Best local wines under $20

Rancourt Winery’s 2012 Merlot

It's Wine Wednesday! Here's a delicious 2012 merlot for less than $20 that you can only find at the cellar door.

Article by Thomas Reid

This week’s offering brings us back to Niagara-on-the-Lake, just around the corner from the ‘main drag’ of Niagara Stone Road to Rancourt Winery. They are a self-confessed “cottage winery”, however all of the wine production and harvesting occurs on their 25 acre property.

Today we feature Rancourt’s 2012 Merlot ($17). This wine is noteworthy for a few reasons. For starters, 2012 was an excellent vintage, one that is getting more and more difficult to find examples of.

Secondly, this wine is produced using 100 percent estate grown merlot and therefore exhibits characteristics of only one terroir (rather than blending fruit from several appellations throughout the peninsula).

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, this wine hasn’t spent a day in oak barrels. Whilst typical of varietals such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurtztraminer for example, it is quite rare to find merlot having been fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel tanks.

Rancourt Winery 2012 Merlot

The stainless steel fermentation gives Rancourt’s 2012 Merlot a vibrant quality not found in oak aged reds. Floral violet notes join raspberries and cherries on the nose. A lively palate include soft tannins (helped by it’s age) and strawberry on the finish.

Rancourt does boast several wines in our sub-$20 wheelhouse and for those “best vintage” hunters out there, be sure to also check out their 2016 Cabernet Franc.

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Rancourt’s merlot goes perfectly with a tasty Italian-style dinner. Try it with a rich lasagne or your favourite gourmet pizza.


The rundown

Rancourt Winery’s 2012 Merlot ($17)

  • 100% Stainless Steel Fermentation (unoaked)
  • Alcohol 13.5%

Website rancourtwinery.com

Location 1829 Concession 4 Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0