Montecillo Rioja Reserva 2012: $18.05, Rioja, Spain

What the Experts say: Medium ruby colour; aromas and flavours of plum, herb and red berry with hints of spice; dry, medium bodied with, balanced acidity, light tannic structure and medium long finish.

What do I think:  Gotta love these Spanish reds – 2012 for under $20! Smooth and well rounded well taken care of before delivered and a smooth finish it does deliver!

Frontera Concha Y Toro – Cabernet Sauvignon 2019: $8.95, Chile

What the Experts say: Deep ruby colour; light cassis, plum, cherry, currant, raspberry, chocolate, earth & mint aroma; dry, medium bodied, with good berry flavour, through to a pleasant fruity finish.

What do I think:  Damn good for under $10 Canadian!  It must be almost free in the USA!!! An every day guzzler, nice aroma’s, tasty and an OK finish!

Frontera Concha Y Toro – Sauvignon Blanc 2019: $8.15, Chile

What the Experts say: Pale lemon with a green hue; aromas of white citrus, green apple and gooseberry; flavours of lemon-lime, lemongrass and mineral; dry, medium-high acidity, medium body, with a lingering finish of citrus zest.

What do I think:  Dry and refreshing on a hot summer afternoon!  Just like most Sauvignon Blanc it lacks some punch for me.  Tasty enough that I would not rule it out for another hot summer day.

Canada – In keeping with my visit to Belleville and the Bay of Quinte area in South Eastern Ontario I found some wines from the area in my local LCBO

Sandbanks French Kiss -Cabernet Merlot VQA: $19.95, Wellington, Ontario

What the Experts say:  This alluring blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot is generously fruity on the nose. The flavours are just as bold as the name, and oodles of friendly fruitiness jump out to smooch the palate! Ripe and lively tannins provide structure, while the vibrant acidity provides balance. Try with rack of lamb or grilled steaks.

What do I think:  I have a friend who tells me that great French reds smell like poo, yup that what she says…but taste great.  The same might hold true here. Overcoming the aroma, the taste is bold and beautiful.  Think of this with a nice steak.

Rosehall Run Defiant Pinot Noir 2018 VQA: $17.95, Ontario

What the Experts say: Medium bodied with plenty of fruit on the nose. Luscious red berries and delicate floral notes on the palate including raspberry, cherry, and strawberry with lively acidity followed by hints of sweet toasty oak and light smoky characters, long and lingering finish.

What do I think:  Not sure about this one, certainly would not be rushing out to buy it again?  Extremely dry and lacking flavour that most Pinots unfold.  Serve chilled to bring out what flavors it does have.  Maybe my bottle was a dud if you read above!!!!

Smoking Loon Pinot Grigio: $16.30, California

What the Experts say: This California pinot grigio is versatile and food-friendly. Subtle aromas of apple citrus and melon lead to a palate that is dry and light-bodied, with a balanced finish. This wine offers a wealth of fruit flavours, including apple, melon, plum and citrus. Serve well-chilled on its own, or pair with light pasta dishes.

What do I think:  This just goes down oh to quick! From flavourful aromas to taste.  This will be a crowd pleaser.

McManis Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, 2018: $21.95, California

What the Experts Say: With its medium Ruby hue, the 2018 McManis Family Vineyards Pinot Noir offers Strawberry preserves, fresh cherry mixed with Vanilla and Cream aromatics. Once in the mouth, these flavors are recognizable, in addition to a hint of Blueberry. Round and mouth-watering, the finish of this Pinot Noir is a well-balanced combination of fruit flavors from the grapes and the Vanilla and Cream contributed from the oak aging. The wine is silky on the palate with red fruit and vanilla undertones, culminating in a clean, lasting finish.

What do I think:  Great tasting wine, much too big and bold to be Pinot Noir in my mind.  More in the line of Merlot and Shiraz to me.

