Each year Vines Magazine asks sommeliers working in restaurants across the country a series of questions to get a sense where trends and interests surrounding wine consumption are heading.
The questionnaire looks for information about great food and wine pairings, serving and storing tips as well as practical advice for buying wine. As such, the most interesting question we ask these experts on behalf of wine lovers is which wineries they feel make great wines at a variety of prices.
Sure it's great to hear about fantastic bottles that sell for $25, $50 or more. What's more you expect those to be good -- if not great. But the reality sees the vast majority of us buying bottles that retail for less than $15.
Last year's must-taste list included wineries from around the world, including Antinori from Italy, Cono Sur from Chile, Perrin & Fils from France, Penfolds from Australia, and Torres from Spain and Chile. These are fabulous producers that can be counted on to deliver great quality premium wines as well as truly enjoyable bargain bottles.
Those names are truly worth knowing now as the austerity measures of the new year settle in, if only for a resolution-filled week or two.
My own go-to value list would also include Masi from Italy, which also makes wine in Argentina and Concha y Toro and Montes from Chile. These three producers are making stellar wines across the board. Here are three favourites for you to audition and see whether or not you agree.
Wines of the Week:
Masi 2009 Passo Doble Malbec/Corvina
Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina
BC $15.99 (225813) | AB $16 | MB $15 | ON $13.95 (620880)
Best known for its masterful Amarones from Italy, Masi has found success in Argentina. Its Passo Doble adds depth and complexity by special winemaking techniques and blending Malbec with Corvina, an Italian grape from Masi's home in the Veneto region. The typically velvety style of Mendoza red wine ends up with more style and personality here.
Viña Concha y Toro 2010 Casillero del Diablo Reserva Shiraz
BC $12.99 | AB $13 | MB $13 | ON $11.95 (568055)
There is no mistakening the peppery character of the Syrah (aka Shiraz) grape in this affordable Chilean red. There's a sneeze-worthy spice note to the aroma and flavour of this vibrant, dry wine. Its savoury character suggests it would be best enjoyed with a meal.
Viña Montes 2010 Classic Series Cabernet Sauvignon
Colchagua Valley, Chile
BC $14.99 (464479) | AB $15 | ON $12.95 (157883)
Montes is best known for premium wines like Purple Angel and Alpha M, which are two of Chile's iconic reds. The Classic Series Cabernet offers intense fruit and fragrant mint and herbal flavours. It's a serious red that delivers true grit Cabernet character.