20 under $20 for May 2017

Monthly picks from our Quebec Critic Team

Once again, the Chacun Son Vin team has come together with a list of 20 wines of all styles and colours, with the single proviso that they be under $20. Whether you are looking for a lighter wine, or one which shows power and torque, the world is the source, and we have done our best to pluck out the best values we can find. No cash? Still thirsty? Here’s the May version of the 20 under $20.

Chacun son Vin Critic Team : Bill, Marc, Nadia & Remy

Remy’s selections

During my radio wine spot earlier this month, I was asked to come up with a sparkling wine suggestion for Mother’s Day brunch. I was put on the spot but after quickly searching through my mental tasting notes, I came up with a great idea : Antech’s Crémant de Limoux Cuvée Expression. When I tasted it to make sure my impressions were right, it attained OMG levels of satisfaction. Just enough ripeness, great acidity, some mineral notes… It’s a fit not just for Mother’s Day, but any brunch, with egg dishes or just as an apéro, it’s really great.

Spring means rosé, right? So here’s one I liked from, where else, Provence. The region is pretty exemplary in providing balance between crunchy fruit and racy freshness, and the 2016 S de la Sablette is a particularly convincing example of that.

Antech Cuvée Expression Brut Crémant De Limoux 2014S. De La Sablette Rosé 2016Pascal & Annick Quenard Mondeuse La Sauvage 2015Dal Maso Montebelvedere Cabernet 2013Château Coupe Roses Les Plots 2015

Finally, here are three great bottles that can quench your warm-weather red wine cravings, without getting too heavy in the sunny weather. The La Sauvage Mondeuse from the Quesnard family in Savoie, is the quintessential refreshing red, with bright fruit and floral and peppery notes. Want a cab with that? The Dal Maso Montebelvedere bucks the current trends for “huge” cabernets that taste of chocolate and jam, instead showing lovely red fruit, energy and a touch of tomato on the vine. Finally, the 2015 Château Coupe-Roses Les Plots, a lovely syrah-based blend from Minervois, an often broad-shouldered appellation, provides impressive balance between ripe and substantial on the one hand, and mouthwatering fresh fruit on the other. All those wines have the gumption to match barbecue dishes. Enjoy!

Nadia’s selections

Even if the weather can make us doubt that it has arrived, rosé season has officially begun. In honour of the pink season, here are three wines, all organic, and all made with a technique called “pressurage directe,” which means a gentle pressing of the grapes. This is what gives the wine its delicate and nuanced colour, and the mouthfeel and texture of a white wine.

From the Costières de Nîmes, located in the south of the Rhône, the Buti Nages 2016 from Michel Gassier is delicately aromatic and very dry. Straightforward, refreshing with an agreeable salinity. At under $15, no need to say anything more.

Another sure value from the France’s Midi, the Château La Lieue Rosé is a touch more discreet in the 2016 vintage, but just as fun to drink. Dry, with just enough flesh to make it work not only as an aperitif, but at the table as well.

Buti Nages Vin Rosé 2016Château La Lieue Coteaux Varois En Provence 2016Château La Tour De L'evêque Pétale De Rose Rosé 2016Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda Clasica 2015Thymiopoulos Young Vines Xinomavro 2015

A touch more complete, the Pétale de Rose from Régine Sumeire continues to be the model of the “rosé provençal.” Pale in colour and so delicate, it is a wine that does not rest on its laurels, and seems to become more precise and with greater minerality each vintage. The 2016 is no different.

For you “red wine or no wine” folks, check out the refreshing virtues of the Bonarda Classico 2015 from Colonia Las Liebres. Yes, it has body, but its bright with energy, as is the Jeunes Vignes 2015 from Domaine Thymiopoulos. This is a classic “vin de soif.” Produced in the Northern Greek region of  Naoussa, it shows a refreshing acidity that even when thirsty, it satisfies. Both of these wines are best served around 14-15°C.

Marc’s choices

Domaine Cazes Cuvée Marie-Gabrielle 2016 – A « Marie-Gabrielle » full of youthful vigour and fruit, showing a vibrancy and fruitiness of wines made with carbonic maceration, a la Beaujolais. It still remains very Roussillon, with its hidden power and suppleness despite showing enough acidity to keep it fresh.

Batasiolo Langhe Rosso 2015 – A certain tannic structure, medium concentration, with aromas of black cherry and vanilla. Nicely balanced with integrated oak notes, this will get even better with a few years in the cellar. If you can’t wait, then pair this Piedmontese red with a piece of beef or lamb, cooked rare of course.

Domaine Cazes Marie Gabrielle 2016Beni Di Batasiolo Langhe Rosso 2015Domaines Paul Mas Vignes De Nicole 2016Famille Perrin L'andéol Rasteau 2014Domaine St Jacques Rosé De St Jacques 2016

Domaine Paul Mas « Les Vignes De Nicole » 2016 – A blend of white grapes that combine international varieties with those of the Languedoc (sauvignon blanc, viognier, picpoul et chardonnay). Here’s a white that shows decent power and flesh, though has that “nervous” quality due to an underlying bright acidity. The fruit is on the riper side of the spectrum with an almost sweet feel to it. At under $15, an excellent value.

Famille Perrin L’andéol Rasteau 2014 – A côtes-du-rhône red made by the “Famille Perrin” which shows the qualities one would expect from this illustrious family. Supple and refined but not lacking in depth, with spice notes from start to finish.

Domaine St-Jacques Rosé 2016 – A rosé from Quebec that is very convincing. Powerful yet remaining fresh, without the rustic quality that often derails many a Quebecois wine. Just enough fruit, dry and well-balanced.

Bill’s selections

May is one of my favourite months. Not only is summer around the corner but it’s lobster season! I have been eating these delicious seabugs a few times a week, and what am I drinking? I have alternated between white and rosé and both do the job fabulously. The best rosé pairing so far has been with the 2016 Chateau de Lancyre, a powerful pink from the Languedoc that has just enough flesh and minerality to do the job. For the white, I love riesling with lobster, and the 2014 Hugel is a great example of a dry-styled, superbly mineral riesling from Alsace.

But even though I may try, one cannot exist only on lobster. My BBQ has returned to my porch, and it has replaced my stove. Hamburgers? You need a wine that’s fruity and that can handle ketchup, so you need some alcohol and a sweet fruitiness. Try the Corinto Carmenère, and at under $12, you can spend a little extra on getting good quality beef.

Château De Lancyre Rosé 2016Hugel Riesling 2014Corinto Carmenère 2015Domaine Du Clos Des Fées Les Sorcières 2015Château Mourgues Du Grès Galets Rouges 2015

We are big on sausages at my casa, especially spicy ones. For that, I want lots of fruit in my wine, with a spicy component. Look no further than the 2015 Sorcieres from Hervé Bizeul’s Domaine de Clos des Fées. Keep this wine at 16C and it will do the job.

And finally for lamb chops, the syrah driven 2015 Chateau Morgues de Gres, les Galets, was an exceptionally subtle yet perfectly spiced accompaniment to my mint and mustard marinated lamb chops. The key to a great pairing is when both the wine and your food come together to create a third flavour. This is exactly what happened.

Cheers !

The complete list: 20 under $20

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Matua Pinot Gris 2015