Holiday Wine Guide 2020: Tempting Wines For Your Holiday Meal
December 20, 2020
For reasons beyond our control, Canadians are being forced to throw their holiday entertaining schedule out the window. An evening with girlfriends, a neighbourhood open house, an office Christmas party – it’s all cancelled! Some may sigh in relief while others will miss the hilarious gift exchanges, lukewarm canapés and flutes brimming with sparkling wine. This year, we’re trading our sparkly high heels for our jingle jammies and attempting to make small, intimate celebrations as memorable as ever. So, while it certainly looks different than years prior, let’s dial things up for your (most likely) one-and-only celebratory meal. Here are some epic dishes to pair alongside a few tempting wines for your holiday meal.
The value that Cava delivers continually astounds me. It’s made in a near-identical way to Champagne, having spent months or even years aging on its lees before being released, yet it’s a fraction of the price.
I recently wrote about Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad, which sits in contact with its lees for 30 months. This entry-level Reserva bottle, which ages for a minimum of 15 months, shares a lot of the same characteristics and blows other sparkling wines under $20 out of the water.
Made from 50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada, 15% Xarel·lo (all native Spanish grapes), Segura Viudas Brut Reserva is fresh yet layered and easy drinking yet elegant. It’s brimming with crisp, white nectarine and stone fruit aromas while notes of tropical lime are ushered in along with sweet florals nearing the finish. Dry and refreshing. For its versatility, this should certainly be one of the wines for your holiday meal.
Best with: Anything and everything. Pop a bottle on Christmas morning and sip with savoury spinach and ham quiche or delectable cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing. Follow it up with an afternoon glass alongside a Spanish-inspired charcuterie spread.
Where to Buy
$16.99 ($14.99 until Jan 2)
BC Liquor Stores
$13 – $15
Real Canadian Liquor Store Willow Park Calgary Co-op Sobeys Liquor Wine & Beyond
The thing about Cabernet Sauvignon is that no matter where it’s grown, it’s going to have some of the familiar characteristics that you know and love in bottles you buy again and again. And this one from Chile is no exception.
Arboleda is an award-winning Chilean wine with consistent 90+ critic scores and a commitment to sustainability. Aged in oak for 14 months (30% new), this Cab over performs for its price, displaying world-class balance and structure while still nodding to the cool-climate of the Aconcagua Valley. Elegantly aromatic with the perfect balance between red and black fruit with hints of baking spice and smoked nuts. Just the right amount of texture and tannin to carry you through – from the beginning of your appetizer to your last bite of sweet potato.
Best with: Skip the turkey and indulge in prime rib. Yes, it can be pricey. But you’re likely feeding so few people, it’ll add a sense of grandness to the meal. Plus, your oven does most of the work. Set it and enjoy a classic Christmas movie while it cooks.
It wasn’t my intention to have two wines from Spain on this list, but if it’s good – it’s good!
Sherry is something I’ve worked hard to understand better. Remember my article Styles of Sherry and How Each One Is Made? Without writing that, I wouldn’t have the appreciation for this bottle that it deserves. To break it down for you, Harvey’s Bristol Cream is a sweet, velvety blend of Palomino and Pedro Ximenez. The ‘cream’ refers to the sweetness and the texture, make no mistake it is not creamy (like Bailey’s as a comparison).
For Christmas, chill it down and serve with a slice of orange. Sip while perusing Harveyssherry.com for delicious and inspiring concoctions to make, like a Sherry Trifle or Sherry Paella. The orange wafts alongside roasted and toffee aromas which all carry through on the palate. And using it in dishes, the date and dried currant aromatics will fill your entire home.
Best with: You can’t beat tradition by sipping on sherry during dessert. It feels luxurious and classic to drink with pastries or a fresh fruit flan. If you’re one to kick tradition to the curb, serve it during the main course with citrus and honey glazed ham.
Where to Buy
$17.99 ($16.99 until Jan 2)
BC Liquor Stores
$18 – $20
Real Canadian Liquor Store Sobeys/Safeway Liquor Calgary Co-op Wine & Beyond
This Christmas when you’ve put down your dinner fork and picked up your dessert fork, grab a fresh wine glass and pour a splash of LBV Port.
An LBV is essentially a ruby port although from a single vintage. But it’s not a vintage port, because those age for a minimum of two years in oak and can be held in the bottle for years before release. LBV is ‘late to the bottle‘ – meaning it ages in oak between four and six years before heading to the bottle. But once it is bottled, it is released and intended for consumption.
This 2014 is exceptionally balanced. Concentrated blackberry and blueberry fruit with nuances of dark chocolate and mocha with a hint of chili pepper on the finish. Full-bodied, smooth, fine tannins and a finish for days.
Best with: Anything with dark chocolate will take you to the moon and back. But don’t limit yourself, it’s the holidays after all. Spoil yourself with some aged cheese, like high-quality Parmesan or stilton.