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Good Wine in Montreal?

I'll be there tomorrow for a few days. Any recommendation on good, affordable wine?

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  1. Are you referring to wine stores, restaurant wine lists, wine bars and/or specific bottles? You also might consider providing a few guidelines as to the types of wine you like and what you consider affordable.

    7 Replies
    1. re: carswell

      Well, since no one seems to be waiting for specifics...

      Wine in Montreal www.chowhound.com/topics/433861

      1. re: carswell

        Hi, I'm sorry I was doing laundry. Yes I mean specific bottles that I could buy in a store (to bring it to a BYOB for example), red wine, i like different types of red, medium or full body, i do not like merlot, aside from that i like any grape (shiraz, garnache, sangiovese, nebbiolo, petit shiraz, cabernet, cabernet franc, pinot noir, zinfandel/primitivo, tempranillo...) i love red wine and by affordable I mean less than $20. I guess i'll be eating mostly french.

        1. re: gurmanda

          Here are a few affordable reds that I've enjoyed over the last year. (I should also add a disclaimer: my tastes do not embrace the high alcohol, heavily oaked fruit bombs coming out of much of the New World these days.) Don't have time to check current prices (most are under $20, two or three are probably a couple of dollars more -- but remember that the prices include 15% sales tax) or availability. That you can do yourself at www.saq.com

          And let me reiterate the advice given below. Most stores, especially the Sélection outlets, have knowledgeable and helpful staff who have tasted many of the wines they stock. Don't hesitate to ask for assistance.

          2001 Rioja, Reserva, Ijalba
          2002 Cahors, Clos Triguedina
          2003 Côtes de Bourg, Château Bujan
          2003 Etna, Ulysse, Duca di Castelmonte
          2004 Burgenland (Austria), Blaufränkisch, Heinrich
          2004 Coteaux d'Aix en Provence, Château Revelette
          2004 Coteaux du Languedoc, Bronzinelle, Domaine St-Martin de la Garrigue
          2004 Coteaux du Languedoc, Les Garrigues, Domaine Clavel
          2004 Coteaux du Languedoc, Mas des Chimères
          2004 Douro, Quinta de la Rosa
          2004 Douro, Quinta do Infantado
          2004 Madiran, Torus
          2004 Minervois, Les Plots, Château Coupe Roses
          2004 Nemea (Greece), Agiorgitiko Driopi, Domaine Tselepos
          2004 Rioja, Graciano, Ijalba
          2004 Rosso Conero, San Lorenzo, Umani Ronchi
          2004 Teroldego-Rotaliano, Reserva, Mezzacorona
          2004 Vin de pays des Côtes-de-Thongue, Ponant, Domaine Magellan
          2005 Beaujolais, L'Ancien, Domaine des Terres Dorées
          2005 Costières de Nîmes, Les Galets Rouges, Château Mourgues du Grès
          2005 Côtes du Rhône, Nature, Perrin
          2005 Sicilia, Nero d'Avola, Rapitala
          2005 Tasmania, Pinot Noir, Ninth Island
          2005 Touraine-Mesland, Vieilles Vignes, Clos de La Briderie
          2005 Umbria, Vitiano, Falesco
          2005 Vin de pays d'Oc, Terres de Méditerranée, Dupéré Barrera
          2006 Barossa, Bush Vine Grenache, Yalumba
          2006 Bekka Valley (Lebanon), Les Émirs, Clos Saint-Thomas (the $24 Château Saint-Thomas is even better)

          1. re: carswell

            > 2005 Sicilia, Nero d'Avola, Rapitala

            Had this one on the weekend and just couldn't drink it. Everyone else insisted the bottle wasn't flawed, but it really seemed poor to me. (Might have been cooked, despite the gang's failure to find it offensive.) I'll second the dozen or so other picks I've tried.

            You also mentioned:
            > 2006 Barossa, Bush Vine Grenanche, Yalumba

            Same winery's Shiraz–Viognier is also a good example of a drinkable fruit bomb, though I'm not sure I've had the currently available 2005.

