5 Fave Wines for $15

Image result for $15

This blog may seem a little strange for my readers not only in the United States but in Europe as well.  $15 buys some pretty good wines outside of Canada.  I read a wonderful blogger out of the States called ‘Reverse Wine Snob‘,  who writes all about how wine doesn’t have to be expensive to be good.  And he is absolutely right.  However, he has more selection of great wines under $20, than we do here in Canada.  For example, a couple of years ago I was in Florida with my sister, and I was buying this beauty for $7.

This wine, Ravenswood Zinfandel is $20 where I live.  And in Italy last year, we were paying about $7.50 Canadian for the fantastic Banfi Centine Rosso.

It too is priced at $20 here at our liquor store.  So you see, for us Canadians, finding good wine at the $15 price point can be quite challenging.  So today’s blog, all the wines are priced at $15 or less here in Eastern Canada.  And $15 is a nice price point.  People are a little more apt to risk trying a new wine at $15.  I know I am.  I would love feedback from people elsewhere as to what they pay for the wines I talk about today.

5.  Don David Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon or Reserve Malbec from Argentina $15

Don David

Our local liquor store carries 2 wines from the Don David Reserve line, one is a Cabernet Sauvignon and one is a Malbec, and they are both priced at $15, and they are both very good.  This is actually a very good deal for us, because they are priced a $1 or $2 more expensive elsewhere in Canada, which is unusual.  Plus, the Cabernet is $2 off right now, so it’s $13 so you can afford to grab a couple.  The Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied with blackberry and smoky notes and the Malbec is medium to full-bodied with toasty spicy notes.  Both are very good.

4.  Beringer  Pinot Grigio California $12.99

Beringer Pinot

Established in 1876 by two brothers, Jacob and Frederick Beringer, this vineyard has a great reputation for great wines.  This Pinot Grigio is crisp and fresh with notes of pear and citrus.  It makes a great wine to pair with appetizers, shellfish, and pasta done with oil.   Many of my friends here in the apartment building, drink Pinot Grigio, and they will tell you it’s delicious all on its own.

3. Carmen Reserve 1850 Premier Merlot  Chile  $14

Carmen vineyards were started in 1850, which is where the name of this regal wine comes from.  It is Chile’s first winery and this wine was designed to pay tribute to that.  It’s aged in barrels, seductively smooth and a medium to full-bodied Merlot with soft tannins.  It’s also a very balanced wine and it’s super food friendly.

2.  Anciano Tempranillo Spain $15

Anciano aged 7 years

One wine critic called this wine ‘poetry in a bottle’ and many people have told me this is a staple in their home and in their wine rack since being introduced to it.  This is a fantastic wine at a fantastic price point.  The grapes are harvested from 30-year old vines and aged in a cellar for 7 years before release.  Do you know what that kind of care does for a wine?  It makes it incredibly elegant and smooth. This particular wine is also extremely food friendly.  This wine pairs with anything you would like to put on the plate.   Believe me, this was almost #1.

  1.  Palo Alto Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere Shiraz $15 Chile


This snuck into 1st Place on my list for a couple of reasons.  It’s new, it’s only $13 right now, because locally it’s $2 off.  And the blend of the 3 grapes makes for a deliciously complex wine.    As you can see, I’m not the only person that thinks this is a great wine.  Well known wine critic James Suckling gave this wine 90 Points.  It’s 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Carmenere and 20% Shiraz, and the combination brings structure and layers of great taste.  A great wine for your favorite comfort foods.

Wine Betty white

Here’s wishing you a great weekend.   Till next, Cheers


Heritage Wines for Heritage Day

Long weekend 3

Here in Nova Scotia, it’s a long weekend as we celebrate Heritage Day.  What’s not to love about having Monday off.  And what’s even better is there is an extra evening you can enjoy a glass of wine or two guilt free.  I thought I would share some of my favorite ‘Heritage’ wines for this long weekend wine blog.



A couple of years ago I had the most wonderful trip to Hawaii!

