We can't all drink expensive wine every day, and besides, the days spent absorbing sunlight in the backyard or BBQing with friends aren't always the right moments for drinking that bottle that you've been saving for ten years. Here are a few picks that will put a smile on your face and won't set you back more than $20.
Last week I enjoyed a glass of the latest vintage of Tidal Bay on Luckett's patio with a stunning view of the Bay of Fundy in the distance. At the time, I knew nothing about Tidal Bay, but the style was bright, fresh, and delicious, perfect for a 30-degree afternoon on a patio. Tidal Bay is Nova Scotia's first appellation, meant to embrace a cool coastal style with crispness, aromatics, and minerality, while being required to weigh in with 11% alcohol or less. Luckett's Tidal Bay is a dry blend of L'Acadie Blanc and Vidal and delivers characters of lime, chalk, and a faint tropical guava or mango note. ($20, 11% alcohol).
At our last My Wine Canada tasting, I was charmed by the oddball personality of Lacey Estate's Gewürztraminer. It's off-dry with classic Gewürtz-y rosewater characters, but also offers something new and distinct that I can only attribute to Prince Edward County's climate and soil. The flavours are dominated by the clean coolness of Asian pear and heaps of spice, like lengthily steeped chai tea (cinnamon, cloves, and allspice). For those who appreciate the overt aromatics and unapologetic spice of Gewürztraminer, check this one out. ($20, 13% alcohol).
Some wineries blend Gamay and Pinot Noir together and call it "passetoutgrain" after the Burgundian equivalent—for 13th Street Winery, it's simply Burger Blend. The 2013 is a medium-bodied quaffer with light tannins that expertly balances soft cherry fruit with a smoky, woodsy character and leaves off with a refreshing, tangy finish. At $15, this is stunning value. I haven't had the opportunity to drink it alongside burgers just yet, but I have no doubt it'll be a great partner. ($14.95, 12.8% alcohol).
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.