How to Break Out of Drinkless January With Affordable Wine
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How to Break Out of Drinkless January With Affordable Wine

Alternatively, some wine to distract you from inauguration day.

The film industry refers to January as a dump month and it would seem that the same is true for the LCBO. The new releases are less exciting, and people are still recovering from their December spending.

But if you know where to look there are still some great wines available.

Before we get into your best bets, there’s a bit of a disclaimer. Wine made in Ontario generally costs more than many other wine regions. Wines from South America and parts of Europe can come in close to or under $10 and offer great value for money. It’s tough to get a good bottle of wine from Ontario around the $10 price point. When you’re looking at a bottle of wine between $10 and $20, the quality of wine (generally) goes up exponentially. Wine from Ontario really hits its stride around the $15 price point. This is all for a very simple reason: it costs more to make wine in Canada.

Here are some bottles to get you through until February, and trust me, these are much better than drinking wine out of a box.

2014 Chateau des Charmes Barrel Fermented Chardonnay – LCBO 81653 – $14.95 –

Over the past few vintages, Chardonnay below $20 have seen a transformation. This bottle from Château des Charmes is a benchmark wine in terms of value. The nose is vanilla with apple, and the flavours match. There is great acidity to this wine to keep it from sitting too heavy on the palate.


2015 Seriously Cool Chardonnay (Southbrook) – LCBO 457481 – $15.95 –

Bright and crisp, this is one of those wines that’s easy to pair with food or sip on its own. The aromas are slightly floral, with hints of peach and apple. This should make a great match to just about everything you can put on your table, except maybe red meat.


2014 Dog House White – LCBO 424689 – $13.95 –

This comes to us from a small winery in Prince Edward County. It’s largely of Vidal, but there are a few other things tossed in the mix. This is an excellent food wine, the great acidity makes it a match for just about any food you can serve next to it. Vidal is normally reserved for making Icewine, but it makes for very interesting table wine in the right hands.


2015 Pelee Island Winery Cabernet Franc – LCBO 433714 – $12.95 –

Pelee Island Winery makes the best value wines in the province. I often cringe when I hear about people taking wine they won’t drink and put it into the food they are preparing when a recipe calls for it. If you are cooking with crappy wine, your food will taste accordingly. This happens to be my favorite wine to cook with. The fruit is a little more ripe in this bottle than what you will in most Franc from Niagara, so even though this comes from Ontario it almost feels like it could be from California, BC, or somewhere a little warmer.


2014 Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc – LCBO 594127 – $14.95 –

Much like the Château des Charmes is a benchmark for Chardonnay, this bottle from Vineland estates is a benchmark for Cabernet Franc. Winemaker Brian Schmidt is unapologetic in his love for the grape and it comes through in this bottle. This is a rare bottle in the general list that you could pick up a few bottles and keep them on a wine rack for a couple years to see how they develop. That being said, there is no aging required to enjoy this wine. Serve this with your roasted red meats.


2014 Cave Spring Cellars Gamay – LCBO 228569 – $15.95 –

A little lighter bodied than Cabernet Franc, but not quite as elegant as a Pinot Noir. This is a red wine that pairs well with roast chicken or duck, but also with beef or lamb. There is nice acidity that rounds out the wine, which is what makes it so easy to match with food. It’s also excellent for stews and sauces.