6E948C90-D686-4A73-A07B-80D1F74B72F5 That trip to Hawaii was one of my all time favourites, I went with my sister and her family and her brother-in-law Guy and his wife Tracey.  And the same group is heading to Barbados this year.  I can’t wait, but I digress.

Let’s get back to the wine.


One of the reasons I loved Hawaii so much, is that we drank a lot of wine from this Vineyard! It was so well priced in Oahu, and we bought it from a convenience store. One of my favourites is this particular one.  Robert Mondavi Heritage Red Blend is a winner.  This is a spectacular value at $20 a bottle  and a wonderful blend of Syrah, Merlot with a touch of Zinfandel.  Great BBQ wine, and a great wine for long weekends!

A couple of years ago I got to meet William Hardy, a 5th generation winemaker from Hardy Wines in Australia.


This winemaker makes an incredible Riesling.


Just to clarify, this winery also produces a Riesling Gewurztraminer blend, but I’m not a big fan of Gewurztraminer.  I like the stand alone HRB Riesling.  Riesling is my favourite wine to have with Thai food, but it’s also a great compliment to seafood, appetizers and salads.  This crisp fresh Riesling has notes of kiwi fruit  and lime and is best served chilled.

Last but not least,  let’s head to the Cote du Rhone region of France where Heritage reigns supreme.


Cote du Rhone is home to Chateauneuf du Pape, known to many as the wine of all wines.  This Ogier Heritage Chateauneuf is a pretty good value at $50 because these wines can sky rocket in price.   If you love the flavours of Chateauneuf, but don’t like the hefty price  tags, have I got a treat for you!


From the same vineyard and winery, comes the very affordable Heritage Cote du Rhone.  Also made with Grenache,  this wine has great fruit flavours and spicy notes, but it comes in at just $19 a bottle.   Fantastic wine for a fantastic price!


Wherever you are, I hope it’s a long weekend!

Till next week, Cheers



The Wines of Umberto Cesari


This is Umberto Cesari, who started producing wine in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy in 1964.  This past week I had the honor of meeting and learning from his eldest son, Gianmaria.  One can’t help but notice the resemblance to his Dad.


Emilia Romagna is about 60 kilometres away from Florence in Tuscany, and known for parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar.  It also has a reputation for high yielding pleasant wines that aren’t of the highest quality, but drinkable at lunch and dinner.  Umberto Cesari set out to change that with a focus on quality.  For example, this winery is only one of 6 wineries in Italy to own an Optical Grader, which uses an electronic eye to separate the best grapes.  The Moma Rosso red has been a favorite of mine for a while now, but I had the opportunity to try more of these wonderful wines.

Umberto Cesari Wines

I’m going to start with a fantastic white.

009 Liano white

The Liano Bianco is a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, 2 of my favorite white grapes.  On the nose I noticed smoky flint aromas and then learned this wine is fermented in oak. This is highly unusual for a white wine as most are fermented in stainless steel and I loved what it did to the wine.  It was super smooth and you get some vanilla notes from the oak but it still wasn’t ‘oaky’.  This wine would be a great compliment to fish.

Moma red

I’ve written about the Moma Rosso red in a previous blog,  it was my wine of the week because of the spectacular value.  This wine is priced under $20.  So I’m going to move along to the pinnacle of great red wine- the Liano Red.

LIano red

Named after the hill where the grapes grow, I had this blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon a couple of weeks ago, but hadn’t had the opportunity to write about it until now.  This is the best wine I’ve tasted in a while, and I’m not just saying that because I got invited to the tasting.  There are gorgeous spicy notes complimenting the luscious fruit and a nice long finish but not aggressively so.  I can’t say enough about this wine, except love love love!  I am having this wine again tonight as I am doing barbeque ribs on the grill.

And last but not least….


