20 under $20 – December 2018

Monthly picks from our Quebec Critic Team

As is our “sort of custom,” the team at Chacun son Vin have decided once again to do a little free for all for our final group newsletter of the year. It’s our “no limits” recommendations, just in case you want to spend a little bit more over the holidays. After all, it, like this newsletter, only comes around once a year. So happy New Year from the gang at Chacun and thanks for reading. Big kisses!

Our Quebec Critic Team: Bill, Marc, Nadia et Rémy

Bill’s Selections

It’s bubble season for me. Well, all year is bubble season but I know most people associate sparkling wines with December. Fair enough. While I have a serious “faiblesse” for Champagne, when it comes to a choice between a good sparkling and  an inexpensive Champagne, I usually go for the sparkling wine.

My choice would be Vincent Careme’s Vouvray. Supreme finesse for around $25. But if you do decide to spend on a Champagne, and keep it under $80, I always have a bottle of Henriot’s Blanc de Blancs hanging around. It’s the ultimate oyster accompaniment and delicious on its own as well.

If you are looking for a white and if you aren’t into bubbles, you will need a good aperitif wine. Sancerre is classy and Paul Prieur’s  2017 is exceptional. While it shows the expected acidity and freshness, this also has some flesh which makes it so easy to drink.

My two reds are on the more delicate side. For you pinot noir fans, the 2015 Tenuta il Bosco Oltrepo Pavese is a great deal under $20. Burgundian in feel though just a hint riper. And if you like Californian wine, while many pinot noirs can often taste more like syrah, that’s not the case with Schug’s 2016 Sonoma Pinot Noir. Beautiful acidity and freshness with just enough of that California fruit!

Domaine Vincent Carême Brut 2015 Henriot Blanc De Blancs Brut Paul Prieur Et Fils Sancerre 2017 Tenuta Il Bosco Pinot Nero 2015 Schug Pinot Noir 2016

Marc’s Choices

Sandeman Tawny Port 30 Years  – Excellent 30 year old tawny with a beautiful, silky texture, and good complexity. The hazelnut note is there as well, though subtle, alongside floral notes. The key is the balance, with everything in its place, and without any excessive sweetness, just freshness, depth and charm.

Château Yvonne Saumur 2016 – Like always, this shows a honey and spice note. Powerful, refreshing and almost totally dry with a subtle smoky note on the finish. This wine has character to spare.

Terrazas De Los Andes Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – An Argentine cabernet that is an excellent wine for the price. Voluminous without being heavy due to the nicely balanced acidity. Aromatic, fruity and spicy with a touch of dried herbs for extra aromatic depth. Slight torrified note on the finish from barrel aging. Perfect for turkey.

Domaine Des Rabichattes Pouilly Fumé 2017 – Impeccable sauvignon blanc from the Loire. Twitchy and fresh, as you would expect, and totally dry on the finish, with just enough texture to make it extra comfortable to drink.

Château Larose Trintaudon 2010 – Even at under $27, this Cru Bourgeois from Bordeaux is another great bargain. Sure there is power here, but it brings it with elegance and minerality. Already delicious and very “ready to drink,” this can still age for anther 3-4 years. This would do well with turkey as well.

Sandeman Tawny Port 30 Years Château Yvonne Saumur 2016 Terrazas De Los Andes Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Domaine Des Rabichattes Pouilly Fumé 2017 Château Larose Trintaudon 2010

Nadia Suggests

It’s hard for me to think about the holidays without bubbles. Outside of Champagne itself, two of my favourites from the past year come from the Spanish region of Pénédès. One is the Raventos i Blanc De Nit 2016; a delicious rosé made from perfectly ripe grapes. Great complexity and texture, with finessed bubbles and accents of lemon balm and Thai basil. One of the best rosés on the market.

If you are eating oysters, pick up a bottle of Sumarroca, Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2013. With no “dosage,” this is very dry with very fine bubbles. Not many Cavas offer this amount of pleasure, especially considering the under $20 price tag.

If you want to drink a “grand vin” without needing to get a second mortgage, the Chardonnay 2016, Patchwork, Arbois from Stéphane Tissot has exceptional purity, with a tension in the mouth that is the mark of a top end, and much more expensive, chardonnay. A superb bottle to appreciate during the holiday season.

For red, I was seduced by the very classic profile of the Barbera d’Alba 2016 from Borgogno. This is a great example of a barbera that is faithful to its Piedmontese origins, with angular tannins and brilliant acidity. Great volume with notes of morello cherry and superb length.

Finally, to accompany your holiday roasts, the Patrimonio 2016, A Mandria di Signadore from Christophe Ferrandis is the man behind a beautifully expressive version of Corsican sangiovese, that is known locally as nielluccio. Already excellent with character, this well easily get better for another 5 years.

Raventos I Blanc De Nit Conca Del Riu Anoia 2016 Sumarroca Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava 2013 Tissot, Bénédicte Et Stéphane; Chardonnay Patchwork 2016 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barbera D'alba 2016 Clos Signadore Patrimonio 2016

Rémy’s Recommendations

I didn’t entirely give up on our usual $20 limit, with this special selection of Holiday-worthy bottles. I’ve included two worthy bottles for parties and large dinners, in red and white. First, the 2016 Monemvasia Kydonitsa, a mouth-watering, fresh and aromatic Greek white from a grape seen for the first time on SAQ shelves. Easy-drinking, it will get your guests talking – and their tastebuds swinging. For reds, La Montagnette 2017, a regular favorite made by an excellent coop in the Rhône, has all the fruit and structure for meat pies, turkey and full-on buffet fare.

In the realm of champagne and bubbly, here’s a selection that is much more than something to saber at midnight on New Year’s eve. The 2006 Premier Cru Vertus from Pascal Doquet is generous and accomplished, after having been patiently aged for a whopping 11 years in bottle. Made for the table – with a nice piece of salmon, say – or for meditative sipping.

Monemvasia Kydonitsa 2016 Domaine La Montagnette Signargues 2017 Pascal Doquet Premier Cru Vertus 2006

I love sherry, so here’s one that can go well with plum pudding, fruitcake, dried fruit and other full-on, traditional sweets. Bodegas Hidalgo’s Faraon Oloroso has a lot of elegance in this generous and intense style of sherry. It’s a great match for those sweets, without adding any extra sweetness to the mix.

Gin has certainly been a traditional part of Québec holiday celebrations for a long time, even though it’s a recently developing trend in Québec distilling. Among the growing selection of solid local gins, Distillerie des Canton’s Panoramix is pretty distinctive, not only because of its blueish tinge (that turns to pink), but mostly because of its lovely aromatics derived from boreal spices. A lovely gift – and a really nice sipping gin, too.

And since it’s the holidays, here’s a bonus. A really gorgeous wine, with only a few bottles left at Signature stores, while waiting for the next vintage to arrive: the white 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Clos des Papes. It’s a magnificent, vibrant wine in a category that’s a well-kept secret, and it should age beautifully for a solid 15 years. You can thank me in 2043.

Bodegas Hidalgo Oloroso Faraon Sherry  Absintherie Des Cantons Panoramix Gin Bicolore  Clos Des Papes Châteauneuf Du Pape 2016


The complete list: 20 under $20

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