My true love gave to meeeee… ALL THE WINE.
Well, this isn’t exactly true. These bottles are a mish mash of us carefully selecting specific wines and friends and family giving us beautiful gifts! We are very lucky to have so many bottles to choose from for the holidays.
I have been wanting to post about the lovely collection I have acquired for quite some time, but I figured I would wait until the last couple days before December starts. There is a strategy behind this, I promise. Like the song goes, “on the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” and with the idea behind advent calendars, I decided to bring you guys “The 12 Wines of Christmas”: delightful combination of the song and advent calendars, but for adults with a love for wine. This would make a phenomenal gift for the wine lover in your life. If you’d like to go ham and get that person 25 days of wine (omg that’s wild), go for it, I don’t judge you! I’m actually just jealous that I don’t have 25 bottles on hand right now. Plus, you don’t actually have to drink a bottle a night necessarily, but it’s nice to have a few extra bottles on hand for the holidays. Or maybe you really do want to celebrate all the great things in your life. Either way, this is one of my favourite new Christmas ideas/traditions.
The great part about this idea/tradition is that you can really design it how you like. If you’re someone who loves all varieties/styles of wine (red, white, sparkling, icewine, port), then you can mix and match for years and years. You can change it up immensely every year. I’m dreaming of doing a different country theme every year! Otherwise, if you’re really only into white wines, you can alternate between varietals like Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay’s (oaked or unoaked), Moscato, Riesling, etc. Seriously guys, there are millions of wines to try. Anyways, the point is, you have so much flexibility with this concept and I hope you enjoy your freedom with it!
I’ll let you know ahead of time that if you are planning on copying this exact lineup, you may find yourself in a bit of a pinch. Some bottles have been saved from our trip to BC in the summer. One was saved from my trip to Niagara. Some were purchased from our various trips back to Montreal, and some were purchased right here at the LCBO. So, like I said, you may not find it all in one place. To make it easy, if this is your first year collecting any wine at all, the LCBO always has incredible options for all wine countries. You can check the vintage section (depending on your budget), or you can find some incredible affordable wines. If you live close to an SAQ (we live close to Gatineau), then you can mix and match with two liquor stores that carry very different wines. It’s all up to you!
I’ll begin with my favourite style of wine for the holidays: sparkling wine. To me, the holidays are a celebratory time with loved ones and that is the best gift of all.
- Chateau Des Charmes Brut: the name of the winery and the bottle itself make me feel like I should be drinking this on Christmas Eve, in a Chateau in France. However, this is not my life, so I will enjoy this traditionally made, dry sparkling wine on Christmas Eve in Kingston, where there will hopefully be snow!
- Henkell Blanc de Blancs: I am automatically attracted to Blanc de Blancs. Do you know why it’s called what it is? If you do, skip over this immediately. If you don’t, here’s a quick run down. A typical sparkling wine (and Champagne) is made with Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes, where as the Blanc de Blancs are made solely from Chardonnay grapes. What does this mean? It basically just means that it has a different tasting profile. Mostly, they start out young and elegant and over time, with aging, move to a more rich and full profile. Which is why I love this sparkler! It’s a very different sparkling wine to try over the holidays.
- Bottega White Gold: this one just screams New Years Eve! Which is potentially what I’ll save it for. It’s a dazzling looking bottle and delivers fruit and flowery notes upon tasting. I can’t wait to uncork this bottle of NYE memories very soon.
- Quail’s Gate 2014 Merlot: as mentioned above, this one comes straight from Quail’s Gate winery in the Okanagan Valley. I saved it for the holidays, as I know it will pair perfectly with many meals. It’s soft and easy drinking, which means anyone who likes red wine will be wowed by it’s smoothness, yet long finish.
- Pisse-Dru Beaujolais: I’m a big lover of light-bodied reds. Beaujolais is the perfect holiday ‘catch up with your friends’ wine. It’s also easy drinking and always works its way into being a great part of the evening. Every year, they also release different artwork on the bottle specific to Montreal. This one is by far my favourite!
- Mission Hill 2015 Pinot Noir: again, a wine purchased straight from Mission Hill winery in the Okanagan Valley this summer. It appears that all the reds I have listed are easy drinking. This one is no exception. Pinot Noir’s from this area tend to be lighter in body, yet have complex tasting notes. This one, I will share with my best friend, after decanting for 4 hours, for our annual Christmas gift exchange.
- Stratus 2013 White: as mentioned above, I got this one from the Stratus vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake, but you can also get it at the LCBO. It was one of the most incredible wines I have tasted from that area and there was no way I was leaving the winery without it (just in case). It’s 37% Chardonnay, 34% Sauvignon Blanc, 26% Semillon and 3% Viognier. All you need to know is that this wine is the perfect depiction of how French-style wine should be made in Canada. I would bring this bottle out for dinner on NYE, especially if you’re eating a buttery poached white fish. That’s the ultimate pairing.
- Planalto 2016 Douro Reserva: this Douro region is a very dry and light, yet elegant wine. It compliments many light dishes and serves as a beautiful bottle for a casual evening. I would drink this with the family with a casual chicken or fish dinner.
- Grand Frisson de Glace 2012: this is actually an ice cider, which means you will taste apples on apples. I purchased this at the SAQ in Montreal during the winter last year and am just waiting to break it open this year with Christmas day dessert. It’s a lovely dessert wine and is best enjoyed with apple desserts, like apple pie, apple crumble or apple strudel. Like I said, apples on apples.
- Lacroix Signature Ice Cider: as it says on the bottle, this has definite notes of honeycrisp. Yes it’s another ice cider because the SAQ is full of great warm-ups for the winter! This one I would serve with appetizers or again, desserts for the family. Everyone will love this sweet little aperitif.
- Cabral 10 Anos Porto: this tawny port is a beautiful ode to Christmas (comes from the SAQ). A cozy night in by the fire with good conversation goes hand in hand with this port and warms your heart (both physically and emotionally). It’s perfect with a traditional dessert like a Buche de Noel (chocolate log cake), or just for sipping on its own.
- Taylor Fladgate 2012 Late Bottled Vintage Port: this LBV port has notes of dried fried and jam. It also boasts cinnamon spices, which compliments Christmas perfectly. It’s also a very affordable port that is great for sharing with large groups. I would break this out on Christmas Eve at our family party.
I hope the 12 wines of Christmas gave you some great gift ideas and/or a great idea for a lucky persons’ advent calendar! And remember, you can mix and match wine varietals, price point, where you buy the wine, and many other things. It’s the most wine-der-ful time of the year!