Gifts to Impress

Posted by: samy December 6, 2015 No Comments

Tis the season when we start getting emails and calls looking for suggestions on great bottles for the soon-to-be-inlaws, senior VP in charge of Big Promotions and the Jones’s.

We’ll send out a few options for great bottles we think are nothing short of delicious (see our latest Vintages reviews here and here), and inevitably, we get a curt reply saying, “No. Bigger.

Alright, alright. If you’re in the market to spend a little cash, we’ve listed bottles that ring in around $50 mark (in some cases $50 is a distant speck in the rear view mirror, but whatevs) that are impressive both in price and taste.


IMG_2691Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Brut Rose Champagne, France NV
$99.95 Vintages 158550
Let’s get right to the good stuff, shall we? You can’t very well spread holiday cheers without a bit of sparkle. Cue the Laurent-Perrier. We’re suckers for rose bubbles int he first place, though this is more of a salmon-coral colour than a pink. There’s a dry, leesy, mineral note to the nose, and the palate is rich and inviting with flavours of yellow apple, ripe peach and shortbread. Quite sophisticated. Love it. 90 points.

White Wine

IMG_2232Flowers “Sonoma Coast” Chardonnay, Sonoma, California 2013
$64.95 Vintages 215210
There’s a lovely minerality to this California Chard that brings a sense of cool climate refinement. Flint, chalky earth and underripe peach on the nose, the full, rich palate shows bright, fresh flavours of peach and apricot stone fruit and rocky soil with a juicy, refreshing acidity. 90 points.

Bachelder “Saunders Vineyard” Chardonnay, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, ON 2012
$44.95 Vintages 324103
This is both rich and creamy, yet elegant and focused with great texture and a dominate note of chalky mineral, backed by orchard fruit and citrus. Oak is present but judicious offering subtle spice highlights. 88 points.

IMG_2230Domaine Billaud-Simon “Mont de Milieu” Chablis 1er Cru, Burgundy, France 2010
$44.95 Vintages 373548
Brioche, wildflowers and lemon citrus are the high notes here in this weighty Chablis that shows considerable creaminess and texture. Clean, pure and crisp this would be a nice kick off to New Year’s Eve, accompanying fresh oysters. 88 points.

Red Wine

IMG_2682Montes “Purple Angel” Colchagua Valley, Chile 2012
$59.95 Vintages 62364
Mostly Carmenere with 8% Petite Verdot Here’s a unique red blend that takes you off the beaten path – and rewards your adventurous spirit. Deep, dark purple with aromas of blackberry, black pepper, sandalwood and an undercurrent of wild herb filling the glass. Full bodied and rich but also plush and soft on the palate, the fruity-spicy nose follows through to the flavours. Generous with intrigue. 91 points.

IMG_2741Chateau la Croix du Casse, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France 2012
$59.95 Vintages 436097
This shows a lovely balance between juicy black fruits and earthy, savoury notes. Aromas of plum, cassis, violet potpourri and subtle note of barnyard. Dusty and dense on the palate with leather, black licorice, crushed violet, spice, prune and cherry flavours. Terrific complexity that just keeps offering up something new with each returning sip. Highly enjoyable and one that can betaken advantage of now, or held for the short term. 90 points.

IMG_2472Chateau Corbin, Grand Cru Classe Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, France 2009
$69.95 Vintages 435578
Dominated by Merlot with 20% Cabernet Franc, this is a plush, elegant and savoury red blend that showcases notes of dried mushroom, beef bouillon, coffee and blackberry Halls. Full bodied, with grippy tannin with lots of intrigue and complexity, it’s a holiday splurge best buy. 90 points.

Antonori “Guado Al Tasso,” Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy 2012
$104.95 Vintages 986380
We first tried this spectacular Bordeaux blend (not the 2012 vintage), when we visited the Antinori estate back in 2009. It could have been the intoxicating Tuscan countryside, but Guado Al Tasso has held a special place in our hearts ever since. We’d be thrilled to find this under the tree.

IMG_2733Barone Ricasoli “Castello di Brolio” Gran Selezione Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy 2011
$59.95 Vintages 942607
Gran Selezione is the highest tier awarded to Chianti Classico wines and only about 10% of them earn this stamp of approval. The Castello di Brolio is quite opulent and powerful with aromas and flavours of spice, fruit cake and dark berries. Rich and fleshy with grippy tannin, pair this with braised red meats for fireside, winter dining. 91 points.

IMG_2456Far Niente Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, Napa Valley, California 2012
$218.95 Vintages 539098
An impressive gift for the wine collector on your list, there’s still plenty to be revealed in this bold and plush red wine. A mix of red and black berry aromas along with dusty earth and a note of alcohol on the nose, the palate is built for longevity with fine-firm tannin, ripe dark fruit and earthy notes. You could get away with drinking this now, but that would be a shame. Give this at least another 7 years before opening. 89 points.

IMG_2461J.B Neufeld Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, Washington 2011
$47.95 Vintages 434183
Here’s a Cab that will bring all the boys to the yard. An intensely heavy bottle that makes us glad we’e been hitting the gyn as hard as we have. There’s lots of power in this wine with aromas of woodsy, forest, wild blueberries and crushed violet petals. The palate is big and bold with chewy, sticky tannins and the kind of brooding dark fruit and structure that will put hair on your chest. Give it a few years to calm down. 89 points.


IMG_2836Auchentoshan 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch
$59.95 LCBO 107359
Pouring the colour of buckwheat honey, the nose shares that same appealing sweetness with roasted nuts, vanilla, butter scotch and crème brûlée topping. Smooth and toasty on the palate, this is sophisticated, yet not overly demanding, and will offer large appeal for all whisky lovers.

IMG_2835Bowmore 12 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch
$59.95 LCBO 330803
Rich and bold with deep smokey notes of campfire, dried leaves, leather and peat (of course), this is a good choice for the long-time whisky fan who prefers to end the day with a weightier, more serious dram.

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