The Buying Guide: Stellar Values (Buy by the Case)

By / Wine + Drinks / March 1st, 2022 / 2

Excerpt from The Buying Guide originally appearing in the Fall 2021 print issue of Quench Magazine. Our tasters are Tony Aspler (TA), Gurvinder Bhatia (GB), Michelle Bouffard (MB), Michaela Morris (MM), Tim Pawsey (TP), Christopher Sealy (CS) and Donatella Dicca (DD).

All wines listed are recommended by our experienced panel of tasters. Each wine is rated based on its varietal character, representation of style and/or region, balance and price-quality ratio. Readers should assess these, and all wines, using the same criteria. Browse our experts’ tasting notes to find the wines that may appeal to your taste or pique your interest to try something new. After all, one of the best parts about wine is the discovery. The prices listed are approximate retail prices and will likely vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. A large number of these wines can be purchased across Canada and the USA, so check with your local private wine store or liquor board for availability.

(Buy by the Case):

Incredible values that overdeliver with respect to their quality/price ratios. Ideal for everyday drinking and entertaining. Wines in this category retail for less than $25.

Thalia Rosé Crete PGI, 2020,
Crete Greece ($11)

An unusual blend of native Cretan
varieties, Kotsifali and Mandilaria. Bright, coppery-salmon in colour; minerally, wild strawberry nose; light to medium-bodied, dry, cranberry, redcurrant and strawberry flavours carried on lemony acidity and a floral note. Good length and great value. (TA)

Maculan Pinot Grigio Veneto IGT, 2019, Veneto Italy ($16)

This is what Pinot Grigio should taste like! There are too many insipid wines in this category that lack character and energy. Pale straw in colour; a nose of white peach and lemon with a mineral note. Light to medium-bodied, dry; white peach and Mirabelle plum flavours with a lemony finish. (TA)

Navarro Lopez Granrojo Rojo Garnacha Castilla VdlT, 2020, Castilla-La Mancha Spain ($16)

Fresh, accessible, and balanced with bright red fruit, soft tannins, good character and pleasantly easy to drink without being simplistic. The ideal party wine and so much better than the swill served at most hotel banquets and receptions. (GB)

Troupis Fteri Moschofilero Peloponnese PGI, 2019, Peloponnese Greece ($17)

Mochofilero is in the family of ‘gris’ grapes – pink-skinned grapes that are capable of making naturally

coloured rosé, sparkling, off-dry and semi-aromatic wines. Raised at altitude in the heart of Mantinea, Troupis fashions a wine of rose petal, lychee, bergamot citrus perfume, with hints of white tropical fruit. The palate, despite the aromatics, is dry with a notion of candied rose petal, citrus and pear. One of the ambassador grapes for Wines of Greece. (CS)

Sophenia Altosur Cabernet Sauvignon Gualtallary Uco Valley, 2019, Mendoza Argentina ($17)

I’ve always been impressed with Cabernet Sauvignon coming from the Uco Valley
and this wine reminds me why. In style, it sits somewhere between Bordeaux and Argentina. Full body with an elegant palate that combines the rich cassis and chocolate notes with a touch of graphite and green bell pepper. Fine, firm and ripe tannins. Outstanding value. Perfect for steak. (MB)

De Angelis Rosso Piceno DOC, 2019, Marche Italy ($18)

Without question, some of the best value wines in the world are grown in Italy’s Marche region. Located on the east-central coast along the Adriatic, Marche is still predominantly rural with a strong agricultural spirit. The Rosso Piceno is all about freshness and flavour with ripe meaty cherry fruit and a hint of smokiness. A blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese. Always a tremendous value. (GB)

Weingut Pittnauer Pitti, 2019, Burgenland Austria ($18)

(Blaufränkisch 50 %, Zweigelt 50 %) Dry with medium body and juicy savory notes of blue plum, dark cherries and black liquorish. Crunchy tannins give a nice structure. Made for burger night. (MB)

Nicolas Grosbois Chinon AOC ‘La Cuisine de ma Mère’, 2020, Loire France ($19)

Light body with crisp acid and vibrant notes of fresh crushed raspberries lifted by an herbal touch. Refreshing and thirst quenching, this wine has everything to fit the #glouglou category. Serve slightly chilled and enjoy with charcuteries and pâtés. (MB)

Laurenz V. Singing Grüner Veltliner, 2019, Niederöstereich Austria ($19)

Vibrant with thirst quenching notes of lime, lemon and pink grapefruit. The slight spritz adds freshness. The perfect wine to serve at the aperitif when you are having people over. A crowd pleaser. (MB)

Nicolas Baptiste Les Tète Blanche, n/v, Vin de France ($19)

