Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 Holiday Wine Picks

It's the holiday season !!!

Which means someone's emailing you a weird video of a dog in a Santa hat on a toboggan, you're digging through the closet to find that ugly Christmas sweater to wear at the neighbours party and of course it's time to go over your holiday party checklist.

So lets go through it.
Cleaned yourself up and plucked those nasty hairs from your ears - Check
Put on a fresh coat of deodorant - Check
A little splash of cologne in case the deodorant fails - Check
Snappy outfit that came from this decade - Check
Party gift for the host - Check
A wine that says you walked into the LCBO, spent less than 60 seconds looking and finally decided on a mainstream selection because you really don't know what's good and will probably feel like a schmuck when you see what the neighbour has plunked down next to your wine - Unfortunately... Check

This time of year means lots of parties, turkey dinners, some belt loosening, appetizers, desserts, more belt loosening and a good supply of wines for each occasion. To avoid becoming that social outcast due to your wine selections, I've put together my annual list of wines for the holiday season. These are reasonably priced wines that won't have you pawning some of the kids gifts to fund for your wine budget. These vinos are a little off the beaten path but sure to be crowd pleasers. You might even find the host trying to squirrel away your wine selection for themselves.

Let's start with sparkling wines. These effervescent wines are good for year end celebrations or with some soft cheeses like goat or brie (some even like it with potato chips). A nice alternative to the more traditional champagne.
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava Sparkling (Spain) - $14.55 (LCBO)
Grapefruit and citrus flavours in a nice bright sparkling wine done in the traditional champagne method
JipJip Rock Sparkling Shiraz (Australia) - $17.55 (LCBO)
A different style of sparkling wine using the Shiraz grape. Not your usual sparkling wine.

White wine can be a good multi purpose wine as it goes well with most seafood like shrimp and a lot of appetizers as well as turkey. Keep a good variety of whites like Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay on hand for tree decorating parties and turkey dinners.
Cave Springs Riesling VQA 2009 (Niagara, Ontario) - $13.95 (LCBO) 
This Riesling rates consistently high and pairs well with turkey and seasoned dressing
Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough NZ) - $13.95 (LCBO)
Very Aromatic and typical of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. This wine really needs to be chilled in order to enjoy it's crispness. Excellent with appetizers like shrimp or goat cheese.

Red wines from the lighter Pinot Noir and Gamay varieties through to the fuller bodied Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz's which can be used for main dishes like pork and tourtieres plus some sharp cheese plates.
Montecillo Crianza 2005 (Rioja Spain) -$14.95 (LCBO)
Dark, rich with a smooth tannic finish
Red Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon  2008 (Washington USA) $14.55 (LCBO)
Nice balance of fruit and smooth tannins in this dark ruby red Cab.

Dessert and Fortified wines are nice post dinner treats or with cheese plates.
Jackson Triggs Proprieters Grand Reserve Cabernet Franc Icewine (Niagara) $24.95 (LCBO)
Really impressive Cabernet Franc icewine. Great with sweet desserts
Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2002 (Portugal) $16.95 (LCBO)
If you like port. This is a really nice port at a great price.

Enjoy the Holiday Season with friends and family.

Cheers and Happy Holidays from markuncorked !!!