Posts Tagged ‘giving wine as a gift’

If I had $100…I would buy these wines at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, December 5th, 2014
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes, with friends, festivities, and family get togethers.  Vintages in the LCBO never disappoints.  In this weekend’s release (December 6) I wanted to buy one of everything….but remembering that I only have $100 and several dinner parties ahead of me I’m looking for value – for you and me.

LCBO Vintages magazine Dec 6First, there’s all kinds of divine “fizz” out there to tickle your tastebuds and reasonably priced sparklers such as the two new Cava’s in this release.  They are dry, snappy and the genesis to any dinner or party. To me, December is all about sparkling wine.  Served in a beautiful flute with 2 or 3 pomegranate seeds for panache, it’s as elegant as any champagne and no one knows or even cares if you spent $15 or $50. Bottom line, sparkling wine is festive and fun and everyone enjoys it. You can never have too much fizz!

When you are shopping for others, don’t forget about yourself. There’s one beautiful wine that I would recommend to everyone including the Queen: “Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz 2012”  (LCBO #243592 $35.95) is the pinnacle of Shiraz’s. I have tasted hundreds of wines in 2014 and this one always rises to any occasion.

I love to showcase Canadian wines and this release offered so many great ones. Have fun shopping and don’t forget, if you find something delicious, go back and get a few bottles. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  Sometimes even I forget my own advice!

It’s Christmas time, share your cheer and goodwill.

My best to you for the season,
Julie 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

December 6, 2014

 

Summarroca Gran Reserva Brut Cava

Sumarroca Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava 2009

DO, Spain
$18.95 (Vintages # 393504) 11.5% alcohol

Ever wonder what that “DO” means?  DO  stands for “Denominacion de Origen” similar to our VQA in Ontario.  It’s part of a regulatory classification system for the country’s highest quality products. It can be applied to everything from olive oil to honey to fruit.  This Cava is delicate, pale in colour, light bodied and totally refreshing. Reminiscent of toasted almonds and apricots with a little herbaceous-ness on the finish not often detected in a sparkling white.  I would recommend light or-d’oeuvres so not to crowd the tastes; perhaps some delicious little crackers, you don’t have to break the bank to be elegant. That old expression, “less is more”.

 

Featherstone ChardonnayFeatherstone Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$21.95 (Vintages # 149302) 13.5% alcohol

I hadn’t planned to feature a Chardonnay however I could not waste the opportunity to taste something new. This Chard. really wowed me. I can’t wait for the release. Aromas of creme caramel and layers upon layers of tropical fruits, soft, not overwhelming in oak so don’t let the “oak” in the name scare you off.  As you whirl it around the tongue this white wine is so soft in the mouthfeel, medium to full bodied and there are some wines, I can only describe as yummy.   A great sipper on its own but I think it would marry well with chicken in parmesan crust with a little white sauce, green beans, now its getting “yummier”.

 

De Sousa Seasons MeritageDe Sousa Seasons Reserve Meritage 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95  (Vintages #315911) 13% alcohol

Unbelievable to find a Meritage at that price point that tasted so delicious. Once again I am wowed by a Canadian winery. Red Meritage must be a blend of two or more of the five traditional Bordeaux grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot or Malbec. Historically, Meritage wines are considered to be highly rated and the winery must be a member of the Meritage Alliance and adhere to the above regulation. Rich red fruits on the palate, medium bodied, light tannins with a little leather and dust on the finish. Layered with lots of berry flavours, a great sipper on its own but pot roast comes to mind, with lots of root veggies and don’t forget the “jus”.

 

Vineland Pinot MeunierVineland Pinot Meunier 2012

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$17.95 (Vintages# 225508) 12% alcohol

Juicy, juicy, juicy….the aromas were almost like sticking your head in a bouquet of ripe cherries. Pinot Meunier is often used in blends such as Champagne, however it is an incredible grape just on its own and grown in our own backyard. Medium bodied with soft tannins with a fruity red berry finish, it is a red wine that would be agreeable to everyone. It is also versatile enough to marry with chicken to a beef stew and it’s just great on its own with a varietal cheese plate.

 

Alma Negra BlendAlma Negra Blend 2011

Mendoza , Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #384297)  13.5% alcohol

This new to Vintages product is a blend of the Bonarda and Malbec grapes. Aromas of dark ripe plums and cherries carry through to the palate and make for a huge mouthfeel of lusciousness. Good acidity with soft tannins, beautifully balanced and a great new find. It’s dark and rich, served with any grilled meat from ribs to steak (not to mention its packaged in one sexy black bottle) I promise the folks around the table will comment.  It’s a gem of a red wine.

