The best part about wine is that it’s such a versatile beverage. A glass of wine can be an important part of a satisfying meal, an intriguing tasting experience, or a delicious treat at the end of a long day. Sometimes all you want is a crushable wine to pair with sweatpants and your preferred streaming service. Wine doesn’t have to be too serious, and choosing a fun and unserious wine should be a fun and unserious task! Let’s chat about some things to look for when you’re shopping for the perfect couch wine.

At Market Wines, we make quality wines from small family producers accessible and affordable, because we care about what you drink and where it comes from. Though Calgary isn’t the most ideal wine growing region, we love to support the little guys with good value from around the world. We host a variety of events, from sit-down tastings to festivals for an enjoyable and informative date-night, celebration, or just for fun. We’re all about sharing stories at Market Wines, and we love to be a part of your story through your family dinners, quality time with friends, celebrations, or casual Tuesday nights. Our favourite part of the job is finding you the perfect wine for whatever the occasion, or lack thereof! 

 

What to Look for in a Good Weeknight Wine

 

The wines that go down the easiest tend to be fruit forward, with crisp and high acidity that provide freshness and quench thirst. These wines don’t tend to be complex and may be labeled as ‘simple,’ but are often exactly what you are looking for to pair with a self-care evening. When you’re desiring a good wine you don’t have to think much about, the only real decision is red, white, or rosé – what colour do you want in your glass while it reflects a trashy reality TV show? After that important choice has been made, you can look to specific regions, grape varieties, or producers to get a great bang for your buck in a way too easy to drink wine. 

 

Regions with Great Value

 

Spain

Spain is one of those Old World wine regions that has a wide range of quality wines and styles. This premium wine growing region makes a ton of great value wines that are fruity and approachable. Choosing wines from regions you don’t recognize can be a good strategy, but Spain has some amazing great value wines in all its regions. Garnacha, the Spanish take on Grenache, is a winner for a fruity and spicy wine.

 

Portugal

Portugal is a region that loves to showcase its vast variety of indigenous grape varieties. It has only just started to introduce international varieties in blends and single varietal offerings. Shopping in the Portugal section at the wine shop will rarely rack up a bill over $25 for some great quality, easy sipping wines.

 

Southern France

If you see Pays d’Oc, Languedoc, or Roussillon on your bottle, you know you’re in for a treat. 

Jeff Carrel, a Market Wines favourite producer, sources his wines from this area, and as a result we see a vast variety of tasty wines at unbelievable prices. The warm climate here is perfect for the production of large volume wines meant to be popular and easy to drink.

 

Chile

South America is an underrated New World region that produces some stellar classic wines. Sick of Napa Cabernet prices? Pick up a wine from the Chilean section to compare and you may be shocked at how great of an alternative it is. Chile is home to some interesting terroir and their wines show it off well for the price. Grab a bottle of Chilean wine from your wine rack while you’re waiting for your food delivery to arrive.

 

Argentina

Famous for Malbec, Argentina also produces amazing Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay at great prices. Argentinian wines are great for drinking while sitting cross legged on the floor and chowing down on some leftovers at your coffee table.

 

Italy – Veneto

Even regions known for their complex and expensive wines can wield some inexpensive and chuggable wines. Veneto in Italy is a great example of this with their Pinot Grigio. Light, refreshing, easy on the wallet and the soul, look for Veneto Pinot Grigio to sip on while in a burrito blanket gossiping with your besties.

 

Grape Varieties for Easy Drinking

 

Pinot Grigio

Well known for a reason, Pinot Grigio’s thirst quenching freshness and easy citrus notes make it a comfortable wine to pop open when you want a lazy evening. Look for Pinot Grigio from Italy, or from other regions around the world. Pinot Grigio is typically inexpensive but take care not to confuse it with its international sibling, Pinot Gris. Pinot Gris is the same grape as Pinot Grigio, but often has riper, more stone fruit characteristics when produced in the French style. As it is normally meant to be more complex and especially great to pair with food, Pinot Gris also has a heftier price point than Pinot Grigio. 

 

Pinot Noir

Another from the famous ‘Pinot’ family, this wine is known for its fruity, easy drinking qualities. Pinot Noir can have some prestige in parts of the world like Burgundy, France, and can come with some elevated price points. Pinot Noir is nicknamed the ‘heartbreak grape’ due to its difficulty growing in certain climates and regions. This picky grape knows what it wants, and its resulting juice is enjoyable on the couch or on the dinner table at Christmas, the choice is yours!

 

Provence Rosé

This pink wine from Provence, France is meant to be easy and refreshing. Made notably with Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre (and a few other permitted grapes), this dry, pale pink wine is meant for a patio on a girls (or guys) night in. Look for the lightest rosé on the shelf and it will probably be from Provence. Winemakers here produce these rosés by direct pressing, which involves crushing and pressing black grapes almost right away, leaving very little time for the juice to take the colour from the black grape skins. 

 

Garnacha

Spanish Red Garnacha is fun, fruity and smooth. With red fruits like red cherry, strawberry, and raspberry contrasted with some subtle spice, this wine will bring some fun to an otherwise chill evening. Garnacha is the same grape as Grenache, seen notably in France, especially in the region of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Swirling and sipping a Garnacha is a great introduction to this grape that has so much range and talent in many parts of the world.

 

Gamay

You may know this wine as ‘turkey wine,’ or connect it to the famous region of Beaujolais in France. Gamay is medium bodied and lighter in tannin, making it an approachable wine that is great with or without food. Gamay is a grape that is commonly seen undergoing ‘carbonic maceration,’ a process in which the grapes are not crushed but are allowed to start fermentation while the berries are still whole. A process called intracellular fermentation happens inside the berry, and they start to explode and expel the fruit juice inside. This process gives the wine fun flavour characteristics such as bubblegum, kirsch, and cinnamon.

 

GSM Blends

A great go-to easy drinking wine with a little more tannin and body is a classic ‘GSM Blend’ from the Rhone Valley in France. GSM stands for Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre, and these blends can range in style and price drastically depending on the percentage of each grape in the blend and where it’s from. A Rhone Valley red is a safe choice for an affordable, well rounded and crowd-pleasing wine if your couch night ends up being a group binge-watching session of a certain insert-your-favourite-cult-movie-franchise-here.

 

Some Go-To Couch Wines on Our Shelves

 

Don’t want to put in any effort with decision-making when you get to the wine shop? Here’s a grocery list of easy weeknight wines:

 

  • Latido Garnacha 
  • Gregoris Pinot Grigio
  • Krieger Rosé
  • Perret Gamay
  • Carrel Pinot Noir
  • Holy Snail Sauvignon Blanc
  • Shooting Star Pinot Noir
  • Nicosia Frappato
  • Carm Duoro

 

If you’re popping into the wine store for a couch wine, check out our cheap and cheerful wall at the University District store for all things tasty, or shop the beer fridge for a few white wines and rosés kept chilled and ready to go for the occasion. You can shop by the bottle for specific regions or grape varieties for easy drinking or ask your Market Wines staff for their favourite couch wine (trust me, we all have one). You can also join us for an upcoming wine tasting event to find your next favourite wine such as Budget or Baller on May 25th at the University District location, Chilled Reds on June 8th or Summer Sippers on June 22nd.