Good $20-$25 red wine from LCBO?
I'd like to find a good red wine as a hostess gift - preferably one that go well with tomatoe sauce pasta/pizza.
I did a search and found some great sub-$15 recommendations but I'd like to find something in a higher category.
Thanks in advance :)
Generally speaking, tomatoes are high in acidity, so a wine must have enough acidity to match the dish. It also depends what else is being served with the pasta; with shrimp or fish, you're looking at lighter bodied vs. with meat you're looking for a fuller bodied. Pizza is seldom light, so you're looking for heavier bodied but still with enough acidity to cut through the oils. Generally, I'd be looking at sangiovese such as a chianti or a tempranillo, valpolicella, barbera.
Having said that and looking at recent releases to ensure availability, my recommendations in your price range are:
ESPORÃO RESERVA $24.95 (note: their 2006 vintages is, IMHO, their best in years)
MUGA RESERVA $24.95
SELVAPIANA CHIANTI RUFINA $24.95
ZENATO RIPASSA VALPOLICELLA $24.95
Not aware of any good barberas (which are lighter bodied and thus good with tomato based seafood pasta) currently in stock but the above are all quite good with a meaty tomato pasta dish or pizza.
I agree with Googs that Peppoli is a good choice for <$20 but disagree that spending more is not worth it.
Yes, the 2001 vintage went for $19.95 and the last Muga Reserva listed under $20 at LCBO. I remember it had a high score by Parker and folks were scooping this up by the case full! I bought a case myself but unfortunately drank my last bottle a couple of years ago. The current vintage (2005, I think) is, IMHO, very good - fuller bodied (the 2001 was quite light for a tempranillo) and more complex than the 2001 and with sufficient structure and stuffing to store for years.
Why higher? You don't have to go too terribly high to find a good Italian wine. I just don't recommend going lower than $8. Don't find that out the hard way. Or if you do, have a pillow nearby.
I think a Cab Sauv would stomp on your food. You could go with a merlot or primitivo depending on how your pasta or pizza is topped. Me, I generally go with the readily available Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico for $19.95. I suppose you could go with the Riserva version for $24.90 if you feel the need to spend more.
If you want to go local I suggest Le Clos Jordanne's 2007 Village Reserve pinot noir or the 2007 Thirty Bench Red.
Otherwise Columbia Crest Merlot, Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel, Bremerton Shiraz/Cab or if you want a wine that is more background to the food try a Tomassi Ripasso.