Walking into the SAQ can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you have no idea what it is you’re looking for. There has been more than one occasion where I have walked into an outlet, without an action plan for buying wine. “I’ll know what I am looking for when I find it” is what I tell myself as I stroll through each aisle. When I buy wine, it’s always with the intention of having it with food, so that’s usually what guides me. Am I looking for a nice high acid Italian red for a Bolognese or am I in the mood for a bright Chablis (Chardonnay) to have with my crab cakes?
There is always a wide range of choice when it comes to wine, and there is always something new to taste and unearth. The following wines are fresh discoveries for me and definitely made quite the impression in terms of the quality, complexity, and value. So the next time you’re at the SAQ, put your shoulders back and hold your head high, you will know exactly which bottles you’ll be adding to your cart! Cheers!
2 Easton House, 2011
- SAQ:10744695, $24.55
Bill Easton, a leading winemaker in Amador County California is the man behind this delicious wine. I have yet to taste a wine from Easton that I did not love. Easton House is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (95%) and Syrah (5%), and this wine being 2011 is ready to drink. This has excellent quality to price ratio.
3 Hirsch Zöbing Riesling Kamptal, 2019
- SAQ: 12196979, $27.40
Hirsch is a notable Austrian producer who focuses on making wine with only two varieties: Grüner Vetliner and Riesling. This refreshing and delicious Riesling is beaming with bright citrus fruit, green apple, white flowers, and an excellent streak of salty minerality. The wine is lean yet packs a great punch of flavour with its ripe fruit and lip smacking acidity. The persistent finish showers layers of lemon-lime and honeydew melon.
4 La Massa Toscana, 2017
- SAQ: 10517759, $29.10
It’s no surprise this scrumptious Tuscan red is scoring high points from the likes of Robert Parker, Wine Spectator and James Suckling because it is indeed quite a delicious and expressive wine. It’s a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and has great depth and substance. Black cherries, blackberries, plum and bits of licorice dominate the palate with excellent bits of sweet spice and cedar. The tannins are soft and round and the acidity refreshing and balanced. The finish is fresh yet round and leaves a nice note of fruit and spice. Delicious.
5 Bodega Villa d’Orta Crianza, 2016
- SAQ: 13566679, $19.20
This organic red blend from is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot and has spent one year in oak barrels. Ripe and juicy, its wine has notes of black plum, cherries, chocolate, and vanilla. It has lovely, perfumed fruit with soft tannins and a refreshing acidity with a lingering and pleasant finish.
Mandi Robertson earned her Sommelier Attestation (ASP) from Pearson School of Culinary Arts then worked as a Sommelier in Melbourne, Australia. Upon returning to Canada, she is now completing her WSET Diploma. Besides having extensive experience hosting private tastings, her passion for all aspects of the wine industry is furthermore demonstrated on her website, ‘A Walk on the Wine Side’. She is also the wine contributor for CJAD800 ‘Weekends with Ken’, Global News Morning.
— Mandi Robertson