Set yourself up for the holidays with some Sommelier-approved wines for celebrating!

By Sommelier Renée Sferrazza of Wine by Renée.

For wine lovers, the complement to any holiday occasion is a great wine pairing. While some great pairings hinge on food and wine complements. Sometimes a fabulous wine experience matches the feel of the evening. Whether you are wine curious or a serious enthusiast, this is your wine guide filled with LCBO-available wines for all those party moments, gift-giving, meal pairings and sparkling celebrations.

Cin-Cin! It’s Party Time 

Gathering your friends and family, it is party time! These moments call for wines that suit the mood. Be they red, white or rosé, the best party wines are lively and can be well-liked by many. Wine selections for a party are conversation starters and carriers.

Greek wines are hot right now, filled with wines made from native grapes and memorable aromas and flavours. The Thalia White is a great crisp white blend made from Sauvignon Blanc and Assyrtiko for a white wine option. This bright wine has a delightful finish with citrus and soft fruit notes. 

The south of France makes some stellar rosé wines, and Roussillon is a region that crafts affordable options that should not be slept on. The Domaine Lafage Miraflors Rosé brings together Grenache and Mourvèdre to form a pale pink rose filled with rose, strawberry and white peach notes. Served up in a showstopping bottle. 

Spain makes excellent red wines that are bold but friendly to many palates. The El Gorú Red is a top choice. A deep-hued Monastrell, Syrah and Petit Verdot wine with standout aromas of red and black fruit, with touches of toasted notes, followed by a smooth flavour and mouth-filling feel. 


Ideal wines for Gift-Giving

There is no need to break the bank when gifting wine, but the best wine gift is a bottle that says I care about you. Price-wise, aim for bottles that are mid-range to high-end. And why not add ease to your selection process by buying from a classic winemaking region.

If you are keeping it on the affordable side, look to Argentina. This is a beautiful winemaking country, and a good Malbec from Mendoza is a classic for the region. The Fabre Montmayou Reserva is a bold wine with a rich finish. This is an excellent gift for a budding wine enthusiast.

Home of the Super Tuscans, Italy is the land of wine. It is a complex region to buy from, but serious wine enthusiasts that love Italian wines will always appreciate a thoughtful selection. The Oreno by Tenuta Sette Ponti is mainly a Merlot and Cab Sauv blend. The label was born in 1999 by Dr. Antonio Moretti Cuseri, a great wine lover. With a story to match, this is an ideal wine for gifting.

When in doubt, when it comes to wine gifting, you can never go wrong with a bottle of bubbly. With its eye-catching bottle, the Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Brut Rosé Champagne is a go-to option. This rosé wine is the number one selling rosé champagne in the world. Filled with raspberry and red currant notes followed by a near-ethereal palate. A very memorable and extraordinary wine. 

Pair up that Holiday Meal

Holiday dinners run the gambit from potluck style to sit-down dinner parties. Having a good range in your wine selections is a must. With options from lighter wine styles to heavier ones, you can virtually guarantee a good time for all your guests from the first course to the last.

Chardonnay is a versatile wine for food pairings. With the heartier dishes served up around the holidays for white wine, it is an excellent option to go a bit bolder. California Chardonnays are often done in an oak-aged style and can pair with a range of foods. The Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Chardonnay is a fragrant and full-bodied wine that will match well with veg, seafood and light meat dishes.

Medium-bodied red wines are the best if you don’t know what is being brought to the table. Old World wines from European wine regions lean into this notion. They are very food friendly, with a structure that can pair well with an array of dishes. Thalia’s Red Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Agiorgitiko is a wine with berry leading notes and a touch of spice, pairing great with an array of holiday-style dishes.

No need to skip a wine pairing with dessert. Port is back again in the limelight and great with desserts. The Taylor Fladgate 10-Year-Old Tawny Port is rich and elegant with nutty and dried fruit notes and finishing on the sweet side. This wine is an ideal match for the final moments of that holiday meal.


Bring out the bubbly. It’s a Sparkling Celebration

The holidays encompass all moments of celebrations, and having bottles of bubbly on hand is a must! 

Served in a flute, coupe or the sommelier’s favourite, a standard wine glass, the Gosset Grande Réserve Brut Champagne encompasses the season’s vibe. A classic Champagne blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, this wine is expressive with soft berry and ginger notes and ends with a delicate and lengthy finish. 

Not in for Champagne? Explore the rest of what France offers with the Luc Belaire Rare Sparkling Rosé. A bubbly rosé from the rosé wine region of Provence, this wine is lightly off-dry and vivacious with berry and watermelon notes. 

And for those that love local wines, Ontario makes some stellar bubbly. The Hinterland Whitecap from Prince Edward Country is a gem. Crafted from Riesling and Vidal, the Whitecap is aromatic and flavourful with notes of peach and tropical fruits. Made in a Charmat style, this is the winery’s homegrown answer to Prosecco. 


Enjoy all that the season and excellent wine pairings have to offer, be curious, join in the camaraderie and above all, cheers to good wine! 

Published on HOLR Magazine.