20 under $20 for June 2017

Monthly picks from our Quebec Critic Team

Once again, the Chacun Son Vin team have 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 “Where the hell is summer?” version of the 20 under $20.

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

Nadia’s selections

The Chacun Son Vin team are just back from Nova Scotia after a week of judging the 2017 National Wine Awards of Canada. As it is every year, there were so many great discoveries. Here are a few suggestions that are available for under $20.

From the northern part of the Okanagan, near Kelowna, Mission Hill attracts thousands of visitors each year. The Pinot blanc 2015, Five Vineyards is light without being banal, with nuanced aromatics – fresh and thirst quenching.

This year once again, I fell for the gamay and rieslings from Ontario. The  Riesling 2015 from Cave Spring is once again impeccable. Done in a kabinett style, the faint hint of sweetness on the finish does nothing to take away from the brilliant acidity and focused finish.

Mission Hill 5 Vineyard Pinot Blanc 2015Cave Spring Riesling 2015Château Des Charmes Gamay Noir 2015Côteau Rougemont Versant Rouge 2016Vignoble De La Bauge Équinox 2015

Since her arrival at Château des Charmes, French ex-pat Amélie Boury has taken the Gamay Noir to new heights. Finally available at the SAQ, the 2015 is juicy, with crunchy fresh fruit and an underlying acidity that begs for you to refill your glass. A bargain at this price.

As the quality increases, Québec is finally starting to gain some respect for their wines – both red and white. The Versant Rouge 2016 from Coteau Rougemont shows both a “twitchy” acidity  while showing a mass of fresh red fruit. Ideal for burgers and other grilled foods.

And if you are looking for an aperitif, try the Équinox 2015 from Vignoble de la Bauge. It’s a unique blend, made with frontenac blanc, vidal and frontenac gris. It’s dry, aromatic and rich enough to be served at the table as well. Situated in Brigham, in the Montérégie, the Naud family’s vineyard is a must stop if you are visiting the Eastern Townships.

Bill’s selections

While I am still waiting for full on summer heat, I am eating as though it was over 25C. Lots of fish and seafood, with a healthy dose of vegetables, asparagus in particular. Yes, and mostly white wine.

Asparagus is a tough one, as you need a wine with both acidity and some torque. Sauvignon blanc pairs perfectly, and if you are serving it alongside a lighter fish, then all the better. One of my inexpensive revelations of late is the sauvignon blanc, Porteno from Argentine winery Norton. For under $11, you really can’t do much better.

Norton Sauvignon Blanc Porteño 2016Val De Vid Rueda 2016Château De Campuget Invitation 2016Louis Roche Saumur Blanc 2015Cazal Viel Vieilles Vignes Saint Chinian Rosé 2016

If you put some sauce on either your fish or asparagus, then you’ll want a touch more richness in your glass. In this case, go for the Rueda from Val de Vid. Just a touch more texture but with the same nervy core.

Lobster, scallops? You need a much more textured white. That is easily found in the 2016 Chateau Campuget. It’s a southern Rhone white, Costieres de Nimes to be precise, and this is a pear and peach bonanza. If you want something a little brighter and fruitier, the 2015 Saumur from Louis Roche will do the trick. It’s very well done for the price.

And no, I don’t only drink white wine. Sometimes I drink rosé! 😉 One under $15 pink that I really like is the 2016 vintage from Cazal Viel. This is a powerful rosé that can handle spicy and flavourful foods and for $12.40, a very good bargain. It’s only available as SAQ Depot, but worth the trip!

Marc’s choices

Château Paul Mas Belluguette Coteaux-Du-Languedoc 2015 – Excellent Coteaux-du-Languedoc white. Rich, oaked with dexterity, powerful and well structured in terms of acidity. Notes of tobacco, freshly cut hay in the nose. A “meal white” that will work well with either poultry or grilled salmon.

La Montagnette Signargues Cdr Vignerons D’estézargues 2016 – Superb Côtes-du-Rhône loaded with fruit bit there is much more. The depth is there, a touch of carbon dioxide as well, with aromas of liquorice and raspberry. Full of flavour and generous with a bright acidity and moderate tannins.

Château Paul Mas Belluguette 2015Domaine La Montagnette Signargues 2016Mommessin Grandes Mises Beaujolais Villages 2015Domaine De La Baume Les Mariés 2015Lustau Manzanilla Papirus Solera Reserva Very Dry

Mommessin Les Grandes Mises Beaujolais-Villages 2015 – Supple and gourmand, this wine is a gulper despite the 14% alcohol. The bottle is too heavy, but that’s an aside. At under $20, this is a great deal.

Mommessin Les Grandes Mises Beaujolais-Villages 2015 – A sauvignon blanc that was a very nice surprise. As it comes from the Languedoc, the ripeness means that you don’t get the grape’s typical herbaceous notes. Instead, the wine shows more power than elegance, but it is dry and a good “drink.”

Manzanilla Papirusa Lustau – One of the styles of the very diverse and expansive family of Xérès, a very dry white wine that is powerful, nutty, with a certain finesse and lightness on the palate. Drink this on its own as an aperitif, but ideally alongside olives, almonds and prosciutto. 12,60 $ for 375ml.

Remy’s selections

In June, some 30 Portuguese producers came to several Canadian cities, including Québec City, to show what’s going on in this country whose wealth of unique grape varieties gives the wines quite the personality. Today, there is a wealth of good Portuguese wines at very reasonable prices on SAQ shelves. I would have had enough choices to fill this whole column, but I picked two I particularly liked. First, the 2015 Rótulo Dao from excellent producer Niepoort is a truly exceptional red, energetic and crunchy and flavourful, and made to go with your summer barbecues. At a very easy-going price, the 2015 Planalto Reserva, made from 7 native varieties, is a refreshing, friendly white for everyday drinking.

Niepoort Dão Rótulo Red 2015Planalto Reserva Vinho Branco Seco 2015Castel Sans Façon Chardonnay Viognier 2015Mönchhof Robert Eymael Riesling 2015Chartier Créateur D'harmonies Le Rosé 2016

Elsewhere on Planet Wine, I really liked the 2015 Sans-Façon Chardonnay-Viognier blend, generous and refreshing in equal parts, and very nicely priced, comfortably under the 15$ mark. Closer to 20$, but also showing an extra layer of finesse, the Mönchhof Robert Eymael Riesling plays very well with the sugar-acid balance that makes Riesling luscious and vibrant at the same time. Try it on grilled salmon or lobster.

Finally, on the rosé side of things, François Chartier’s 2016 offering is once again very satisfying. A wine with stuffing and dimension, for friendly meals, more than poolside farniente.

Cheers !

The complete list: 20 under $20

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Matua Pinot Gris 2015