Best bets in holiday wines
Published Wednesday, December 15, 2010 5:26PM PST
Looking to toast the season -- or give the gift of the grape? Chris Olsen shows you which wines will taste great at prices you can swallow.
This time of year, wine stores are full great ideas but the selection can be daunting. Vancouver singer Ashleigh Somerville went looking for wine to pair with a vegetarian holiday meal. She asked John Clerides at the Marquis Wine Cellars for some advice.
Clerides suggested the $30 Henry Fessy Saint-Amour 2008, which he says is full flavoured and rich without being too tannic – an important consideration for a vegetarian dish. Clerides' second choice is a $22 red from California: Bishop's Peak Rock Solid Red.
"Great blend of wine. Really rich," he said.
For a serious white, Clerides likes Anselmi San Vincenzo 2009 from Italy for $25. He also favours La Vielle Ferme -- a French value-priced gem.
"It's fresh. It's rich and it's got a good crispness to it. And for $15 it's a real steal," he said.
Those wines also work for your traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings, along with Rieslings, Cote du Rhone, Beaujolais, Cabernets and Merlots.
"There are so many different flavours going on in a traditional turkey plate or even ham. There is not one definitive wine that works better than others," he said.
If you prefer something home grown, the B.C. wine industry may be small by world standards but the quality of the wines has just skyrocketed.
There are lots of excellent choices
"I'm going to pull out Joie Riesling," said Clerides, showing a bottle to Ashleigh.
"Where have I been?" I don't know Joie," she said.
Many are not household names, but Clerides thinks they should be.
"Laughing Stock, Painted Rock, Blue Mountain, Osoyoos Larose, Mission Hill, Quail's Gate, Inniskillan," he said.
Painted Rock is in only its second vintage but Clerides already thinks it will be one of the icons of B.C. wine.
"Along with Laughing Stock and Osoyoos Larose," he said. "Great stuff! Highly recommend it."
If you are looking for value priced wines, Clerides says you can shop by region. Specifically, look for wines from Chile, Argentina, Spain, Portugal and southern Italy.
South American Malbecs are popular these days which he says are a bit more full bodied than some people are used to.
Clerides likes the Jean Bousquet Malbec from Argentina for $16.or the Viu Manent from Chile for $15.
If you are hunting for whites the Chilean Cono Sur Voignier is just $11.
For entertaining, something with bubbles make a festive glass to give to guests as they arrive. Clerides says they don't have to cost a lot either.
"No, it's not going to be champagne at 60 bucks. A glass of Prosecco or a B.C. sparkling wine," he said.
You don't have to go over $30 and Segura from Spain is just $19.
Finally, If you are looking for a gift wine in the $30 to $40 range, Clerides suggests the Au Don Climat Pino Noir from California for $37 and the $40 Penfold's Bin 138 Classic Cote du Rhone style blend from Australia
But always ask an expert at your local wine store for their recommendations based on the tastes of the person you're shopping for.
Ashleigh found what she was looking for and some ideas for next time.
"Thank you so much. That's awesome," she said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen