|Our Holiday drinking includes a variety of times, tastes and moods, so naturally I’m offering a variety of wine styles. All are light to medium-bodied and with bright, lively personalities – just like the company we’ve invited! My reds are sort of retro – and favour the old countries of France, Italy and Spain. Whites are more New World. I’ve filled out my recent tastings with a few picks from earlier in the year, and all wines are generally available – many are discounted. So get shopping! And enjoy.
. . . Champagne-like quality at Dollar Store price
CODORNIU Brut Sparkling, Spain 215814 $14.50
. . . delicious low alcohol Muscat for Holiday mornings or brunch
JACOB’S CREEK Moscato Rosé, Australia 445825 $10.95
party . . . yummy
This used to be one of my must-haves for Holiday entertaining, but I’ve neglected it of late. Big mistake! One sip and I’m back in love with this fragrant, joyful, lighthearted sipper. So yummy. So perfect for social occasions that need the wine version of happy Christmas tunes.
HARDYS 16 Riesling-Gewurztraminer, ‘Stamp of Australia’, Australia
aperitif, party . . . all-rounder
Fuzion’s blend delivers the crispness of non-oaked Chardonnay, along with a hint of muscat from the Torrontes grape. Energetic aperitif, or party sipper. Love the label – shades of a record cover from the 60s.
FUZION 17 Organic Chardonnay/Torrontes, Mendoza, Argentina 553818 $13.00
aperitif . . . live wire
What do you get when you combine the two most high-energy white grapes – Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc? A livewire experience for sure. Fabulous aperitif with teasing delicate flavours. But too edgy for parties or general drinking.
MALIVOIRE 17 ‘Guilty Men’, Riesling-Sauvignon Blanc, VQA Niagara
192666 $14.95 ($12.95 until Jan 6)
party, food . . . all-rounder
ANGELS GATE 16 Unoaked Chardonnay, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara 1818 $15.10
aperitif, party, food . . . delightful
YALUMBA 16 Viognier ‘Y Series’ South Australia 470062 $13.95
aperitif . . . classy feeling
FONTANAFREDDA 16 Gavi ‘Briccotondo’, Piedmont, Italy 526707 $14.95
party, food . . . exotic
CONO SUR 17 Viognier ‘Bicicleta’ Chile 64287 $11.95
party, food . . . fun
GOOD OLD BEAUJOLAIS ON SALE
Beaujolais is on a comeback. Good producers are working a little earthy solidness in with the delicious fruitiness to overcome people’s perception that Beaujolais is frivolous. I never saw it that way, but I’d be delighted to have more Beaujolais around. Duboeuf’s wine below is certainly capable of covering the bases between parties and meals. It’s perfect for mildly spicy goods, but the most important thing to remember is that Beaujolais has the ‘fun’ DNA – so get lots. Must chill.
GEORGES DUBOEUF 16 Beaujolais-Villages, Burgundy, France 212480 $13.45 ($11.45 till Jan 6)
party, food . . . fun
LIGHTHEARTED, GULPING LOCAL RED FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Malivoire’s Guilty is light with delicious fruity quality. A shade softer ‘n smoother than I prefer, but a light chilling fixes that. You’re sure to be popular pouring this at Holiday parties. Perfect with all kinds of snacks. And the sale price makes local ‘affordable’. Must chill.
MALIVOIRE 16 ‘Guilty Men’ Red, VQA Ontario 192674 $15.95 ($13.95 until Jan 6)
party, food . . . all-rounder
ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVOURITE REDS!
Regular readers will know of my fondness for lighter reds such as Pinot, and I’ve often described the wine below as the poor-man’s-Pinot. A back handed compliment for sure, but my object was to celebrate a wine that I feel is under rated, and which gives me great pleasure. I love the delicious strawberry-like flavours and the vibrant, fun personality. Feels part Old World rustic, part New World spicy sweet. Perfect for parties, but you will also not go wrong pouring with white meats (the big bird for sure) and tomato sauced dishes. Lightly chill.
TORRES 17 Sangre de Toro, Catalunya, Spain 6585 $13.75 ($11.75 till Jan 6)
aperitif, food, party . . . all-rounder
Castiglioni is loaded with bright flavours and a refreshing bite. With the feel and vitality of a wine you could drink all evening. A throw-back to how Chianti tasted before wineries started crafting in a New World rich style. Lightly chill.
FRESCOBALDO 17 Chianti ‘Castiglioni, Tuscany 545319 $15.75 ($13.75 until Jan 6)
party, food . . . rustic
THE RIOJA LINGO
Wine books and experts will tell you that Reservas are the ‘best’ in the Rioja world. Wines with the Crianza designation are ‘simple, even coarse’. My experience over the dacades has taught me otherwise. I find Crianzas (younger, less time in wood) to have bright flavours and vitality, and a personality well suited with everyday times and food. Reservas on the other hand, are often over-perfumed with oak (vanilla) and have lost energy. I love the rustic bite, and traditional red wine character in Montecillo’s wine. A fab everyday red – especially at this sale price.
MONTECILLO 15 Rioja ‘Crianza’, Spain 144493 $15.05 ($13.05 until Jan 6)
party, food . . . nourishing feeling and fantastic price
SOGRAPE 17 Dao ‘Grao Vasco’ Portugal 14977 $8.95
party, food . . . charmer
CONO SUR 17 Pinot Noir ‘Bicicleta’ Chile 341602 $11.95
food . . . earthy
FONTANAFREDDA 16 Barbera ‘Briccotondo’ Piedmont, Italy 372987 $14.95
food . . . rustic
CHATEAU DES CHARMES 16 Pinot Noir, VQA Niagara on the Lake 454967 $16.95 ($15.95 till Jan 6)