Wine is paradoxically one of the easiest and most difficult things to give as a gift. It can be a thoughtless, grab-and-go, hand-it-over absentmindedly in a wine bag kind of present. Or it can be an impactful buying decision, with meaning and significance. The difference between the two is giving versus gifting. In the holiday issue of BC Liquor Store’s TASTE Magazine, I explain how to Gift with Confidence. This edition of the Holiday Wine Guide looks at a few carefully selected vinos, each with purpose and allure. Here are the Best Wines to Gift to the wine lovers in your life this holiday season.
Sancerre is overlooked too often. Most people who enjoy Sauvignon Blanc beeline for the New Zealand section of the wine shop while those that have an affinity for French wine believe that Chardonnay is the classic way to go. Here’s a news flash, Sancerre (which is made entirely of Sauvignon Blanc) is one of the best wines to gift because it ticks boxes from both worlds.
From France’s northern Loire Valley, Sancerre is bright and mineral-driven with loads of zingy citrus along with Sauvignon Blanc’s typical herbaceousness. How this bottle stands out from the crowd is with its time spent on lees. For at least eight months, this wine ages in contact with its yeast cells (post-fermentation, pre-bottling) which accentuates the wine’s floral notes and adds layers of refinement and complexity.
Gift This Wine: To the friend who insists on ordering an appetizer at a fancy restaurant. They enjoy new experiences and savour special moments.
Looking for old-world magnetism with new world charm? Look no further than Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon is the first official premium wine from Chile, and it’s less than $25.
You can’t go wrong with the structure and strength of Cabernet Sauvignon along with cool regional influences of the Colchagua Valley. A small portion of Merlot (10 percent) brings ripe black fruit flavours of blackberry and plum. Just over half the wine was aged in French oak barrels, adding notes of roasted pepper and sweet tobacco with a smooth and round mouthfeel.
Gift This Wine: To the co-worker or boss who typically likes Napa Cab or left-bank Bordeaux. It has a comparable profile at an incredible value.
Clos du Soleil is a small winery and estate vineyard on the Upper Bench of the South Similkameen Valley. Their winemaking is inspired by the big and bold aesthetic of Bordeaux but is executed with artisanal and considerate flare.
Incorporating philosophies of minimal-intervention and biodynamic viticulture, the true character of each grape variety shine in this wine. The Célestiale, which is a term referring to all things in the heavens, is made of 56 percent Merlot, 29 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 8 percent Malbec and 7 percent Cabernet Franc.
We can’t have a list of best wines to gift without something from BC. This VQA, Bordeaux-style blend is approachable yet elegant. Ripe yet restrained. Fully chuggable yet thoughtfully engaging. Red and black fruit mingle in a soft and whimsical dance. Refreshing acidity is balanced with subtle tannins and notes of rich earth in the background.
Gift This Wine: To the conscientious consumer who seeks out artisan producers which in turn, help the local economy thrive.
I’ve had the pleasure of doing a deep dive of this wine before. Vintage after vintage it stands up – very proudly – and boasts “I Am Italian, And I Am Delicious”.
And it’s not wrong.
Il Falcone is made up entirely of native Puglian grapes. The majority of which is Nero di Troia (70 percent) and grow less than an hour from the Adriatic Sea. When taking a sip, you can imagine yourself in southern Italy soaking up the warmth of the sunshine and taking in the history of the centuries-old castles.
Deep and densely layered. Ripe red fruit flavours of cherry and plum. Over a year in French oak bring out the toasty notes and leathery nuances. Rich and pristine with drinkability now or in a few years.
Gift This Wine: To the travel junkie who is itching to book their next Italian adventure.
Where to Buy
$29.99 ($27.99 until Jan 2)
BC Liquor Stores
$25.00 – $28.00
Calgary Co-Op Wines & Spirits Highlander Wine & Spirits J. Webb Wine Merchant Liquor Select Willow Park Wines & Spirits Zyn The Wine Market
Glistening. Shimmering. All the wonderful ‘ings’. This wine transports to a world where high heels are worn when going out to dinner and you contemplate booking a trip to Paris with your girlfriends while pouring a second glass. You know, like 2019. Or optimistically, the later half of 2021.
Invigorating and illuminating acidity. An effervescence that dances, sip after sip. Light with summer strawberry notes and a hint of orange peel. Just the right amount of buttery herbed cracker with a soft and creamy indulgent mouthfeel. This bottle will make Champagne lovers swoon and is certainly worthy of a splurge.
Gift This Wine: To the loved one that you relied on the most in 2020. From random texts to virtual happy hours, we really needed friendships this year and this special bottle is one of the best wines to gift in order to show your appreciation.
Where to Buy
BC Liquor Stores
$112.00 – $120.00
Calgary Co-Op Wines & Spirits Fine Wine Stores Highlander Wines & Spirits Willow Park Wines & Spirits Zyn The Wine Market