(Chenin Blanc 34%, Roussanne 33%, Sauvignon Blanc 33%) An improbable blend that leaves you wanting more. Dry, fresh and juicy with crisp acidity and aromas of green apple, Meyer lemon and a touch of melon and marzipan. Nice creamy texture coming from the lees contact. Just as suited for an aperitif as it is with white fish simply prepared with butter and white wine. (MB)

Accornero Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese DOC ‘Bricco del Bosco’, 2019, Piedmont Italy ($20)

An ancient grape, Grignolino was once recognized as an aristocratic wine. Alas, it fell out of favour and is only thanks to a handful of producers – like Accornero – who are restoring it to its former glory. Scents of pepper, cranberry and strawberry lead to a pretty, red-fruited palate where red currant and flowers coalesce. It’s juicy, clean and mouth cleansing with a lightness of texture and slender scratchy tannins. Absolutely glug-able with salumi. (MM)

Fort Berens Rosé Lillooet VQA, 2020, British Columbia Canada ($20)

Made with 100 percent Lillooet grown fruit, this rosé is a blend of Pinot Noir as well as Cabernet Franc and Merlot from the winery’s new Red Rock vineyard, planted in 2018. The Pinot character comes through nicely, with up front red berry aromas and a vibrant, juicy cherry, raspberry and melon toned palate. Fruit driven but overall kept appealingly dry and gently tart. Eminently sip-able but also very food friendly, as in ‘bring me anything, from cold cuts to grilled salmon.’ (TP)

Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay Okanagan Valley VQA, 2019, British Columbia Canada ($20)

I tasted this wine blind and thought it was from the Mâcon region in Burgundy. Proud to find out that it is from my backyard. Beautiful Burgundian nose with notes of butter, hazelnuts and vanilla in symbiosis with lemon. Medium body with pleasant creamy texture and bright acid cutting through richness. Truly impressed by this wine! Pan-seared scallops, lobster or roasted chicken? A bottle for each meal. (MB)

Rascallion Wines – With Love from The Cape Chenin Blanc, 2019, Western Cape South Africa ($20)

Flamboyant label will compel or repel but the juice inside the bottle is confirmed delish. Lemon and lemon balm, bay leaf and ripe apple, this is light and zippy with a steely edge. All very thirst-quenching right down to the juicy finish. (MM)

Val des Rois Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Valréas AOC, 2019, Rhône France ($20)

Medium body with fresh notes of red plum, cassis and violet and fine tannins. Not overly complex but harmonious, elegant and comforting. Easy to drink on its own but suited for game meat or rack of lamb. (MB)

Morisfarms Morellino di Scansano DOCG, 2018, Tuscany Italy ($20)

I am a long-time fan of Morisfarms and this vintage does not let me down. Simple yet very charming with notes of cherries and cinnamon lifted by bright acid with medium dusty tannins. The perfect wine for a pizza night. (MB)

Alta Alella GX Garnatxa Catalunya DO, 2019, Cataluña Spain ($21)

This organic wine from Alta Alella is their ‘Sea Series’ – focused on old vine vineyards adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea on sand and granite soils. The result is a wine of pomegranate, to soft sweet cherry fruit, with freshly picked field raspberry and strawberry. Almost feels like what naturally made ‘RED CRUSH SODA’ would taste like for adults. The palate gives way to the charm of warm climate Garnatxa/Grenache, with red licorice and nibs. This an easy Tuesday night wine that will take you to Spain, just outside of Barcelona. (CS)

A&D Vinho Verde DOC ‘LIV’, 2020, Baião Portugal ($22)

Aromatic, bright, fresh and playful, well balanced with

lively fruit, acidity and minerality, easy and enjoyable. A well made blend of Avesso and Arinto, indigenous varieties to the region. (DD)

Domaine de la Rochette Côte Roannaise AOC ‘La Rochette’, 2019, Loire France ($22)

Cru Beaujolais is often my go-to for an everyday red. This is a great substitute! Also made from 100% Gamay but from the lesser-known appellation Côte Roannaise. Light on its feet with soft silky tannins and abundant juicy notes of wild strawberries and cherries. Best served slightly chilled. Just as suited to grilled tuna or salmon as it is to veal, pork or chicken. Dangerously easy to drink. (MB)

The Winery of Good Hope Chenin Blanc ‘Bush Vine’, 2020, Stellenbosch South Africa ($23)

Quite lively with lots of citrus and spice, balanced with bright acidity and a tight focus, a very accessible wine that doesn’t lack in quality or character. (DD)

Finca Decero Cabernet Sauvignon
‘Remolinos Vineyard’, 2017, Mendoza Argentina ($24)

Truly one of the best Cabernet Sauvignons for the dollar available on the market. The high elevation at which the grapes are grown result in an elegant, multi-dimensional and layered wine with lovely balance, aromas and flavours of black and red fruit, spice and a touch of graphite, velvety tannins and a long, lifted finish. (GB)


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