November 14, 2015 – Ottawa, Ontario.

Here are some terrific wines I’ve tasted recently for which I’d highly recommend checking out this holiday season.  From value priced entertaining wines to higher priced gifting wines, sparklers and still wine, there are some real beauties here that will make your holiday season that much more enjoyable.  Many of these wines are being released in the November 14th (some in the 28th) Vintages release – a festive release that’s jam packed with an impressive lineup of wines perfectly suited for the holiday season.  I’ll be sharing my Nov 28 release picks shortly too.  Even more beauties in there!

It’s never too early to start picking-up wines for the holidays and the sooner you do the more likely you’ll get the wines you want, and with the benefit of no long line-ups that are so common in shopping centres throughout December!



Blue Mountain’s Gold Label Brut – a gorgeous traditional method sparkling wine from the beautiful Okanagan Valley in BC. $28.95 via Vintages. An ideal celebration wine, it would also make a very thoughtful gift for any bubbly lover.

Blue Mountain is renowned for producing some of the finest traditional method sparkling wines in Canada. The NV Gold Label Brut is a blend of 56% Pinot Noir, 39% Chardonnay, and 5% Pinot Gris, all from their picturesque estate vineyards in Okanagan Falls, British Columbia. The nose shows fresh orchard fruit, brioche, and flinty minerality. Fine micro bubbles refresh the palate with tart apple, pear, and mineral persisting on the long finish. A wonderful sparkling wine to enjoy with rich dishes such as seared scallops with mushroom risotto, cocktail party hors d’oeuvres, or Blue Mountain’s Truffle Popcorn Recipe. Terrific value. Highly recommended. Tasted November 2015. 92 points. Matt Steeves –

Buy Award Winning Blue Mountain Winery Gold Label Brut at Vintages this fall

Villa Maria Private Bin Lightly Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc – now available at LCBO – $17.95

Villa Maria’s 3rd vintage of Lightly Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc is sure to be a crowd favourite at any gathering. Slightly sparkling, which adds complexity and texture to the lively palate, the creamy and refreshing mousse complements rich hors d’oeuvres beautifully and would be a welcome treat to a Thanksgiving meal. Loaded with tropical fruits, lime, passion fruit, and snow peas, this is a fun and fruity wine that you’ve got to give a try.  Released Fall 2015 (for the first time in Ontario!). Tasted September 2015. 88+ points. Matt Steeves –

Villa Maria Lightly Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc – $17.95 at LCBO

The Lane Vineyard Block IA Chardonnay – $19.95

The Lane Single Vineyard Block 1A Chardonnay from Adelaide Hills in South Australia, shows rich pineapple, pear, apple, Meyer lemon, vanilla, and a slight herbal note on the nose. Lovely texture on this medium-full bodied Chardonnay, the palate is creamy and rich with refreshing tropical and orchard fruits persisting on the long finish. Enjoy with autumn harvest soups, rich and hearty seafood chowder, or grilled veal chops with mushrooms. Very impressive wine, highly recommended! This is a winery that’s caught my eye! Tasted November 2015. 91+ points. Matt Steeves –

PS: The block number (1A) indicates the patch within the vineyard where the fruit is grown, as do the “Google Earth” coordinates on the label. As Lane Vineyard winery notes, minimum intervention winemaking allows the vineyard to do the talking…this wine is certainly talking my language!

The Lane Vineyard Chardonnay Available at LCBO

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay – equally impressive as their iconic Sauvignon Blanc – a must try! $35.95 – worth a try!

Wow!  Suberb flinty minerality, orchard fruit, herbal notes, crisp and refreshing.  Incredible Chardonnay!  Well worth the investment.  Tasted November 2015. 93+ points. Matt Steeves –

Iconic New Zealand Cloudy Bay Chardonnay Available at LCBO

Stratus White – $44.20

Award winning winery, Stratus, has produced another fantastic white blend, showcasing Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling from their estate vineyards.  Orchard fruit, wildflower honey, baked bread, and nutty notes repeat on the medium-bodied palate.  A complex wine that would complement autumn harvest meals, rich German cuisine, or spicy Asian dishes.  Lovely wine that would make a great holiday gift.  Tasted November 2015. 92 points. Matt Steeves –

Stratus White 2012 – Available at LCBO

Montgras Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon – $11.95 at LCBO

Awarded the Best Eco-Friendly Chilean Red at the 2014 Eco-Friendly Wine Challenge, this value priced Cabernet Sauvignon is a great example of the value you can get with Chilean reds. It can be challenging to find Cabernet Sauvignon anywhere in the world at this price, and that’s just one of the great features of Chilean reds…great quality at unparalleled prices.

