Ten Cheap Wines for Your Not-So-Classy Life

Illustration by Jake Benaim

Yes, I know why you’re here. That’s why I’m here to help you.

We are all currently entering the depths of hell—also known as final exams. Stress levels are reaching an all-time high and you probably haven’t had more than six hours of sleep in the last 48 hours.

But don’t worry, it’s not all that bad—actually it is—but there are ways for you to numb the pain, one of them being wine. I know you might not be a huge fan of wine—but I’m telling you now, it’s time to grow up and get sipping.

It’s the perfect alternative to beer and hard liquor. Many people stray away from picking up a bottle because a) they don’t know what wine is good or b) they don’t know which type of wine they’ll like. You can never go wrong with it, unless you don’t know what you’re buying.

It’s tricky. You could spend hours trying to figure out which wine to get. That’s why many people whose knowledge of wine is limited often opt for a large bottle of Jackson Triggs.

Don’t be that person.

I get it. We’re all students and we don’t like spending a lot of money on alcohol.

That’s why I went ahead and sacrificed myself in the name of good journalism, to bring you this list of affordable wines that you can purchase at your local LCBO. For a week, I drank a bottle a night – sometimes two – and narrowed down a list of 10 different wines that are all under $12.

While you drown in assignments, why not drown yourself in a nice cheap bottle of wine? I know I will.

Flat Roof Manor / Pinot Grigio / South Africa / $11.95

This is a nice white wine that is super smooth in texture and light in colour, compared to other whites. It has hints of apple and lemon flavours that make it sweet. You can easily drink it on its own or pair it with a seafood dish.
Tip: If you want to make this wine taste even better, make sure you leave it in your fridge for a few minutes before opening it. White wines are always better when cooled.

Yellow Tail / Merlot / Australia / $11.95

Yellow Tail vineyard can easily be recognized on the shelves by its kangaroo logo. They produce every type of wine, but their merlot is the one I gravitated to the most because of its sweetness and its hints of spice and vanilla. As a red wine, it’s not as dry as others—perfect for casually drinking.

Beringer / Collection Cabernet Sauvignon / California / $10.95

Get your corkscrew ready for this one. This Cabernet is delicious, with its rich berry flavours and hints of cassis. You can easily drink this with your dinner—or if you want, this is also an acceptable bottle to bring to your SO’s house for dinner.

Spinelli / Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec / Italy / $8.20

Straight from Italy, this Cabernet brings a mix of Malbec along with it. The texture of it is a little bit dry, but flavourful nonetheless. With prominent spice and blackberry flavours fused together.

Fuzion Alta / Malbec / Argentina / $9.95

This year, one of the biggest wine producers in Argentina introduced a new line of bottles labelled “Alta” and they are oh-so-wonderful—especially this Malbec. Its aromas are rich in chocolate, vanilla and spice, accompanied with flavours of cherry and raspberry. You can’t go wrong with this one or Fuzion Alta’s Cabernet Sauvignon, both the same price.

Lulu B / Pinot Noir / France / $10.95

Ah, French wine—my one true love. This Pinot Noir is a super simple and easy wine to enjoy. There isn’t much going on with it, but for $11 it’s been a new go-to of mine. It’s not as dry as other reds but it still contains some dark colours and smooth berry flavours.

Misterio / Cabernet Sauvignon / Argentina / $9.25
This is a wine that was recommended to me by a friend, and boy is it good. It’s smooth and silky—and brings in these different types of aromas that you wouldn’t taste in the other Cabernets listed above. Black pepper and herbs—that’s all I’m going to say.

Santa Carolina / Reserva Carmenère / Chile / $11.95
Carmenère is a type of wine that you don’t see very often. It is a wine grape that originates from Médoc, France but is now most notably grown in places like Italy, California and Chile. I’ll be honest here—out of all the wines in this list, this is the tastiest. The flavours are so rich and fruity—you can even find hints of oak in it (yes, go ahead and swish it around your glass, and say that you can taste the trees). Shoutout to my dad for finding this one.

Cape Bay / Chardonnay-Chenin Blanc / South Africa / $6.45
As you can see, this is the cheapest wine on the list. It’s another light and smooth white wine that is super easy to drink. Just be careful, you don’t want to drink it all at once! Compared to the first white wine that I mentioned, the quality is a step down, but it’s still worth purchasing just based on the price alone.   

20 Bees / Chardonnay / Canada / $10.95
And you thought I’d forget about Canada! This Chardonnay is so fresh and crisp. It’s got everything you want in a white wine—aromas of apple, pear and herbs. It’s also a very clear-coloured white, so make sure you don’t mistake it for water!

As always, remember to drink responsibly.