Wines for the Holidays: Wine Pairings and Wine Gifts

This time of year, we at Wine Journeys thought we’d focus on wines for the Holidays whether they are for yourself, your friends and family, or for under the tree. We have reviewed some of these previously and some are new. We are foregoing our usual ratings to squeeze in more wines, but we can assure you they all have our seal of approval (3½ to 4+ stars out of 5). It’s our little Christmas gift to you.

We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all the best for 2022!

A Gift to Make Your Pinot Noir Fan Think You’re a Wine Expert
Stanners The Narrow Rows Pinot Noir 2019 (Winery, Online $45.00) – This award winning Prince Edward County Pinot was the best Ontario Pinot we tasted in 2021. It’s reminiscent of a good Burgundy that would be 3-4 times the price. You will have to order it from the winery, but it is oh so worth it. They will ship for free if you order 4 bottles of any of their wines.

Gifts For the California Cabernet Sauvignon Lover
Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Vintages $89.95) – This premium California Cab from Napa’s celebrated Duckhorn winery is worth hunting down for your California wine lover if you’re not concerned about price. We’ve visited the winery and their wines are superb.
Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Vintages $24.95) – Hess has been known for making distinguished wines since the 1990s and this is a great Cab as well, but at a lower cost to acquire. No one will feel slighted drinking this lovely red.

Gifts That Taste Expensive for That Friend Who Only Drinks French
Pesquié Édition 1912m Ventoux 2019 (Vintages $17.95) – This is a impressive version of red Ventoux from the Southern Rhone with lots of spice, fruit, and body. The price belies the wine’s high quality.
Château Hauchat 2018 (Vintages $17.95) – Very good right bank Bordeaux at an absolutely amazing price. This would fool people in a blind tasting as a more prestigious Bordeaux Cru.

Gifts For the Chardonnay Devotees Out There
Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2020 (Vintages $21.95) – This Californian from Sonoma is the most popular Chardonnay sold in the U.S. If you like a full bodied, fruit forward style with a hit of oaky vanilla, pick up a bottle or two.
Featherstone Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2019 (Vintages $22.95) – Consider giving an excellent local Chardonnay like this one from Niagara. This wine is really unique since it’s aged in Canadian oak instead of American or French. It’s tasty stuff indeed from a winery that focuses on sustainable agricultural practices.

Great Wines to Pour at Your Party That Won’t Break the Bank
Codorniu Brut Clasico NV ($14.70 LCBO) – This deservedly popular sparkling Cava from Spain is good wine and good value that your guests will love. Think Prosecco, but a little drier and more complex.
The Wolftrap Syrah, Mourvèdre, Viognier 2020 (LCBO $14.00) – This full bodied, smooth red is from South Africa and punches above its weight for quality at that outlay.
Cave Spring Pinot Gris 2019 (LCBO $15.95) – For Pinot Grigio lovers, this is actually the same grape, but Gris has a more full bodied, fruitier style, but still at a good price point. This one is from Niagara.

Love Local Wines for the Main Event on Christmas Day
Malivoire Estate Grown Chardonnay 2019 (Vintage $19.95) – This beautifully rich take on Niagara Chardonnay is oak aged and will complement your turkey with a buttery dressing. It’s consistently excellent wine.
13th Street Gamay 2019 (Vintages $19.95) – If you’re a red wine fan, then this fruity red from Niagara is what you need to accompany your turkey dinner. It’s especially good if you like to include sausage meat in your stuffing.

Champagne to Ring In Your New Year
Taittinger Brut Réserve Champagne NV (LCBO $63.15) – This Champagne is beautifully crafted and our personal favourite. Buy it soon since Champagne may be in short supply at the LCBO this year. Serve it well chilled and toast in the New Year.

A Love Local Sparkler For Your New Year’s Eve
13th Street Premier Cuvée Sparkling 2015 (Vintages $39.95) – This Niagara sparkling is made in the same way as Champagne and rivals it in quality, but at a much nicer price. It’s rich, complex, and will pair with just about anything. Pick up a bottle for your festivities. We already have ours!

Wine for Your Casual Pizza or Pasta Gathering
Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classico 2019 (Vintages $20.95) – We don’t know of a better or more reliable Chianti Classico in this price range to enjoy with your Italian meal. Its cherry, berry flavours suit pizza and tomato based pasta sauces perfectly. We always have some in our house.

Wine for Your Chinese Takeout Get Together
Vineland Estates Elevation St. Urban Vineyard Riesling 2020 (Vintages $19.95) – An astonishingly good Niagara Riesling with some sweetness that will handle the salty, sweet, oily, and spicy elements of Chinese food with ease.

Wine to Make that Dark Chocolate Dessert Better
Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port (LCBO $18.75) – Not as popular as it once was, but it still deserves a place on your table. This richly dark fruited, full bodied, sweet wine from Portugal is simply perfection with dark chocolate.

And finally…
Wine to Pair with Your Aunt’s Christmas Fruit Cake
Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry NV (LCBO $15.95) – Yes, your grandparents drank it, and, yes, you should try it paired with the right food and served at a cool temperature (around 12 C). The sweet dried fruits of this sherry pair well with Christmas cake. Try this pairing and you may well decide that fruit cake is good for more than a doorstop.