Summer Wines Under $20

If there is anything better than a good bottle of wine, it’s certainly a good bottle of wine that doesn’t break the bank. You certainly don’t need to be utilitarian toward the nectar to leave LCBO with a few bottles in hand and money left in your pocket for cheese, charcuterie, and other goods for an afternoon in a park or a balcony. Here is a list of wines we’re drinking this summer under $20 not just because we’re on budget but also because we know what’s good for us.

Anselmi San Vincenzo — $16.95

Made with Garganega grapes, those familiar with Soave will find that Anselmi San Vincenzo is a good alternative with distinct aromas of lavender and tropical fruits. The dry white wine has a touch of sweetness that goes well with light meals and it’s surprisingly great with raw dishes, like sushi or ceviché.

Roscato Rosso Igt Provincia Di Pavia — $14.95

I had a chance to try Roscato Rosso at iYellow Wine Cave the other day and, though I’m not usually a fan of sweeter wines, it won me over completely with its ruby color, berry flavors, and tantalizing bubbles, which it gets from a secondary fermentation process. It’s best chilled and, though I haven’t tried this myself yet, I imagine its fruity notes will be a fantastic addition to an afternoon sangria.

Clos de Beauregard Vieilles Vignes Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2015 — $16.95

This extra dry bottle is nothing short of a great muscadet. It has a unique minerality and saltiness in addition to notes of apples that earned it 75th place in the 2016 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys, which may seem like a small thing until one considers how many bottles of wine are produced in the world each year (something like 31 billion). If you want to expand your white wine palette, this is the place to start.

Kuhlmann-Platz Riesling 2014 — $16.95

This Alsatian riesling is from Cave Vinicole de Hunawihr, a cooperative dating back to 1958, which has since earned a fine reputation for its quality. This particular bottle has notes of honey and fresh fruits, which would be perfect to drink in an afternoon while waiting for things to happen or slouching toward the dinner table.

Château Lamartine Prestige du Malbec 2013 — $19.95

Cahor is a lesser known region in France — it was ravaged by frost and politics alike, which left its economy and reputation in the ditch for a while — but its history dates back to the Ancient Romans. Its wines are known as black wine for their inky color and depth. This particular bottle is a good representation of Cahor’s malbec wines. It is tannic and smoky but also layered with black fruits. This rich wine was also wood aged, which gives it an extra layer of depth.

Hot List: Cresta Toronto

Often restaurants first create their menus and then select wines that are complimentary. How does this Italian-inspired restaurant differ? Cresta’s executive chef Tri Tran switched it around by building a menu around the complex palette of Thomas George Estates world class wines. Named after the iconic California vineyard Cresta Ridge vineyard of Thomas George Estates, the restaurant’s wine selection will definitely go great with your meal.

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Since warmer weather is finally here, we decided to grab a table outside on the patio. Located at 118 The Esplanade across from St. Lawrence Market, the mix of the gorgeous weather and very quiet and relaxing atmosphere was a great start to our evening.  

The interior of the restaurant has a very modern but yet a warm feeling to it. The bar is located right in the middle, and is perfect for customers who just want to go and enjoy a glass of wine.

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Left: Mayacamas Margarita. Right: Market Street Lemonade)

Once our Fashion and Content Director Drew Brown and I sat down, we were greeted by our friendly and extremely knowledgeable server Chris who recommended we start with one of their signature cocktails. Of course after a busy day, we didn’t mind trying one out and they were absolutely delicious! (left: mayacamas margarita. right: market street lemonade)

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heirloom tomato pizza made with fresh tomatoes, red onions, olives, shaved parmesan, basil.

Since it was our first time here we weren’t sure of what to order so the server was happy to give us a hand, telling us the popular choices. We first started off with what the restaurant was known for: pizza. I guess in my opinion, ordering pizza would be considered a main, but in this case it was actually our appetizer. I do not regret our decision .

We selected the heirloom tomato pizza topped with red onions, olives, shaved parmesan, and basil could quite possibly the tastiest pizza I’ve ever had!There was so much delicious sauce on the pizza, that we didn’t need to add their chill oil which is made in-house.

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flat iron steak, potato cake, blistered tomatoes, dandelion greens, balsamic rosemary jus

We wanted try a variety of dishes, so for our next course, I ordered the skate (fish) served with a parsley infused torchietti, grilled corn and tomato salsa. Usually I’m a bit hesitant when it comes to ordering fish because of my past restaurant experiences of being served fish that is either dry or tasteless. The skate was perfectly cooked with the just the right amount of flavour and not dry at all.  I strongly recommend this dishes if you are wanting something light but fulfilling; especially with these rising temperatures.

Drew ordered a medium rare steak that was cooked to perfection. The dish comes with potato cake, blistered tomatoes, and topped with a balsamic rosemary jus.

Both of us are not big a fans of brussel sprouts, and even though it’s a popular item on the menu, we were not completely sold when our server suggested we order it as a side dish. Since at this point all of  his recommendations were perfect, we decided to give it a shot. Gotta try something new once in a while, am I right? One bite and there was no turning back. Cresta’s crispy brussel sprouts with a balsamic glaze truly changed my whole perspective. 

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poached apple crumble with vanilla ice cream on top

Even though we were feeling stuffed after both courses, a meal is never truly complete without dessert. We ordered the poached apple crumble with vanilla ice cream on top. The combination of the cold ice cream with the warm poached apple and the crumble at the bottom was simply heavenly.

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After the most exquisite meal I’ve had so far, they offered us muffin made in-house as a parting gift. I am still raving about their food and service and Drew has finally managed to come out of his food coma.

I truly enjoyed my experience at Cresta Toronto and after learning they now serve brunch, I cannot wait to visit again. Call (416) 901-9113 and make a reservation. Trust me, you won’t regret it!