Umberto Cesari Tauleto.  A blend of 90% Sangiovese Grosso (a clone of Sangiovese) and 10% Uva Longanesi.  Say that grape 3 times really fast.  Uva Longanesi is a grape that is native to the Emila Romagna region of Italy and we don’t get to experience it much in Canada.  It didn’t even receive grape status with the National Register of Grape Varieties until the year 2000.  This grape is known to add structure to a wine and I believe helped make the Tauleto the King of Wines.  On the nose I picked up notes of balsamic vinegar and some spice and couldn’t help but notice the great structure on the palate.  They don’t make a lot of this wine, as it uses the best grapes and best juice from the area.  So if you see a bottle, pick it up!  Coming in at around $45, this wine is worth every penny.


A big shout out to Nancy Johnston, the rep for Univins and Spirits, for the invitation.  It was greatly appreciated to learn from this great winemaker.

Till next week, Cheers



Wine For The Big Game

Most people think the big football game on Sunday is all about the beer.   I wrote this blog last year on this weekend to share my favourite wines with football snacks!  Thought I would share it again.

Image result for the big game

Yesterday at work, the vacation day notifications were piling in, as people were taking holiday days on Monday so they can stay up and watch the big football game tomorrow.  It’s a great day with everyone’s favorite snacks, and although beer is probably the biggest beverage of choice for tomorrow, there are those of us that are true blue wine drinkers.  And wine is a great beverage for those Super Bowl snacks.

Hot wings

One of my favorite foods in the world are chicken wings.  I love them dry spiced, saucy and even hot.  The National Chicken Council estimates 1.33 Billion wings will be eaten tomorrow.  Over a billion wings!  Not bad for a what used to be the throwaway part of the chicken.  Chicken wings were born at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo New York in 1964.  And which wine goes perfect with chicken wings?


Riesling!  I love Riesling and here are two great examples and both hail from Washington State.  The Charles & Charles and the Kung Fu Girl Riesling are vibrant and fresh with gorgeous flavors of peaches and lemons.  The acidity and hints of sweetness in some Rieslings make it a great compliment to spicy wings!  If you like something a little sweeter, try this wine

Jacob's Creek Moscato Rose

The Jacob’s Creek Moscato is a little sweeter than a Riesling.  Serve it ice cold and it’s a great accompaniment to those wings.

Image result for pizza during super bowl

You know what else gets eaten a lot on Super Bowl Sunday?  Pizza.  It is the biggest day of the year for pizza sales, followed by New Years Eve, Halloween, the night before Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  One pizza company, it’s drivers will log 4 million miles tomorrow.  And between the big 3 pizza companies, 4.4 million pizzas will be ordered.   That’s a lot of pizza.  And you know what goes with pizza?  I realize 325 million gallons of beer will be consumed tomorrow, but in my opinion, wine tastes better with pizza.

The Gerard Bertrand Corbieres which is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre, commonly referred to as a GSM, is a perfect pizza wine.  From the Languedoc region of France, this is a $20 bottle of wine that tastes like a $40 bottle of wine.


Another great wine that goes well with pizza is Petite Sirah.  Very common in blends, some winemakers are doing a fantastic job of making Petite Sirah the star grape, and The Crusher from California is a prime example.  81% Petite Sirah with small percentages of Merlot, Barberra, Tempranillo and Malbec added in, this wine is full-bodied and rich, with notes of chocolate. And it’s $20 and a steal of a deal

And now for my wine of the week….


Italian awesomeness!!  Piano Del Cerro Aglianico Del Vulture is an Italian wine from the Basilicata region in Italy.  Monte Vulture, an extinct volcano which dominates the skyline and landscape of northern Basilicata, is an area where amazing Aglianico grapes are grown.  Many people are not familiar with Aglianico grapes.  They are mostly grown in the southern region of Italy, especially Basilicata and Campania, however it originated in Greece and was brought to Italy by Greek Settlers.  This is a spectacular treat wine, coming in at $38 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, but worth every penny.  The fruit was amazingly rich but it bought the palate to life.  It was an explosion of flavor in the mouth, that’s the only way I can describe it.


Have a great Super Bowl Sunday and if you’re not into football, there’s nothing better than a great book and a good glass of wine.

Thanks for reading, till next week Cheers