Christmas Wine Essentials

The LCBO has over 100 wines that they stock all the time in the vintage section.  I have chosen a few for your holiday entertaining.  You will find them somewhere.

Terra D’aligi Tatone Montepulciano D’abruzzo 2008, Doc, Italy. $15.95 (994616)

A nice simple red to serve while company is milling about.  Its got a nice deep red color and a food friendly finish.  Perfect for standing around before you serve the cellared wine for dinner.

Malivoire Ladybug Rosé 2011, VQA Niagara Peninsula, $15.95 (559088)

Pale pink in color and with a beautiful strawberry nose .  Nice and refreshing and easy to drink lots of.  Good to numb your mind for dinner with the in-laws.

Esporão Reserva Red 2009, Alentejo, Portugal, $25.95 (606590)

A great Portugal red that has ripe fruit and chocolate notes.  Great for a roast beef dinner or something to step your party up a notch.  Perfect to serve to your favorite Aunt and Uncle.

J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Paso Robles, California, $21.95 (656561)

Smooth operator. This is a crowd pleasing Cabernet that will please any age in your group.  From the young easy drinker to the blue hairs who like some sweetness.  It comes in 1.5L bottle too, so you’ll have some left over to watch your National Lampoon marathon.




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4 Tasty Grey Cup Wines

Descendientes De J. Palacios Pétalos 2010, Do Bierzo, Spain.  $23.95 (675207)

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting and tasting with the artistic maker of these wines, Alvaro Palacios.  His vibrant personality is contagious and his wines exude his raw passion.  This wine is full of plush ripe fruit and fresh forest and it lingers in your mouth for minutes.  Get some of these while you can, they will be sold out fast.  A perfect wine for your favorite braised meat dish.

Canonica A Cerreto Chianti Classico Riserva 2007, Docg, Tuscany, Italy. $18.95 (275867)

Volpaia Chianti Classico 2009, Docg, Tuscany, Italy. $23.95 (953828

I don’t care which one of these you buy, but you should buy one if you are lover of Chianti’s and eating red meaty sauces.  They are obviously different, but both have a nice dark fruit and dried herb nose and cover your tongue nicely with a mouth watering finish. They will match perfectly with your meat lasagna.

Ewald Gruber Hundspoint Grüner Veltliner 2011, Weinviertel, Neiderösterreich, Austria.  $17.95 (298299)

Grüner Veltliner is a perfect party wine.  If you are new to it, its like a mix of Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.  It’s nose is sweet, yet herbaceous – It’s body has some viscosity, but is not too thick – and its finish is peppery and not too acidic.  This wine mingles well with a wide range of food and will please many party people.

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Some French Wines to Dance With

Simonnet Febvre Chablis 2010, Ac, Burgundy France, $19.95 (41780)

Here we are now, entertain us.  A nice steely sipping Chardonnay from France here.  Like a high school dance.  Its clean, fresh, lighthearted and smells like teen spirit.  ”With the lights out, its less dangerous” to serve this to your sweetheart paired with seafood.

Christian Moueix Pomerol 2009, Ac Pomerol, Bordeaux France, $29.95 (903013)

This is Pomtastic!  Pomerol is a right-bank Bordeaux which is predominately merlot based.  Unlike the left-bank which is predominately Cabernet Sauvignon based.  This Pomerol is the hot girls best friend at the dance.  It’s softer, juicier and very approachable.  Be a good wing man.  Choose this with some grilled lamb and leave the left bank for your buddy.

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Perfect Fall Weather Wines

Paxton AAA Shiraz/Grenache 2010, Mclaren Vale, South Australia, $19.95 (149898)

The triple A has to insure this wine is quality.  Cool fall days is the time for Shiraz.  It’s like watching Modern Family while eating a mon cheri with both arms in your slanket.  Its warm and comfortable, has a sweet boozy chocolate taste and it’ll make you smile.  Like Phil says, I’m totally pumped for this wine, “Pump up the jam, Pumped up kicks, Pumpedy dumpty, Pumplestiltskin.”

Prà Soave Classico 2011, Doc, Veneto Italy, $19.95 (74534)

This Soave Classico is a perfect example of how good white Veneto wine can be.  Veneto is the same region that is home to Amarone which is up near Venice. Like listening to Spirit of the West while drinking a bottle of Sprite.  This wine has a beautiful sweet lemon and lime taste with a gentle bitter finish and it’ll make you move and tap your feet. If Venice is sinking, I’m going under with a bottle of this and some seafood pasta.




