Living life, one glass at a time

Category: Great deals

Have you tried this affordable bubbly red wine? The lowdown on Lambrusco.

Hello my wine-loving friends!

I know it must be a shock to see Wining with Mel re-appearing out of the blue like this after such a long absence. Five months, to be exact. Rest assured that despite the lack of posts, you have not left my thoughts. I have been battling a heavy dose of guilt for not writing. Did you think of me a little while I was gone?

It goes without saying that coming back to the “real world” after a year off – first traipsing around Europe, then sailing around the Caribbean – has been a bit of an adjustment. I have gone from a completely unstructured life on a boat to being back in an office 5 days a week. I have gone from wearing flips flops or going barefoot to donning high heels. Continue reading

Rainy-day Oregon pinot noirs

Oh spring. You are such a tease. Last week, it was 26 degrees Celsius (let me translate that for my American readers: 79 degrees Fahrenheit), which is amazingly warm for April in Ottawa. I even biked to work for the first time this season, and it was glorious! But this morning when I woke up, it was cloudy and cold, and when I let the dog out, I kid you not it was freezing rain. Really, spring? Really?? Come ON!

Rainy Day

For the purpose of this post, let’s just pretend it’s still beautiful and sunny, like spring is not holding out on us. Continue reading

Resurfacing…with big news



I know, I know. It has been a while. My excuses are valid, I assure you, but I don’t want to bore you with them. Let’s just say that I have been struck with a case of shifting priorities, and unfortunately this blog was one of the things that got shuffled to the bottom of the list, along with many other things that are dear to me. But it was all for a good cause! Read on, and you will see: this is a post of big news…

Continue reading

Dreaming of warmer climes with great-value whites


It is now day 4 of wearing the puffy coat and big snow boots

You know it’s bad when you start dreaming of warmer weather…in November.

That’s right, it’s not even officially winter and we already have a foot of snow in Ottawa…and it’s here to stay.


View from the front door

In wine terms, normally as the cold weather settles in, you reach for fuller-bodied wines to accompany hearty winter meals like stews and roasts.

Me on the other hand? I am dreaming of warmer temperatures and my wine choices are reflecting that. Instead of stocking up on big, bold reds, I seem to be buying—of all things—lighter-bodied fragrant whites. Is it just a major case of denial? Winter is here, get over it, Mel! But no, I’d prefer to bury my head in the sand and pretend that nicer weather is just around the corner, despite all the signs to the contrary. By the way, whose idea was it to have the sun set at 4:30? Continue reading

Amazing holiday savings at the LCBO

Hello fellow wine lovers and bargain hunters,

As I’m sure many of you are aware, the LCBO has a 12 Days of Holiday Cheer promotion going on, where each day, a different bottle of wine is drastically reduced in price.

Today, Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz-Cab is in the spotlight at $4.50 OFF!! Normally $16.95, today only, it is $12.45.


That is a great deal, folks. Go out and stock up if you like a rich, full-bodied Australian wine, perfect for pairing with red meat off the grill. Mind you, I can’t speak from experience, because  I haven’t actually tried this wine before. But you can bet that a few bottles will soon be in my possession.

Don’t forget to check online each day leading up to Christmas to see which wine is on sale. And if you acquire a few bottles during this promo, let me know if you enjoy them!

Happy *discounted* wining!



A Steal from Vintages


Do I have a great bottle for you today! It’s from a recent Vintages release.  What is this “Vintages release” you may ask? At the LCBO, there are two sections: there is the general listing, which is the stock that is always available and takes up the biggest section of the store. Then there is the Vintages section, which offers more specialty wines. With the exception of Vintages Essentials, which tend to be the popular favourites of the Vintages section and are always available, the selection in Vintages is constantly changing. Every two weeks, it introduces 125 new fine wines from around the world. This is known as the “Vintages release,” and it is a pretty exciting time for wine geeks in Ontario. The LCBO even prints out a magazine to announce the upcoming release. It always has great pictures and interesting articles, followed by a list of the newly released wines.  You can pick up a copy about a week before the release at the LCBO, or read the digital copy online.

Now that we have that definition out of the way, let’s get on with the good stuff!

Yesterday we had a barbecue to go to, so we needed wine (obviously). A lot of people tell me that they drink only white in the summer and red in the winter, which I think is crazy talk. Why limit yourself to only half of the available wines based on the weather? Ok, I understand that with this insane heat lately, you maybe don’t want to be drinking a super heavy red. It just doesn’t have that refreshing quality one might crave when it is so hot and humid you start sweating as soon as you step out the door. What I have here is a wine I promise you will want to drink all year round.

May I present Langa Tradicion Centaria Garnacha.


Back to the BBQ. We were having steak, and I just can’t drink white wine with grilled steak. That is one food that really demands a red in my books, no matter what it’s doing outside. So I went to the Vintages section and looked for something under $20. There are actually lots of bottles available in that price range, particularly in the new releases (check out this page from the Vintages magazine or peruse the whole list).

I ended up picking this Langa Garnacha, from the Catalayud region in northeastern Spain. Garnacha is the main grape grown in this region, but it is also grown in France (code name: grenache), where it is a main component of Côtes-du-Rhône wines. This grape may be thin-skinned, but packs a whole lot of flavour. It is typically heavy on the fruit flavours (strawberry, raspberry, cherry, but also black pepper and licorice) and tends to yield a high alcohol content. The Langa is pretty true to this benchmark. I jotted down the following tasting note at the BBQ:

– sweet spice, tobacco, blueberry, blackberry, black cherry, chocolate, pepper, licorice, smoke

– medium-full bodied, low tannin, high alcohol

The typical pairing for garnacha wines is grilled lamb, but it was fantastic with our deliciously fatty grilled steak. The smokiness of the wine went so well with the grilled meat, and the dark fruit flavours made it really difficult to put down. I am salivating just thinking about it. Plus, it was great without food as well. I am seriously considering running out and getting a case right now. If you are planning on doing the same, do it quickly! This wine was released over a month ago, so stocks are running low, and because it’s in Vintages, once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

Let me know if you end up trying it and tell me what you think in the Comments! Also, if you want to get an email every time there is a new post on Wining with Mel, just click on the +Follow button at the bottom-right of your screen.


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