A mouth-filling blend of Monastrell, Garnacha, and Syrah, the El Petit Bonhomme 2020 is a fine ambassador for the Jumilla wine region in southeast Spain (the French name refers to the wine’s Quebec-born winemaker, the well-travelled Nathalie Bonhomme, who eventually settled in Spain.) With its array of blackberry and black cherry flavours that are lifted with touches of sweet spice, pepper, and herbs, this ripely satisfying wine is smooth and easy to drink – in short, a perfect match for pizza. Well worth $21.
One of Chile’s most reliable wineries, Cono Sur boasts an impressive array of good-value wines. Their notably aromatic Bicicleta Reserva Sauvignon Blanc ($15) is smooth and crisp and offers a tasty mix of citrus and orchard fruit flavours. Aside from being a refreshing and reliable patio quaffer – its one-litre bottle size is ideal for folks who like to have lots of ready-to-hand white wine when happy hour rolls around – it is great with seafood, chicken, and various salads.
California wine icon Robert Mondavi has lots of tricks up his purple-stained sleeves, and even his more modest offerings such as the Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon ($23) are impressive. Private Selection fills the glass with deliciously ripe flavours of black and red fruit such as black cherry, blackberry, cassis, and plum that are infused with hints of spice and chocolate. Aged in American and French oak and blended with small amounts of Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Petit Verdot, this complex and elegant wine has lots of dapper charm.
And let’s return to Chile for the Santa Rita 120 Reserva Especial Cabernet Sauvignon, a friendly and reliable wine that doesn’t have a huge personality but is easily worth $15. Appealingly aromatic on the nose, the palate offers flavours of blackberry, plum, cherry, and cassis. Fairly full-bodied, the 120 is dry and smooth and easygoing. Not bold enough to wow your picky boss, this is nonetheless a solid “everyday” wine that would pair nicely with cheeses and charcuterie. (All prices include tax.)