“Three new loves of my life.”

Issue #11     February, 2020

February is for sure the most idiosyncratic month of the year. It has fewer days than any other. And once every four years, 28 of them just aren’t enough, so it adds a day. February is also the, single, hardest month to enunciate. That first ‘r’ is just plain diabolical to get your tongue around. Hence, many of us choose to happily cast it aside. February also brings us what for sure is the goofiest tradition of the year; Groundhog Day.  The day we look to a rodent with a brain the size of a ping pong ball, for supreme guidance on how long winter will last.

However, all aspersions aside, February absolutely redeems itself with a singularly important day, dedicated to the loves of our lives.

So with that in mind, this month’s issue of Jim’s Affordable Cellar, with a little help from Cupid, features three affordable wines to completely and hopelessly fall head over heels in love with.

Welcome to the cellar.   

What better symbol of unconditional love and companionship is there, than a dog. With that, let’s get to know our red for this month.  It’s a LAB. And as the label shows, this one is standing there patiently waiting to obey your every command. Just tell it to jump into a glass.


Lab Red Lisboa VR
750 mL bottle LCBO#:  534586

LAB is ruby red with wafts of black currants, leather and ash. It’s raw and juicy. And it’s bold and rough around the edges, in an ‘I’m Portuguese and proud of it’ kind of way. But don’t get me wrong, it’s tasty. It would be great with chipotle cheese burgers, lasagna or whatever wags your tail.

I think you’ll discover, this LAB just wants to be your best friend.

Our white wine this month is also our Under The Radar feature. It’s Marco Polo time down here in the cellar, when we set out to discover something altogether new. In this case, it’s a grape called Aligoté. It is often referred to as ‘the other grape of Burgundy’. Chardonnay is certainly the signature grape of the region, but Aligoté deserves attention. And that my friends, is what we’re here for.


Francois Martenot L’or De Laterre Bourgogne Aligote 2018
Burgundy, France
750 ml | Vintages 011912

Aligote produces excellent, refreshing wine, thanks to its high acidity. It’s pale yellow in the glass with mild aromas of citrus. And a sip comes with a crisp, dry reward of herbs, lemons and apples.  I had a glass after a crisp, power walk in the snow. Excercise and Aligote. A thirst quenching match made in heaven. Delicious.

Okay, that’s enough crisp and citrus for me. Let’s get back to something big, full-bodied and well, red! Our third bottle features a grape that is also worthy of Under The Radar status. The grape is called Carmenere. It was originally one of the six noble grapes of the Bordeaux region. But way back, before disease wiped out most of the Carmenere vines in Europe, it found its way to Chile, where for years it was mistakenly thought to be Merlot. I know what you’re thinking. What is this Jim, a history newsletter? Right. Let’s have some Arboleda Carmenere 2017.


Arboleda Carmenère 2017
Aconcagua Valley, Chile
750 mL bottle  VINTAGES#:  46284

Well, this is absolutely Carmenere. It pours a deep, dark crimson shadow into your glass. And out of those shadows rise herbal essences and vapours of dark fruits. Then you realize you’re drinking a smooth treat of blackberries and brambleberries with pepper and spice. And that spice is Carmenere’s calling card. Maybe it’s your first Valentine card.

That about wraps up another visit together down here in the cellar around the old oak tasting table. Before we part ways for another month I’d like to leave you with a quote about ‘love’ from the great poet, writer and satirist, Dorothy Parker. ‘Love is like quicksilver in the hand. Leave the fingers open and it stays. Clutch it, and it darts away.’

See you back in the cellar in March. Until then, keep your glass of wine close and you’re friends even closer.


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