Every so often I’ll come across wines where I find myself thinking, “How the hell did they do that for this price?” and that is most certainly the case here.

I usually find the cheaper end of VQA rather rough going to drink any more than a small glass (at a wedding, gallery opening, or a similar event), and yet with these two bottlings both priced at $9.95, I found myself saying, “Bloody hell, I could drink that!”

Granted, these are both multi-vintage blends, but to be quite honest with you, at this price point, who is worrying about that? Especially when they are as thoroughly decent as these two are.

Produced by Burlington co-packers Organic Beverage Solutions from a blend of purchased grapes, juice, and finished wines, the BRUNCH label is the brainchild of Matt Sterling, a chap whose family has been in the wine industry for quite some time, meaning that he has access to some seriously competitively priced fruit. And I’m pretty sure that it is access to said fruit that allows them to produce such great value wines.


NV BRUNCH “White Field Blend”, Ontario VQA, Canada (12.5% Alcohol, Residual Sugar 11 g/l) LCBO $9.95 (750ml bottle)

The wine currently on shelves is a “field blend” of Ontario Vidal, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Muscat, although this blend will change from lot to lot throughout the course of the year. This wine is a little sweeter than I’d usually choose, and the perfumed Vidal, Gewürz, and  Muscat add perhaps just a tiny bit too much fruity, grapey character. All that being said, this is a charming, tangy, juicy wine that has more than enough acid (hello there, Riesling!) to carry that slightly wild (Vidal, I’m looking at you), exuberant fruit character. 

The nose exhibits prominent tropical fruits (pineapple, mango, and lychee), as well as bags of citrus (lemon, lime, and clementine). It’s an appealing and highly aromatic bouquet, that’s for sure, and perhaps it smells a little sweeter than it is perceived on the palate.

In the mouth, the zesty acid profile is all about similar citrus elements. It’s certainly refreshing, especially when given a good chill. It does open up when it gets warmer in the glass, but I feel that it shows at its sprightly best when well-chilled.

It’s reasonably versatile when it comes to pairings. I’d suggest light salads, poached fish/shrimp, roast chicken/turkey, tuna tartare, and glazed ham.

3.5 apples out of 5

NV BRUNCH “Red Field Blend”, Ontario VQA, Canada (12.7% Alcohol, Residual Sugar 9 g/l) LCBO $9.95 (750ml bottle)

Again, this is labelled as a “field blend”, although I’m pretty damn sure that all of the blending took place indoors. No matter, as the final product is pretty damn tasty.

With this current lot of BRUNCH red, we are looking at Baco Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Gamay, and this cuvée appears to work really well together. Such Ontario red blends have been around for some time, with varying degrees of winemaking success, but this one gets that crunchy, red/black fruit-driven, approachable style right on the nose.

The hybrid factor doesn’t play quite as prominent a role as one would think here, as the other varieties seem to smother the rougher aromatic and flavour edges in luscious, ripe fruit. There is a gorgeous spicy note on the nose too, one that carries through to the palate. 

Speaking of the palate, the tannins are soft and smooth, as one would expect with fully ripened fruit from these varieties. It’s built to be gulpable/crushable, and that’s certainly the case, although I feel that it shows much better with a little bit of a chill on it, especially through the warmer months.

I’m not telling you that this is a deeply complex glass of wine, but in the assemblage itself, there’s a lot more going on than one might first imagine.

For me, I feel this wine works best with burgers, pizza, pasta, sausages, charcuterie, and barbecue ribs. It’s pretty versatile and certainly more medium bodied in style.

3.5 apples out of 5

(Both wines are scored of a possible five apples)