Whether it’s rainy or sunny, warm or cold, we’re reaching for wine whenever the mood strikes — which, frankly, is just about any old time.
There’s something about the feeling that accompanies the first sip of a great glass of vino, whether it’s a smooth red blend, a luscious Malbec, or a fizzy prosecco. Finding one you like is a lot like finding a song you can listen to on repeat or discovering a new dish you love to cook on special occasions.
Wine lovers know that the ideal bottle is the one that tastes and feels the best to you — and really, the only way to know what you like is to try a whole bunch of them. We’ve rounded up five deliciously smooth wines you can snag for under $20, whether you’re throwing a decadent dinner party or kicking back on #WineWednesday. With so many great varietals to choose from, these wines are a fun way to inject a little intrigue into an otherwise ordinary evening.
A staple in many wine drinkers’ collections, Apothic Red is a smooth blend of some of California’s most classic “expressions” — that’s what wine aficionados call a grape that tastes particularly lovely when grown in a specific region. It’s a combo of Zinfandel (a grape that Europe had basically given up on and is now one of California’s wine darlings), smooth Merlot, flavourful Syrah, and bold Cabernet Sauvignon.
At under $20 at the BCL, this is an easy choice, whether you’re opening it to mark a special occasion such as an anniversary or new job, or just to enjoy on a quiet night in.
Once an uncommon varietal to find on a North American wine list, Malbecs have found their footing and earned a well-deserved following as a fantastic medium to full-bodied red wine. The Alamos Malbec is a great expression of this grape; it’s from Argentina, and their soil seems to produce a delicious Malbec almost every time. This is one of our go-to vintages and makes for an excellent housewarming gift or table wine.
The Apothic Inferno is one of our favourites of the Apothic wines because of its subtle hints of maple and vanilla, balanced with a warm, charred spice from the 60 days it spends in a whisky barrel. The flavour is a combination of wine and whisky which produces a unique tipple that can be enjoyed on its own or with food. Even though it offers its own fiery flavour, we find the Apothic Inferno pairs perfectly with some black pepper crackers and a soft herb and garlic cheese. Snag a bottle (or two!) the next time you’re at the BCL.
Longshot Cabernet Sauvignon
If you’re looking for a bigger, bolder single varietal red, take the Longshot Cabernet Sauvignon for a spin. It’s a juicy crowd-pleaser from California, an area that famously produces great Cabernet Sauvignons, and is worth a shot. Eschew the traditional steak pairing by enjoying this bottle with a burger because, well, how many people have told you to drink wine with your burger? The point is, wine doesn’t only pair with fancy-pants foods, so don’t be afraid to keep it casual.
La Marca Prosecco
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: sparkling wine is not just for special occasions. While it’s a fun way to celebrate momentous occasions, it also complements foods that are a touch on the greasy side (think fried chicken, potato chips, and so on). Prosecco is a great option for fuss-free bubbly and is a much more affordable option than true champagne. La Marca Prosecco is a light, pleasantly balanced Italian sparkling wine at a very affordable price point. It’s also excellent in cocktails, like the famous Bellini, a tasty combination of Prosecco and peach nectar.
Whether you’re in the market for a smooth red with a touch of berry sweetness or a light prosecco with stone fruit and herbal notes, these five wines offer subtly unique flavour profiles for all taste buds. And at less than $20 a bottle, you might as well add one to your shopping list this week.