This wine book will make you feel warm and fuzzy in its own way, by steering you toward low-priced yet high quality booze.

In between cage diving with South African sharks, touring vines with a rosé-guzzling French mule and peeling potatoes with a Canadian special effects producer-turned-organic wine maker, MacLean visits some of the world’s most acclaimed wineries and takes notes on the best deals in everything from Shiraz to Pinot Noir to Port. She highlights one region per chapter, offers excellent “wine cheapskate” tips and suggests dishes crying out to be washed down by the local wares.

I love MacLean’s lively writing and accessible wine notes, and I’m thrilled that she has been kind enough to offer her 2012 wine recommendations for this blog post. There’s no bottle over $20 in this list and there are even a few for under ten bucks.

Just before we get to those, I’d like to wish you a wonderful New Year filled with appreciation for the good things you already have and marked by an abundance of good times with people you love, of course with plenty delicious food and drink thrown in.

Cheers!

Valerie

 

Top 5 Wines to Toast 2012
By Natalie MacLean

My resolution in 2012 is to drink more wines that are both affordable and delicious. We don’t have to give up great taste with an inexpensive price-tag. Here are five wines that offer that proof in the glass.

2011 Obikwa Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa: Dependably delicious year after year at a that-must-be-a-typo price. Refreshingly herbal and grassy with a spike of lime lighting up the middle. Terrific. Pair with: fish, salads, light poultry dishes. $8.95  Score: 88/100.

2009 Trius Sauvignon Blanc, Hillebrand Winery, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario: Terrific mouth-watering flavours of ripe green melon and grapefruit. Ultra-refreshing and perfect for salads, seafood and book club gatherings. $14.05  Score: 87/100.

2010 François Lurton Pinot Gris, Argentina: Lovely white peach aromas in this pinot gris. Remarkable quality for the price point. Zippy notes of citrus zest make it a great aperitif or companion to many dishes. Pair with: roasted chicken, pasta with a light cream sauce and movie night. $11.95  Score: 88/100.

2010 Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile: This supple, rich, full-bodied red is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon but there are also some Shiraz and Malbec grapes in the blend. Aromas of cocoa and cassis seduce the senses. Pair with hearty meat dishes and cold winter nights when you’re glad to be inside by the fire. $8.95  Score: 88/100.

2009 Ganton & Larsen Propect Winery Pinot Noir, Okanagan, BC: Medium-bodied, supple and juicy. Fleshy aromas of cherry, but not sweet… terrific balance and mouth-watering acidity for food. There’s a zesty bright red fruit note on the finish that leaves you wanting more … please! Pair with:  seared rare tuna, herbed roasted pork loin and that novel you’ve been wanting to read. $17.99  Score: 89/100.

 

You can read more reviews of my new wine book Unquenchable here.