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Tag Archives: under10

Perfectly Decent $8.25 Italian Red

I’ve tried Farnese’s Sangiovese and Montepulciano d’Abrruzzo and wasn’t crazy about them. But last week I read something saying this 2010 Negroamaro was a great buy.

Negroawhat? To the Googles! Wikipedia says:

Negroamaro, also Negro amaro, is a red wine grape variety native to southern Italy. It is grown almost exclusively in Puglia and particularly in Salento, the peninsula which can be visualised as the “heel” of Italy. The grape can produce wines very deep in color. Wines made from Negroamaro tend to be very rustic in character, combining perfume with an earthy bitterness.

The only description the LCBO site offers for the Farnese version is “Medium-bodied & Fruity” (and the photo doesn’t match the current bottle). Wine Align has “clear garnet colour; floral, blueberry and sweet cherry aromas; dry, medium body; cherry and plum flavours with a touch of spice to finish”

“Amaro” is Italian for “bitter”, but that’s not really what I got from the Farnese version. Comparing it with one of my favourite cheap Italian reds (Montalto N’ero d’avola/Cabernet Sauvignon) it was darker purple and just a tad sweeter, but not jammy sweet. But I have a taste for dry, rustic, food-friendly Italian reds, so you might not taste any sweetness at all. The product sheet from the distributor includes a review comparing it to a California Zinfandel.

Overall, I’d say it’s a perfectly decent red wine to have with pizza or meaty pasta, or some other casual thing that needs red wine. Plus, it gives you another fun Italian word to wrap your tongue around.

(If you have another $0.75 to spare, wine access says the Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2010 is a killer buy at $9.00. I haven’t tried it, but I will!)



Beachhouse Bingo

I like many more wines (and varietals) than I used to. I don’t know if it’s because my palate is expanding, or because I’m less picky than I used to be (wine is good!). So it’s interesting to me when I hit something I don’t really like. Which isn’t to say that the Beachhouse Sauvignon Blanc Semillon is terrible, it’s just not exciting. Give it a pass.


People, if you see something resembling this….

Run. Step away, run to the nearest Italian wine aisle, and pick up anything else.

Let me ‘splain. One of my husband’s friends came over a few weeks ago and brought this…offering. I put it on the shelf and forgot about it. Then one night my husband asked if we needed wine or if we should drink “that wine J brought.” “Oh, sure…whatever”, I said, not remember what it was or that J is a TERRIBLE wine purchaser. When I saw the bottle I figured we were in trouble, but it was too late to go to the LCBO so we had it with take-out Thai.

It was terrible. It was even more terrible than I imagined it would be. I don’t mind off-dry wine, but it is sweet and…sweet. So sweet I got a headache almost immediately. We didn’t realize it at first, but it comes in a 1 litre bottle (which the LCBO site says is $9.85…for a litre). I also didn’t read the bottle first or the word “Liebfraumilch” and the picture of the Virgin Mary would have clued me in that I was about to drink the “beloved lady’s milk.”Christ that’s wrong! Google tells me the term “Liebfraumilch” is associated with low quality wine. So much so that Blue Nun,  which is a Liebfraumilch, stopped using the term. Blue Nun was embarrassed. Blue Nun, people.

So what I’m saying here is that this is terrible, horrible, no good wine. Most of it was poured down the drain. I give it minus five stars.

Oh, want an alternative cheap white? ANYTHING ELSE. But you can’t go wrong with Cono Sur Viognier, our no-fail, tasty, goes with everything, casual white ($9.95 for a respectable 750 ml).

New Look for Aveledo Vinho Verde

Hey, remember when I wrote about Aveledo Fonte Vinho Verde and made fun of the cheesy label? Clearly the Aveleda people were reading my post (clearly), because when I went to buy a bottle last week I discovered that it now looks like this. Much better, eh? I kind of miss the lad in tights, though.

Beach House Rosé (eh)

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The Wine: Beach House Rosé from South Africa.

I’ll admit it – I started drinking Beach House because of the label. (Marketing people: a starfish will get me every time.) But I keep drinking it because I like it. (Some day I will post about Beach House White, another under-$10 I enjoy.) The rosé, though, we tried tonight for the first time.

The tasting notes for the rosé from the LCBO say “clear bright coral colour; strawberry and cherry aromas; medium body with ripe berry flavours and balanced acidity”.

I love the colour, it’s beautiful to look at, and I definitely get the (delicious) cherry and strawberry smells, but I don’t get an overwhelming berry taste. It’s got a deeper flavour, somehow, than other rosés I’ve tried, and I love it. And at $8.95 a bottle how can you go wrong?

As the spouse says: “it’s not quite a white, and it’s not quite a red, but man!”

The Whine: It’s seasonal, and is only available in limited quantities. I recommend trying it while it’s available!

Vinho Verd-eh?

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It’s fun, it’s spritzy, it’s $8.95 a bottle! Or, if you shop at the SAQ in Quebec you’ll pay $11.30 (suckers). This Aveleda Fonte vinho verde from Portugal is slightly fizzy, dry, and highly drinkable at only 10% alcohol. It’s zippy, zingy, tingly, and refreshing. I mostly get citrus from it…maybe some green apple, too. It’s a delightful summertime patio wine.

The LCBO website suggests serving it with oysters, grilled shrimp or deep fried calamari. If you come to my house you’ll be having it with party mix from Costco (it’s fun, it’s crispy, it’s $6.95 for a giant bag!)

Yes, it has a cheesy label. But it’s nice to know that if I go to Portugal a young man wearing tights and a puffy shirt will serve me vinho verde poured from whimsical fountain while I lounge at his feet.

You should plan on drinking it in one go, or  at least within a day or two, because it loses its spritz if it sits opened for too long. Give it a try! If you’re having a party, the magnum is only $15.95.

Greek white!

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Out for dinner at a Greek restaurant on Danforth the other day, the smooth-talking waiter convinced us to try the “greatest new thing, not yet on our wine list!” Restaurant wine prices always give me the heebs, especially since I know quite a few of the standby low-price LCBO items, and it can be tough to pay $7/glass when you know the bottle itself is only $7.95 (I’m looking at you, Farnese). ANYWAY. That’s what you get if you’re buying in a restaurant, and I flat-out asked the waiter what the bottle would cost; it was in line with the low range on their menu, so what the heck. (Image hunting reveals that the bottle we had seems to cost less than 4 Euros from overseas stores, so I’m betting that even with shipping the restaurant makes a killing charging over $30, but again: ANYWAY. I drank it, didn’t I? I sure did.)

This Tsantali Makedonikos White ($9.80) from the LCBO isn’t EXACTLY what we had; ours was called Tsantali Makedonikos Athiri (so I’m guessing it was a varietal they imported, while the LCBO carries a blend?). But for under $10 you could try this, especially if you are feeling cheap (or hot, like so hot you might put an ice cube in there, or start spritzering it with tonic water, or just pour it over your head if it’s coming right out of the fridge) and bored with the usuals. It was really perfect for lightening up the muggy-as-doom evening and the heavy food.