Holiday Wines

December 19, 2007

It’s been awhile, but I’m going to slide in a few brief recommendations for the holidays. Time permitting, I’ll post a few more this weekend. And if not, enjoy your holidays and I hope to be back a little more frequently in the New Year.

Most of these wines will show up at my house during the holiday season. Some are wines that I’ve enjoyed before, but haven’t had a chance to review yet. And for my own Christmas table, I’ve got a bottle of the Mission Hill SLC Chardonnay (2004 vintage) and a great California Pinot Noir (Inman Family’s Olivet Grange Vineyard 2004) as well. I will be sure to post my thoughts after I enjoy these.

 On to the wines:

Conde de Caralt Cava ($13.97 @ Kenaston Wine Market)

In my ever-so-humble opinion, Spanish Cava gives you the most sparkle for your buck when it comes to the under $20 range. And this is the best new Cava I’ve come across all year. Highly recommended (with or without orange juice).

DaLuca Primitivo-Merlot ($13ish at private wine stores)

If I was planning to have pizza for Christmas dinner, this is the wine I’d serve. It’s the ultimate pizza wine. Loads of fruit flavours with just enough acidity to go well with food. The price is right too.

Botalcura ‘Il Delerio’ Chardonnay-Viognier ($12.95 @ MLCC)

Holiday meals demand big rich whites and this one works perfectly. 81% Chardonnay, 19% Viognier and packing a 14.0% ABV punch, this has the guts to stand up to the creamiest mashed potatoes. Lots of gorgeous Viognier flavours (peaches mostly) with a base of creamy Chilean Chardonnay. Dee-licious! The Syrah-Malbec blend is also very good.

Flor de Crasto 2004 ($12.99 @ DeLuca’s)

I’ve always thought Spanish wines went well with the typical holiday fare. And for a slight change of pace, I’m happy to recommend this Portuguese red blend. It shows off similar flavours to Spanish wines (not surprisingly, since they share some common grape varieties). But there’s a richness here that is hard to find in Spanish wines at this price point. It’s earthy and rich, with lots of red-berry flavours in the finish.

Adobe ‘Clayhouse’ Red ($23.95 @ Kenaston Wine Market)

Zinfandel is another classic holiday wine, and this blend (Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon) is richer than most. Lots of jammy Zinfandel fruit show up, balanced with some tannins from the rest of the blend. Very tasty.

Nobilio ‘Southern Rivers’ Sauvignon Blanc ($13.99 @ Kenaston Wine Market)

Even though richer whites might work better when the temperature drops, there’s always room for a crisp Sauvignon Blanc in my fridge. Not only is this one well-priced, but it’s also delicious. It’s a classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, with lots of crisp herbal and fruit flavours with a long finish.

Penfolds ‘Club’ Tawny Port ($13ish @ MLCC)

Don’t laugh, this is a great Australian port for the price. It’s full of raisins, candied fruit and brown sugar. Sure, it’s not “real” port. But it’s pretty good – especially for the price. I’d say it’s my favourite tawny ‘port’ for under $20.


  1. Thanks for the Cava recommendation A: I’ll look for it at the LCBO for New Year’s Eve…

  2. Not sure if it’s available at the LCBO. Go for the Segura Viudas Brut instead – it’s just as good.

  3. Thanks A!

  4. Now if I was joining you and ‘M’ in Ottawa, I could have brought some with me…

  5. How was the Mission Hill Chard? They just took “Winery of the Year” at the Canadian Wine Awards (over us, blast them to bitty pieces), and I’ve been inspired to search them out.

  6. I liked the Mission Hill Chard, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I’ll do a post on it soon (once I can find my notes!)

    Has their SLC line made it to Ontario yet?

  7. Not yet no, but I’m not surprised really…the selection of Okanagan wine in the Ontario LCBO is appalling.

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