Wine Picks

Shari’s Picks® for March!

Why not travel with your wine glass during March Break? Escape the madness of an airport. At a fraction of the cost of a flight and without the stress of travelling, you can open a bottle of wine and discover the tastes of a distant location.

Join me and explore a unique white wine from Croatia, approachable flavours from France and, closer to home, a delicious new red from Niagara.

I have always wanted to travel to Croatia. It has a terrific reputation for warm hospitality, stunning views of the Adriatic Sea, medieval towns, beautiful beaches and delectable cuisine. I was intrigued to see a Croatian white wine in the latest VINTAGES release and quickly ordered it. Stina Cuvée White 2022 is from an island called Brač, the third largest in the Adriatic Sea, off the coast of Croatia. The island is a popular destination and features charming towns, the famous Zlatni Rat beach, olive groves and vineyards. Stina was established in 2009 and has developed a reputation for modern winemaking using indigenous grape varieties. Stina Cuvée White 2022 has mild peach, floral and lychee aromas and flavours followed by a crisp finish. Serve with pasta with cream sauce, shellfish, grilled chicken and Manchego cheese. At $19.95, I was pleased with the opportunity to taste the charm of this country and look forward to planning my visit!

Stina Cuvée White 2022 | Blend of Posip/Vugava/Chardonnay | Brač, Croatia | 750 mL | alc 12.5 % | sugar 2 g/L | cork finish |VINTAGES +32035 | $19.95

I have always had a good, never great, experience at The Keg. Recently, I met there with friends. Since we all ordered Filet Mignon and crispy cauliflower, I thought we would travel to France and order a bottle of E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Red 2020. E. Guigal is recognized as a leading producer of consistent, high-quality, good value Rhône wines. This red wine is a blend of Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre. It is balanced, with soft tannins with spicy, rich flavours. E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2020 paired perfectly with our selections and will also pair with stews, roasted vegetables and aged Cheddar cheese.

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2020 | Blend of Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre | Côtes du Rhône, France | 750 mL | alc 15 % | sugar 4 g/L | cork finish | LCBO +259721 | $23.95

On a different subject, restaurant wine mark-ups can be very high. At $53 on their menu, and a retail of $23.95 at LCBO, The Keg’s mark-up is a very reasonable 120%. It is common to see 200% and more in other restaurants.

Just released in VINTAGES, the winner of Double Gold at the 2023 Canadian Wine Championship, is Colio 28 Barrels Reserve Cabernet Franc 2020 VQA. Food-friendly, Ontario’s Cabernet Franc wines are known for their expressive, spicy flavours. From the excellent 2020 vintage, this red wine gets its name from being aged in 28 separate barrels before it was blended and bottled. It has a deep colour, aromas of violets, spicy flavours, and soft tannins. Serve Colio 28 Barrels Reserve Cabernet Franc 2020 VQA with roast lamb, turkey, grilled mushrooms, and goat cheese. At $19.95, the wine offers solid value!

Colio 28 Barrels Reserve Cabernet Franc 2020 VQA | Cabernet Franc | Niagara Lakeshore, Ontario | 750 mL | 13.5 % alc/vol | sugar 3.6 g/L | screw cap | VINTAGES +37790 | $19.95

Happy travels with your wine glass!


Shari  🥂

Not from Ontario? Try WineSearcher.

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