Budget friendly wines for the holidays
By Marco Giovanetti – mtltimes.ca
Holidays are just around the corner. Usually at this time of the year it can be heavy on our pockets. However, when it comes to wine, you don’t have to spend lots of money to have something delicious at your holiday menu celebrations.
In the new world, my top spot to get budget red wines are Argentina and Chile. In the former one, Argentina’s Malbec’s are full body, easy to drink and redolent of black fruit, spices and licorice. They are very food friendly, so you can match with all kinds of international cuisine. On the other hand, Chile is the land of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere. Like Malbec, the two grapes yields full body wines with a racy black fruit character. However, Chilean cabernet as well as Carmenere, yield lovely peppery and vegetable nuances. I find them quite versatile with Italian tomato based dishes such as Lasagna, or Mexican cuisine in particular.
In the old world, there is still a bounty to choose from from Spain and Italy. In the sparkler category, choose wines from Cava from Northeastern Spain in Cataluña. Made the same way as Champagne, but with indigenous grape varieties such as Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada, they provide a cheaper alternative to Champagne, without compromising quality. In addition, they partner great with fish and rice based dishes such as risotto and paella.
In Italy, I really like the Veneto region. Here like Cava, you can get quality sparkling wines from Prosecco, made with the Italian grape Glera. Also, fruity white wines from Moscato, Pinot Grigio. And, let’s not forget the ever popular Valpolicella wines with their crunchy red fruit and tart acidity. All this wines, will grace your Christmas and New Year’s table.
However, no matter what you buy for the holidays, the important thing to remember is who you drink and eat with it. The cheapest wine can taste divine, in the good company of your dear friends and loved ones.
Marco Giovanetti is an Italian-Venezuelan sommelier student in the ITHQ of Montreal, Quebec. He has 15 years of experience tasting wine from Europe and emerging wine regions. His key specialties are the wines of Tuscany, Italy and the wines of Spain. He enjoys fine wines, gastronomy, film and literature. You may contact him at:
Legend of rating
Under 60- Do not buy. Faulty wine
60-70- Mediocre wine
70-80- All right
80-90- Very good
90-100- Excellent wine.
QPR : Wines that deliver tremendous value
for the money paid.
Wine 1: Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. Code SAQ : 12284346.
Argentina, Mendoza. Price: $10.95
In the nose, fruity aromas that remind me of ripe plums, rhubarb with cherry and black pepper. In the mouth, medium to full body with a good acidity and a suave texture in the mouth. Subtle tannins with a good finish. Will pair wonderful with turkey and all kinds of stuffing. 87\100
Wine 2: El Bar Argentino. Code SAQ: 12284258.
Argentina, Mendoza Price: $10.20
Aromas of crushed blackberries, licorice with vinous nuances. In the mouth, full body, fruity with round tannins. Easy to drink with a pleasant finale. Give it a try with roast beef and you will not be deceived. 87\100
Wine 3: Vina Sol 2013. Code SAQ : 00028035 Catalunya, Spain
Lovely citric nose with peaches undertones. Medium body, refreshing with a lovely cleansing finale. Appetizer wine. Amazing with raw food such as Oysters and fish tartars. 87\100.
Wine 4: Lady Lola Delle Venezie i.g.t. Code SAQ 12386334. Veneto,
Aromas of spices, lemongrass and white orchard fruit. In the mouth, medium to full body. Fruity with a refreshing acidity and displaying floral flavors on the palate. Pleasant and long aftertaste. Should be a hit with Italian tapas or entrees. 88\100