            A few even cheaper picks, most of them very widely available:

            2004 Tsantalis Rapsani (Greece)
            2004 Umani Ronchi Medoro
            2006 Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi
            2004 Michele Chiarlo Le Orme Barbera d'Asti
            2005 La Vieille Ferme Cotes-du-Ventoux (have only tried red)
            2006 Domaine La Hitaire Les Tours, Cotes de Gascogne

            1. re: Mr F

              "Had this one on the weekend and just couldn't drink it."
              Sounds like an off bottle. Tasted the Rapitala last winter at Rumi -- am pretty sure it was the 2005 because the 2004 had vanished and the 2005 just arrived -- and found it as reliable as ever, as good a $14 wine as you'll find.

              "2006 Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi"
              No fair! Not red!
              (If whites had been allowed, my list would have been at least twice as long.)

              1. re: carswell

                Thanks Carswell and Mr F for these picks. Even some locals like me can benefit from having some help picking good wines from the SAQ - I usually find it pretty overwhelming.

                How about those whites carswell? I know the OP didn't ask for that, but I would appreciate it.

                1. re: Keramel

                  Busy with work. Will do so when I can find a few minutes.

      2. Any wine you can possibly think of is available in Montreal. Do you want to buy wine? SAQ select (Government liquor stores) have excellent choices.

        I guess it depends, what are you eating? Are there good wines from Quebec? Well, yes and no... there are many wineries and the vintages are touch and go yet some are excellent. Mostly whites and blushes.

        1. for drinking :
          BU and Pullman are the 2 main wine bars (restaurant, you have to order food, but they offer "tapas" like food) in Montreal, they offer a good variety of wine by the glasses.

          The other suggestion I have, is "Les 3 Petits Bouchons"; I went there earlier this summer, and had a great time; they have a small but very interresting wine list, mostly french (bio) wines.

          http://troispetitsbouchons.com/

          for buying :

          there is only one vendor of alcool in Québec, the SAQ. Some stores, the "Signature" store, downtown, is the store where they have the most exclusive wines ( $$$$$$$$ ), but you can usually find good things in some "Selection" stores around town, in particular the ones on Laurier St. and Beaubien St.

          http://www.saq.qc.ca for more info.

          but the prices, for "generic" wines will be higher than what you can find in the USA and for some wines ( and spirits) in Ontario ( LCBO)

          12 Replies
          1. re: Maximilien

            Wait for Carnival .... CARIBOU !!!!

            1. re: Maximilien

              "the Signature store, downtown, is the store where they have the most exclusive wines ( $$$$$$$$ )"
              While the store is awash in pricey bottles, that's not an entirely accurate description. They also stock a selection of more affordable bottle that the SAQ receives in quantities too small to distribute through the Sélection network. Earlier this summer, Bruno Clair's fabulous 2005 Marsannay rosé was available only at the Signature and for just over C$20 (including sales taxes), significantly less than the US$25 (excluding sales taxes) it was going for in places like Minneapolis. It's also the main distribution point for the Joblot Givrys and Dönnhoff Rieslings, for example, most of which run under $40.

              1. re: carswell

                You can buy surprisingly good choices at many grocery stores. You may be surprised. My IGA has California, Italian, South African, Australians and others. You may want to have a stroll through a local grocery store. Although the SAQ (societe des alcools) runs all wine and spirit sales they have allowed many good choices to be had at grocery and in the areas with BYOB restaurants many Depanneurs (corner stores) have a pretty amazing selection. And the best part the prices are always regulated pretty close to the SAQ prices. Give that a shot. Ok, it may not be too pretentious but it's what we Quebeckers do...

                1. re: execk2

                  There's no disputing taste but... NO!

