by Anne Martin

This week, sommelier Anne Martin suggests two wines under $20 at LCBO Vintages stores, a white and a red. – Ed.

Nasiakos Mantinia 2008, Mantinia, Peloponnese, Greece (LCBO# 143032 – $15.95)
This is a delicious white made from the aromatic white grape Moschofilero and grown in the AOC of Mantinia at high altitudes in the Peleopense region of Greece. Greek wines are making quite a splash these days with their ancient, and often unpronounceable, grape varieties. The best whites are known for their perfumed noses and their purity on the palate. And this Moschofilero (often compared to dry Muscat) certainly has those attributes. The nose is pretty and fragrant with some tangerine and tropical fruit notes. And hints of spice and some mineral notes are also present. There is a lot going on here for an inexpensive wine. I loved the vibrant melon-like fruit on the palate that was clean and dry with a long lasting lemony finish – a great aperitif or a perfect accompaniment for simply grilled seafood or fish. It’s a wine that doesn’t demand too much from the drinker except to kick back on a warm spring night and enjoy. Click here to find a bottle at a LCBO near you.

Château Dona Baissas Vielles Vignes 2007, Cotes du Roussillon Villages , France (LCBO# 151282 – $17.95)
The Roussillon is really more to be more Catalan than French and the wines are in some ways comparable to those from Spain’s Priorat. It’s a rugged mountainous region with rocky soil and the sunniest climate in France. The red grapes that dominate are Grenache and Carignan with some Syrah and Mourvèrdre. This is a typical red from the region with a generous nose exhibiting ripe black fruit, medicinal and mineral notes. It’s balanced and warm on the palate with soft fruit and low tannins which make it quite seductive. (Very quaffable too!) With enough fleshy acidity and stony minerality for balance and a hint of cedar on the finish, it’s a red with fine character. I paired it with the rustic Cape Vessey goat’s cheese from Fifth Town in Prince Edward County at recent tasting at Nancy’s Cheese and it stole the show. It would also work well with BBQed fare. Click here to find a bottle at a LCBO near you.

Anne Martin is a Toronto-based sommelier, writer and wine consultant. Learn more about Anne, including her cellar and tasting services at