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Holiday Cheer

Holiday Wine Time

December 10, 2017

So you need a wine for that holiday event – from entry-level to totally unexpected, these four are options worth considering.

Chateau des Charmes 2016 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
Chateau des Charmes is a favourite of ours and I often recommend their wines to friends who are new to Ontario wine – they consistently deliver at a reasonable price point. This Chardonnay has notes of pineapple, peach and mango on the nose and creamy pineapple and apricot notes on the palate. Such an enjoyable wine with or without food.

Donna Paula 2015 Estate Malbec
Trying to find a food-friendly red that everyone can agree on? This Donna Paula 2015 Estate Malbec is a great choice for an earthy meal featuring mushrooms or black olives. It’s got damp earth, fig and black olive on the nose and a savouriness on the palate that’s cut through with notes of plum and dark cherry. Shawn and I both gave this one the nod of approval.

Sperling Vineyards Brut Sparkling
Tart and pretty with loads of green apple, this B.C. sipper is a great option for your holiday party guests—especially if they include wine nerds like me. Made with great care by this family-run operation, Sperling wines are very terroir driven and drinking this lovely sparkler reminds you of beautiful Okanagan Valley vistas.

Ferox 2016 Sauvignon Blanc
I love this wine. It’s expensive, but it’s unique and fantastic – there’s tropical fruit, mango and melon on the nose and it’s much creamier than I expected. It’s an elegant wine with pineapple, mango and peach on the palate – very different than any other Sauvignon Blanc I’ve tasted (even from Ontario) and I can’t wait to have it again.

 

 

Holiday Cheer

Wine Lovers Gift Guide 2017

November 13, 2017

Every year, I try to gather the best intel on what discerning wine lovers want for the holidays by picking the brains of some of my favourite wine writers and bloggers. For 2017, we’ve put together a great collection of gift ideas that are sure to please every wine fan (and especially those who have all the wine glass charms and corkscrews they will ever need).

Rebecca Gomez Farrell – The Gourmez

Menagerie’s sculpted, stainless steel, wine pourers and aerators are the coolest wine accessory I’ve come across in my years of food and drink blogging. I encountered them while visiting Bella Grace winery in Amador Country, California, where they’re sold in the tasting room. Good news! Menagerie has finally opened an online store, and shipping is available to Canada. Whatever interests the wine lovers in your life have, Menagerie has a fanciful head to match them including angry octopi, scuba divers, and Medusa heads.

*Note from Krista — if you have a fan of fantasy fiction on your list, Becca’s new book Wings Unseen is another great gift option. And, of course, there’s a wine connection in the book!

Megan Munro – Chew Street and I’m Mr. Fabulous

When you’re tucking into your Christmas dinner and want to impress the in-laws – this super chic, super classic Zwilling Predicat Crystal Decanter is what you need in life. The shape is timeless. The quality is noticeable. The durability is…exactly what you need (especially after midnight at your annual New Years Eve whoop-up). This is the type of gift you’ll want to buy two of – one to give and one to keep.

*Note from Krista — if you have a make-up lover on your gift list, Megan has so many great suggestions at I’m Mr. Fabulous AND on her Marilyn Denis Show segments.

Paul Dearborn – Whitby Wino

Champagne [Boxed Book & Map Set]: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroirs of the Iconic Region is my pick. The whole box looks beautiful, the book appears to be informative and well-researched, and the maps are incredibly detailed. It’s sure to be a great gift for everyone from the casual wine lover all the way up to the WSET Diploma student.

 

Ryan Nevitt – Sommelier

To serve to your guests or a wonderful gift for the sparkling wine lover on your Christmas list. The Malivoire Bisous Brut (meaning kisses en français) is made in the Traditional Method and aged on its lees for 42 months. The blend consists of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay and is elegantly creamy with hints of baked apple, pear, lemon and toast. You can find this wine at Malivoire.com (shipping available nationwide) or at the retail wine shop at Malivoire, $29.95.

Krista Lamb — That’s me!

I’ll have my full personal gift guide up soon, but for now I wanted to answer the one question I get asked the most at this time of year — what wine do I give people on my holiday list? Well, spoiler alert to all those getting wine as a gift, but this year it will be Campo Viejo’s 2012 Rioja Reserva. I spent some time with the Campo team in Spain this fall and I fell hard for this bold, rich and flavourful wine, which is 85% Tempranillo. It’s a perfect, full-bodied option for cold winter nights and at $17.95 in the LCBO it’s an affordable option that will please everyone from the novice to the experienced wine lover. This one is available almost everywhere, which also makes it an easy go-to gift when you’re rushing out to a new LCBO and don’t know what they’ll have in stock. And if you’re coming to my place for the holidays and don’t know what wine to get for “someone who knows so much about wine,” just bring this. Or Champagne. You know, depending on how much you love me.

