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Holiday Cheer

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!

Holiday Cheer

Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

December 21, 2016
Pommies Cider Gift Pack

So we’re furiously getting ready for the holidays at our house and most of our gifts have been purchased, but I know there will be one or two last minute things that pop up (they always do). So if you have to brave the long pre-holiday lines at the LCBO or a liquor store near you, here are some great gift ideas for that one you forgot was on the list!

Pommies Cider Holiday Gift Pack – When I grab a cider, it’s usually from Pommies. This Ontario cider company won my heart years ago and I still gravitate to them when it’s on the menu at restaurants. We have more than enough glassware, but for a new-to-cider drinker, this is a really fun option. Shawn and I both swear that drinks taste better with the right glass and this is a jam-packed gift set with four ciders and two glasses.

Thornbury Spiced Apple Cider is a great last minute holiday giftThornbury Cider – Need something smaller, but still want to go with cider? Create a DIY gift with Ontario’s Thornbury Cider. One festive Spiced Apple Cider and one glass, plus some cinnamon sticks to add to the holiday feel and ‘voila’ you have the perfect hostess gift to head off to that holiday party.

Otazu Premium CuveeOtazu 2012 Premium Cuvee – If you show up at my house with a good bottle of wine, you won’t be turned away this season. Otazu Premium Cuvee has great earthy notes and lots of spicy bramble on the nose. A food-friendly Spanish wine that would pair well with red meat, this is great for winter sipping and a pretty fantastic hostess gift when you’re heading to a party.

 

 

last-minute-3Mercat Brut Nature Cava – Bubbles are my go to for pretty much everything, especially when I need a last minute gift I know people will enjoy. This Spanish Cava was a favourite at a recent sparkling tasting I attended and is a nice, dry option that won’t break the bank. It will definitely be appreciated as a hostess gift or at your holiday brunches. I have a bottle set aside for holiday sipping and will gladly welcome anyone who shows up with more.

What are your go-to options for gifts when you’re racing against the clock? Share them in the comments or on social!

* The ciders featured were samples I received and the wines were tasted at events where I was a guest. All opinions are my own. Seriously, bring me some more Mercat.

Holiday Cheer

Wine Lovers Holiday Gift Guide 2016

December 4, 2016

It’s that time of year when you have to decide what the wine lover on your holiday gift list wants. If they’re like me, the answer is John Szabo’s new book on volcanic wines. I’ve worked with some of my favourite wine friends and bloggers to put together a few other ideas for gifts to get the wine lover in your life.

gift-guide5 First, I’m going to give another huge plug for John Szabo’s latest book: Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power, which is the perfect gift for someone truly passionate about wine education. This is an informative read that will keep the wine geekiest among us happy for hours. I’ll be following up with a full review in the new year, but for now it’s topping my wish list and I know many of my wine-loving friends are hoping to find this under the tree on Christmas morning.

I’m also going to suggest Icewine. This one is a bit of a surprise, as I love Icewine but have never been big on having it in the house. We like it in moderation, so it’s the type of thing I’d only pull out when we had guests over and even then you hardly make a dent in the bottle. Enter my discovery of Icewine cocktails! Add a little to your favourite sparkling wine for a special treat or mix it into a martini for a hint of sweetness. Now that I understand the versatility of this Canadian favourite, I’m all about having it on hand. The 2015 Chateau des Charmes Vidal Icewine comes in a cute package (perfect for gifting) and is a great pairing for blue cheese or a fun addition to your holiday cocktails.

Charlene Theodore and Megan Munro, Chew Street Blog:
“Chew Street has teamed up with Swell Made Co. to curate two holiday gift packs for the holiday season.  One of them is perfect for the wine lover on your ‘nice list’ this year. The Wine Love Gift Pack is a collection of chic, witty and fun items from stationary to totes specially packaged for the holidays.  For each one purchased, Chew Street and Swell Made will buy a Christmas dinner for clients of the Yonge Street Mission, an organization that has served Torontonians in poverty with dignity since 1896.  The Wine Love Gift Pack ($62.00CAD) is perfect for the oenophile, casual wine enthusiat, or wine newbie who likes eye-catching, minimal design.

The gift pack includes:

  • WINE Pendant + Chain
  • I Got Wine in My Bag Black Tote Bag
  • This Calls For Champagne Keytag
  • Thank You note for your recipient informing them of their contribution to the Yonge Street Mission.”

Fresh sparkling Riesling is a fun holiday sipper from NiagaraAngela Aiello, Wine Expert & Founder of iYellow Wine Club:
“Fresh Sparkling Riesling – one of my local Holiday go-to wines. My favourite grape just got better! Celebrate Ontario with this great bottle of bubbly! I may have bought a couple cases and sent a case to my sister, and a case to my mom too.”

Anne Louise Bannon, Oddball Grape:

“When I’m asked what do wine lovers really want for the holidays, I usually say more wine. Which might intimidate non-wine folks. But fear not. One of the best gifts Michael ever got was a gift certificate to a really great wine shop. It came from my daughter and the shop was in San Francisco, where she lives. We live about 600 miles away in Los Angeles. Michael had a blast picking out his wines – bottles he’d probably not have bought for himself. But better yet, what a sweet way for the kid to suggest we come up and visit. So a well-thought out gift certificate can be a great way to give the wine lover in your life more wine. Unless, of course, you’ve got the funds to hire a sommelier to stock your cellar. That would be even better.

Making wine at home can be fun.“Assuming the wine lover in your life isn’t already making her or his own wine, one of the most fun gifts you can get them is a home wine-making kit. You can find them online or at a local home brew shop. There are few things more exciting than making it yourself. But be aware, even though that first wine may actually be pretty grim, wine-making can be very addictive. It won’t be long before your wine lover is finding ways to buy (gasp) real grapes and talking about harvest and brix and acetobacters. And talk about a rabbit hole. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard professional winemakers tell us that they got their start when a spouse bought them a kit for the holidays. It’s how we started.”

Have some ideas we haven’t covered? Share them in the comments or on social!