Wining and dining

Often associated with dinners, galas and other pomp activities, wine is typically left on the rack during Friday afternoon LCBO visits.

Brendon has been working in a restaurant since high school and developed an affinity for fine grapes shortly after completing his SmartServe.

Ekaterina has loved wine since a young age — there are different rules in Russia — and had the opportunity to explore many vineyards in Cape Town this past summer. The best to way to get into wine is to simply start drinking it. This shouldn’t be as intimidating an exercise as students make it out to be; wines are labelled to describe their flavours, after all.

Wine is beautiful because it’s a constant and enjoyable learning process — new grape varietals, locations and methods are continuously complementing ancient techniques. We’ve done the work for you and given reviews of three bottles, all available at the LCBO for under $13. This weekend, consider adding a touch of class to your next flip cup tournament.

The Little Penguin Chardonnay 2013, South Eastern Australia ($10.95)

Immediate pear and floral notes reach the nose upon the first sniff and the tongue is quickly greeted with a bouquet of orchids and a light acidity. This gentle white leaves a smooth impression and the light oak dances across the palette. Although refreshing, this nourishing grape leaves you warm and ready for another sip.

This bottle isn’t only great value, but also great flavour. South Eastern Australia is ripe with regional characteristics and this bottle certainly does not disappoint. Enjoy with berries or soft cheeses at your next pre.

Revolution Red Blend, California ($10.95)

Dark berry fruit is quickly summoned by this light and smoky vintage. Essence of cherry, blackberry and currant also all intermingle in this incredibly approachable red. The modern label shouldn’t be avoided, as this innovative varietal is new to the wine world. A mix of both fun and tradition, this bottle is the product of many vineyards and displays the complementary tones of creativity and class. The smoothness makes the drinkability enjoyable, especially for those beginning their journey with reds; however, you won’t be robbed of complexity.

The Grocery Checkout’s chocolate-covered almonds would help line the stomach as you enjoy this full-bodied west coast red in a game of pong.

Bersano Costalunga Barbera D’Asti DOCG 2012, Northern Italy ($12.95)

Although this one requires a bottle opener, it doesn’t disappoint. This medium-bodied red is hard to get a hold of, as it comes from the high slopes of the Italian Alps.

Fleshy with a light minerality, this structured red takes time to reveal its plummy and angular notes. By far the most complex on our list today, the Barbera grape leaves the drinker satisfied and craving red meats or hard cheeses. Thanks to the cooler climate endemic to the area, Northern Italian reds carry a delicate and intricate form. This wonderful introduction into the Old World of European Reds is best saved for dates and get-togethers — just don’t forget about the cork.


Cheese, LCBO, wine

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