Wines for the Holidays

Here’s a few reasonably priced holiday wine recommendations (either for giving or drinking, or both) from among the many wines I’ve tried in the past few weeks. For the whites, both the Seven Hills Viognier and the Ayler Kupp Riesling would make great turkey wines, as would the Cosme Palacio y Hermanos Rioja and the Ogier Crozes Hermitage for the reds. Drink well, and Merry Christmas!

The SKU numbers apply for the BCLDB, of course. Your best bet for getting these wines would be at one of their Specialty Stores, or you can check their product and store locator here.


Cape Mentelle – Cab Merlot – Margaret River – Australia – 2003 – SKU 452508 ($29.88): thick, youthful Australian red, with pronounced mint and chocolate notes on the nose, rich fruit, ripe tannins, and a broad, alcoholic finish. Ready, but can age up to five years.

Columbia Crest “Grand Estates” – Merlot – Columbia Valley – Washington State – 2002 – SKU 263418 – ($21.99): developing nose of sweet cherry fruit, cedar and vanilla, with soft, medium tannins, and a glossy, smooth texture. Textbook merlot from this area. Ready now. Could age it a bit, but why?

Ogier – “Les Brunelles” – Crozes Hermitage – France – 2003 – SKU 485250 ($25.14): gamey, woodsy, red cherry and white pepper notes are followed by a firm, dry palate. Tannins are fine grained, and a nice peppery spice note lingers on the finish. Ready, but can age 2-3 years.

Cosme Palacio y Hermanos – Rioja – Spain 2004 – SKU 268482 ($23.99): clean, youthful aromas of tar, red and black fruits, and earth. Medium plus intensity of flavour, with nice sweet fruit on the palate and aromatic spice and chocolatey American oak. Very good. Ready, but can age a few years.


Seven Hills – Viognier – Columbia Valley – 2004 – SKU 342725 ($28.99): bright lemon colour, with greenish cast. The nose has youthful aromas of cantaloupe, tangerine, lilies and subdued vanilla oak. It is dry, with relatively low acidity, full body and very good intense, tropical fruit flavours. A little hot, but nicely done for a new world viognier. Drink now.

Ayler Kupp – Riesling – Spatlese – Mosel/Saar/Ruwer – Germany – 2004 – SKU 619262 ($28.85): bright, intense aromas of ripe apples, white flowers, and minerals. Off-dry, with light body and good intensity, the wine has a nice balance of sweetness and acidity. Ready to drink, but can age 2-4 years.

Allan Scott – Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough – NZ – 2005 – SKU 922740 ($22.99): clean, intense aromas of elderflowers and freshly mown grass. It’s dry, of course, with high acidity, medium alcohol, and lots of citrus, grapefruit in particular, on the medium plus finish. Good quality. Drink now.

Sweet stuff:

Beni di Batasiolo – Moscato d’Asti – Italy – 2005 – SKU 288449 (20.04): clear, pale lemon colour with lots of petillance. Pronounced aromas of ginger and orange blossom. Medium sweetness, with very low alcohol (5.5%) and light body. Soooo yummy. Drink now, as often as possible.


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