- by Dan Jordan
5 Best Wines Under $20 to Bring to a Party
No matter what kind of gathering we go to – a wedding, a dinner party, or a casual get-together – a party is not a party without a few bottles of great tasting wines to toast with.
With the proliferation of new vintners and wines on the market, wine is becoming increasingly affordable. That means it’s easier to find quality wines without breaking the bank. Here are our top five picks for the best wines under $20 CAD to bring to your next party:
New Zealand produces some of the best Sauvignon Blancs, and it’s no surprise Matua’s classic Sauvignon Blanc is a multi-award winning wine that is world-renowned. Made with grapes from the Marlborough region, this white wine is bursting with refreshing tropical and citrus flavours. Earlier vintages are noted for their crisp and herbal bite while latter years are fruitier. 2017’s vintage included green melon and blackcurrant leaf, making it one of Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2017. Matua’s Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect summer wine, great for your next outdoor dinner party. Pair with fresh seafood, risotto, or a cheese platter for a delicious meal!
It’s not often you come across a high-quality Pinot Noir for under $20 (and no wonder, given how difficult it is to grow!), but the family-owned Hahn winery comes through with this solid red wine. Located in the cool climate of Monterey Bay, California, the grapes grown here ripen gradually and develop into rich, fresh flavours. This soft, medium-bodied wine is brimming with the taste of ripe berries, plums, and cherries with notes of spice, cedar, and toasty oak.
Hahn’s Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile in this list, pairing well with grilled fish, chicken, lamb, and steak. From fancy dinner parties to backyard barbeques, this red wine is perfect for any occasion.
750 ml, $22.99 Liquor Depot
Rosé is a dry wine that has recently exploded in popularity across Canada, the USA, and France, and it's easy to see why. Contrary to popular belief, Rosé is not a mixture of red and white wines; rather Rosé’s pretty colour is made by soaking the clear juice of red grapes in the skins, a process that takes only a few days until the juice turns pink. The skins are then removed and the juice is allowed to ferment.
Now that you know how it’s made, may we suggest the popular Henry of Pelham’s Rosé? This easygoing wine is filled with flavours of sweet red fruit like berries, cherries, and cranberries that dance effortlessly with the floral taste of rose petals; it is summer in your mouth. And as such, it’s the perfect wine to serve chilled at summer parties. Bring it to your next cheese party, backyard barbeque, or to a baby or wedding shower.
750 ml, $14.95 at winery and at LCBO, not available in AB
Malbec is a crowd-pleasing red wine, and this smooth and full-bodied Reserva Malbec from Argentina has great bang for your buck. Argentina has emerged as a powerhouse and the main producer of Malbec; its high altitudes contribute to the extra-dry nature and soft tannins of its wines, and as a result, the sweet and dark flavours of Argentinian Malbec differ greatly from the original, brighter-flavoured French Malbec wines. Packed with juicy ripe strawberries, cherries, raspberries, and blueberries, these sweet fruit flavours are balanced with a nuanced chocolate flavour and a coffee aroma, underlined with spicy notes and topped off with a smoky finish. With its lower price point, Malbec makes a great substitute for the pricier Cabernet Sauvignon, without sacrificing taste and quality.
This bold wine pairs well with red meat dishes, chicken, and even pizza. Gift this to the host at your next Christmas dinner party or savour it with friends around the toasty comfort of a fireplace.
750 ml, $15.95 at LCBO, not available in AB
Chardonnay is one of the most popular white grapes and continues to be a favourite wine worldwide. Grown in California, Corkbeard Chardonnay brings its own twist to the traditional Chardonnay by balancing rich citrus fruit flavours with a touch of the tropics using starfruit and melon, with notes of warm, sweet vanilla and creamy butter.
Party idea: No ticket to Sundance or the Toronto International Film Festival? No problem! Gather some family and friends and hold your very own film festival. Line up some great movies, set out bowls of popcorn, and open a bottle of chilled Chardonnay.
750 ml, averages at $20 in-store
Now you’re prepared to bring quality wine to share and impress your family, friends, and colleagues with at the next party you host or are invited to. But more importantly, the choice of wine is just the icing on top of the cake when you’re having fun.
Try one or more of these great wines out at your next party and let us know what you think!
So, what’s your go-to wine under $20 to bring to a party?