
  10. The Hidden Bench Estate Pinot Noir is a 10/10 for me and could not be any better! The perfect mix of earth, herbs, smokiness and cherry – $31.95.
  11. The VQA Pelee Island Lola Blush is a light and fruity sparkling wine perfect for enjoying with friends – $14.95.
  12. St. Germain is a French liqueur made with elderflower blossoms. Adding this liqueur to sparkling wine makes a beautiful cocktail – $14.95-$49.95.

 

Cheers! – GDW