There’s something about the spring and summer that calls for three things: a patio, a drink in hand, and great company. It makes it that much harder to turn down that second (or fourth… who are we kidding?) glass! From pale whites to deep reds, there is a wine and sparkling wine for every occasion, palate, and preference. Based on Quebec’s prices at the SAQ (since we are located in Quebec, Canada), we have rounded up twenty-five selections that will give you the best value for your dollar! If you have the (alcoholic) advantage of living outside the province of Quebec, these wines may be cheaper.
25 Ruca Malen Malbec Réserve 2010: $19.95
Well-balanced and sophisticated, this red gem of an Argentinian Malbec is tannic with fruity characteristics of black fruit and plum, as well as floral notes of violet and light meaty hints. Paired with rack of lamb and a mushroom garnishing, you are in for a delightful and memorable night.
24 Guy Saget Chinon Marie de Beauregard 2011: $19.55
Hailing from the Loire Valley, this Chinon AOC is made from a great batch of Cabernet Franc. This charming red wine is accentuated by vegetal and earthy characteristics, with pronounced fruity notes. Pairable to most meats, a beef carpaccio with arugula and parmesan comes to mind for a delicious combination.
23 Sauvion Brut Crémant de Loire: $19.45
This delightfully fruity and vibrant sparkling rosé wine from the Loire Valley is aromatic, flavourful, and harmonious in its berry characteristics. Very fresh and intricate, it can easily be enjoyed as an aperitif or by the glass, accompanied by a light seafood dish, ranging between lobster, oysters, or smoked salmon.
22 The Dreaming Tree - Crush 2011: $18.95
From the North Coast of California, this aromatic and supple blended variety of red wine gracefully shares smooth tannins, notes of smoky berry, and bursts of raspberry jam, while honouring sustainability in all of its packaging. It makes for a great wine to enjoy with great company over grilled meats.
21 Leon Beyer Reserve Riesling 2011: $18.60
Recognized as one of the world’s finest white varieties, Alsace is renowned for producing great Riesling wines. Dry and refined, it is complimented by fruit characteristics and aromatic hints of flowers and minerals. Ideally, it should be served at 12°C and can pair with shell-fish or other seafood.
20 Sieur d’Arques Première Bulle: $18.35
This French sparkling wine is refreshingly smooth, slender, and light-bodied, featuring subtle floral and fruity aromas in each and every bubble. It should be served between 6°C and 8°C, and can be paired with light seafood dishes such as smoked salmon and cucumber canapés or salmon gravlax.
19 De Martino Legado Syrah Reserva 2011: $18.05
Coming from the Choapa Valley in Chile, the flavourful fruitiness of this Syrah really comes through. This full-bodied ruby-red wine exhibits complex aromas ranging between spice, flowers, fruit, vegetation, and wood. It has the potential of being served in 5 years from the date of its vintage, but can be equally enjoyed today. Pair it with leg of lamb or a gamier meat such as bison or venison to truly marry the flavours.
18 Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Cabernet Sauvignon 2010: $18.00
This medium-bodied ruby-red wine comes from the rich wine country of Tuscany. It features complex layers of burning, floral, fruity, spicy and vegetal aromas. Carrying its intricate flavours softly with a nice and edgy tannic close, it will pair marvellously with red meats like beef, duck, or lamb.
17 Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2011: $17.80
The label draws you in with a picture of a crested porcupine, but behind the labelling and inside the bottle lies an intense ruby-red South African Syrah. This vintage is magnificent, accentuated by notes of black pepper, dark fruit, and spice, while flooding one’s mouth with a rich silky texture. It will pair marvellously with stewed red meat or a roast of your liking.
16 Masi Passo Doble: $17.00
Ruby-red in colour, not too complex on the nose, and highlighted by notes of red fruit with a refreshing acidity on the tongue, this dry and medium-bodied Argentinean Masi is a delightful combination of Corvina and Malbec grape varieties. Beef tenderloin, duck confit, or lamb are great pairings.
15 Caliterra Tributo Sauvignon Blanc 2012: $16.95
Crisp and dry, this vibrant medium-bodied Chilean white wine showcases a refreshingly pronounced fruity and vegetal aroma and taste. Paired with cheeses like emmenthal or raclette and a side of fruits or vegetables, this duo is sure to entertain guests while keeping things light.
14 Menage a Trois White: $16.95
This spring and summer, pop this smooth blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Muscat grape varieties out for an enjoyable Californian white table wine. It is highly versatile and can pair flawlessly with many dishes ranging between seafood and pasta, to pork and various cheeses.