Thanks, as always, to everyone who participated in this year’s guide! Have an item you want to find under your tree on Christmas morning? Let me know in the comments or on social!

Contests

Taste the Season Giveaway

October 30, 2017
Taste the Season Logo

One thing Shawn and I love to do is head out to the Niagara region for one of the many Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake events. We have done almost all of them at some point and are especially fond of The Icewine Festival and Sip ‘n’ Sizzle, so we’re excited to be able to experience Taste the Season this year. Taste the Season takes place every weekend in November from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a touring pass allows you to enjoy local VQA wine and food pairings from more than 20 of the member wineries.

Taste The Season LogoWe’ll be touring the area on November 11th and I invite you to follow along with us on Twitter or Instagram as we try a selection of the featured pairings. And I’m thrilled to be able to provide a touring pass to one lucky winner who would also like to attend!

Want to enter? Simply leave a comment below letting me know why you want to attend and/or tweet the following:
“I want to #win a pass to #TasteTheSeason from @kristalamb and @niagarawine: goo.gl/Ffa6XK

The rules and regulations:
1. You must be 19 years or older to attend and you will be required to show valid government ID to participate.
2. You can enter once a day for the duration of the contest either via tweet or comment.
3. Re-tweeting others does not count as a contest entry.
4. The winner will be required to answer a skill-testing question.
5. The contest is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec.

Contest closes November 8, 2017 at 12 p.m. and the winner will be chosen via random draw.

*Thanks to Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake for providing passes for Shawn and I, as well as our winner!

Featured, Food & Wine

Faustino Back Vintages Tasting

October 22, 2017
Faustino Gran Reserva Back Vintages

One of the most magical things about wine is how some well-made bottles of certain wine types can often age so beautifully and with such unique results. An aged Riesling is a thing of beauty (the more petrol on the nose, the better the chances I’ll love it on the palate) and I’ve recently had the chance to enjoy some wonderful back vintages of wines from Rioja.

Faustino I Gran Reserva 1987

The colour on the 1987 is spectacular.

Earlier in October, I visited Wine Academy in Toronto where I had to taste through some of Faustino’s back vintages – small lots of which will be available through LCBO Vintages just in time for holiday shopping. Below are my thoughts on these four wines from one of Rioja’s most well-known wineries.

Faustino I 2005 Gran Reserva – This has a very deep, rich colour and plum, currant and smoke on the nose. The spices on the palate are rich and complex and the fruit is still very prominent. There was a long finish and good acidity – even at almost 14 percent alcohol, this wine felt very balanced and not overly alcoholic. A very good option to pick up now and cellar for the future.

Faustino I 1994 Gran Reserva – A very elegant nose with anise and bramble, which follow through on the palate. The fruit is still holding up well and this likely could be cellared for quite a few more years, making it a great investment at only $68.95. Of the four, this would be the one I’d recommend as a gift for a collector or wine lover who would like to see how a Rioja wine holds up.

Faustino I 1987 Gran ReservaFaustino I 1987 Gran Reserva – Available in very limited quantities at the LCBO this fall, this is quite a treat. Before 1999 many Rioja winemakers used white grapes in the blend (this practice is no longer allowed) and Faustino estimates that there may be about 3 percent white in this blend, which made for an interesting conversation about how that might affect acidity and flavour – if at all. This had a slight whiff of barnyard when initially poured (common on aged wines), but it dissipated as the wine opened up, leaving notes of old leather, tobacco and cumin. On the palate it held more dried fruit, but was still very smooth considering its age. The colour, a deep amber, was stunning. This is very drinkable now, but I don’t know if it has many more years left – a good option if you want to open soon.

Faustino 1 1970 Gran Reserva – Ah, the joys of drinking something made before you were even born. The nose held fig, dried fruit and almond and there was a surprising amount of fruit still on the palate – I would say even more than the 1987. There were some vegetal notes and a little more tannin with notes of fig and anise. Only 20 cases of 6 are available at the LCBO and at $151.95 for a bottle it’s a good holiday gift idea for that special wine lover on your list.

What is the oldest wine you’ve tried? Did you love it or do you prefer a younger bottle? Share your thoughts in the comments and on social.

Thanks to Bodegas Faustino for the opportunity to taste this very special collection of wine.