December 2021

Today on CTV Morning Live Vancouver, CTVs Krissy Vann, and Sommelier Matt Steeves showcased some great wines and spirits which are sure to impress the in-laws this holiday season. Wines that will suit every palate and budget, including white, red, bubbly, and some spirits too. And whether you’re celebrating in-person with your bubble, or dropping off some holiday cheer for a virtual gathering, these are some great options to check-out this season.

Life is too short to drink bad wines so this holiday season why not treat yourself, and those around you, to some Sommelier recommended fine wines and spirits. We’ve scoured the local shops to curate a short list of wines and spirits from all over that are sure to impress.

Starting off with delicious sparking wine, this one from Spain…where their traditional method sparkling wine, (which is made like Champagne) is called “Cava”. Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava is a fantastic choice for any holiday gathering. It’s perfect for greeting guests at the door with, also a super food friendly wine which makes it great for enjoying with finger foods, and I always advise to buy by the case and keep a bottle or two chilled in the fridge so you’re prepared for any impromptu celebration. After all, the holidays are filled with opportunities to celebrate so why not be ready with chilled Cava. Lastly, given the bottle’s festive holiday presentation, it adds a nice decorative touch to any table or bar cart too!

Look for the boxed gift set of a bottle of Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava with two sparkling wine flutes. A great gift for anyone this holiday season.

Now, moving to a terrific white wine to enjoy in the winter…California Chardonnay. Given it’s full-bodied and full-flavoured style, California Chardonnay is a wonderful choice for serving at your holiday gatherings, and it’s wonderful for complementing the meals you’re serving and enjoying this time of year too.

The 2019 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay is a rich 100% barrel-fermented chardonnay full of sunny, fresh fruit flavours. Aromas of vanilla and honey create balance along with hints of toasted oak and butter. As the brand’s most popular release, it is the perfect selection to impress at any occasion this holiday season as it is approachable and exceptionally food-friendly. Super versatile, enjoy with Roasted Chicken, Roasted Turkey, Pork or Veal in Cream Sauce with Mushrooms, Mild Soft Cheeses, Lobster with Drawn Butter, Crab with Drawn Butter, Mushroom Risotto, and Poached Salmon, to name a few wonderful pairings!

Kendall-Jackson’s Vintner’s Reserve is a perfect “go-to” white wine to have on-hand and one that is sure to please your in-laws too.

Find it at BC Liquor Stores on sale for $21.

Sticking with full-bodied California wines, next on our list of must-have-wines is this juicy Pinot Noir, Sea Sun California Pinot Noir. Produced by Charlie Wagner, whose famous winemaking family is behind world-renowned wines as Caymus, comes this Pinot Noir sourced from cooler-climate vineyards along the Californian coast. A deep, alluring red, this wine is strikingly soft on both the nose and palate. A rich fruit character wafts from the glass, featuring scents of baked cherries and pie crust. Additional layers come from notes of brown spice and the warm vanilla that signals perfectly integrated, lightly present wood. Entry on the palate is bright and fruit-driven, with lush cherry flavours that mimic the nose. Texture is plush and silky smooth. Sea Sun Pinot is a great wine to enjoy on these cold winter nights and a wine your guests will enjoy whether with charcuterie, take-out, or a roast. Another accessible wine that delivers great value in a sure to be enjoyed style.

Available at BCLiquor and on sale for $23.99 this holiday season.

Now for another delicious, and super value-priced red wine that the in-laws will appreciate, especially when paired with a prime rib roast or Rouladen over the holidays. Cellier des Dauphins from the Cotes du Rhone in France.

Cellier des Dauphins was founded in 1967 by the Union of Cotes du Rhone winegrowers, which bring together 2,300 winemaking families in the southern Rhone Valley.

Decanter magazine provided this wine a near perfect score of 97 points (out of 100) for the 2018 vintage, noting: “This is delicious! Very classy and appealing aromas of flowers, garrigue, spice and forest floor. On the palate sweet vanilla oak marries into the charming and svelte herbal, red and blue fruit mix. It’s full of flavor, super supple, super drinkable and authentic. Bouquet, taste, finish: all are magnificent.”

If you can get your hands on some of this great wine, I highly recommend it, whether for gifting, entertaining, or simply enjoying this holiday season and over the next ~5 years. Readily available across Canada, this is another buy-by-the-case wine.

After a nice meal it’s a real treat to relax while enjoying a fine digestif, like a French Brandy. The world’s #1 French Brandy, St-Rémy, has a new style called “Signature French Brandy” which builds on more than 130 years of Brandy-making and screams luxury but in an accessible way.

St-Rémy Signature’s bottle shape gives the appearance of a premium Scotch or Bourbon. It’s colour is also very rich thanks to the double maturation in oak casks which is also contributes to its smooth texture and delicious spicy vanilla notes. Fantastic served neat in a large sniffer glass, on the rocks, or in cocktails, this fine French Brandy is a wonderful treat to serve your guests this holiday season, and one that your In-laws are sure to love.

The holidays are a great time to have some fine spirits on-hand for that holiday cheer, for unwinding, and for marking the occasion. Starting the evening with a cocktail is a wonderful treat, whether it’s before dinner or as your bubble-guests arrive, mixing a fine cocktail and enjoying it in great company is one of the things that make the holidays and spending time with those around you so special.

The holiday season is a precious time to enjoy with family and friends, and what better than some delicious wine and spirits to complement your holiday cheer! Here’s wishing you a safe and enjoyable holiday season!

Cheers,

Matt