Canyon Road Pinot Noir 2018: $9.95, California

What the Experts Say: Canyon Road is based in California’s Alexander Valley and is known for well-made wines that express true varietal flavours. This red expresses varietal aromas of cherries and spice followed by flavours of cherry, spice and a touch of vanilla with a silky, medium-length finish. Enjoy with roasted poultry, or veal.

What do I think: Give this one a slight chill and chug a lug my Pinot Noir loving friends.  Cheap and extremely cheerful at under 10 Canadian dollars.

Soléna Grand Cuvée Pinot Noir 2017: $33.95, Willamette Valley, Oregon

What the Experts Say: There’s a fresh array of wild cherries and strawberries on offer here and the palate has silky and sleek, flowing tannins that carry well onto the rich, fresh finish. Score – 92. (James Suckling,, July 2, 2019)

What do I think:  Silky smooth, tasty and a great finish, a few extra bucks gets you a new dimension!

Red Knot Cabernet Sauvignon 2018: $19.05, Australia

What the Experts Say: Dark ruby colour; aromas of dark berry, light spice with herb and sweet oaky notes; dry, medium-full body, with a firm structure, black currant and plum flavours; and a long finish.

What do I think:  Wonderful aroma to start, a fresh and flavourful medium bodied with a “more please” finish!

Johnny Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2015: $16.95, Australia

What the Experts Say: Winemaker John Quarisa spent 24 years making big-brand wines before creating his own label. This Cabernet offers good quality, with impressively articulated dark fruit and cassis and a vanilla underbelly. A nice option for lamb burgers. (Vintages panel, June 2019)[The International Wine Awards Spain did not include a tasting note.] Score – 90-94. (International Wine Awards – Spain, 2018)

What do I think: “Q” is for Question – why have I stayed away from Australian reds for so long? Multiple Gold Medal Award winner in 2018 – need I say more?

Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio 2018: $17.00, Italy

What the Experts Say: Made using a blend of freshly-harvested pinot grigio and semi-dried verduzzo grapes. Enjoy aromas and flavours of ripe pear, citrus and apricot with mineral, nutty and honeyed notes. The wine is light and crisp with a clean finish. Serve with hors d’oeuvres, fish or white meats.

What do I think:  Light bright and flavourful, a nice pre-dinner drink on a hot summer day!

Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2019: $15.95, New Zealand – ONE AND DONE

What the Experts Say: Pale straw colour; intense aromas of gooseberry, lime, grass and asparagus; dry, medium bodied, crisp acidity, and flavours of bell pepper, gooseberry citrus; clean, crisp finish.

What do I think:  Not a big fan of Sauvignon Blanc and this one did nothing to change that!  Not sure that I have ever had a gooseberry, and now don’t care if I do! Dry, citrusy and flavourless – ONE & DONE for me – somebody gave it 90 points! Hmmmmm…

Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2014: $19.00, Portugal

What Do The Experts Say: LBV Port is aged from four to six years in wood, and it’s ready to drink when bottled. Deep ruby in colour with aromas of fresh dark cherry and raspberry. The palate is sweet and full bodied, with supple tannins and lively acidity. Enjoy flavours of plum, blackberry and cassis. Serve with rich cheese or chocolate desserts.

What Do I Think: Late Bottled Vintage often misleads one to think expensive and it is NOT!  What it is, is closer to that last glass of solid red that you had with dinner.  Sweet of course but no flavours that you might find with Ruby or Tawny Ports.

Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2014: $18.55, Portugal

What The Experts Say:  An opaque red-purple colour leads to immediately appealing aromas and flavours; of spicy wood, plum, raisin/dried fruit, milk chocolate, black cherry, cranberry and fruitcake. On the palate, it is sweet, full-bodied, rich and lush with rounded tannins and a long ripe and lingering finish.

What Do I Think:  Very solid and flavorful, perfect with desert or on its own – you know it is now time to sit back and relax.