The Dialog Wines Blog
There are 8 days before Christmas and I’m willing to bet that you are going to find yourself in the local Liquor Store a little more frequently than usual between now and New Year’s Eve. This time of year, there are places to go and people to see, so the last thing you want to be doing is trying to decide which wine to pour your guests, bring to the party or give to your boss as a Christmas present. That is exactly why I thought I’d help you make an easy decision with my own personal Christmas Wine Wish List. In this list, all your wine needs will be covered, so print this page, put it in your pocket or purse and keep it with you for each and every trip to the Liquor Store. Some of these wines might be familiar to you but I decided to give you a brief explanation on why they made my list and what they could do for you this time of year.
#1 Mark West Wines Central Coast Chardonnay 2009 (California) – $18.49
A medium bodied wine, Mark West Central Coast Chardonnay is medium bodied with aromas of pear, citrus and vanilla cream
#2 Mark West California Pinot Noir 2009 (California) – $20.99
A light and soft wine, cherry and raspberry flavours dominate Mark West Pinot Noir.A touch of oak aging delivers a hint of vanilla spice.
Why Mark West Wines make the list: Food and Wine Magazine’s “Best Pinot” in its price category is a fan favourite in Newfoundland for a reason. It is great value and it’s a real crowd pleaser! Going to a party or hosting a party? Grab Mark West. You’ve got your red wine, you’ve got your white wine. Everyone’s happy. Done!
#3 Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catharine Brut Sparkling Wine (Niagra) – $33.99
Gold Winner (Sparkling Wine) at the 2010 All Canadian Wine Championship Awards Silver Winner at the 2010 Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards , “Henry of Pelham’s Cuvée Catharine has long been the pinnacle achievement by which all Ontario sparkling wines are measured against-it’s also the sparkler other wineries aspire to create when they start up their own Sparkling program. Year-in and year-out Henry of Pelham makes this bubbly and every year they get raves for it.”
Why Cuvee Catharine makes the list: I’ve poured this wine for some excellent wine tasters and most of them swear this Champagne. Close, as Cuvee Catharine is made in the Champagne method and is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Dry and refreshing with a touch of creaminess, Cuvee Catharine is Canada’s Champagne. Enjoy it on any occasion, especially on New Year’s eve and Christmas Day!
#4 Gugial Cote du Rhone Blanc 2009 – $18.96 (89 Points – Robert Parker)
The freshness, exotic tropical fruits, fragrant bouquets, dry, fleshy mid-palates and crisp finishes of these wines will be admired by consumers. These wines over-deliver in every sense, and they should drink well for several years.
#5 Guigal Cote du Rhone Rouge 2007 – $18.96 (90 Points – Robert Parker)
A deep ruby/purple wine with lots of cassis, kirsch, pepper, and even an intriguing floral note, the wine is medium to full-bodied , silky smooth, and a truly delicious, hedonistic and intellectually satisfying wine that is a remarkable bargain. It should drink well for 2-4 years, as these wines can actually last. – 90 Points, Robert Parker
Why Guigal Cote du Rhone makes the list: For a party or entertaining, you have two high scoring wines, both under $20. As the Guigal name is among the most famous in the Rhone region, these wines will appeal to any wine lover for a gift. Both wines are blends and the range of aromas and flavours will pair just fine with your Christmas Turkey.
#6 Ex Nihilo Merlot (Okanagan Valley, B.C.) – $45.03
“Classic Merlot with a rich ruby-red colour and an expressive nose of raspberry, cherry, dark chocolate and allspice. A silky mouthful of black cherry fruit and a balanced finish. An elegant wine which is approachable now and whose structure will show added complexities over the next 5 – 8 years.”
Why Ex Nihilo Merlot makes this list: “Ex Nihilo” means “Out of Nothing.” Fitting because it feels like this fantastic but relatively unknown wine came out of nowhere! I was tipped off about this wine from a reliable source. I met the owner, Jeff Harder, tasted the wine and I firmly believe this is one of the best wines you will find at the NLC for $45 range. Anyone who appreciates good wine will appreciate Ex Nihilo. Yes Virginia, there is great wine made in Canada.
#7 Veuve Doussot Demi-Sec Champagne (Champagne, France) – $44.99
“A straw yellow colour tinged with copper highlights. The palate is brimming with ripe fruit character layered with hints of toastiness.”
Why Veuve Doussot makes this list: Veuve Doussot is a small boutique Champagne house and has produced only 5000 bottles of this treasure. This is a the real deal in that it is ACTUAL Champagne. These days, people will call any carbonated drink “Champagne”. Not so my friends. I won’t get into the specifics in this blog, but just know that real Champagne is not easy to make and it is a special drink. Veuve Doussot Champagne is 100% Pinot Noir and the style is slightly sweet. Use it to ring in the New Year, for an apertif when the guests arrive or serve it with dessert.
#8 K Vintners “The Creator” – $69.49 (Washington) 93 Pts, Robert Parker
“The 2008 The Creator, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah in which the latter component dominates the nose. Ripe, spicy, and well balanced, this structured wine will benefit from 2-3 years of cellaring and drink well through 2023.“
Why The Creator makes this list: This highly rated, rare wine is a special treat brought to us by the 2009 United States Winemaker, Charles Smith. We were lucky enough to bring in a few cases but I doubt they will be around for long. One of Robert Parker’s favourite wine makers, any of Charles Smith’s higher end wines will make a great gift and as his persona and following continues to build, these wines will increase in value. A great gift for the wine enthusiast.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Dialog Wines
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“I’ll admit that when I try and weigh my likes and dislikes against all the wine I’ve tasted, it is easy to generalize and say that I enjoy some varietals more than others. But choosing the variety doesn’t account for the ‘style of a wine’ all the time either.”