Toronto Life - The Dish

The latest buzz on restaurants, chefs, bars, food shops and food events. Sign up for the Dish newsletter for weekly updates. Send tips to



Eight blessedly cheap wines you can bring to any dinner party with confidence (and change in your pocket)

Bargain bottles WHITE
No. 1
Cono Sur 2010 Viognier
$10 | Colchagua Valley, Chile | 89 points Cono Sur makes the world’s best $10 viognier. There are classic aromas of star fruit, lychee, spearmint and pepper with orange marmalade and spice. It’s mid-weight and a touch sweet, yet lively. It’s a great aperitif white. LCBO 64287

No. 2
Goats Do Roam 2010 White
$11.95 | South Africa | 88 points Exotic and complex, this blend of several white grapes offers a generous nose of pineapple, star fruit, licorice and spice. It’s mid-weight and fleshy, yet fresh with a slightly hot finish. Very good length for $12. Chill well. LCBO 237313
No. 3
Marqués de Riscal 2010 Rueda
$11.25 | Rueda, Spain | 88 points A vibrant verdejo from northeast of Madrid. The nose is a veritable citrus salad: grapefruit, star fruit and lemon grass. It’s mid-weight, fresh but still rich with quenching acidity, spritz and warmth. Ideal for sauvignon blanc fans. LCBO 36822
No. 4
Big House White
$12.95 | California, U.S.| 88 points Four aromatic grapes—malvasia blanca, viognier, muscat canelli and rousanne—give this blend a nose of fennel, lavender, star fruit and musk. It’s medium-full bodied, smooth, a touch sweet and very flavourful. Serve cold. LCBO 173286
No. 5
Concha y Toro 2010 Xplorador Carmenère
$9.95 | Central Valley, Chile | 88 Points Chile’s signature grape brings complexity and depth. This is a great buy, with notes of blackberry, chocolate, mocha and cedar. It’s medium- to full-bodied, smooth and well-balanced. LCBO 177816
No. 6
Castaño 2009 la Casona De Castaño Monastrell
$8.75 | Yecla, Spain | 87 Points Southeastern Spain’s monastrell grape makes dark, thick and juicy reds. This is a full-bodied, soft edition with blueberry pie, pepper and lavender notes. It’s juicy and rich with firm tannin. LCBO 143743
No. 7
Farnese 20009 Casele Vecchio Montepulciano D’Abruzzo
$9.85 | Abruzzi, Italy | 88 Points Fragrant, ripe plum–blackberry fruit is well meshed with cedar, leather, licorice and chocolate. It’s smooth, dense and not too tannic, with generous, focused fruit. Decant for 30 minutes. LCBO 612788
No. 8
Trapiche 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
$8.95 | Mendoza, Argentina | 89 points Instead of shelling out $25 on a California cabernet, spend half that on this sturdy cab sauv. It offers considerable oak resin, cedar and cocoa around ripe plum fruit. It’s dense with soft tannin. LCBO 614699
Scores: David Lawrason assigns scores on a 100-point scale. They reflect a wine’s overall quality. A rating of 95 to 100 is outstanding; 90 to 94 excellent; 85 to 89 very good; 80 to 84 good.