The 2013 MontGras Cabernet Sauvignon is a deep ruby red, with smoky dark berries, black currant, clove, and mocha notes. The palate is soft and inviting, round tannins make this a terrific party wine that also pairs well with braised dishes, tangy meatballs, and BBQ fare. Enjoy 2015-2017. 88 points. Matt Steeves –

Montgras Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Availability at LCBO

Penfolds Bin 407 Cab – a terrific gifting wine for any wine lover.

Penfolds Bin 407 – A gorgeous Cabernet Sauvignon from one of Australia’s most storied wineries, Penfolds. The nose welcomes you with fleshy dark berries, mint chocolate, mocha, and black pepper. Full bodied, and so incredibly well balanced! Packed full of sweet dark fruit, black currant, black cherry, cedar, and baking spices. A wine with the structure to permit ageing 20+ years, and each year it will maintain that beautiful balance while those sweet fruits evolve into more rustic notes. This would make a fantastic gifting wine this holiday season, and for those special roast beef meals, this would be ideal! Enjoy 2015-2035. 93 points. Tasted October 2015. Matt Steeves –

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon Availability at LCBO

Cade 2012 – $103.95

Rich and decadent, the nose is full of sweet baking spices, mocha, stewed dark fruit, and espresso notes. Full-bodied, rich, and juicy, this premium Napa Cab would be fantastic paried with grilled New York strip loin, or alongside prime rib roast. Tasted November 2014. 92 points. Matt Steeves –

Iconic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Cade – Available at LCBO

Great value in this magnum of Ripasso – $44.95

Great value in this magnum of Ripasso.  Ideal with pizza, and pasta dishes, or simply to enjoy while hosting holiday celebrations.  Tasted November 2015. 90 points. Matt Steeves –

Magnum of San Rocco Ripasso – Available at LCBO

Gaja’s Ca’Marcanda Promis 2013 – an iconic Super Tuscan

One of the iconic Tuscan producers, Gaja’s 2013 Ca’Marcanda Promis is a bold blend of Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese.  Deep ruby red in colour, the nose shows a beautiful blend of sweet dark fruit, plum, espresso, spice and herbs, with savoury Sangiovese leather, balsamic, and dried leaves notes. Dry, with good balance of tart dark berries, cacao, leather, charcoal, and tannins.  A prime wine to enjoy with grilled lamb, pasta Bolognese, or your favourite pizza. Tasted November 2015. 92 points. Matt Steeves –

Legendary Gaja’s Ca’Marcanda Promis – Available at LCBO

Super value-priced Chateauneuf-du-Pape! Michel Chapoutier’s Les Grands Merisiers 2012 – $34.95 (and a $5 discount over the holiday season).

A super value priced Chateauneuf-du-Pape from the world-renowned Michel Chapoutier. Smoky dark berries, baking spice, herbs, and pepper on the nose. Medium-full bodied, the palate is rich and refined, with refreshing acidity. Ideal with hearty stews, grilled sausage, charcuterie, and tomato based dishes, you’ll be hard pressed finding better value out of Cahteauneuf-du-Pape. Enjoy 2015-2025. 91 points. Matt Steeves –

Iconic Rhone producer Chapoutier’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Grands Merisiers – Available at LCBO

Ruffino’s Modus – A value priced Super Tuscan

Ruffino’s Modus has become a fan favourite selling out quickly upon each release, vintage to vintage. The 2011 shows juicy layers of dark fruits, plum, spice, leather, and cigar box. A super value priced Super Tuscan that I’d highly recommend buying by the case. Enjoy with spaghetti, Osso Buco, or other rich Italian cuisine. Tasted June 2015. 93 points. Matt Steeves –

One of the best value Super Tuscan blends, Ruffino’s Modus 2011 – Available at LCBO

For anyone whom loves Canadian Icewine, this iconic producer’s 40th anniversary release would be an incredible trophy wine to display in your cellar, or to enjoy over the holiday season.

In the four decades since its inception, Inniskillin’s iconic Icewine has reigned supreme, gaining wide appeal in over 80 countries.

This ultra-premium anniversary edition Riesling Icewine was crafted by Inniskillin winemaker Bruce Nicholson with grapes from their prestigious Pratt Vineyard. Very limited production, each bottle is individually numbered and signed by Nicholson.  It comes complete with a fancy crystal stopper.

Inniskillin’s 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Riesling Icewine – $500 winery direct or via

See more via Vintages