IT IS ONLY natural to want the best bang for your buck. When it comes to wine, the LCBO doesn’t haggle. But with a little homework into wine ratings and points it is easy to compare bottles allowing for some serious bargains for value watchers.
Here are ten wines for less than $20 that will satisfy your palate. I’ve chosen them and assigned points for their track record from vintage to vintage and have weighted the selection in favour of red wines.
10. Boekenhoutskloof Winery Porcupine Ridge Syrah (South Africa, Vintages #595280, $14.95): Don’t try to pronounce it just enjoy this richly textured, full-bodied wine with notes of sweet blackberry, smoke, herbs and black pepper (90).
9. Miguel Torres Santa Digna Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile, Vintages #177451, $14.95): Unlike most Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, this is more in Bordeaux style — cedar and sweet blackcurrant on the nose, flavours that replicate on the palate with a medicinal note; ripe tannins on the finish (88).
8. Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon (California, Vintages #738823, $18.95): The sweetness of black cherries and plums is ameliorated by a savoury note backed by spicy oak. Great mouth feel here (89).
7. Bodegas Esmeralda Catena Malbec (Argentina, Vintages #478727, $19.95): Dark ruby with a rich bouquet of mulberries and blackberries; medium to full bodied with an initial sweetness of fruit with a perfumed blackberry taste that ends dry and savoury on the palate (89).
6. Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera D’Alba (Piedmont, Italy, Vintages Essentials #72348, $15.95): Dense purple in colour with a sweet black cherry flavour; great extraction (89).
5. Guigal Côtes du Rhône (Southern Rhône, France,Vintages #259721, $16.95): Expect peppery blackberry and dried herb flavours in this lovely blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre (90).
4. Sella & Mosca Cannonau Riserva (Sardinia, Italy, Vintages #425488, $14.95): Cannonau is actually Grenache. A rustic wine with wild flavours of forest berries, plum, tobacco and spice (88).
3. Malivoire Chardonnay (Niagara, Vintages #573147, $19.95) Consistently one of Ontario’s best Chardonnays, this wine has great extract and depth; creamy on the palate with flavours of sweet apple and lemon with underlying minerality. The spicy, toasty oak is well integrated (90).
2. Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand, Vintages #35386, $18.95): This is quintessential Kiwi Sauvignon, an intense nose of gooseberry, passion fruit and freshly cut grass with a lively spine of acidity. Full bodied and richly flavoured (91).
1. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay (California, Vintages #258699, $18.95): This is your big New World Chardonnay, with evident oak on the nose but concentrated fruit flavours of apple, melon and pineapple (89).