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Warm and Friendly Wines

Polkura Syrah 2009, Marchigue, Colchagua Valley, Chile, $23.95 (283978)

Oh this feels good when you drink it.  It’s like sitting on Grandpa’s lap in front of the fire.  It’s warm, smokey, and has a comforting mentholy like Bengay scent.  Grab a few of these and share with family and Grandma’s overcooked roast beef.

Travaglini Gattinara 2006, Docg, Nebbiolo Italy, $29.95 (713354)

This wine is made from the same grape (Nebbiolo) as all Barolo’s and Barbaresco’s.    After a hard days work, this is like rewarding yourself with a big spoonful of Nutella.  It’s smooth, mouth filling, slightly sweet and nutty, and the taste lingers on.  Pair this with 2 Piedmontese classics: Rabbit stew and Ferrero Rocher.

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Smooth Saliva Producing Wines

Château D’anglés Grand Vin 2007, Ac Languedoc La Clape, France $19.95 (286492)

La Clape c’est très bon.  Like Sade dining on some steak au poivre.  It’s sweet and sophisticated and has a creamy mouthful with a peppery finish.  Pair this Smooth Operator with some french meat and your Sweetest Taboo.

Le Fonti Chianti Classico 2009, Docg, Tuscany Italy,  $19.95 (295162)

This Chianti will make you smile.  Like Buzz Lightyear having a balanced cracker and candy snack.  It plays well with others and has a mouth watering, salty black Twizzler taste.  Raise your eyebrows, put your fists to your hips and declare that you’re buying beyond a great number of these… to go with sausage pizzas.

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2 under $20 Spanish Wines

Casa De La Ermita Idílico Crianza Selección 2006, Do Jumilla, Spain, $19.95 (286161)

A nice blend here from the Jumilla region of Spain.  Back to school and this wine reminds me of Sesame Street.  It has a nice round nose like Ernie, its plush and rich like Oscar the Grouch’s fur, and you’ll open your mouth as wide a Grover’s to get as much down as you can.  Hello Everybodeeeeeee, it’s a nice bottle of wine to pair with seared meat.

Lan Crianza 2008, Doca Rioja, Spain, $15.95 (166538)

It’s back, another good buy perenial favorite.  Time to try LAN if you haven’t.  It’s like listening to top 40 at the cottage all weekend long.  Its lively, fruity, and so consistent you’ll be humming Kelly Clarkson tunes if you’re not careful .  If you’re in a payphone with Maroon 5, call home and say you’re picking up 6 of these for Tuesday night tipples.



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Portuguese Gem

Quinta De Ventozelo Touriga Nacional 2008, Doc Douro, Portugal, $18.95 (657452)

What a tasty, affordable number from Portugal here.  Its like Willy Wonka getting spanked with a basting brush.  Its got licorice, chocolate, and a whack of bruised herbs.  Delicious bottle to enjoy with Elk blueberry sausages.  Buy 2 or 3 as “a little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men”.

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Warm Weather Cool Down Wines

De Bortoli Windy Peak Pinot Noir 2010, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia $17.95 (48587)

This is a great light summer sipper from a very established producer Down Under.   A great deal too.  Like the Beatles eating Chinese food with a little help from their friends.  It’s got a friendly warm color, smells sweet, and finishes sour.  Do you need anybody…. or any Pinot?  This is somebody you’ll love….. with some lamb sausages.

Château Val Joanis Tradition Syrah Rosé 2011, Ac Luberon, Rhone France, $14.95 (707281)

This is perfect to sip on a hot day with some good friends.  Like Nicole Kidman eating a fruit salad while reading about Tom Cruise’s recent troubles.  It’s powder pale, kinda pretty, smells like apple and cantaloupe and will put a large smile on your face.  One bottle will certainly not be enough.

Canonica A Cerreto Sandiavolo 2006, Igt Toscana, Tuscany, Italy $24.95 (270256)

And finally, after my “research” trip to Italy, I had to throw one of these on the buy list. A really nice Super Tuscan from the bottom of the Chianti Classico region. Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet in this one.  Like Ben Johnson in 1988.  Its brooding, powerful and dense, and it’ll disappear so fast in your glass, you’ll know you’ve been cheated.  Decant it and serve it with steak Florentine.


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Pinot-tastic Vino

Rodney Strong Estate Pinot Noir 2009, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, USA, $21.95 on sale! (954834)

A perfect burger and summer salad wine.  Serve well chilled.  Like listening to some Warrant while watching the Euro Cup (who doesn’t do that!).  It smells like sweet big hair, leather vest and sweet cherry pie and its slick like Ronaldo’s hair. Pinot is my Cherry Pie, tastes so good make a grown man cry.

Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay 2010, Adelaide Hills/Eden Valley, South Australia $19.95 (269829)


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