Post Holiday Budget-Friendly Wines Under $20

The Christmas tree, which only a few short days ago was a sparkling spectacle in your living room, now sits de-glittered at the curb, waiting for pick-up.  A few stray strands of tinsel cling desperately to the dried-out needles…so sad.

The mail carrier arrives with a stack of credit card bills, and you wonder how you managed to spend that much money in such a short amount of time.  As you realize the first few paychecks of 2010 will go to pay off the debt you incurred over the holidays, you think of ways to cut back.

While it may be abhorrent to you (I know it is for me) to cut wine out of your life completely, you can spend less and still get a great tasting wine.  Listed below are a few really tasty wines at prices that won’t put you further into credit card debt.  All are available at the LCBO and all are under $20.

Sparkling:

Domaine de Vaugondy Brut Vouvray $17.95: From the Loire Valley in France, and made from Chenin Blanc in the traditional method, this great value sparkler has aromas of mushroom, earth, dried straw, brioche, and loads of citrus.  The fine mousse gives it a creamy texture with great acidity.  Flavours of mushroom and citrus follow through from the nose with a slight hint of anise.  Very delicious!

White:

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Chardonnay VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95: Aged 11-12 months in French oak, 30% of which was new.  Aromas of sweet vanilla, smoky oak, pear, apple and tropical fruit.  Very smooth on the palate with creamy butterscotch on the finish. Nice refreshing acidity and good length.  A nice winter white wine.  Great value!

Pink:

Domaine Maby La Forcadiere Tavel $18.95: Tavel is an area in the Southern Rhone known for its dry rosés. This pretty pinky is made predominantly with Grenache and shows aromas of ripe, red berry fruit, cranberry, and a touch of herbs.  In addition to being a wonderful winter wine to be paired with stuffed turkey or herb-roasted chicken, keep this wine in mind as the lively acidity makes this a great summer sipper as well.

Red:

Trapiche Malbec Reserve Mendoze, Argentina $11.95:  Many great value Malbecs come from the Mendoza region in Argentina.  Lots of ripe, dark berries and plums, with definite oak and spice aromas.  Lots of dark fruit and spice on the palate with firm tannins and a good length.  At this price it’s a Great Value!

Cathedral Cellars (KWV) Cabernet Sauvignon, South Africa $16.95:  From the Cape in South Africa, this wine has pleasing aromas of violets, smoky oak, and loads of dark fruit.  The tannins are quite firm, but it is a well-balanced wine, with dark fruit and a touch of spice on the palate.  Good length.  A very pleasant red for the price.  Also look for Cathedral Cellars Triptych which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Shiraz – also at $16.95.

Marques de Valcarlos Reserva 2000 Navarra, Spain $17.95:  Navarra, located next to the famous Spanish wine region of Rioja, is the home of this wine.  It’s a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Aromas of leather along with a savoury note give away the age of this wine, but there is still lots of dark fruit (black cherry, cassis, prune) left.  Dark fruit, earth, and chocolate mocha dominate the palate.  The tannins have softened with age and the wine is balanced and delicious.  A fabulous value!  It’s unusual to find a wine of this age at such a great price!

I’m sure there are lots more great value wines to be found out there.  Leave a comment and let me know of other wines under $20 you have found that might be a yummy way to pass the financial doldrums of January.

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