Wine Time with Aaron the Wine Guy

by Aaron Winsor

Hello Prince Albert!

Budget wines are often overlooked as simple and basic and generally not worth the time or money but this category of wine is one of the biggest sellers in the liquor store which drives up profit margins and provides drinkers with an affordable alternative to more expensive options.

Are these cheaper options any good and are they worth your hard earned money?

The answer to this question comes down to stylistic preference and the amount the consumer is willing to pay versus quality and value.

There are several positive aspects to budget wine which means they do indeed have their time and place in almost every wine drinker’s rotation of beverages.

For instance, when purchasing one of these wines, there are several things you can realistically expect: lower price points, simple flavors and accessibility for those not used to drinking complex wines.

Accessibility and simple flavors are actually important for many people because when they sit down to drink that bottle or share with friends, they may not want to over-analyze or allow time for the bottle to breathe and expose complex flavors or layers.
Buying an affordable, no frills wine for its simplicity can be compared to buying a simple can of lager beer. Sometimes you just want to crack a can and drink it down!

The simplicity of budget wine can also be a negative as sometimes the flavor is too mellow or lacking intensity.

For those searching out rich, complex wines, they would be better served to spend another $5 to $20 since the value is not apparent in the $10 to $15 price range. Another negative to be aware of is the addition of sulfites (sulfur dioxide) to cheaper wines.
Simple, fruity wines need help in preserving their fruity character and the fruitier the wines, the more sulfites are used to maintain these flavors.

If you are drinking inexpensive moscato or chardonnay, you are probably consuming a decent amount of sulfites which lead to headaches or that dull feeling the next day after drinking cheap wine. Wines with complex, developed or oxidized flavors are not using nearly as many sulfites and consequently have less chance of giving you a reaction.

This brings us to the two wines I tasted this week, both from a new brand called Pirueta from Argentina. Priced at $12 (after taxes), this brand offers a malbec and a chardonnay with simple fruity flavors and quick finishes.

The malbec was disappointing as I was expecting a rush of flavors while the wine had no pep or zip. This red left me feeling like the flavors of the wine: dull and bored.

The white on the other hand was fresh, crisp and very easy to sip on. I really enjoyed the mineral character and light fruity style of the chardonnay but after two glasses I could definitely feel those sulfites creeping in! I highly recommend the Pirueta Chardonnay but I would pass on the Malbec. Here are my wine picks of the week!

Pirueta Malbec 2020: (Mendoza, Argentina). Dry to off-dry red, deep purple color with ruby tones.

This red presents a medium-intense nose of juicy plums, grapes, blackberry jam and meaty notes. Medium intense on the palate with full body and medium acidity.

Flavors are slightly flat and feature blue fruits (plums, grapes), cherries and blackberry with a hint of vanilla. The flavors taste one-dimensional and muddy with everything blending together and not allowing individual flavors to shine.

The finish is quick and leaves a fleeting aftertaste of bread and a touch of fruit.

Slightly disappointed even at the lower price point. Average! $12, 13.5% ABV

Pirueta Chardonnay 2020: (Mendoza, Argentina). Off-dry white, pale lemon color. Features a light and fruity mineral-driven aroma of freshly cut apples and pears, saline mineral and citrus fruit (lemon). Fresh and crisp to the taste with medium body and medium-plus acidity.

There is an initial rush of acidity followed by flavors of sea salt/sea breeze and a fruity mid palate of apple and pear. The finish is medium-plus in length with tingling acidity and lingering notes of sweet and salty mineral (wet rocks).

This white is fresh and lively but can still be classified as simple.

Pair with soft cheeses, pork medallions or fresh salads. Good! $12, 12.5% ABV

Cheers and thanks for reading!

Aaron Winsor is a Prince Albert resident who currently holds a WSET Level 3 certification in wine and will never turn down a good cigar or whisky. Check out his Instagram and Facebook page under Aaron The Wine Guy for wine, whisky and cigar reviews.