Last Minute Gifts for Your Wine Lover

Last Minute Gifts for Your WIne Lover

During the Holiday Season, you probably think more about wine than any other time of the year.  Choosing the best wine for parties, dinners, and gift giving can be stressful, especially with the additional angst of wine pairing for your get-togethers.  It doesn’t have to be anxiety inducing.  Wine Journeys suggestions for last minute shopping to make your Christmas merry and bright!

My ratings are based on a 5 star system developed by Michael Broadbent: 5 stars: Outstanding; 4 stars: Very good; 3 stars: Good; 2 stars: Moderately good; 1 star: Not very good, but not bad; No stars: Poor.


The Best Local Wines for Parties

Focus on wines that are good quality, good value, and easy to pair with the foods that are the hallmark of seasonal parties – everything from Brie to Bacon Wrapped Dates.  Choose light to medium bodied reds, whites, and sparkling with little, or no oak aging to make them food flexible, and then watch your guests enjoy the result.  Here are 3 great local wines to make your party an event.


Vineland Estates Unoaked Chardonnay 2022 ★★★½+ $15.95 (LCBO)

It’s a dry, fresh, and medium bodied wine imbued with orchard fruits and pleasant lemony finish.  Perfect for pairing with your finger foods like brie on crostini or spinach/artichoke dip, but will make pretty much anything you serve more enjoyable. And it’s is a nice sipper too.


13th Street Burger Blend Gamay Noir Pinot Noir NV ★★★★  $15.95 (LCBO)

This red is consistently excellent quality, not to mention good value. Medium bodied with juicy red cherry and berry flavours. Ready to drink with moderate tannins, this wine is made to pair with food.  If you’re passing plates of sliders, bacon wrapped dates, bruschetta, or mini meatballs, this wine will pair effortlessly with them and most other apps.


Kew Vineyards Organic Riesling Sparkling 2020 ★★★★  $19.95 (Vintages)

Riesling may not be the first wine you think about when buying a sparkling, but it’s well worth considering.  Its light to medium bodied character and mouth watering acidity make it an easy wine to pair with almost anything.  The fruit palate here shows baked apple, poached pear, ginger, and a nice toasty note.  Perfect pairings would be apps that are breaded and/or fried.  Think shrimp, potato croquettes, spring rolls, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, and the like.


A Gift for Wine Lovers Who Want to Explore Another Canadian Wine Region

Look to the Okanagan in British Columbia that produces a diverse assortment of wine due to its hot southern microclimate and cool microclimate to the north.  We suggest you give a wine club membership to one of the many amazing wineries there such as Tinhorn Creek or Moon Curser. They will ship their wines directly to the door of your gift recipient.  Just contact them and give them the details and your credit card number.


The Creek 2020 ★★  $25.50 for Tinhorn Creek Wine Club Members (Winery Only)
This wine is exclusively shipped to Club Members or can be purchased at the winery.  It is not available online to non-club members.  A red that’s full bodied, dry, aged in French and Hungarian oak and made in the Bordeaux style, which means it’s a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc and Merlot in the supporting roles.  Simply an excellent example of what the South Okanagan can produce.  Beef tenderloin seared in butter would showcase it best.


Put this Under the Tree for Your Cabernet Sauvignon Lover

If someone loves good Cabernet, this Sonoma version will make for a happy Christmas morning.


St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 ★★★★  $37.95 (Vintages)
St. Francis crafts wines from diverse Sonoma vineyards at their spectacular winery framed by gorgeous mountain scenery.  Their Cabernet centers on flavours of blackberry jam and cassis surrounded by vanilla, clove, mint, sage, and smoke.  Typically full bodied and tannic, it needs protein to really be enjoyed to the fullest. Prime rib, braised beef, or good hard cheeses like Cheddar will tame those tannins for a perfect match.


The Perfect Gift for Your Anything but Chardonnay Girl or Guy

Look for bright, fruity wines unoaked whites to refresh their palates over the Holidays.  This recommended wine from Abruzzo will do the trick.


Vigna Madre Becco Reale Bio Pecorino 2021 ★★★★ $19.95 (Vintages)

Italian white wine wines like this one rarely get the spotlight they deserve.  This dry white simply sparkles with pear, lemon, mango, herbs, and lime pith flavours that will dance across their palate and linger there.  It’s an excellent wine for seafood, rich risottos, and cuisine featuring cheese sauces.


Two Italian Reds to Make Your Holiday Pizza Night with Friends and Family Better

You don’t want a tannic monster for your Pizza gathering.  Pick something nicely fruity with little or no oak matched with moderate tannins and good acidity like these two from Italy.


Tenuta Santa Maria Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2020 ★★★★ $21.95 (Vintages)

Valpolicella has a bad rap as a thin, sour red and this is true of some low-priced bottles.  This, however, is not true for wines like this one.  Just over medium bodied and agreeably fruited with sweet red cherry and raspberry intertwined with rosemary to pique your interest.  Pizza with mushrooms, peppers, pepperoni, and sausage will make this wine shine.


Sella & Mosca Riserva Cannonau di Sardegna 2020 ★★★★  $19.95 (Vintages)

Medium bodied, it showcases red berries and spiced plum with vanilla and old leather from a grape that’s called Cannonau in Italy, but you might better know it by its French name, Grenache.  If you love veggie pizza, look no further for your dinner wine than this one from the island of Sardinia.


Your Perfect Host/Hostess Gift or New Year’s Party Wine

For gifts, or the New Year, you need a good Sparkling, but it doesn’t have to be Champagne.  This Cremant from the Alsace region will fit the bill perfectly.


Emile Beyer Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Crémant d’Alsace NV ★★★★  $23.95 (Vintages)

Here we have a Cremant that’s excellent with flavour and aromas of nut bread, ripe Red Delicious Apple, lemon cream, and wet stones.  Definitely, this is a sparkler that would be great to sip or pour it with appetizers, cheese, and charcuterie.