December 2021

Today on CTV Morning Live Halifax, CTVs Ana Almeida and Sommelier Matt Steeves showcased some great wines and spirits which are sure to impress 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 local sparking wine, one of my absolute favourites, Benjamin Bridge’s Brut Rosé. This is one of Benjamin Bridge’s newly released traditional method sparklings that’s perfectly suited for celebrating with your East Coast Christmas celebrations. There’s no need to look for a Champagne when we have such high quality home-grown traditional method sparkling wines available right here in our backyard in Nova Scotia!

Treat your guests to a very special sparkling wine this holiday season with Benjamin Bridge’s Brut Rosé, whether it be with charcuterie, smoked salmon, roasted turkey, lobster poutine, or hors d’oeuvres, this is a fine wine to complement a wide range of dishes, with its mouthwatering and palate cleansing finish. Stunning wine!

Available winery direct and at your local liquor stores in the Atlantic provinces – $44.95

Canada makes fantastic wines, not just here in Nova Scotia but right across and especially in the South of the Okanagan where CheckMate Artisanal Winery is located along the Golden Mile Bench. CheckMate’s 2016 Fool’s Mate is a spectacular Chardonnay.

It’s always nice to find some delicious wines on hand for those holiday gatherings, special meals, and for hosting gifts throughout the holidays. It’s great when you find a wine that’s so affordable you can buy it by the case, and that’s the situation with José Maria Fonseca Periquita Reserva red from Portugal. Well under $20 a bottle at your local Liquor Store, it’s a wine that delivers quality and complexity well over its price making it a wonderful wine to serve in quantity over the holidays. Periquita happens to be the oldest Portuguese table wine too. It’s no surprise they’re making such great wines, they’ve been at it for two centuries!

Sometimes a fine Italian wine is the perfect gift, like the King of Italian wines, Barolo. Fontanafredda’s 2016 Barolo is one of the best super value-priced Barolo’s available across Canada. Primed and ready for immediate enjoyment, it’s very well structured with fine integrated tannins that are supported by the fresh acidity and delicious balance of fruit and rustic flavours. Fontanafredda’s Barolo is a fantastic option for gifting, short to medium term cellaring, and for enjoying with a wide range of meals, from creamy pasta, braised beef, aged cheese, or simply on its own. Exactly what you expect, it has a beautiful nose with cherry, sweet spices, black tea, and leather. A beautiful intro to Barolo, the King of Italian Wines, and at a very reasonable price. Tasted July 2021. 92 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

Fun tidbit, since the 2018 harvest, Fontanafredda is the largest certified organic winery in Piedmont, Italy, the home of Barolo!

Pick-up an iconic Italian wine, Barolo, at your local liquor stores this holiday season. $3 off at NSLC.

Before a nice meal or at your holiday gathering, a cocktail is a great beverage to share with your guests. Vodka, such as the proudly Canadian Iceberg Vodka, is a great and affordable option for hosting your holiday gatherings with. This 100% owned and operated Canadian company uses water in its purest form which is 20,000 year old iceberg water, sourced off the coast of Newfoundland, to produce their smooth Canadian Vodka. Crafted from icebergs, this is a great winter Vodka to enjoy and share with family and friends. Each bottle has a number which identifies the water source for that specific bottle.

Available at local liquor stores for under $30

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.

And sometimes a warm cup of premium coffee is a perfect treat for after a fine meal, or when returning from a nice walk in the winter, or when sitting around that camp fire outside with friends, and naturally in the morning around the tree. Recommend trying Balzac’s Coffee Roasters’ Winter Blend, a limited edition offering that showcases sweet plum and dark chocolate notes, complementing the holidays perfectly. Winter Blend is available seasonally at Balzac’s stores and shop.balzacs.com

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! I hope you’re able to taste and enjoy, and share, some of these fine beverages from around the world with those closest to you this holiday season. Here’s wishing you a safe and enjoyable holiday season and happy New Year!

Cheers,

Matt