Holiday parties are in full swing! This week, let’s look at bottles suitable for any scenario.
When you’re gonna be getting your drink on
Although overindulging isn’t recommended, sometimes we know a few glasses may be in store. Selbach “Fish Label” Riesling 2016 (Mosel, Germany; $19.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) is a bright and cheery Riesling, shimmering with Golden Delicious apples, Red Haven peaches, and a squeeze of fresh lime. At a mere 10 percent alcohol, a couple glasses won’t slow you down. Sure, there’s a little sweetness on the finish, but striking acidity keeps things well balanced. For a little extra holiday cheer, it can be enjoyed for one dollar off through December 28.
When you’re gonna be getting your snack on
If you don’t know what eats are going to be offered, heading in a pink direction can be a safe bet. Tiberio Cerasuolo D’Abruzzo 2018 (Abruzzo, Italy; $23.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) comes from 50-year-old limestone-steeped Montepulciano vines and is juicy as all get-out. Waves of ripe raspberries, cherries, and lime wash across the palate, and the minimal skin contact during maceration provides a nice bit of grippy texture. Perfect for washing down salty deep-fried goodness, a wide array of cheeses, and more.
When you want to stray from the norm
When most folks think white Burgundy, they think of Chardonnay, which is by far the most planted white variety. Much lesser known (and planted) is Aligoté, with a high acid profile, often carrying notes of green apple, lemon, hazelnuts, and herbs. Domaine Daniel Rion & Fils Bourgogne Aligoté 2017 (Burgundy, France; $24.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) carries all these notes and carries them damn well, too.
When you want to impress
Champagne Lelarge-Pugeot Tradition Extra Brut NV (Champagne, France; $60 to $70, private wine stores) is a biodynamically farmed blend of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, bursting with lemonade, scrumpy apple cider, and marzipan. This week alone, I’ve popped a couple corks of the stuff; a new personal fave. Recently spotted at Brewery Creek Liquor Store.
When you’re broke
La Casona de Castaño Old Vines Monastrell 2017 (Yecla, Spain; $10.49, B.C. Liquor Stores) is a killer bargain widely available on liquor-store shelves. A rich and multilayered red, teeming with black licorice, cocoa, espresso, blackberries, cola, and a dusting of pepper. You’ll need your toothbrush for this one! What’s already a great deal gets even better: it’s one dollar off through December 28.
When there’s going to be a bunch of natural-wine geeks
Sveti Vrac Keratsuda 2017 (Struma Valley, Bulgaria; $36.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) is Bulgarian orange wine, and Keratsuda is the name of the grape. It’ll knock their socks off. Grown on ancient bush vines, raised in amphora vessels, and wild-fermented with six months of skin contact. There’s plenty of stone fruit like apricots, nectarines, and peaches, with a nice pull of fruit leather to it as well.
When you want to go big
Double up on the volume; double up on the yum! R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia 2006 1.5 litre (Rioja, Spain; $139.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) comes from a renowned producer known for high-quality, distinctive wine, often bringing the funk to your glass. This finely aged, Tempranillo-driven red has stewed black and red berry fruit, cloves, beef jerky, and a good lashing of earthiness. The opposite end of the spectrum from fruity bubble-gum wines, this spicy and leathery number has charisma to spare.
When you want to go local
Okanagan-based viticulturist and winemaker Valeria Tait is at the helm of Naramata’s Bench 1775 winery, and I’ve been admiring the direction she’s been driving the place since she took the post in 2012. While it’s tempting for many winemakers to make their big reds even bigger by overextracting and adding plenty of oak, Tait allows her wines to be honest expressions of her vineyards and terroir. Funny how that happens when the farmer is also the winemaker! Lately, I’ve been digging Bench 1775 Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah 2016 (Okanagan Valley, B.C.; $34.90, bench1775.com). Cabernet Sauvignon brings red currants, tobacco, and cedar notes, while Syrah lavishes it in blackberries, black plums, cloves, cardamom, and pepper. It’s big and juicy but very well-balanced with just a pinch of heat on the finish, that will warm up the coldest of winter nights.