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

My Favourite Wines from the Wine Rack

If you live in Ontario, you probably find yourself at a Wine Rack every now and then. The Wine Rack doesn’t have a large selection of wine but they are open late, have a lot of  locations and offer free samples. Also, as a fur mama it’s super convenient that they are dog friendly and offer treats. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that my French Bulldog, Cosette, knows the words “wine rack” and how to get there.

For whatever reason you may find yourself in a Wine Rack, I’m sure you typically wonder which wine to choose. While they stock great Ontario wine producers like Jackson Triggs and Inniskillin, the selection beyond these wineries is pretty limited. Not to worry, I’ve got you covered with my top 5 picks. From sparkling wine to cider, you’ll be set whatever your craving the next time your dog drags you inside. Treat for dog, treat for human – the Wine Rack is win-win!

Jackson Triggs Entourage Sparkling Brut

Jackson Triggs Entourage

I have been loving the Jackson Triggs Entourage Brut since I first tried it a couple months ago at The Keg. It has creamy flavours of toasty brioche and a structured tropical acidity. Read about how I paired this bubbly with a brunch menu here. The Sparkling Brut is part of Jackson Trigg’s Grand Reserve wine collection and available exclusively at the Wine Rack or through online purchase from the winery. When you’re in the mood for some bubbly, the Jackson Triggs Entourage Sparkling Brut is my recommendation.

Inniskillin Pinot Noir Rosé

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I have blogged and Instagramed about this wine a lot! The Inniskillin Pinot Noir Rosé  is one of my go-to weeknight wines.  It’s a medium-bodied dry rosé with full flavours of cranberry, strawberry and rhubarb followed by a crisp finish. This wine is also exclusive to the Wine Rack or the through online purchase from the winery at $14.95. When you don’t know what you feel like, head to the wine fridge and grab yourself a bottle of the Inniskillin Pinot Noir Rosé – you will not be disappointed!

 

Long Hand Sauvignon Blanc

Long Hand Sauvignon Blanc

A sales representative recently recommended the Long Hand Sauvignon Blanc when I advised I was in the mood for a crisp dry white. It was really good and I still cant believe I’ve NEVER noticed it! It has bright citrus and herbaceous flavours – reminded me a bit of a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Made with Ontario VQA grapes, it’s exclusive to the Wine Rack at a great price point of $14.95. This is your bottle for summer sipping.

 

Open Cellar Select Smooth Red

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Sometimes you’re craving an easy drinking smooth red, and that’s exactly what the Open Red is! It’s a full-bodied red wine with deep velvety flavours of dark berries. This red is also exclusive to the Wine Rack and made with 100%  VQA  grapes. When you’re unsure of a hostess gift, or hosting yourself, this is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Your next barbeque event will go very well with the Open Cellar Select Smooth Red.

Growers Pear Cider

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The Growers Pear Cider is not a wine, but a nice alternative. The Wine Rack stocks a very large selection of Growers Cider by the pack or individually. While the Pumpkin Spice is hands down my favourite during the holiday season, the Pear flavour is my spring/summer pick.  At $3.05 each, Growers Cider is great to pick up on your way to an impromptu park picnic!

 

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

 

 

 

Books & Wine, Review of Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé

As rosé becomes more popular, Victoria James’s book “Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rose” could not have come at a better time to help us truly appreciate the pink drink. James guides the reader through the history of rosé, how and where it’s made, and delicious food pairings and recipes.  This informative and enjoyable book is a delightful read that reminds us rosé is “…what wine is all about, pleasure and simplicity” and that “no other wine embodies the joie de vivre like rosé.”

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The first part of “Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé” provides a comprehensive history of rosé, from it’s birthplace in ancient Greece to it’s popular rise in North American today. James explains that as rosé becomes trendier, producers are rushing to meet high demands which often leads to a decrease in quality. According to James, these rosés often “…have no soul, no sense of place, and are not a reflection of the centuries of tradition that made the wine what it once was.” I was surprised to learn that I should run when I see a bottle with the words “whisper” and “angel” on it! Have I been drinking bad rosé all along? James does not leave me in fear and walks the reader through the best rosé regions and varietals. I’m left feeling educated and excited to seek out and enjoy great rosé.

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The last half of the book is filled with wonderful food pairings and recipes from well known chefs and leaders in the wine industry. Their words wholly support James’s belief that, “the beauty of rosé is its versatility – how it straddles the line between red and white. It is the perfect pairing for many foods (tapas, cocktail spreads, main dishes) – all year long.” You’re left wondering how you ever thought rosé was restricted to summer months only! Not only does James provide instruction for delicious sounding all-season dishes, but she paints a beautiful picture about where and how they should be enjoyed with rosé.  I hope that when I attempt the Roasted Chicken Provencal, the experience is as magical as James describes!

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In addition to the book’s great lessons, history and recipes, “Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé” is filled with amazing illustrations by Lyle Railsback. The over 75 full colour pictures are the perfect accompaniment to James’s rosé guide. With the image of a grape bunch giving blood, I’m sure I will never forget the saignee (“bleeding”) method for making rosé! Railsback’s drawings really embody all of the fun and charm of this book.

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Whether you’re already a rosé fan or haven’t been swayed yet, I highly recommend reading “Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé” to really appreciate the pink drink. Curl up in your favourite reading chair, pour yourself a glass and “…celebrate how amazing rosé can be.”

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

Winter Whites

Like with fashion, winter doesn’t mean you have to put away your favourite whites. Just as you switch those crisp white shorts to cream velvet pants, same goes for wine. When summer cools with winter,  replace your light citrusy whites for more full-bodied aromatic options. Read below for my picks on how to keep white in style all year long.

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The 2016 G. Marquis The Silver Line Chardonnay is like wrapping yourself in a soft beige pashmina scarf by a wood-burning fire. Made with 100% barrel aged VQA Niagara grapes, this Chardonnay is full-bodied with warm richness. Lovely notes of honeydew melon, poached pear and florals are followed by smooth toasty flavours of vanilla. A presence of tart green apple and good acidity really structures this wine nicely. Available at the LCBO for $17.95.

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The 2016 Norman Hardie Riesling will remind you of a crisp outdoor hike in a sleek white parka. Norman Hardie is a well-known wine producer from Prince Edward County, who’s wine consistently receives rave reviews. The 2016 Riesling has strong mineral notes of wet snowy stone and tastes of baked apple pie. This is a dry wine with an invigoratingly fresh acidity. Available at the LCBO for $21.00.

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The Cave Spring Pinot Gris is delicate and elegant, like a beautiful ivory lace blouse worn to a winter dinner party. Located in Beamsville, Ontario, the Cave Springs Winery has a 30-year history of crafting sophisticated cool-climate wines. Their Pinot Gris is wonderfully perfumed and aromatic, with smells of light florals, pear and spices. It’s a medium bodied dry style wine that offers a warm smooth vanilla finish. Available at the LCBO for $16.95.

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While you may be reluctant at first to defer away from red wine in the winter, you’ll soon realize that like a beautiful white chunky knit sweater, a full bodied aromatic white wine is a great addition to your winter repertoire.

Cheers! – GDW