Hello and Happy Holidays! I have two rules when wine shopping for the Holiday; I look for crowd pleasers, and I don’t over spend. ‘Tis the season of good-cheer with family and friends – not fancy wines. I also favour moderate alcohol levels, which means mainly traditional European wines.
Happy Christmas! Hanukkah! Winter Solstice!
Have a WONDERFUL holiday!
Love, peace and best wishes from Billy and Kato
* ROSE FOR THE HOLIDAYS and ALL-YEAR!
If like me, you enjoy Rosé in all seasons, may I recommend Gran Feudo from Spain? It’s got that table-at-a-bistro feeling – you want more and more. Refreshing, nourishing and fun. Nice price, handy screw cap and generally available. What more can I say!
BODEGAS GRAN FUEDO 18 Rosado, Navarra, Spain 165845 $12.95
* BRILLIANT LOCAL LIGHT RED
I’ve always maintained that if Ontario wineries crafted good blends in a medium-priced range, they would find lots of customers. Wine blends work a lot like a chef’s sauce – the magical result of several ingredients. Gamay and Pinot Noir are some of Charmes strong cards and they form the base for Atelier. I love the freshness, purity and vitality in this wine. Think Ontario Valpolicella. Think light chilling and bowls of red sauce pasta, or pizza. Burgers too.
CHATEAU DES CHARMES 17 Atelier Red, VQA Niagara on the Lake 688525 $14.95
* A SPECIAL, REASONABLY-PRICED WHITE
Some festive season moments call for a slightly special wine. Something sure to be noticed – at least by some! Such as Viognier, the great white wine spreader-of-good-cheer. It’s a medium-bodied wine with the charm of a super-hostess. Dry, but with delicious sweet kisses, and playfulness. Sure to be the hit of the party. Also, it would impress/delight in the company of the big bird.
YALUMBA 18 Viognier, ‘the Y Series’, Australia 470062 $14.95
* YUMMY SIPPING WHITE
I buy this Hardy’s wine every Christmas because it’s so yummy. Off-dry, it delivers a blast of tropical flavours and a ‘be happy’ feeling. Perfect for between meals and relaxing moments. Amazing value.
HARDY’S 18 Riesling-Gewurztraminer ‘Stamp Series’, Australia 448548 $10.25
* ZESTY SAUVIGNON ON SALE
Looking for an inexpensive Holiday season refresher? Look no further than this hit of zest from Chile. Pleasant fruitiness too. Double the fun.
CALITERRA 19 Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, Chile 275909 $11.95. ($9.95 till Jan 10)
* A LIGHT RED FOR THE BIG BIRD MEAL
The light, fruity qualities in Gamay or Pinot wines are a perfect pairing with traditional Christmas fare. Both compliment white meat, refresh the palate, and avoid the heaviness of richer wines. Just for a change, this year I’m reverting to Valpolicella, an old favourite with similar characteristics. Masi’s wine checks in at a modest 12% alcohol so everyone can freely celebrate.
As light reds do not deliver a wow on the first sip, I find it best to pour with some comment such as “this may not be love at first sight, but hang in”. Served lightly chilled, I’ve found that people ‘get it’ at some point.
MASI 18 Valpolicella ‘Bonacosta’, Veneto, Italy 285585 $16.95 ($15.00 till Jan 10)
* VERY PLEASANT, GREAT VALUE, PAIR OF ITALIAN WINES
This co-op is in the Valpolicella region, so it’s no surprise that these wines feel light, and cheerful. I love co-op wines because they deliver two of my favourite features – authentic expression and value for money. In Italy (and France) it’s what the locals drink. High-priced/fancy wine is for the tourists and export market.
My first response to the red (Corvina grape) was “Italian Beaujolais”. Perfect for the up-coming party season if you’re want to pour lighter, moderate-alcohol wines. Fun stuff for gulping with appetizers. Handy screw cap. Lightly chill.
The white (Garganega grape) is fruity, refreshing and fun to gulp. Certainly more flavourful than similarly priced Pinot Grigios. Both of these wines provide an opportunity to offer something different, as they are recent additions to the shelves.
CANTINA DI NEGRAR 16 Corvina, Veneto, Italy 519199 $7.95
CANTINA DI NEGRAR 18 Garganega, Verona, Italy 524488 $7.95