Some days I wonder where the year has gone, it seems like only yesterday I was cobbling together my holiday list of wines. Ah, yes the holiday wines, that collection of libations you give away as gifts or serve up to guests when they come over for dinner or the holiday open house. This year I've decided to give my list a twist, considering it is the season for giving AND receiving, I thought it only right to take a one-for-you / one-for-me approach ““ wines that make great gifts but also wines you'll want to keep for yourself, because they're just that good and worth having, and why should everyone else enjoy the fruits of your labours: you'll find that the wines below are a pleasure to give and receive.
My selections for sparkling will not cost you an arm-and-a-leg and because of that you can have bottles lying around the house for your very own weekday celebration be it Monday, Friday or just because you walked in the door thirsty.
Also on the list this year will be a few winter reds; here in Canada we are cyclical drinkers, a drop in temperature means we drop the whites for the more hearty reds, the reason for that is simple, we have definitive seasons: we drink whites in the summer and reds in the winter. Reds give us a warming sensation and help heat up our cockles when we step in from the cold, and to that end nothing beats a hot climate wine from the likes of Australia or California. If you're hankering to stay local and find a great value I have one of those too.
Finally, dessert does not always have to be Icewine (though I'm not trying to dissuade you), but when it comes to dessert my mind leans more Douro Valley than Beamsville Bench: Port is a luscious alternative and goes with a well thought out cheese plate at the end of a meal; and if you're looking for something really special and unique then I have a surprise for you from Spain (and no it's not Sherry) ““ it's a Moscatel that never fails to put a smile on the drinker's face. All these selections can be found below and they are sure to be great for you “¦ or as a gift.
Happy Holidays, drink responsibly and get home safe.
Featherstone 2014 Premium Cuvee Rosé, Ontario
($29.95 – #450700)
For a first effort it's decidedly a pleasant bubble that has gotten better with time in bottle; delicate raspberry and lime notes with nicely balanced acidity.
Trius 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Ontario
($13.95 – #587956)
This base-model Trius Cabernet Sauvignon is a steel for under $15; with all of its rich coffee, black cherry, smoky vanilla and even some earthy notes, all derived after only 7 months in a mix of French and American oak.
Chateau D'Eternes Saumur Brut, France
($15.15 – #429696)
Hard to believe the price of this traditional method bubble from the Saumur region of France (Loire), delicate bubbles with citrus and fresh biscuit notes.
Cono Sur Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé, Chile
($13.95 – #365205)
A staple at my house because of the quality to price ratio: strawberry, raspberry and citrus all make an appearance.
Michael David Winery 2013 7 Deadly Zins, California
($24.95 0 #5931)
Usually it's my BBQ-friendly bet but it's also winter-friendly with its mocha, plum, black cherry and smoked meat nuances; plus it's a fun name for this time of year.
Two Hands 2015 Gnarly Dudes Shiraz, Australia
($29.95 – #660043)
You'll totally dig the fruit-spice mix that's leans dark-fruited, it's delicious all on its own; grab a glass and try to stop sipping.
Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Old Tawny, Portugal
($67.95 – #149047)
A cheese plate's best friend with its spiced-cherry, apricot and orange peel notes all balanced off with great acidity.
Torres Floralis Moscatel Oro, Spain
($15.95 – #642173)
Floral, orange peel, almond, candied citrus peel; a stunning achievement in a dessert wine you won't soon forget.