Top 20 under $20 at the SAQ

April 2014 edition from our Quebec team

Ah yes, the end of the month. It’s the time when we pay for all of our excesses over the previous month. Well, fear not, this doesn’t mean that you still can’t drink well. Our four critics have  chosen for you their favourite five under $20 wines that they have tasted recently. No cash? Still thirsty? No problem! Here’s the April version of 20 under 20.

Marc Chapleau’s choices

The 2009 Hoya de Cadenas Reserva is balanced, interesting, and under $14! At this price, buy a case.

Looking for Bordeaux at a great price? The 2010 Merlot from Christian Moueix shows great balance between the fruit and the oak, refreshing acidity and a solid tannic structure.

The 2012 Riparosso from Illuminati is a Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, and undeniably Italian. Revels in the spectrum of flavours and aromas, as well as the freshness, so characteristic of the country’s wines. And for next to nothing!

Sometimes you just want an uncomplicated wine. The 2012 C’est la Vie pinot noir/ syrah blend is just that. Light with loads of fruit, pepper and spice.

Australia has much more to offer than just shiraz. It’s hard to find a better under $20 viognier than Yalumba’s 2013, either in Australia or from around the world.

Hoya De Cadenas Reserva 2009  Christian Moueix Merlot 2010  Illuminati Riparosso Montepulciano D'abruzzo 2012  C'est La Vie Pinot Noir Syrah 2012  Yalumba The Y Series Viognier 2013

Nadia Fournier’s choices

The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Legado, Reserva from De Martino is full of dark fruits, paprika and mint. At under $20, hard to imagine finding more pleasure from a Chilean cab.

The 2011 Douro from Altano shows great intensity, and for only $13, a true bargain.

As rosé season is around the corner, drink local and try the 2013 from Domaine St-Jacques. Deeply coloured, juicy, refreshing and most importantly, delicious.

This might be best described as “Sicily in a bottle.” Donnafugata’s 2011 Sedara is full-bodied, with sun drenched fruit and a very expressive finish.

Looking for a white wine? I have to agree with Marc on the 2013 “Y” series from Yalumba. Simply put, this is one of the best under $20 viognier not only from Australia, but from anywhere in the world.

De Martino Legado Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2011  Symington Family Estates Altano 2011  Domaine St Jacques 2013  Donnafugata Sedàra 2011  Yalumba The Y Series Viognier 2013

Rémy Charest’s choices

The 2012 Côtes Du Rhône Villages from Domaine La Montagnette is an easy-drinking, friendly Rhône, bursting with sunshine, character and freshness.

One of my favourite everyday whites, year in and year out, is Argyros Atlantis White 2012 from Santorini. If sunshine can be captured in a bottle, this is it.

Always good to have wines that will please everyone, no matter the palate. The 2011 CMS from Hedges is just that.

The French Southwest is a region full of well-priced wines. The 2012 Marcillac from Pyrène is so easy-to-drink, with crunchy fruit and a hint of bell pepper that will especially please those who love Loire Valley Cabernet Franc.

True budget-priced wines have become too scarce at the SAQ. All the more reason to applaud the arrival of the Etienne Marceau 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah. A supple, easy drinking red that comes in a Litre bottle!

Domaine La Montagnette Signargues Côtes Du Rhône Villages 2012  Argyros Atlantis White 2012  Hedges Cellars Cms 2011  Pyrène Marcillac 2012  Etienne Marceau Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah 2012

Bill Zacharkiw’s choices

They say “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, don’t judge a wine by its label. The Bourgogne “Grand Ordinaire” 2012 from Laboure-Roi is far from ordinary. A refreshing and fruity Burgundy that shows the lighter, more playful side of the grape.

While the Puglian winery Taurino is best known for its ripe and rich reds, here’s a great little chardonnay/malvasia blend (Taurino i Sierri) that does honour to the great Burgundian grape.

If your tastes are for a bigger wine at a small price, try the 2011 Monastrell from Luzon. No shortage of sun drenched, ripe fruit to go alongside the tobacco and spice.

Another sauvignon blanc on the market? Yes, but here’s a really good one from South Africa (Neil Ellis Sauvignon Blanc 2012). Ellis’ take combines ripe citrus with just a hint of green, and a texture reminiscent of the Loire Valley.

And finally, in a world of supercharged, high alcohol cabernets, here is a lighter, more focused version. Ripe fruit and a touch of green add great depth. If there was ever a summer BBQ cab, Dal Maso Montebelvedere Cabernet 2011 is it.

Labouré Roi La Princesse Maudite  Taurino I Sierri  Luzon Monastrell Organic 2011  Neil Ellis Sauvignon Blanc 2012  Dal Maso Montebelvedere Cabernet 2011


Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 30 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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