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Dec 10, 2009 07:27 PM

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 :)

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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JPJ

      I second the Village's pretty delicious.

      The 2007 Megalomaniac "Sonofabitch" Pinot Noir ($25) is also quite delicious and food friendly.

    2. The current release of Chateau St. Jean Cab Sauv is 19.95, and extremely rich for the price.

      1. Go to an lcbo with a good vintages selection and check out the piemonte section for Barberas. I've tried a few in this price range and they were excellent. They pair perfectly with tomato sauce/meat sauce based dishes.

        1. 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.

          1. 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

            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.

            2 Replies
            1. re: syoung

              LOVE the Muga Reserva. Why I remember when that was under 20.

              1. re: Googs

                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.