 

Grand Total: $ 94.75

 

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If I had $100…I would buy these wines at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, November 21st, 2014
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While earlier this month, the LCBO Vintages release was on Star Quality, now for the November 22 Vintages release the focus is on  “Our Finest” and “Premium Spirits”. How to keep up? Hopefully I will make it a little easier with our budget of $100.

LCBO Vintages magazine November 22An advantage of Premium spirits is that they last a long time. Premium spirits you purchased last Christmas are still wonderfully aged for sipping a year later. One could start a “bar of spirits” collection. For example, the Camus Elegance XO Cognac, listed in the top 50 Spirits by The Wine Enthusiast will still be great next year and the $199.95 price tag only stings once.  You can also admire the beautiful bottle on your buffet; it looks like a decanter!

At this time of year, there is a variety of sparkling wine at popular price points that you do not see at other times during the year. You can stock up for December festivities or if planning ahead, even a spring party. Sparkling wine just never goes out of style.

Finally, although the 3rd week of November has passed, there is still lots of Nouveau Beaujolais on the shelves. It’s a great pizza and casual sipping wine, with a great price tag.

I hope you find something to brighten up the 11th month and I’d love to hear of any memorable purchases.

Julie 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

November 22, 2014

 

Bailly Lapierre Reserve Brut Cremant de BourgogneBailly Lapierre Réserve Brut Crémant de Bourgogne

France, AC
$19.95 (Vintages # 991562) 12% alcohol

A beautiful crisp sparkling white wine with fine little bubbles bursting with flavours of toast and citrus.  It has more weight to it than other sparklers which gives it more clout when serving hors-d’oeuvres.  Although it’s hard to go wrong with a blend of Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay and Aligoté. Not surprising there’s lots going on with these fruity cherry flavours, and it has a nice crisp finish.

It would pair well with salty phyllo pastry appetizers like spankopitas. The saltiness would be perfect with the bubbles,. There ’s yummy frozen delicacies in the grocery store, so don’t fret about cooking; sit back and enjoy your guests, Sparkling wine is always a great starter to an evening.

 

Mission Hill SLC ChardonnayMission Hill SLC Chardonnay 2011

BC VQA Okanagan Valley
$24.95 (Vintages #144170)  13.5% alcohol

A few years ago, my husband and I lunched at the Mission Hills winery overlooking the beautiful vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. The Mission Hill Winery reminded me of a French Chateau; a first class act, very impressive and the wines contained therein just never disappoint. It is a beautifully made Chardonnay, crisp and layered with flavours of apricots, almonds, the usual tropical fruit culprits but integrated into such smooth full body, no doubt as a result of some time spent in American oak barrels. This white wine has a little citrus on the finish and worth every penny; elegant and refined.

 

Lena di Mezzo Ripasso Valpollicella SuperioreLena di Mezzo Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2010

DOC, Monte Del  Frá, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #165662) 14% alcohol

Heavenly aromas of currants, cherries and ripe plums, begging to be sipped. Ripasso means a second fermentation where the grapes obtain their fullest expression being dried on mats. They turn into little raisins which intensifies the flavours of the Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes (the Valpolicella trio).Robust notes of dark berries that spark the tastebuds and leave a hint of sweet spice and smooth tannin in the aftertaste of this red wine. I always serve Ripasso with my signature Osso Buco dinner party dish. When you labour over preparation, it demands a great wine so I’m glad mine is chosen.

 

Winery of Good Hope Vinum Cabernet SauvignonThe Winery of Good Hope Vinum Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

WO Stellenbosch,  South Africa
$17.95 (Vintages #172973) 14% alcohol

I sometimes forget about South Africa when looking for a new wine, but having recently picked up a great Chenin Blanc, it reminds me how good they can be. This red wine is no exception. Good Hope is a spirit of optimism and that the early pioneers had good faith when planting vineyards several hundred years ago. This red wine is an easy sipper brimming with flavours of cassis and raspberry, some earthy overtones and a little leather on the finish, full bodied with easy tannins. For those of you who can still barbecue, its a great match for a hearty burger or grilled meat.

 

Quady Essensia Orange MuscatQuady Essensia Orange Muscat 2012   (dessert wine)

California, U.S.A.
$13.95 (Vintages #299552)   15.6% alcohol

Orange may be the new black in some spots but there’s nothing dark about this Muscat.  Golden orange in appearance, it shimmers prettily in the glass. I was so excited to find a new desert wine especially one at this price point. If you could imagine an ice wine that tastes of fresh tangerines, and makes your saliva buds just sparkle, this would be it. With great acidity it balances the orangey sweetness in this luscious nectar. It would be divine on ice or with some soda water. If you like oranges, citrus and something deliciously sweet, this one is for you.  A couple will be in my basket, for sure, a great ending to a dinner party.

