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"House" Wine Recommendations

For special meals, etc. I'll splurge on a nice Barolo, boutique Ontario wines,etc, but for everyday quaffing I usually go with the Ruffino Orvieto (white) and Osborne Solaz Shiraz Tempranillo. What's your recommendation for a personal "House/condo/apt." wine?

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  1. house red - Rabbitz have been drinking riojas chez nous since last trip to Spain... not too brand loyal as long as it stays around $15 /bottle for everyday swill.

    house white - I buy riesling, and I like Inniskillin just fine, thanks.

    house bubbles - I buy segura viudas. M. Rab buys cordoniu (again, that Spanish thing).

    When we splash out, we break into the Bordeaux collection (favor pauillac or pomerol), or drink pink (champers... I like Laurent-Perrier).

    1. Depends what I'm eating...

      For lamb, and rich "meaty" dishes, I've been drinking DeKrans 2004 Red Stone Reserve (blend of Touriga Nacional and Cab Sauv). This wine was discounted at the LCBO some time back, and I bought tonnes. Great long finish with balanced tannic structure.

      For some heavy pasta/cheese dishes, I'm partial to Ontario Baco's, and sway toward Henry of Pelham, which I have found to be the most consistently good.

      1. I am not a wine snob. For everyday drinking, when really all I want is something easy to drink and cheap, I like Farnese Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, $7 for a 750ml bottle. I discovered it because it's also the house red at Terroni, maybe it's just the atmosphere there, but we always end up ordering more.

        1. Used to really enjoy a white from Chile...Ochagavia for about $9...haven't seen it in the LCBO for a few years though

          1. Definitely not a wine snob. Just learning really. We like to experiment and buy different wines - sometimes this results in a pleasant surprise, sometimes it results in spitting it out into the sink. So we like to keep a few reliable bottles around just in case our adventure fails.
            We really like Cave des Papes Heritage Cotes-du-Rhone - it's around $15.
            Something else to consider - I know most of you out there will cringe at the thought - for good value and for being good to the environment, for an everyday wine French Rabbit Cabernet Sauvignon in the tetra pack works for us. It's around $13 for 1000ml (instead of 750) - and it's great for canoe trips! (I'm not sure I would ever serve it to guests though...)

            1. For a "house wine" I guess it has to be something widely available from the LCBO or Vintages regular list.

              Goats Do Roam is pretty dependable and versatile
              (though I'm contemplating an animal wine boycott)

              Reserve Perrin is pretty consistent
              (for a French vino under $15)

              Also, if you can track down any of the Finca Flichman "Expressiones" (Argentina) that were around the past month or so, buy as much as you can. Believe the hype; these wines are a great value.

              7 Replies
              1. re: A Train

                Totally agree with the Reserve Perrin - forgot about that one. Have you tried the organic Perrin Nature Cotes-du-Rhone? If so, what do you think?

                1. re: tochipotle

                  Eyed it at the LCBO but haven't yet.
                  Can you offer any advice?

                  1. re: A Train

                    Sorry I can't offer any advice - I haven't tried it yet either! I think I'm quite the amateur, but now that you've reminded me of it - I'll try it out, and I'll let you know. (to the best of my abilities!)

                    1. re: A Train

                      Hey A Train.
                      Tried it last night, and was pretty underwhelmed. Not much of a finish, and overall, it just tasted....weak...don't know if that's a good way to express it, but that's all I kept thinking. To me, it didn't seem to have any legs and it was completely overshadowed by the second bottle we opened (of a different wine of course). Wasn't too memorable, and I don't think I'll buy it again - others around the table agreed (admittedly none of us are experts). I'll stick with the Perrin Reserve.

                    2. re: tochipotle

                      yeah - Perrin's a go-to for us as well...

                    3. re: A Train

                      Yup, got some of the Finca Flinchman 2004...great value. Although I am pretty certain there's none left (I got there the day after the release and picked up the last 6 bottles at the Summerhill LCBO).

                      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                        SWS, you're probably right. The LCBO site (i'm bored, k?) says there's 12 bottles of the Malbec/Cab at Dupont and Spadina and a scattering of singles elsewhere. Not sure I would trust that info though.

