We’re sure, that like us, many of our loyal Vine Arts customers spent a wee bit too much money throughout December. With this (and your thirst for delicious wine) in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite wines under $25. While the market is flooded with inexpensive wine, sometimes seeking out quality can be tricky. We’ve done the work for you, and have found some serious steals. We’re always on the hunt for wines that drink way above their price point; we truly believe that great wine doesn’t have to break the bank!
Eric Texier “Adele” Cote du Rhone Blanc $23
One of our favourite Rhone Valley producers, Eric Texier is a bit of an enigma. With a background in nuclear engineering, wine making doesn’t necessarily seem the obvious path. But Texier’s scientific precision is evident in the clarity of his wines. Eric Texier’s wine making philosophy, honed from years of experimentation, roots itself in various farming techniques including organics, biodynamics, and Fukuoka (which focuses on natural growth cycles, developing interdependent growing systems, and toward the “cultivation and perfection of human beings” as well as good crops). This white Cote du Rhone, known as “Adèle”, is composed of Clairette with just a dash of Marsanne. Texier’s Clairette is planted on granitic clay-limestone soils in the Ardèche west of the Rhone River. Indigenous yeasts perform fermentation and then the wine is left on the lees to develop the lovely texture this wine is known for. Texier’s Adèle has generous mouthfeel, a pleasant bitter almond finish, and beautiful waxy floral aromas. While definitely weighty on the palate, the lifted aromas make this wine terribly easy to enjoy.
Ciu Ciu “Oris” Falerio $18.50
Located in the Marche region in eastern Italy, Ciu Ciu produces superbly vibrant wines from a vast array of grape varietals. The Falerio appellation allows for high elevation white blends from Trebbiano, Passerina, and Pecorino. This zesty white is a blend of all three varietals, of which Passerina and Pecorino are indigenous to the Marche region. Fermented in 100% stainless steel to preserve the clean, fresh flavours and aromas inherent to the wine, the grapes are also grown organically. The vines are planted 300m above sea level in the hilly Marche province of Ascoli Piceno. Pale yellow in colour, this wine displays pretty floral aromas, such as honeysuckle and white blossom, and fills your mouth with flavours of ripe fruit, like lychee and juicy white peach. While certainly refreshing, it has a textural mouth feel that allows the flavours to linger on. For the quality of the wine, this is certainly a steal.
Paltrinieri “Solco” Lambrusco $22
Along with his wife, Barbara, fourth generation Lambrusco producer, Alberto Paltrinieri, produces wine in the heart of the Sorbara region located within Emilia-Romagna. Focusing on the unique indigenous varieties, Lambrusco di Sorbara and Lambrusco Salamino, to craft his diverse portfolio of Lambrusco-based wines, Alberto, affectionately known as “Paltro,” uses techniques both new and traditional to push the quality of his wines beyond the expectations usually associated with Lambrusco. While Lambrusco has definitely re-emerged as a bit of a scene stealer over the past few years (being sudsy red, shockingly chuggable, and wonderfully refreshing has certainly aided its popularity), it still suffers from a bit of a bad reputation due to the poorly made, sickly sweet versions that dominated North American markets in the 1970s. Fortunately, top quality producers like Paltrinieri have reclaimed Lambrusco from the dark side and are making remarkably intriguing wines. Sparkling red wine is a bit of a curiosity that all wine drinkers should try. With a happy dash of residual sugar, and soft, frothy fizz, pizza, pasta, and good times pair perfectly, and at $22, why not try something new.
Bodegas Alvarez de Toledo “Senorio de la Antigua” Mencía $17
This wine has to be one of our all time favourites. Insanely good value, sitting at only $17, this fruity, fully flavoured red wine hales from north western Spain, specifically from the region of Bierzo. In Bierzo, the grape varietal Mencía reigns supreme. This grape varietal is again and again heralded as underrated, and yet still flies under the radar. One of those grape varietals that seems to morph to suit almost every red wine drinker’s palate, Mencía is an aromatic red grape varietal of medium body. It has fleshy fruit flavours like black cherry, crushed pomegranate, and ripe strawberry, with a smokey herbaceousness that balances the ripe fruit character. Señorio de la Antigua is made up of 100% 40-60 year old Mencía from a prime location in Bierzo surrounding the towns of Villafranca del Bierzo and Valtuille de Arriba. With only 2700 cases produced, this wine is mind-blowingly exceptional value; think a wine you would happily spend upward of $30 on for half the price!
Aroa Bodegas “Le Naturel” $23
Located in the diverse Spanish wine region, Navarra, Aroa Bodegas plants grapes that have never been touched by the likes of pesticides or herbicides. Made of Garnacha, Le Naturel is a fresh, fruity expression of one of Spain’s dominating grape varietals. Described as “a natural wine with grapes as its protagonist,” one thing is for certain in Aroa Bodegas Le Naturel - the grapes come first and foremost. With the intention of the letting the innate qualities of the grape shine through, like wine is made with minimal intervention: a short maceration is followed by a light press. No sulfur is added, relying on clean wine making practices to ensure the quality of the wine. The resulting wine is light on its feet, with expressions of pretty violet and blackberry standing out. This wine is an easy drinking, but intriguing version of Garnacha that can be enjoyed with or without food.