Since most of us Montrealers are in isolation again, it doesn’t hurt to stock up on some delicious wines that will provide comfort, sophistication, and mystery to our evening meals. It’s a great opportunity to venture off into new styles of wine that you’ve never tried before.
There are plenty of alternatives for those who love a big bold Cabernet, or sun kissed Chardonnay for example. The following four white and four red wines should be on your radar if they aren’t already, as they are the perfect balance of warmth and substance with a spectrum of flavour that will please your palate. They are mainstream, which should comfort many wine drinkers who don’t enjoy stepping out of their comfort zone too much because they have similar tasting profiles to the most popular wines sold, while still being unique. It’s a good a time as any to talk a walk on the wild side of wine.
2 Bodegas Casa Del Valle Acantus, 2019
- SAQ: 12699867, $9.90
For a wine that is under $10, this wine from Chile has plenty of character and fruity flavor. This Sauvignon blanc is showing lots of lemon-lime, passionfruit, and gooseberry notes. The palate is vibrant and light with a lip-smacking bright acidity. The crisp finish focuses on citrus fruit with a subtle herbal and floral impressions. This wine would be great with most shellfish or seafood dishes, or all on its own!
3 Stefan B. Ress KG Ressi Grauburgunder Pinot Gris Rhen, 2018
- SAQ: 14171388, $19.35
The label of this wine certainly demands attention, and what’s inside will too. Grauburgunder is Pinot Gris in German and this is such a delicious and vibrant example from the Rhein. There are notes of citrus, pear, and white flowers with an appetizing, fresh acidity. Delightful and delicious, this is a fruit forward wine with a stony, mineral finish.
4 Domaine Marcel Deiss Alsace Complantation, 2018
- SAQ : 10516490, $24.80
Marcel Deiss is making stunning wines from Alsace – the Domaine has an excellent reputation and this wine is no exception. Complantation is a blend of several different aromatic grape varieties, giving of notes of citrus, apricot, lychee, and candied ginger. The fruit is very concentrated, the palate full bodied, and the acidity super refreshing keeping everything beautifully balanced. There is a touch of sweetness here which is offset by a high acidity. The full finish is long, complex and so elegant. Superb.
5 Alastro Planeta Sicilia, 2019
- SAQ: 14475242, $19.55
Coming from the island of Sicily, this wine is named after the flower that grows close to the wine cellar. Every year, this wine has become a consistent favorite of mine as its always such a pleasure to drink. Alastro a blend of Greccanico, Grillo, and Sauvignon Blanc. Loads of citrus fruit, peach and beautiful floral notes are displayed, where the medium bodied palate has a great fruit concentration with a balanced, vibrant acidity. It has a great finish, focusing on melon and a touch of mineraltity. This would be super as an aperitif or pair it with salty seafood dishes.
6 Prà Morandina Valpolicella, 2019
- SAQ:12131964, $24.20
I take a lot of interest from the wines of the Valpolicella because there are so many styles made here with the use of only 4 grapes. This wine in particular, is made in a very fruit forward style with lots of freshness and balanced tannin and fruit. This is a very vibrant and fragrant wine with notes of red cherries, raspberries, cherry licorice with some herbal notes. It’s a light wine with excellent acidity and fruity, juicy finish.
7 Faldas sa Serra Maias, 2017
- SAQ :14070472, $16.50
This is a beautiful blend of indigenous Portuguese grapes that together, create a harmonious and balanced wine with gobs of blackberries, blackcurrant, and red berry fruit with bits of dried earth and sweet, soft tannins. It’s has a lush yet very fresh palate with an excellent finish. A great wine to discover at an excellent price point.
8 Château Les Pins Côtes du Roussillon Villages, 2015
- SAQ :864546, $20.00
This is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah coming from the Côtes du Roussillon in France. A deeply flavored wine with lots of black fruit like cherries, blackberries, black plum and bits of earthy minerality and spice. It has a great acidity and finely knit tannins that balance the concentrated fruit quite nicely. The oak is perfectly integrated, adding texture and elegance. Excellent price given the quality of the wine.
9 Quail’s Gate Merlot Okanagan Valley, 2017
- SAQ: 14483162, $32.75
Merlot may not be an unfamiliar grape variety for most, but this example coming from British Columbia and will definitely win you over. It is smooth, rich, approachable, and elegant. Ripe black cherries, plum, and blackberries dominate the wine with hints of dark chocolate, warm baking spice and espresso. The tannins make themselves known, but this will tame down with sometime in the cellar. Fresh acidity, very well balanced wine that is fine to drink now but if you have patience to wait another 4-5 years before opening, you will be rewarded.
Mandi Robertson earned her Sommelier Attestation (ASP) from Pearson School of Culinary Arts then worked as a Sommelier in Melbourne, Australia. Upon returning to Canada, she is now completing her WSET Diploma. Besides having extensive experience hosting private tastings, her passion for all aspects of the wine industry is furthermore demonstrated on her website, ‘A Walk on the Wine Side’. She is also the wine contributor for CJAD800 ‘Weekends with Ken’, Global News Morning.
— Mandi Robertson