13 Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: $16.50
Aromatic, supple, and ruby-red, this dry and medium-bodied Californian Cabernet Sauvignon has a touch of Merlot, making it fruity, spicy, tannic, vegetal, and woody, with a broad texture that leads to a medium-finish on the palate. Pair it with something meaty and rich for a delectable combination.
12 Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay: $16.50
Great for summer days and patio-chilling with good company, this full-bodied Californian Chardonnay packs a refreshing and zesty combination of aromas and flavours. From citrus fruit to spicy and woody notes, this white table wine is complex and intense. Pleasantly versatile, it can be paired with salmon, roasted chicken, and various cheese plates.
11 Apothic Red: $16.50
Deep and medium-bodied, this Californian red table wine has a remarkable taste profile of black cherry and mocha flavours. A lovely combination of Shiraz, Zinfandel, and Merlot, it is dry, fruity, and spicy, with light acidity and smooth tannins. Pair with braised ham, braised pork shoulder, or a savoury risotto, for a great collaboration.
10 Cortes de Cima Chaminé Red: $16.25
This fruity and medium-bodied Portuguese red wine has a rich purple colour, boasting aromas of flowers, fruit and spice. It carries a refreshing acidity, smooth tannins, and a broad texture to the palate. Enjoy it with lasagna, beef brochettes, or even lamb sliders for a delicious unison of flavours.
9 Cono Sur Organico Pinot Noir 2012: $16.00
Cono Sur practices organic and sustainable wine-making. This dry Chilean ruby-red wine has a medium body and smooth tannins. It evokes complex aromas and a silky texture that is filled with flavours of fresh cherries, plum jam, and a subtle dose of baking spices. Pair it with a pork loin roast, grilled pork tenderloin, or a rich risotto.
8 Martini & Rossi Asti: $15.95
In the mood for a sweet sparkling wine that showcases pronounced floral and fruity aromas? This Italian Asti is medium-bodied, offering finely persistent bubbles and expresses a refreshing acidity with its broad texture. It pairs nicely with a fruity dessert, herbed bocconcini and melon brochettes, or even yummy charcuterie.
7 Cortes de Cima Chaminé White: $15.60
Dry, fruity and vibrant, this Portuguese white wine evokes medium levels of floral, fruity, and spicy aromas, followed by a refreshing acidity, medium-body, and broad texture. Enjoy it with your favourite spicy salmon roll, coriander chicken, or vegetarian curry.
6 Henkell Trocken: $15.50
For the best ‘Sunday funday’ with the girls, a little bubbly is a must. This fruity and vibrant German sparkling wine is especially delicious when combined with orange juice, for making a great mimosa, but can equally be enjoyed solo. Pair it with something light, such as salmon gravlax or raw oysters, simple lobster with lemon-caper butter or ceviche.
5 Skinnygirl Rosé 2012: $15.20
Hailing from Napa, this Merlot rosé is mild with complex aromas of cherry, ripe citrus fruit, and watermelon. Guilt-free at best, this is a good choice for those attentively watching their calorie-intake, like the rest of the Skinnygirl line of wines. Pair it with a light seafood dish such as lobster or oysters.
4 Big House Red: $14.95
From the Contra Costa region of California hails this dry and ruby-red coloured wine. Full of fruity and spicy aromas and flavours, it has a refreshing acidity and fleshy tannins to compliment its medium-body. Indeed charming, it pairs well with duck breast, leg of lamb, or filet mignon.
3 Santa Rita 120 Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2011: $11.95
Concentrated, fruity, and rich, this Chilean rosé is made from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. It features layered notes of cassis, charred cedar, and spice, smoothly transitioning from one aroma and flavour to the next. It could be enjoyed with a rare beef or lamb dish.
2 Mateus Rosé: $10.30
A definite must-try, this Portuguese rosé is semi-dry, fruity, and packs a little fizz. Totally a major bang for your buck! Its acidity is refreshing, and its light-body and slender texture make it smooth to consume. Boasting fruity and vegetal aromas and tastes, it pairs divinely with light bites such as fresh salads or prosciutto wrapped fig.
1 Castillo de Monseran Garnacha 2011: $9.85
Sweet, soft, and well-rounded, this Spanish red is made from the Grenache grape variety and carries strong gummy-bear, jammy fruit, and floral qualities. Made for those with a sweet tooth and, possibly, in need of an entry-level wine, it has smooth tannins and a medium-body. Enjoy it with a delicious beef tartare, cheesy quiche with sun-dried tomatoes, or pork roast.