Three Years in the Cellar!

Issue #36 March 2022

Photo by Julia Volk on

This issue marks the 36th month we’ve gotten together for the ever-so-important task of broadening our ‘affordable’ wine horizons. We’ve covered a lot of ground, stepping from the clay soils of Rioja to the sandy earth of South Africa to the loam of Napa.

We’ve welcomed wines and visited wineries from the regions of Mendoza and Patagonia in Argentina. We tasted from New Zealand and Bulgaria and from Bairrada and Douro in Portugal. We went to Burgundy, Alsace, Loire, Cahors, Rousillion, Rhone and Languedoc in France. And Puglia, Veneto, Montepulciano, Trentino, Tuscany, Campania and Sicily in Italy. Spain came to our table with wines from Cariñena, Valencia, La Mancha and Rioja. We sipped from Chile’s Casablanca and Maipo Valleys. And there was California, with bottles from Napa and Sonoma. We also visited Swartland in South Africa. And we popped corks from Niagara, Kelowna, Washington, the Barossa Valley in South Australia, the Willamette Valley in Oregon, Hungary, Austria, Georgia and Uruguay. 

That’s a heck of a lot of grapes, plenty of corks and more than a couple of Tylenol.  

But while reminding us of the places we’ve been on our wine travels, that well-travelled list serves as inspiration to seek out wines from regions we haven’t yet been. 

So, this month we’ll celebrate the visits we’ve had (there’s some bubbly in our future).  We’ll get to know a wine from an up-and-coming locale that until now has managed to escape our attention. And we’ll pay tribute to one of our best finds from the last three years. 

Welcome back to the cellar.

As promised, our little anniversary deserves a little bubbly. And look what I found down here in the cellar! This is a very nice sparkler from Trento, Italy.

Ferrari Brut Sparkling
Trento, Italy
750 mL bottle VINTAGES#:  352153

The Brut in this Ferrari Brut means it is the driest classification of Champagne. While not by definition a ‘Champagne’, this is a very tasty sparkling wine indeed. Perfect for an aperitif and a toast. So, cheers and thanks for visiting the cellar every month.

Now, on to that up-and-coming region I mentioned. Pelee Island; is located in the western basin of Lake Erie, 30 km south of Leamington. This 42 square kilometre gem is the southernmost inhabited place in Canada. 

But actually, Pelee Island is one of Canada’s oldest grape-growing and wine-making regions. One of the first wineries in Canada was built on the island in 1866. It would become The Pelee Island Wine and Vineyards Company in 1877.

By 1890 there were 41 wineries in Canada, 23 located in the corridor between Windsor and Pelee Island. Grapes had become one of the major crops on the mainland, as well as on the island.

However, WWI brought an end to the Pelee Island Wine and Vineyard Company. The war and European competition caused a major decline in our wine market. The winery ceased operations in 1916.

Grape growing and winemaking disappeared for over half a century until 1979 when grapes were reintroduced to the island and the Pelee Island Winery was established.

Which brings us to our next bottle.

Pelee Island Pinot Noir Reserve
Ontario, Canada
750 mL bottle LCBO#:  458521

Not only does this bottle of Pelee Island Pinot Noir Reserve boast a very attractive label, but it also contains a very drinkable wine. It pours with pinot noir trademark transparency; glistening in ruby with aromas of earthy raspberry and a lick of leather. 

As for flavour, we’re treated to tastes of red berries, cherries, pomegranate, and I detect a slight refreshing effervescence.

It has me convinced that everyone should make a Point of going to Pelee. 

I recently got some delicious intel on this next wine from a good friend and loyal Affordable Cellar Dweller.

Finagra Alandra
750 mL bottle LCBO#:  89961
$8.45 Portugal

Thanks to Brian for the tip and these thoughts:

“I was looking for an affordable red and often go to Spanish regions – however I have been exploring Portuguese wines and came upon this plonk. I picked it up – then put it down – then picked it up – so I guess it picked me. 

I was not disappointed. This wine is balanced with good tannins and a slight earthiness. This is a great everyday wine that needs a bit of oxygen to bring out the flavour. I tend to high pour this kind of wine to give it air.” 

I guess if Brian likes to ‘high pour’ his wine, he must have a steady hand and good aim. But can he do it with a Champagne flute?

As I mentioned, for this three-year anniversary issue, I’m pulling out a bottle from the archives; one of our best finds. It was good then and it is now. Here’s what we said about it back in January of 2020.  

“I hope you agree that finding this bottle on the LCBO’s regular listing shelves is a little like striking gold. Barone Montalto comes to the cellar from the land of a rather famous family, the Mafia.” 

Barone Montalto 
Sicily, Italy
Nero D’Avola Cabernet Ter Sicilane IGT
750 mL bottle LCBO#:  621151

“This Sicilian steal is inky and dark like an alley in Palermo at midnight. But just follow your nose to find its soft essences of berries. It’s a tannic titan with lots of smooth and delicious dark berry flavour. Barone Montalto is no Rothschild but it’s a perfect house wine and great for a relaxed family dinner. Any family.” 

Well, there we have it. Issue #36 is in the books. I hope you enjoyed getting together once again around the old, oak tasting table down here in the Affordable Cellar. 

I certainly did.

Until next time, keep your glass of wine close and your friends even closer.


Thanks to everyone for signing up to my web page where you’ll see this each month as a blog. If you know anyone who is interested in following the newsletter, they just have to visit to submit their email. They’ll be notified each month, as will you when each new issue is published. And the newsletter is a little more reader-friendly there. Please let me know if you’d like to share some wine you love with the rest of us. 

3 thoughts on “Three Years in the Cellar!

  1. Hi Jim: As you know, I don’t drink much, but your articles are always so delightful so keep them coming. Ann J



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s