20 under $20 – July 2018

Monthly picks from our Quebec Critic Team

Here’s our 20 under 20 for all of you sweating out the first heat-wave of the summer. Beautiful, ain’t it? Whether red, white, pink or bubbly, the one proviso is that all these wines are great value. Enjoy.

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

Bill’s selections

I have been on a bit of a grenache kick these days. It’s a brilliant grape that brings both alcohol and a suave texture – and can make both refreshing rosé and powerful reds. Its white and gray versions are some of the most interesting whites on the market.

For your rosé needs, I have two to recommend, both made with a blend of grenache and syrah. If you dig that Provencal nuance, the try the 2017 Grand Escalion. While it’s a Costieres de Nimes rather than from Provence, its florals and delicate fruit is so enticing. If you want a more powerful pink, the try the Cuvee F from Ferrer-Ribiere. This Roussillon blend is so good – I have personally drank three so far this summer.

Château Grand Escalion Costières De Nîmes 2017Domaine Ferrer Ribière Vin Rosé 2017Paul Mas Réserve Origines Grenache De Grenache 2017Château Pesquié 2016Yalumba The Strapper Gsm 2016

In white, the grenache de grenache from Paul Mas might be the best under $12 white wine at the SAQ. Richly textured with notes of stone fruits, herbs and a refreshing mineral finish. Delicious and ideal for a seafood pasta.

To finish – two great reds for your BBQ fun. The Chateau Pesquie delivers once again an elegant yet juicy red that chills down nicely and will go with whatever you choose to serve up. For a touch more torque, Yalumba’s The Strapper is a classic GSM blend that absolutely rocks baby back ribs with a classic Bourbon BBQ sauce.

Marc suggests…

Santa Cristina Cipresseto Rosé Toscane 2017 – Very well done Tuscan rosé. Decent power, textured yet refreshing at the same time. Acidity and richness you say? There’s a bit of residual sugar here but it is very acceptable as the finish is nice and focused. At under $19, a good purchase.

Cave De Roquebrun Saint-Chinian Roquebrun Grange Des Combes 2015 – Always satisfying. Not quite a classic GSM blend as the syrah is leading the blend here but it’s the result that is important : generous in both fruit and flavour, supple yet with good power and a nice mix of oak and fruit. Another excellent offering from the Languedoc. !

Santa Cristina Cipresseto 2017Cave De Roquebrun Granges Des Combes 2015Château La Tour De Beraud 2016Domaine Du Tariquet Réserve 2014Kir Yianni Paranga White 2016

Château La Tour De Béraud Costières de Nîmes 2016 – Very convincing blend of grenache with syrah, mourvedre and marselen. Still quite youthful and a bit square, but so much depth and tension in this wine. Give it a shot in a carafe.

Domaine Du Tariquet Réserve Côtes-De-Gascogne 2015 – At under 16 $, a very nice white from the France’s southwest. A blend of gros manseng and chardonnay, with a touch of sauvignon blanc and sémillon, the wine shows a ton of fruit, nerve, and despite the sugar, a refreshing finish. A bit of a strange blend but it works.

Kir-Yianni Paranga Blanc 2016 – At a more than reasonable price, under $15, a Greek white full of fruit and spice, surprising power, with enough acidity to give it structure.

Rémy’s Recommendations

For this month, all my recommendations are white wines. I might have mentioned the Grange des Combes red, which I retasted and liked very much, but Marc Chapleau has taken care of that. And with the heat we’ve been having…

My first pick overcame my usual mistrust of labels that are just too bright and fancy – I mean, did the money go into the wine or the marketing? With the 2016  Pop Art white from Lykos Winery, the content is as good as the label, and made a great blend of Greek grape varieties that is both fresh and fragrant.

Lykos Winery Pop Art White 2016Man Vintners Chenin Blanc Free Run Steen 2017Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2017Catena High Mountain Vines Chardonnay 2016Cavino Deus Achaia

In June, South African winemakers always celebrate Chenin Day, and I’m always happy to taste them. This year, two under-$20 selections hit the spot really nicely, but in very different ways. The Free Run Steen from Man Vintners was round, ripe and juicy, while the 2017 Sécateurs blanc from Adi Badenhorst showed grip and grain and lots of character. I tend to lean towards the second, but both are quite satisfying.

On the classic side, the 2016 Catena Alta Chardonnay was also very pleasant, with the roundness you would expect from an Argentinian chard, but also a lovely lift from some nice citrusy notes. It went down really easy with guacamole and tortilla chips.

Finally, since strawberries are particularly good this year, why not have them with some whipped cream or ice cream (or both!) and a glass of Deus, a sweet sparkling muscat from Greece that shows a lots of freshness? Fun and easy, like a good summer day.

Nadia’s selections

De La Sablette, Côtes De Provence 2016 – A good rosé ready to drink; dry, delicate in both the aromatics and in the mouth. Neither overly complex, but well-made, great drinkability and a saline and bitter note in the finish which heightens the fruit notes.

Boekenhoutskloof, The Wolftrap Rosé 2017 – More powerful and concentrated, this South-African  rosé shows a rich colour and an expressive array of aromas including almond paste, fresh field fruit, tropical notes and herbs. Big enough to be served at the dinner table and at a very reasonable price.

Porcupine Ridge, Syrah 2017, Swartland – This year, once again, I can’t recommend highly enough this syrah that shows exceptional precision and finesse. If I haven’t said it enough before, the Swartland region in South Africa is a bastion of great value wines.

S. De La Sablette Rosé 2016Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap Rosé 2017Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2017Montgras Quatro 2017Ktima Gerovassiliou White 2017

Montgras, Quatro 2017, Valle De Colchagua – To accompany your BBQ hamburgers and other meats basted with classic BBQ sauce, you want this Chilean red that is exploding with very ripe fruit and cooking spices. Richly extured, serve this on the cool side, around 15°C.

Gerovassiliou, Blanc 2017, Epanomi – Less perfumed than previous vintages, but showing more minerality, the 2017 might be one of the best vintages of this Greek white that is available province-wide. Excellent presence in the mouth, just aromatic enough, and exceptional length. The ideal accompaniment to salads and fish “en papillote.”



The complete list: 20 under $20

Editors Note: You can find complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names, bottle images or links. Paid subscribers to Chacun son vin see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 30 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay 2017