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.
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!
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.
- The 2016 G.Marquis Chardonnay is a full-bodied and rich Ontario wine, perfect for winter white sipping – $17.95.
- 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.
- 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.
- The 13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé is everything I love about a sparkling wine; delicate bubbles, bright acidity and a creamy finish – $27.95.
- The Henry of Pelham VQA Rosé is dry, fruity and easy drinking. Definitely a crowd pleaser – $14.95.
- 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.
- The Julia Florista is a full bodied and fruity red blend new into the LCBO from Portugal. Great value! – $8.95.
- 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.
- The Sandbanks French Kiss is a great option if you’re looking for a full-bodied Ontario red – $19.95.
- 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.
- The VQA Pelee Island Lola Blush is a light and fruity sparkling wine perfect for enjoying with friends – $14.95.
- 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
Valentine’s isn’t just about romantic love, but all the loves in your life. Celebrate those special to you like your mom, bestfriend, sister and daughter. And what better way to celebrate your ladies than with wine made by women. Below I’ve selected wines created by female winemakers in Ontario for each of the women in your life.
For your mom, the Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Brut. Sandrine Bourcier, head winemaker at Henry of Pelham, laid the foundation for her wine career in Northern France. The Cuvée Catharine sparkling wine is reflective of Sandrine’s French influence, as it uses the traditional champagne method. Also reflective of it’s Niagara grapes, this wine has fresh flavours of apples and citrus. Named after the matriarch of the Pelham family, the Cuvée Catharine Brut is the perfect wine to gift and enjoy with your own mom.
For your bestfriend, the Malivoire 2016 Ladybug Rosé. With the expertise of assistant wine maker, Elisa Mazzi, Malivoire Winery in Beamsville Ontario has created a really fun Rosé! The Lady Bug Rosé is a medium bodied dry wine bursting with flavours of fresh summer strawberries. It will be best enjoyed with your bff après work on a Wine Wednesday. It’s a friendly wine, pairing well with whatever your cravings may be that night – from thai take-out and a new episode of the Bachelor, to charcuterie and a rerun of Sex and the City.
For your sister, the Southbrook Connect Organic White. The Souhbrook Winery, in Niagara, was the first wine estate in Canada to be both organic and biodynamic certified. This is in large part thanks to the leadership of Ann Sperling, Director of Winemaking and Viticulture. Ann is passionate about vineyard-centric winegrowing, which is noticeable in the lovely Southbrook Organic White. This wine is slightly off-dry with a balanced acidity and flavours of melon and green apple. In the spirit of Southbrook, connect with your roots this Valentine’s and enjoy a glass of wine with your sister.
For your daughter, the Grange of Prince Edward Gamay Noir. The Grange of Prince Edward Winery in Prince Edward County is owned by the mother-daughter winemaking team of Caroline Granger and her daughter Maggie. The wines from their 60-acre farm are 100% estate-grown fruit and reflective of this unique area in Ontario. The Gamay Noir is a dry light bodied red with lively tastes of cherry. I recommend enjoying this wine with your daughter on a Sunday afternoon with a chocolatey treat!
Hope you have a happy Valentine’s Day filled with loved ones and wine!
Cheers! – GDW
I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day, but have always loved celebrating with my girlfriends. When Leslie Knope introduced the idea of Galentine’s Day, I was definitely on board! This year I celebrated with a 3-course brunch and wine pairing. If you’re not totally sold on the Galentine’s idea, this event could be replicated for any brunch occasion with friends or family – no cheesey hearts involved!
I welcomed my Galentine’s with coffee and baked goods. We had the most delicious coffee from Velvet Sunrise, called Velvet Espresso, and I picked up fresh pastries that morning from my favourite bakery at the St. Lawrence Market, Stonemill Bakehouse. To add a little “fancy” to our brunch, I served the coffee in china teacups and the baked goods on an antique silver tray.
After our caffeine and sugar fix, we moved onto the main event. I made coconut French toast – using coconut milk and a baguette is a really nice alternative. For sides, we had market bacon, berry salad and homemade maple syrup. I served the main course with the Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Entourage Sparkling Brut. With warm flavours of toasty brioche and structured tropical acidity, this bubbly paired nicely with the French toast and bacon. I tried this wine for the first time a few weeks ago and haven’t stopped drinking it since! You can purchase it directly from the Jackson Triggs Winery or at select Wine Racks for $29.95.