                    4. Through a process of trial and error (mostly error) I think I've tried every Ontario VQA red on the market...despite my best efforts I find Ontario reds fall into one of two categories:
                      1. dull, bland grape juice
                      2. Earthy and musky,bordering on foxy

                      Is there an Ontario red worthy of trying these days?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Finnegan

                        Have you tried Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir? People keep suggesting it, though I've yet to try.

                        Second thought: If you're not liking Ontario reds, why keep trying? Unless you've got 100-mile-diet-inspired reasons, there's no reason to drink red from an unappealing region. Plus you can satisfy your patriotism by dropping $60 on some ice wine, no?

                        1. re: Finnegan

                          Lol, inexperienced pallet. Stick with raspberry flavoured motor oil shiraz from OZ.

                          1. re: The Macallan 18

                            Touche, Macallan.
                            Any sincere reccomendations though?

                          2. re: Finnegan

                            Yes, especially Pinot Noirs from small producers like Flat Rock and Mike Weir. For heartier reds I especially enjoy the Baco Noir Reserve from Herndner and the Strewn Terroir Series reds such as the Cabernets.

                          3. Good thread, and great suggestions for me to try.

                            My "house" wines:

                            RED: Villa Regia ($8); E&J Turning Leaf Pinot Noir ($11); Farnese Sangiovese ($8); Torres Sangre de Torro ($12)
                            WHITE: Jackson Triggs Sauvignon Blanc ($9); Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio ($10)
                            SPARKLING: Segura Vidas Brut ($14); Seaview ($11)

                            1. SPARKLING: Seguras Vidas Brut and Seaview from Australia, both methode champenoise (i.e. bottle fermentation)...far from real champagne (French) but very good for the price

                              1. Sorry sir, neither of those mentioned sparklers are made in the tradtional method. Both are made by the 'Tank Method' (i.e.injected with co2). Hence the prices...under $20.

                                1. Red: Deen de Bortoli Vat 8 Shiraz 2004 (Australia)
                                  White: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)
                                  Sparkling: Domaine Carneros 2002 Brut (California) - true methode champenoise for $35. Not much left on the Vintages shelves.

                                  1. Our "house" red is Terre Rouge's Tete a Tete (which depending on the year can be either any or all components of a Chateauneuf du Pape depending on the year) or Vino Noceto's Nutz Red Wine or their Sangiovese. The Nutz can also be 100% sangiovese or a blend of some of their other Italian varietals. Whatever we are opening depends on what we are having for dinner.
                                    As far as the white goes, it's usually a Bogle Chenin or Sauvignon Blanc. Always have one of those in the fridge.

                                    1. I've been serving Bogle Petite Syrah, Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc, Ch. St. Jean Fume Blanc, and any number of Italian reds I buy on sale

                                      1. Much depends upon where you live: what's available where you are may not be available at all where I am, and vice-versa.

                                        That said, I generally don't have "house wines" per se, but rather -- when I need inexpensive, everyday "house wines," I usually go out and buy one or two cases of wine from one of a handful of trusted retailers -- a bottle of this, a bottle of that, maybe two bottles of that one . . . these wines almost always come from the Languedoc, Loire, Rhône and Beauolais regions of France (with lesser amounts from the Sud-Ouest, Alsace or the Jura); the Douro, Dão and Alentejo regions of Portugal; or the Rioja (Alta or Alavesa), Ribera del Deuro, La Mancha and Priorato regions of Spain.

                                        1. You must try this wine!!! 02 Fontal Crinaza, Castilla-La Mancha 85% Tempranillo 15% Cab Sauvignon, for $6.29 at PJwine (www.pjwine.com), NYC. Solid, delicious, versatile, medium-bodied, blackberries, cherries, chocolate, excellent balance of bitterness in the finish, tannins and acidity, a screaming value.

                                          1. What I said when this came up last August is still current except I'm out of #5:

                                            For my taste, the basic pairing types I always want to have on hand are (1) Alsatian-type white (also suitable for aperitif), (2) tart white, (3) light red, (4) heavy red, and (5) harsh, rustic red.

