Bill’s Best Bets – February 2016

The February Cellier release
by Bill Zacharkiw

Bill Zacharkiw

Bill Zacharkiw

From Bordeaux to Washington State, the latest Cellier release offers up not only a number of interesting wines, but also has an accent on affordability. So as many of us are still paying off those December credit cards, here’s a chance to try some interesting wines without stretching the budget.

There are even a number of bottles that are under $20 that are worth checking out.

As is the SAQ’s strategy, the latest Cellier wines have two different release dates. The first was on February 4th, while the second will be next Thursday, February 18. If you want to get a headstart on next week’s release, there are limited quantities available for pre-sale on right now. So let’s get started with the under $20 wines.

Douro fans will rejoice as my #1 bargain was the 2013 Lavradores de Feitoria. Under $15, it shows typical dark fruits but with exceptional balance. This is the ultimate table wine that can work with almost anything you serve for dinner.

Bordeaux need not be expensive to be good, and one of the places to look for value is within the “satellite appellations” like Montage-Saint-Emilion. The 2010 Peraclos offers up a generous palate but with classic Bordeaux restraint. Another appellation where bargains abound is Cahors and the 2011 Chateau de Cenac, Cuvee Prestige is just that at under $18. Classic French malbec showing florals, rich fruit and great power.

Riesling fans also have an inexpensive option with the 2013 Milbrandt Traditions from Washington State. Just “off-dry,” this is classic aperitif styled riesling that offers interest and freshness.

Lavradores de Feitoria Douro 2013 Péraclos 2010 Château de Cenac Cuvée Prestige Malbec 2011 Milbrandt Traditions Riesling 2013

If you are looking to spend a little more, then you have some very interesting wines to choose from. Two Italian wines caught my attention. Rarely found for under $40, Brunello di Montalcino is usually reserved for special occasions. But the 2010 Brunello di Montalcino from Piccini comes in at just over $30 and I love it. Classic sangiovese, supple texture which is not over burdened by oak.

Wines that come in a Litre format are often without interest but the Unilitro is an exceptional wine for $23. Made with carignan, grenache and alicante bouschet, it’s so interesting and so refreshing and comes in a cool looking bottle as well!

Fans of classic reds will be sated by the 2010 Rioja Reserva from Marques de Murrieta Ygay. One of my favourite producers, at 6 years of age this is still a baby and can handle much more aging. Back to Bordeaux, the 2009 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru from Chateau La Fleur Pourret is drinking incredibly well. It shows the ripeness of 2009 but still some great acidity and freshness.

Piccini Villa Al Cortile Brunello di Montalcino 2010 Ampeleia Unlitro 2014 Marqués de Murrieta Finca Ygay Reserva 2010 Château La Fleur Pourret 2009 Guy Breton Régnié 2013

And finally, my love for great Beaujolais knows no bounds and one of my favourite producers is Guy Breton. His 2013 Regnié shows not only how interesting the gamay grape can be, but equally how it can be even better when made by a vigneron who lets the terroir do the talking. No manipulation, simply great grape growing and allowing those grapes to express themselves. Awesome wine.

Chacun son Vin Premium members access the complete list of new arrivals here: Cellier February Releases

Stay warm and drink well folks,


“There’s enjoyment to be had of a glass of wine without making it a fetish.” – Frank Prial

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Castello di Gabbiano Riserva Chianti Classico 2012