Ho Ho Wine Picks for the Holidays

Well, hello!!! It’s been a while since I sat down to share with you! I hope that doesn’t land me on the ‘naughty’ list as it has been a rather unordinary year for all of us.

I hope you have been well, and finding calm, peace and patience in some way!

Amidst being at home a heck of a lot more, Winter in Canada has also arrived. Whether East Coast or West Coast – it’s here in some way. And although I’m not a winter-loving Canadian gal, there are a few reasons why it’s not so bad…

  1. It can be pretty
  2. It means we can go snowshoeing – which is actually a fun activity and the only way I enjoy walking in it!
  3. Usually, it’s a time to reconnect with friends over Holiday drinks
  4. Going to Christmas Market and having Glühwein & melted raclette over potatoes
  5. I can pretend to snuggle up to the fireplace that is on channel 122 for the season!
  6. And, it means the Christmas holiday is coming!

Christmas for me has sure shifted over the years. When I was a kid – it meant time with my grandparents and my little family was together. We would drive around neighborhoods checking out the Christmas lights. Being an only child, this was exciting for me! But, as the years passed, my family changed in size and evolved. And my adult years went from holiday dinners and presents and being invited to many holiday parties, etc. to now, where I am way more comfortable with a quiet Christmas. I get excited now for a small Christmas with my Mom, or being able to attend a very good friend’s annual Christmas Eve dinner tradition of Fondue (Swiss-style) – and this is where the wine comes in!

This friend would open up special wines from his cellar to share with all of us that came to dinner. And year after year, we all began bringing special wines or unique finds of all price ranges to enjoy with dinner and all night. I should mention – his traditional fondue takes hours!! It’s amazing. He uses his Mom’s secret recipe to make a vegetarian broth, in which we catapult our skewered beef or veggies in, to cook. It’s slow, it evokes conversation after conversation, we open a few wines at a time, and pair them with different bites, and we laugh and enjoy the night with Christmas music playing in the background. I’ve adopted this Christmas eve tradition of his – and added it to my list of “special” things to do over the holidays with my friends, who are also family.

So, on that note – let’s get to it! Every year, we explore wines cellared to a new vintage. I usually seek a bubbly to begin and say thank you to the host, and then I love sharing unique varietals or European charmers.

So here is my list for the holidays! And don’t forget, if you can’t find this exact producer, then just try and find the varietal or something from the same region. It’s all about exploring!!

Happy Holidays to you & I wish you patience and peace for the rest of the month.

Cheers to a new year ahead!

~ Donita

Wintery Whites:

Jasci & Marchesani Pecorino – Italy

A finessed white wine with notes of delicate fruits like peaches, stone fruits and a hint of  a light note of nuts, and a lovely long finish. This is food friendly! And if you can’t find this exact producer – try another Pecorino!

Pair this varietal with ham or roasted chicken or a rich white fish. *Available at private liquor stores

Bodegas Menade Rueda Verdejo Ecologico 2018 – Spain 

Floral notes, candied lemon, herbal, grassy & passionfruit – were my top tasting notes. This is a very cool wine that had lees contact making it a little complex, yet fun and zippy. Pair this with seafood. New vintage arriving in the new year.

*Available at BC Liquor Stores

Prancer’s Pinks:

Mirabeau Classic Rosé 2019 AOP Côtes de Provence – France

Notes of wild strawberries, raspberry and redcurrant, zesty apple and a few herbaceous notes with a nice balance of acidity. It’s tangy, zesty, herby and such a fun rosé to enjoy with or without food! *Available at Jaks Liquor Stores

Caves de Lugny Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé – France

A favourite! It’s fresh and lively with notes of red fruits like redcurrant, strawberries and raspberries with balanced acidity. It’s interesting, finessed but fun! For every sale of this bottle, $2 is donated to Ovarian Cancer Canada. *ONLY at Marquis Wine Cellars in Vancouver

Blitzen’s Bubbly:

Fitzpatrick Blanc de Blanc 2015 – Canada

A traditional method sparkling wine made from Chardonnay. Notes of crisp green apples with a hint of toasty notes and a hint of dusty and stony minerals on the back of the palate. Pair this with everything! *Available from the winery

Champagne Bauchet Cuvée Contraste NV – France

Blanc de Pinot Noir – Extra Brut

100% Pinot Noir with 20% Reserve wine from vineyards in Côte des Bars and Montagne de Reims. A nice long finish with a hint of delicate minerality, the nose offers jam like red and black fruits, subtle spice notes and just a hint of mint. Fine bubbles, a very finessed Growers Champagne. *Available exclusively at Jaks Liquor Stores

Rudolph’s Reds:

Pietradolce Etna Rosso 2018 – Italy

From a vineyard on the northern slop of Mt. Etna (an active volcano) in Sicily.

Made from Nerello Mascalese grapes, it spends just 3 mos. in oak. This wine has red berry notes with a garrigue native to the volcanic soil, minerals, a slight herbaceous quality and energy. The label is seismographs layered on top of each other to show the activity from the volcano. A fave of mine! Pair it with Turkey dinner. *Available at BC Liquor Stores

Thörle Spatbürgunder Rheinhessen 2016 – Germany

Okay Pinot Noir lovers – this one is for you!

Made from Pinot Noir and aged in mostly Neutral German oak barrels with a little time in French oak. Notes of red fruits  like wild brambleberries and cherries with a hint of violets and rich, textured mouthfeel and lovely integrated tannins. I love opening wine favourites from around the world over the holidays.*Available at BC Liquor Stores

Stag’s Hollow Teroldego 2018 – Canada

This grape is usually found in Northern Italy – but this was grown right in the Okanagan Valley in BC. Notes of blue and blackberries, and tart cherries with mineral notes. Bright acidity and slight chalky tannins. Such an interesting wine with lots going on. Pair this with tomato-based dishes or grilled Mediterranean lamb. *Available from the winery

For a printable version, click HERE.

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