 

 

Grand Total: $ 96.75

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If I had $100…I would buy these wines at Vintages

Posted by Amanda

Friday, November 7th, 2014
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The November 8 LCBO Vintages Release features Star Quality products and ports.  Just like a squirrel scurrying to store nuts for the winter, I’m collecting a few bottles from each release to keep for the winter months. My husband reminds me that the wine stores stay open in the winter, but it’s good to have a little stash for unexpected company. Unfortunately with star quality products come star quality quality prices, however I am so pleased and proud with my $100. shopping basket, that I hope you will be too.

LCBO Vintages Magazine Nov 8There is something compelling about Port, whether its because it hails from a timeless land where grapes have grown for centuries or that it is such a great match for strong deliciously stinky cheese. I could cheerfully enjoy a glass of port on just about any occasion. It also makes a lovely hostess gift instead of the usual bottle of wine and chances are a bottle of Port will last a lot longer. There are at least 6 in this release so I hope one finds its way into your shopping basket.

There’s something for everyone and don’t forget Beaujolais Nouveau arrives on our shelves November 20.

 

Happy shopping,
Julie 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

November 8, 2014

 

Dow's Late Bottled Vintage PortDow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2009

DOC Douro, Portugal
$17.95  (Vintages #613927)    20% alcohol

First of all, its hard to argue with a Silver Medal winner at the 2014 International Wine Challenge. Deep ruby in the glass, this port is deliciously sweet with ripe berry aromas and tastes. It has just the right amount of acidity that helps promote the dark berry flavours – it is mouthwatering delicious. I think this would also make a lovely afternoon drink on ice with some toasted walnuts and cheddar, or with mincemeat tarts or do I dare say Christmas cake? It’s also an amazing price point.

 

Megalomaniac BubbleheadMegalomaniac Bubblehead 2011

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$28.95  (Vintages #363655)  12% alcohol

When the cradle was released (that’s the little crossed wire on the cork) it just burst with fine bubbles overflowing. I thought this sparkling wine was about as close to Champagne as it comes. The mousse (little tiny bubbles that tickle the nose) went on forever bursting with delicious cranberries and cherry flavours with just a little citrus on the finish.  It is a sheer “bubblehead” delight and not a bit of wonder it was awarded Overall Best in Show and Best in Show White at the 2014 Royal Wine Competition.  Well deserved, I shall serve it chilled on its own.

 

 

Menade VerdejoMenade Verdejo 2013

DO Rueda, Spain
$16.95 (Vintages #392159)  13% alcohol

This white wine is new to Vintages, made from 80-100 year old Verdejo grape vines. It’s very pale in colour, almost watery, but oh so fresh and it would be dynamite with seafood.  It’s quite aromatic and flavourful. Some folks may think it more of a summer wine being light-medium bodied but it has so much soft tropical fruit flavour that I wanted to feature it as a change from our usual grape varietals. After the release (when I can pick up a bottle or 3)  I’m planning to serve it with spaghetti and clams and an uncomplicated side salad,. Guess whose coming to dinner?

 

 

Casas del Bosque Reserva CarmeneraCasa del Bosque Reserva Carmenère 2012

Rapel Valley, Chile
$14.95 (Vintages #205872)  14.5% alcohol

Carmenere is Chile’s signature premium grape varietal. This wine displays characteristics of a great Carmenere being full bodied with depths of blackberry and spice flavours.

There is a hint of something vegetal or like a green leaf on the finish. It’s a hearty wine, not for sissies. I’m planning to enjoy it with a sausage and bean stew with some crusty bread. You just cannot beat that price point.

 

 

Layer Cake PrimitivoLayer Cake Primitivo 2011

IGT, Puglia Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #384065)  13% alcohol

I longed to have a big bowl glass and not just a sip. Inky in colour with tastes of jammy black cherries and plums,this red wine is rich and smooth. The wine was fermented in stainless steel to preserve the fruit flavours. The bottle label suggests that the wine should taste like a layered cake, with chocolate and mocha and spice and a little earth at the end. I couldn’t say it better. It’s layered with complexity and the fruit flavours go on forever. Primitivo is also known as Zinfandel in North America so if you are a fan of the latter, this beauty will not disappoint.

