Twenty-Five and Fine – Part 1

For those who read my blog, you might think this a bit of a contradictory post, considering that I just talked about the “experienced” palate.  Yes, it’s true that I have enjoyed very expensive wines and aged wines, but it also doesn’t mean that you can’t find some great wines for $25 or less.  These next two posts will focus on some mighty fine, tasty wines, that fit in that category!  Read on and take a trip around the world with me for a few tasty little gems!

USA – 2009 Sterling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Normally, I don’t drink a lot of Cabs, but you could expect to pay a LOT more for a big, balanced Cabernet Sauvignon.  Some cigar box, cassis and licorice on the nose, filling out with more of those dark black fruits and hints of anise on the palate.  Reasonably balanced too, as the 14.6% alcohol is not overwhelming at all!  My meat lasagne I made for dinner actually brought out some hidden smoke and herb flavours on the palate that I never got on initial tasting.  I like this Napa wine a lot, and for $23 (Superstore), it would be a solid, inexpensive wine to serve at dinner.  Try it with some barbeque or rotisserie beef and pork.  Fill in the blanks with some pasta with rich tomato sauces, and I think you just might have a winner! And keep your eyes peeled for Sterling Vineyards wines…you might just see another “fine” wine!

New Zealand – 2012 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc

Hard to believe we’re drinking 2012 vintage already!  Keep in mind that the Southern Hemisphere is opposite, so their 2012 harvest would have been about March of 2012.  Now, admittedly, I liked the 2011 vintage better, but as a whole, I like this Sauvignon Blanc.  The Marlborough region of New Zealand has some beautiful Sauvignon Blancs!  Try them all if you get the chance!  A nose of lychee and lemongrass it rounds out with that infamous “wet rock” of a NZ Sauv and zippy lemon zest on the palate.  Try it with sushi and some wasabi and this wine would rock!  Get it for $15.50 at Superstore!

France2009 Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir

A great value in a top-notch French producer!  No, it’s not Grand Cru, or even a Premier Cru (what do you expect for $19@ Superstore), but an “entry-level” Pinot Noir from the famed Burgundy region.  But wow, what an incredible wine!  Beautiful strawberries on the nose with light tannins and nuances of baking spices on the palate! Try it with lighter fare such as grilled chicken or even some cedar plank salmon! I cannot tell you how impressed I am with this wine!  Buy it!

Australia – 2011 Woop Woop Shiraz

Seriously…one of THE most fun wines you will ever drink!  Reading the back of the label gets me every time!  Woop Woop in Aussie Land means “out there”.  Well, it’s no wonder, since these grapes are sourced from McLaren Vale, Langehorne Creek and Limestone Coast in Southern Australia.  Sure it’s got the traditional jammy blackberry, blackcurrent, licorice nose, but it almost smashes you in the face with its lush, fruity mid-palate and finish!  Don’t hang on to it though!  Buy it for $13 at Superstore (yes, you read that correctly) and drink it! It’s meant to be drunk young-er, but extremely approachable and drinkable!   An “everyday” red! Yup, stock up and serve it to your wino friends who don’t care that you didn’t spend fifty bucks on a bottle of wine! Woop woop!!

Italy – 2010 Tommasi Valpolicella Ripasso

A great little wine for $21.50 (Superstore)! I had this one for Christmas dinner…well, late Christmas dinner with a prime rib roast.  And since I don’t eat beef, I had a barbecued chicken breast, which went really well!  Made with the Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara grapes of  Valpolicella, it is the appassimento ripasso method that makes this wine unique. Look for a future blog to explain this method and why (or…google it, haha!). I think it was the smokiness on the palate that was accentuated by the barbecue sauce on the chicken that really did it for me.  Otherwise, lots of black cherry and baking spices with a clean acidity and silky tannins.  Not too much there to overwhelm the senses.

USA2010 Sterling Vineyards Chardonnay

Didn’t I tell you that Sterling would show up again? Well, here it is in the form of Chardonnay. For the price ($20.50 – Superstore) this is one of the best Chardonnay’s I have tasted. Don’t be thumbing your nose at it because it’s the price it is, but the oak and toast is perfect in this one.  I dare you to have it with a coconut pad thai.  Not too spicy, but the creaminess in the coconut sauce accentuated this wine UN-believeably! Fantastic butter, caramel and baked apple accents. I buy this Chard again and again and again…well..you get the picture. Totally worth the buy!

And with that….we’ve toured at least part of the world and some fantastic wines for under $25.  Stay tuned for part two…

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One Response to Twenty-Five and Fine – Part 1

  1. Renita says:

    Wow,
    you’ve become quite the Chard fan in the past few months.
    I love it!
    I’m going to have to give that Sterling a go.

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