While not all LCBOs are created equal, even the dinkiest outlet has a decent selection from Vintages Essentials. Here are three of the best bottles under $20.
Crasto Vinho Tinto 2011, $15.95
From Portugal’s Douro Valley, this four-grape blend was aged mostly in stainless-steel tanks. Try with lamb burgers.
Ponce notes: “The minimal oak treatment allows the ripe plum and dried-berry flavours to shine, while keeping the chocolaty notes in the background. It shows uncommon complexity and balance for a $16 wine.”
Cave Spring Estate Riesling 2011, $17.95
This bottle comes from Niagara’s Beamsville Bench, where limestone-rich soils yield world-class Rieslings. Pour during cinq à sept with prosciutto and melon.
Ponce notes: “Made in a dry style, this is a calla lily of a Riesling. Slim, taut, and gorgeous, it blooms on the palate with zesty grapefruit flavours, deep minerality, and a long finish.”
Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera 2012, $15.95
Famous for its Barolos, Fontanafredda has been making wine in Piedmont’s Langhe region since 1878. Open with saucy ribs.
Ponce notes: “This red is practically jailbait by Piedmont standards, but its juicy dark-berry flavours will appeal widely and the zingy acidity makes it very food-friendly. Chill lightly for optimum enjoyment.”