Hardy’s in the Bargain Bin

April 8, 2005

I noticed that the MLCC is clearing out a lot of wine in preparation for the Winnipeg Wine Festival. They do this every April, so I keep my eyes open for the good stuff. Last year, I scored some Fetzer Fume Blanc for $5.99. This year, they had some nice wines on sale (including the Hawthorne Mountain Vineyard VQA Chardonnay for $12.99 and a different producer’s VQA Reserve Riesling for the same price).

However, I’m feeling broke. And I am broke as a matter of fact, so I stayed below $10. So far, here’s what I’ve picked up in their bin end sale. I’m going to head down to one of the more isolated stores after work, as they usually have the best wine left. But this is what I’ve found:

Hardy’s 2002 Nottage Hill Chardonnay ($6.99).

A simple, easy-drinking Australian Chardonnay. Not as good as Bin 65 or the Little Penguin Chardonnay. But for $4 less, how can you complain. Nice crisp nose with a hint of melons. Very little oak in the mouth, but some luscious fruit flavours. Short finish, but a certain crispness remains in your mouth for awhile. Serve it cold and buy a few extra bottles for the heat of summer (if you can wait that long). I wouldn’t recommend this at the listed price of $10.31, but for $7 – it’s a steal. At three years old, it’s almost past the peak. Don’t keep it too long.

Hardy’s 2002 Nottage Hill Merlot ($8.99)

Again, there’s nothing special about this wine, but it does the job. Has a nice flavour – very lush and plummy – with a surprisingly long finish. Shows a slightly alcoholic nose, and the wine really changes character after being open for a day or two. But it’s worth the nine bucks plus tax that you’ll pay. Just don’t leave it open for more than a day.

I also have a Spanish Tempranillo (can’t remember the producer) that I got for $5.99. It could be a real stinker, but I’m sure it will make nice Sangria if nothing else. And on a sad note, the MLCC is also selling Newcastle Brown Ale for $1.99 a can. The price isn’t sad (it’s fine with me), but the presence in the bin-end sale means that it won’t be carried any more.

Incidently, I will be working at the wine festival. For the first time ever, all of the private stores are taking part. And I understand that we’ll be pouring Silver Oak for people. I expect our booth will be pretty popular. And if not, I’ll be drinking lots of Silver Oak that weekend!

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