So I have had a passion for wine for many years. I’m by far any type of a connoisseur but have been asked many times in a Liquor store to recommend a wine–and no I have never worked in a liquor store. I am a big fan of red wines, and I love sparkling wines and then come the white wines (not a big fan but it’s nice in the summer time to have a cool glass of it). I’m also a big advocate that you don’t have to spend a lot of cash on a bottle of wine for it to be tasty! Most of these wines are under $15 unless noted otherwise. So whether or not you are going to a dinner party or just want to enjoy some nice wine at home, here are my top 10 picks!
1) PKNT(Merlot) 2004 (pronounced Picante) From the Rapel Valley in Chile. Under $15
- It’s smooth taste is easy to drink
- They have 3 award winning wines:
- 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon2004
- Merlot2004 Chardonnay2004
- Carmenere2004 Sauvignon Blanc
2) Ecco Domani (Merlot) 2004 From the Vallagarina Valley in Italy. Under $15
- Again It’s smooth an easy to drink
- Here are some of the wines they feature:
- Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio
- Pinot Grigio
Ecco Domani is not sold at all Government regulated stores (in MB we have something called Liquor Mart, owned and operated by the provincial Government) For you Manitoban’s you must go to somewhere specialized like Fenton’s Wine Store.
3) Lindeman’s Bin 40 (Merlot) 2004 From South Eastern Australia. Under $15
- Smooth and easy to drink
- Here are some other’s from the BIN series:
- Bin 50 shiraz
- Bin 99 Pinot Noir
- Bin 40 Merlot
- Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon
Lindeman’s has a variety of wonderful wines for all of the wine drinkers at your party. The way I described it to someone at a wine store was this: Merlot=mild, Shiraz=medium, Cabernet= full flavour.
4) Valpollicella Le Poiane Doc Fratelli Bolla From Italy. Under $20
Yes another Merlot, I’ve recently fell in love with this wine. It’s a little pricier then I’m used to but it’s so fantastic it’s worth it! It was an accidental purchase made by my husband while I was pregnant. (we tried to stalk up on our wines while I couldn’t drink) Now that I’m permitted to drink, this has become a favourite of mine!
A Close number 4 is Bolla COLFORTE Merlot delle Venezie (Product from Italy) This one is also under 20$ but both are very smooth and worth purchasing! This is also a close runner up, definitely worth checking out!
5) Peller Estates Pinot blanc 2006 from Canada (VQA) under $15
This smooth medium bodied wine has very light citrus flavours and has a light but crisp taste to it. I’m not a huge fan of white wine but this one really is fantastic in the summer time with your chicken or fish dishes! Peller Estates has two vineyards across Canada, one in the Niagara area, one in the Okanagan area. I’m a fan of the Okanagan area, but there are some fine wines that come out of the Ontario region. They also make a variety of dessert wines as well as red wines, but they’re not my cup of tea.
6)Two Oceans Sauvignon blanc 2006 from South Africa, Under $15
This wine was an accidental find. I am constantly buying different white wines to please friends of mine who visit. Because I do not drink the white wines generally, one that sparks my interest usually takes hold of my attention!
Generally the ones that take hold of me are dry white wines, so if you love the sweet variety, you must look elsewhere! This one is quite tasty! It’s very mild and goes down quickly!
7) Voga Pinot Grigio from Italy, Under $15
This one was purchased because of it’s looks originally and I’m proud to say it has lived up well beyond it’s standards! It looks like a bottle of cologne and if you need something to show off in your wine rack or on your shelf this is the wine to display.
I was not expecting too much out of this wine because it looked so different but it really is fantastic. It’s got a wonderfully refreshing taste and is nice and crisp! I haven’t tried the red, but if it’s anything like the white, it would be worth trying!
Two out of the three are from Canada. Because they do not come from Champagne France we can’t "legally" call them Champagne. The first one is by far my favourite out of all three especially for the cost. Again, I’m not a fan of sweet wines, even sparkling ones. I also find some of the real Champagne’s to be a little too dry, so most of these are of the rosey variety.
8)Trivento Brut from Argentina under $15
This sparkling wine has a rosey pink colour to it. It uses Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape varieties to make up the pleasant cherries, apples and pineapple flavour. It has delicate bubbles (very small) and has a little bite to it!
9)Sumac Ridge Stellar’s Jay Brut from Canada Under $25
This sparkling wine is a very close call for first place for me. It’s from BC’s Okanagan region. It also has a warm rosey colour to it. This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir grape varieties. This one is a bit pricier, but it’s a nice treat every once and a while.
While in BC a few years ago, we went to have dinner in their restaurant, what a wonderful meal and experience. I highly suggest visiting the winery if you are in the area.
10) Summerhill Cipes Pinot Noir Brut N/V from Canada under $30
This one is also from the Okanagan region. Summerhill is a wonderful vineyard outside of Kelowna, B.C.Â It’s actually where my husband and I got engaged and married. All of their wines are stored in a pyramid that is aligned with the ones in South America and Egypt. This Brut has a fresh peach, green apple, white floral and mineral aromas to it with a hint of toasted nuts. It is slightly off dry with small delicate bubbles to it.
There are many other wines that Summerhill offers. Summerhill is a Certified Organic Vineyard using no herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers in the soil.
The Bottom Line
When buying red wine, my "general" rule of thumb is this. Mostly anything from Italy and France are going to be smooth and light in taste. If you want a fuller body, I would then go to Australia or South America for red wines. When buying white many Canadian, American and Italian wines are the lightest. Chardonnay’s have a certain taste to them that I’m not generally fond of so if I drink white wine, most of them are sauvignon blanc’s or Pinot Grigio’s. Again if you like a fuller bodied White, Australia and South America have some fuller bodied wines. For sparkling, generally Canadian ones spark my interest the most, and I opt for the Brut’s of the sparkling’s.
Just remember, you don’t have to pair your wine with your food, if you like a certain wine, drink it with whatever you want. I’m sure all the wine connoisseur’s are cursing me as a babbling idiot right now but I don’t care. I drink what I want with whatever I’m eating. As a general rule of thumb (very general)