With the holidays fast approaching, wine lovers often prefer to make their festive picks ahead of time. We’ve chosen three must-haves that will be great to celebrate with, to give or to keep. But, if you don’t like to share, give or wait to drink wine, then you must try these for your own sheer pleasure.
Let’s face it, a great Champagne and champagne-like bottle is always an incredible experience. When it comes time to celebrate there’s no question that we will find ourselves having to eye it, buy it or try it, but let’s face it there are so many kinds of super-fine foam. This year, repeat after me: ‘Juve y Camps’ [jjjuvay-ee-kamp], one of the finest champagne methods in Spain. It’s delicious and smooth beyond belief, even if you don’t like Champagne (are you a person who finds it too dry?). Juve y Camps 2012 Reserva Cinta Purpura at $18.95 is pure creamy foam pleasure, so don’t even think twice, just buy it and you’ll be blown away. It’s from the famous Champagne method-making region of Penedes [Pen-ne-dez], which is near the northeast coast of Spain, right beside Barcelona. By the way, in Spain their Champagne method is called ‘Cava’ [Kah-Va], so when you ask for a ‘Champagne’ from Spain you should ask for a ‘Cava’ (because Champagne itself comes from the region of Champagne, it’s a place as well as the almighty method of making it). This incredible, fine bubbly is made from three indigenous Spanish grapes (that no one can pronounce), and took over two years in the bottle to be made. That’s right, two years of fermenting, settling and sitting on its creamy sediment in the bottle before being finished.
Time to give? Let’s go to the super famous wine region of Chianti [Kee-yan-tee], where their wines carry the same name ‘Chianti’. Many of them are made but not all equal, some are pure pleasure. There so many wineries that make Chianti, and Chianti itself has a number of different sub-regions each with their own style. A Chianti can be from the Rufino region, Classico, Colli Senesi, Fiorentini, or San Gimignano etc., and are all different classifications of Chianti’s, so the very important factor for Chianti is which winery is making it. The one I’ve chosen for this season is the house of Rocca Delle Macie, a true specialist in making Chianti, both modern styles and traditional styles (over fifteen actually), making them in many of these different regions. Their 2012 Chianti Classico Sant’Alfonso is made in French oak, and 100% from the Sangiovese grape [San-gee-oh-vay-zay]. It’s $21.95 and would be a great personal gift or a fantastic client thank you. Its pure white label is stunningly elegant, and no one will have ever seen this rare wine because it has finally been brought into Canada as a new import. The wine itself will be a classic match with red meats (roasts and game), and has to be decanted for breathing (it’s lungs are very needy).
Now for a great wine to hold onto (or hold in your glass in it’s already delicious-to-drink condition) is a wine from a California winery that you know well; J. Lohr. Because of its great commercial success in the LCBO’s Vintages section (your Friday night bottle of ‘Seven Oaks’ that you buy for $22.95), many of us haven’t seen J.Lohr’s even higher-end wines. So now it’s time to try their Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, at $50.95. It’s a very special occasion wine indeed, and definitely worth it. The grapes for the Hilltop are from specific vineyards in Paso Robles that are very well tended to, growing in gravel and lime shale. This wine is aged in French oak barrels for 18 months (60% new and 40% older barrels) for a richer but softer and rounder mouth-feel. The wine is full-bodied and oozing with rich flavour, full of lovely notes of toasted oak and wood spice. I’d probably drink this by itself (right now, or when I’m older), but it could also certainly be had with red meats, grills and stronger game. I would especially drink this after dinner by a warm fireplace with very good friends – the same friends I’d first started on the Cava with, and then send home with the Alfonso Chianti, (an Italian wine by the way), wrapped in a bow and gently placed in a taxi…Happy Holidays!
All of the featured wines can be purchased through Profile Wine Group via Allan Leal at 416.598.0033
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