                  There are a very few drinkable wines on sale at grocery stores and deps but that's the best that can be said for them. All are industrial products that undergo gawd knows what kind of manipulation to produce a semi-palatable beverage. All are bottled in Quebec (some are brought over in bulk, others are made locally from imported grape juice or must). None are vintage dated. Grape varieties cannot mentioned anywhere on the packaging. At the retail level, they are stored and handled by people who treat them like they were canned green beans. What's more, the prices are ridiculous and, unless things have changed recently, you pay 15% sales tax on top of the list price whereas the list price on products sold at the SAQ includes sales tax. Case in point: the thin, generic, non-vintage Beaujolais Nuit de la St-Jean sells in deps and grocery stores for $14.80. $14.80 + 15% = $17. Brun's gorgeous, rich, artisanally produced (small yields, native yeasts, minimal or no chaptalization, minimal sulphur) 2005 L'Ancien Terres Dorées, the very model of a Beaujolais, retails for $16.35 including taxes at the SAQ. It's a no-brainer!

                  1. re: carswell

                    Grocery stores sell crap. I wouldn't drink it or cook with it. I think we can do much better than recommend someone shop at the grocery store for wine. Now, were this a Trader Joe nation, that might be different (2 buck chuck being the exception - can you say gag me with a spoon?). The SAQ is really your best bet. My experience with 99% of them is that if you ask questions, they will be more than happy to answer them, make suggestions all the time staying within a specified price range.

                    1. re: maisonbistro

                      Oh come on.... here we go. Anyway, give it a walk through unless of course you insist. Sure the SAQ is your best bet but if you are not from Montreal why have someone go all over the place trying to find one when a decent wine can be found at a SAQ grocery store: selections are here: http://www.saq.com/pls/devsaq/Recherc...
                      Choose english, on the left, select groceries from the Directory pull down.

                      But hey, to each his own. Have fun.

                      1. re: execk2

                        Isn't that a different matter in smaller towns where there is no SAQ outlet, and the SAQ actually has some of their wines in stock in grocery stores?

                        I'd certainly have no reason to shop at a supermarket or dépanneur, as I'm a short walk from the SAQ signature at Beaubien métro. I do also pick up wine at the smaller SAQ outlets near marché Jean-Talon if I'm walking that way, but the selection is less. Even if I'm buying ordinary, everyday cheapo wine (which is ridiculously overpriced here, alas, and returning from Europe it is most painful) I buy it at the SAQ, not a grocery or dépanneur.

                        gurmanda, where will you be in Montréal?

                        1. re: execk2

                          "Sure the SAQ is your best bet but if you are not from Montreal why have someone go all over the place trying to find one"

                          Because referring visitors to the grocery store for good wine (as requested in thread title) is like sending them to McDonalds for terroir cuisine. (Yes, I have had grocery store wine recently.)

                          And it really is not a matter of going all over the place to find an SAQ outlet. They're not on every corner, but there aren't many parts of town where you need to travel farther than a few blocks.

                          1. re: Mr F

                            Unfortunately there are some areas that are very poorly served by the SAQ ... but I doubt our friend gurmanda would be staying in them.

                          2. re: execk2

                            With the amount of SAQ outlets in Montreal, many "Classique" and "Express" being located near BYOB spots there's no way one should have to drink plonk from the corner store. The truth is you can find things like Castillo de Monserran ($8.95), Finca Flinchman ($8.50), Fuzion ($8.20) for less than $10 that are available everywhere in the SAQ outlets and many more for under $15 or even $10. Corner store and grocery store wines really are a last resort when people get too cheery during dinner and it's too late to go to SAQ.

                            1. re: Campofiorin

                              Yep, you've covered my favourite cheapo plonks... though I'd take somewhat better wine to a resto.

                              We only visit our corner dépanneur at quarter to 11pm - not often, but it does happen, I'm not proud to say.

                              The SAQ Express at the corner of Mont-Royal and St-Urbain (there is another near Christophe-Colomb, and no doubt others) is open until 10pm, but of course it takes someone sober enough to drive or ride a bicycle to get there from my place ...