The best affordable SAQ wines and pairings for Winter
I admire people who go for a month without alcohol in January or February, but personally my journey is to try to find interesting wines all year long, and at all prices. Why not sometimes save money while drinking good wines? Some attractively priced wines are also pretty reasonably priced. Here are a few of my picks for SAQ wines for Winter:
Borges Fita Azul Attitude Brut Réserva
The Borges wine house from Portugal surprises with a sparkling wine, elaborated with the traditional method (second fermentation in the bottle). It radiates with yellow apple, citrus, floral notes, mild spices, fine pastry (though not sweet), fresh acidity and fine bubbles, at an attractive price. So pleasant, and a great deal! For mimosa, brunch or apéro, it’s also quite versatile.
Pairings: Asian (not too spicy) food, grilled shrimps, vegetarian tapas or chicken with herbs, chocolate dessert with hazelnuts.
30% Gouveio, 30% Malvasia Fina, 20% Arinto, 20% Codega, Portugal, 750ml, $12.35
Le Grand Ballon Sauvignon blanc 2019
This Val de Loire wine is refreshing and truly shines. It bears the tastes of green apple, lime and peach and the floral, fresh-cut-grass notes turns me on. It’s balanced, round and rather long-lasting in the mouth. Their chardonnay and their gamay light red wine are just as noteworthy and also available for a relatively low price.
Pairings: White fish, légumineuse salad or fried chicken.
100% Sauvignon blanc, Centre-Ouest, France, 750ml, $13.90
Smoking Loon Steelbird 2019
This unoaked chardonnay from the sunny climate of California surprises us with the fresh apple, pear nectar, ripe apricot, white and orange flowers and fresh grass! This wine is vibrant, with such a beautiful texture. Their Cabernet-Sauvignon is also affordable as a red alternative.
Pairings: Chicken or turkey, veal cutlets or a grilled tofu plate.
100% Chardonnay, Napa, California, 750ml, $15.95
Château des Tourelles Costières-de-Nîmes
This Costières-de-Nîmes in the south of Rhône valley is produced by Hervé Durand (known for Vignoble de l’Orpailleur in Dunham) and his son Guilhem. Violet, pot pourri, ripe black fruit, black cherry, long and heady — wow! Three stars. If you don’t find this one, try his little brother Mas des Tourelles at only $9.25. You can also enjoy also their delicious white: Château des Tourelles Le Grand Amandier 2019 (Roussanne, Grenache, Viognier).
Pairings: beef or lamb skewers, burgers (meat or vegetarian).
50% Grenache, 50% Syrah, Vallée du Rhône, France, 750ml, $12.95
Caves Rauzan Baron du Pin Bordeaux 2019
Bordeaux wines are appealing and comforting in the winter. There are notes of red cherry, ripe fruit (almost jammy), vanilla and oak, and it’s rather long in the mouth. Charming! A tip: Store the bottle in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving. (An alternative, if you prefer Spanish wines, is Esteban Martin, Cabernet,Grenache.)
Pairings: Duck magret, beef bavette with caramelized onions, vegetarian tacos or burgers.
75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, France, 750 ml, $13.35
Let’s drink with moderation. Cheers!
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