With the cooler days finally starting to approach us, it’s time to starting thinking about putting down the sangria and rosé, and reaching for those full-bodied reds. I was never a fan of red wines for the longest time, mostly because I prefer consuming my alcohol when it’s cold rather than room temperature/warm. It wasn’t until the last few years that I’ve learnt to appreciate the flavours found in red wines
My favourite has to be Malbec, although I do love a good Syrah/Shiraz as well. I prefer my reds to be deep and spicy with flavour notes like vanilla, pepper and tobacco, in contrast to the more fruity flavours found in Merlots or Pinot Noirs. There’s something about the feeling that comes from the smell of seasons changing with the deep flavours of a red wine, paired with a knitted sweater that just make me feel cozy and at home.
Grab your favourite blanket and get ready to snuggle (or hibernate) on your couch this fall, as I’m sharing my favourite red wine picks! Note, these wines are all available within Ontario however you’ll need to check their availability in your city, province or country.
1. Zone Malbec-Shiraz, $11.25
This is probably my favourite go-to affordable yet delicious red wine. By no means is this wine anything special, but it’s a great buy someone on a budget. I usually pick this up at my local Wine Rack which is actually in my grocery store, making it an easy last-minute grab for a dinner party or date night. Flavour notes include berries finished with a pleasant warm spice.
I recommend letting this wine breath either in a decanter (preferred) or open bottle for at least 30 minutes for optimal enjoyment.
2. Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Shiraz/Syrah, $24.96
Jackson-Triggs has to be one of my favourite Canadian winemakers with vineyards in the Niagara region and Okanagan valley. Their Grand Reserve Shiraz/Syrah is produced at their Niagara Estates and is a favourite red among VQA lovers. Packed with a punch of smokey cinnamon and cloves but balanced out with finishing flavours of sweet berry fruits, its tannins are a perfectly smooth finish. This wine is great on its own or paired with smokey foods like grilled meats or rich deserts like chocolate cake.
This wine can be aged but I wouldn’t recommend aging it for more than a couple years.
3. Vintage Ink Rebel Red (VQA Niagara Peninsula), $15.95
I grabbed the last bottle of this at my local Wine Rack, and I’m glad I did because the VQA Niagara version of this Vintage Ink wine is gone. It’s a beautiful that drank amazingly on its own or with a meal. Perfected with flavours like strawberry, vanilla bean, chocolate and spice, I definitively regret not picking this up sooner, and more of them. Their Mark of Passion, a Merlot/Cabernet blend is available at the LCBO and sips similar, so I’ll be trying that next.
We drank this directly after opening and it didn’t need breathing time in my opinion, although I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt.
4. Kew Soldier’s Grant, $19.15
I first tried this wine at Jamie’s Italian at Yorkdale, and it’s my go-to wine while I’m there. It’s a beautifully balanced Cab Sauv/Cab Franc blend that tastes way more expensive than what it is. It’s on the fruitier side with blackcurrants and jelly notes but is given body thanks to a nice spiced finish. I’ve only ever had this wine on its own, but will definitively try it paired with my next meal.
This wine is surprisingly crafted in Beamsville, Ontario and is a VQA.
5. Chateau Timberlay Bordeaux Superieur AOC, $16.95
A great French wine, at a great price – what more could you ask for? I love this wine because it’s exactly what you expect from a red: full bodied and deep with smokey fruit notes. This internationally renowned wine with its moderate price-point is a pick to bring to a dinner party or a friends, to make it look like you know your wines.
Chateau Timberlay is winery with a rich history that dates back to the 14th century, bought by Robert Giraud in 1945.