                                            I'm always looking for bargains so the labels change all the time, but I usually have a dry gewurtztraminer, a sauvignon blanc, a light young red, a heavier older red, and a cheap Bordeaux or similar (specifically to go with cheese). Currently I've got:

                                            2004 Navarro muscat blanc
                                            2004 Haute Victoire Quincy
                                            2004 J. Heinrich "Siglos" zweigelt
                                            1998 Luca Abrate "Casteloé" barbera
                                            2003 Luján de Cuyo "Trilogie" cab-malbec-merlot


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              Conundrum (Caymus, though the named doesn't appear on the label any longer)

                                              PN - Acacia Carneros
                                              Chianti - Gabbiano Reserva Chianti
                                              Cab - Groth Napa, or Joseph Phelps Napa
                                              Zin - Ridge Sonoma Station, or Picchetti Santa Cruz Mtn.

                                              Same link at Robert cited. We're trying some Spanish reds, but have not decided yet.

                                              In years past, we'd gather two mixed cases of whites in about April (in CO, our white wine consumption was a bit more seasonal, than in AZ), all within a set price-point. We'd do a taste-off and declare our "Slammer White" for the season. Now, we gauge all "comers" against the Conundrum, but it has won for the last five years. The reds vary from year to year, and are based more on the actual meals, than on much else. If our menus change dramatically, we'll branch out and include specific wines, but these cover most of our bases, and are purchased in case quantity, month in, month out. All are in the ~US$20/btl. range with some minor exceptions.

                                              It should depend on the foods, and the style of foods, that you dine on, and enjoy the most.


                                            2. Since I no longer drink wine every day, I usually pull something out of my cellar for dinner. However, I do tend to have "cellar protectors" that I guess qualify as everyday wines. IFor those times I am not going to pull something from the cellar and just want something easy to drink, bought a case each of Louis Bernard Côtes du Rhône Villages and Sebastiani
                                              Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County for reds and Evans & Tate Chardonnay Margaret River and Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough for whites. Unfortunately, they are almost gone so I will have to replace them before the siblings decend on the cellar at Easter.

                                              1. ive been drinking avalon napa cab. its like 9.99 a bottle on winex

                                                its pretty tasty

                                                haha, im a wine newbie sorry.

                                                1. I like Guenoc Petit Syrah (the cab is also good but the Petit Syrah is much better) - $10 from California and Los Alamos Malbec - $11 from Argentina.

                                                  1. It just totally depends on what food I'm eating with the wine...

                                                    I can find a "house-price-point" wine in almost any varietal, but the specific wine I'm drinking really keys off the food I'm eating.

                                                    1. We tend to have a couple of house reds and whites to avoid boredom of a single wine. We also tend to favor different wines in different seasons - maybe the spanish reds or CdR in the summer, maybe a cab or a bordeaux blend in the fall or winter. For whites we usually go for NZ Sav Blanc, an unoaked Chardonnay, or an interesting blend. Having a few red and a few white house wines allows us to have some lattitude to match up food with the wine.

                                                      I have found a lot of the wines we consider house wines by just trying the various $5 to $10 offerings at Trader Joe's, and then stocking up on something we like. I am not a big fan of their Charles Shaw (aka $2chuck). The better choices have often been some of the imports.

                                                      1. For reds, its Spain or Italy for our everyday wines:

                                                        Las Rocas Vinas Viejas Garnacha
                                                        Di Majo Norante Sangiovese
                                                        Masi Compofiorin

                                                        Whites tend to be Marlborough sauvignon blancs (Huia, Highfield, or Giesen) or Alsatian rieslings (the Hugel is good for the price).

                                                        1. Drinking a fresh, crisp Grechetto (05 Chiorri Umbria IGT) right now and looking forward to summer. I love Italian whites, there is such a wonderful variety of grapes and regions, good values. Arneis and Cortese from Piedmont, Vermentino from Sardinia, Inzolia from Sicily, Austrian and Alsatian varietals from Alto-Adige...

                                                          1. Matua Sauvignon Blanc : House White
                                                            Schramsberg Mirabelle : House Bubbles
                                                            Montevina Barbera / Cellar No. 8 Zinfandel : House Red