“Three tasty wines that don’t play hard to get.”

Welcome back to the cellar.

The last few months I’ve profiled a number of wines released specifically in Vintages

at the LCBO. Often these bottles only stay on the shelves until they’re gone. Perish the thought but they can be sold out before you have a chance to get home from work, go to the gym, make some dinner, do the laundry, and peruse this newsletter.

One of my loyal visitors to the cellar each month got me thinking perhaps I should highlight some bottles you don’t have to race out for because they are always available at the LCBO. So this month as is our custom I’ve set out a red, a white and an under the radar choice but relax because these wines you can mosey out for and pick up when you’re good and ready. After all, the purpose of this newsletter is not to raise your blood pressure.

Now on to the wine because while you don’t have to be in a hurry to find these bottles, I’m anxious to tell you about them.

I happily discovered this month’s red a couple of years ago. It stood out firstly on the shelf, because it’s a Gran Reserva (Spanish wine must be aged at least five years in the bottle or barrel to earn this designation) for under $20. And secondly, in my glass.

It’s real tasty. Monasterio De Las Vinas is a tribute to the Cistercian monks who built their monastery in the 11th century and began making wine.

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MONASTERIO DE LAS VIÑAS GRAN RESERVA
Cariñena, Spain 
750 mL bottle | VINTAGES 82024
$17.95

This Spanish beauty is a full-bodied blend of three grapes that get along great together; Garnacha, Tempranillo and Carinena. For me, it’s a blend that deserves full credit for its silky smoothess.

Monasterio also treats you to aromas and rich flavours of ripe raspberry and juicy plums with subtle wafts of ash from a fine cigar.  

Casas del Bosque Reserva found its way into the cellar this past month when I was looking for a Sauvignon Blanc that just for a change, was from someplace other than New Zealand.  

Chile answered the call with this inexpensive reserva. It’s pale yellow in the glass with aromas of soft grapefruit and melon rising to greet you. Flavours of kiwi and lemon are instantly refreshing and soon you discover it’s not just a glass of wine. It’s a cool, soft citrus shower for the palate.

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Casas del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc
Casablanca Valley, Chile
750 mL bottle | VINTAGES#:  974717
$14.95

This wine comes to us from a Chilean valley called Casablanca. When you’re having your first sip remember what Humphrey Bogart said in the classic 1942 film, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” At the very least it will be the beginning of a glass of very nice white wine. Here’s looking at you kid.

And now it’s ‘under the radar’ time; when we throw caution to the wind and get to know a wine or a grape that perhaps we wouldn’t normally choose or think to try.

For years, I was ignorantly guilty of perceiving Riesling as nothing more than a sweet German wine not to be taken seriously. But oh how wrong I was. On two counts.

Riesling can be sweet and sparkling but it can also be as dry as an Alberta afternoon in July. And while Germany is known as the home of Riesling, so is France. In Alsace, their wonderful, wine producing region to the northeast.

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WILLM RÉSERVE RIESLING
Alsace, France 
750 mL bottle | VINTAGES# 11452
$19.95

Here is Willm Reserve Riesling. In the glass it glows like sunlit straw. It has an earthy, grassy, granny smith apple fragrance that somehow reminds me of a lemon Fruittella. Anyone not familiar with Fruittella? It’s a tart, chewy candy that’s way too easy to eat.

Willm Reserve has soft citrus flavours. It’s zesty and tangy and quenchingly dry. Beautiful with spicy food and just as great late in the afternoon by the lake.

There you have them. Three always available, always enjoyable choices from

Jim’s Affordable Cellar that you won’t have to break any speed limits to secure.

Hot August days are coming. See you back here in the cool cellar a month from now. Until then, keep your glass of wine close and your friends even closer.

Jim

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