We finished off our Galentine’s brunch with sugar cookies and pink bubbly. My girlfriend made the cookies using a great recipe from Zoella – these cookies turn out better every time she makes them! I chose the Pelee Island LOLA Rose VQA 2016 to pair with the cookies, and it was a hit! The LOLA Rose is a light and fruity sparkling wine with tastes of strawberry and orange. This wine is one of my local favourites – plus, labels don’t get much prettier than this one! At $14.95, it’s also a great price-point and available at most LCBO stores.
Happy Galentine’s Day!
Cheers! – GDW
This might be one of the most pleasantly surprising wines I’ve tasted all year. When I’m presented with a Portuguese white, my mind immediately thinks of Vinho Verde – a light, crisp and very young wine.
I could not have been more wrong when I tasted the Guarda Rios Branco. It was light and crisp but also flavourful, aromatic and smooth. There were notes of lemon and citrus, softened with tropical fruit and floral smells. And then the taste – yum! The citrus was definitely taken over by strong tastes of tropical fruits like banana and mango. These fruits were warmed and rounded by sweet honey and pretty florals. The Guardo Rios was not your typical big warm white though, as it was balanced with a nice acidity.
What a surprise! So I looked into this Portuguese white further. The varietals that make up the Guarda Rios are apparently Portugal’s answer to Chardonnay. It’s made from two different white grapes native to Portugal. The first is called Arinto – an acidic grape with citrus character. While the second grape, Antao Vaz, adds the tropical fruit flavours and sweet honey tastes.
After this wonderful taste experience, I will definitely be exploring the Portuguese section more! I encourage you to also think past the vinho verde and try some different grape varietals from Portugal.
The Guarda Rios is unfortunately not available at the LCBO, but can be purchased through the Wine Collective’s online retail store.
Cheers! – GDW
To kick off the Halloween season I hosted a Witches Who Wine party. This was a wine tasting event where I paired wines with Halloween candy.
All my guests festively obliged to wearing their favourite witch hat and best black outfit. Upon arrival to the party, they were greeted with a yummy sparkling apple cider cocktail (recipe coming soon to the blog). Each witch was provided a wine tasting card to score the five wines on appearance, aroma, taste and pairing. And from here, the fun ensued!
This is how I paired the wines and candy:
1. Grenache and Reese peanut butter cups
2. Sauvignon Blanc and Skittles
3. Beaujolais and Nibs
4. Late Autumn Riesling and Mars
5. Zinfandel and Twix
The winning pairing was the Zinfandel and Twix! I enjoyed all of the pairings and suggest trying a few of them out with your leftover Halloween candy. You can find the specific wines chosen for the event at the LCBO, all for under $15.00.
In addition to the candy pairings, I provided a few additional snacks for guests. I put out a small spread of cheeses, fruit, charcuterie and dips. The artichoke dip from Olympic Cheese at the St. Lawrence Market was big hit!
The Witches Who Wine party was a fun way to celebrate the Halloween season, taste some new wines and spend time with good friends (including our witchy friend below – the GDW photographer!).
Cheers! – GDW
Firstly – invite a group of friends who enjoy a day drink just as much as you 😉
Second step – gather the food! We got all of our goodies fresh from the St. Lawrence Market. I highly recommend visiting your city’s local farmer’s market to get the best seasonal products. Our picnic consisted of charcuterie, fruit, cranberry tarts, olives, crackers and a variety of Canadian cheeses. I especially love the pink buns!
Next, and most importantly, is to choose the wine. I picked out the VQA Pelee Island Pinot Noir Reserve from Southern Ontario. This is a medium bodied, dry wine that pairs well with a lot of foods – perfect for a daytime picnic. Plus, I love the pretty grey and white label! It’s a smooth wine with low tannins and tastes of cherry, plums and earthiness. Good value for $17.45 at the LCBO, http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/product/pelee-island-pinot-noir-reserve-vqa/458521#.WfhsNYWcGhc.
Lastly – pick a spot at the park, assemble the bounty and enjoy your fall picnic!
Cheers! – GDW