This wine also received the first-ever Certificate of Label Approval with Primitive and Zinfandel used as synonyms on the label. My signature winter dinner party dish is Osso Bucco;  a labour of love for my friends, so that’s where I’m going with this wine. I can’t wait for that December dinner party to wow them.

 

 

Grand Total: $ 98.75  (now that’s value !)

 

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If I had $100…I would buy these wines at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, October 24th, 2014
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Look at all the new wines from Chile, Tuscany, Ontario…and around the world in this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release. By the time the end of October rolls around, everyone is into their fall schedules, programs, sports and school, but being retired I’m looking for a new travel destination.

LCBO Vintages magazine Oct25

Chile has always been on my bucket list and it is with renewed interest that this release features many new Chilean wines. Vintages is also featuring some wines from Tuscany and I better not get started on my love of Italy and Italian wines.

As much as we all love fall, we know what comes after so its no surprise that Vintages has started their “Gifting” for Christmas. Beautiful bottles, glossy packaging even ships containing liqueurs will start to decorate the stores (if not your mantle?). Even if you are not planning to purchase any gifts from Vintages, it is worth the stroll through your nearest store and you may find yourself changing your mind.

There are also some extravagant whiskey’s in this release as well as champagnes. While I cannot afford the Armand De Brignac Brut Gold Champagne at $299.95 a bottle (why do they add the .95 cents?), it would sure make for nice bling as a centrepiece.

I will be picking up a few of these new releases on the 25th of October and I hope you find something to sip while shelling out on Halloween… if only to keep the “bad spirits” away.
Julie  

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

October 25, 2014

 

Williams & Humber Oloroso SherryWilliams and Hunbert Walnut Brown Oloroso Sherry

DO Jerez-Xérèz-Sherry – Spain
$13.95 (Vintages #437467) 19.5% alcohol

I remember in Sommelier school, one professor saying that this only comes out once a year and he always picked up a few bottles.  I too, have purchased this year after year. Dark mahogany in colour, light and sweet, yellow raisins, Christmas cake, almonds a little bitter orange, toasted almonds and butterscotch flavours tantalize the tastebuds sending you back for another delicious sip. How could anyone not be enticed with such flavours AND at this price point.  It is a lovely afternoon sipper on ice or my favourite is to serve this sherry as a desert drink with apple/pear crisp and blue cheese.

Graham Beck Brut Sparkling WineGraham Beck Brut Sparkling Wine

WO Western Cape, South Africa
Méthode Cap Classique $18.95 (Vintages #593483) 12.% alcohol 

A lovely sparkling wine from South Africa, toasty, creamy smooth and citrusy tastes. Lots of fine mousse (bubbles) and a slight after taste of grapefruit.  The méthode classique (winespeak: the wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle which can offer a yeasty flavour to the wine.

I’m always looking for a new sparkler to serve for a brunch or pre-dinner drinks and this offers a fabulous change.

Montes Outer Limits Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Zapallar Vineyard, Aconcagua Valley, Chile
$19.95 (Vintages #389643) 12.5% alcohol

When a vineyard is located just seven kilometres from the sea, it is not a bit of wonder this Sauvignon Blanc tastes so clean and fresh. Pale gold, almost shimmery, the nose highlights white grapefruit and wet stone. There’s lots of fresh citrus, with a slight vegetal taste and a limey finish. It is absolutely mouth-watering good with great acidity. A fabulous white wine thirst quencher on its own or with any white sauced dishes to cut the “rich”.

Stratus Wildass RedStratus Wildass Red 2011

Niagara -on-the-Lake, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #86363)  14.8% alcohol 

I always try to include at least one Canadian wine in my shopping basket and this does not disappoint. While not new to Vintages, it is the first time I tasted it and talk about finding a new favourite. You have to love the name “Wildass”! I am guessing it is on account of a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Gamay and Sangiovese. Something for everyone? Deep ruby red, this red wine has great depth of ripe berry flavours, juicy and layered with taste, a little chocolate on the finish. Medium bodied and would pair everything from roast chicken to roast beef to a mocha torte- absolutely delicious.

Ruffino ModusRuffino Modus 2011

IGT Toscana, Italy
$29.95 (Vintages # 912956)  13.5% alcohol 

You are probably more familiar with the DOC or DOCG labels on Italian wines, but the “IGT”means that the rules for wine producers are not quite as strict and a little more generous than those other status labels. In other words, the geography for the grapes might be less reduced as well as the kind of grapes that go into the wine. But don’t let that fool you. Wines with IGT status can equally hold their own and this is a good example.

Dark ruby red, leathery, dusty aromas and brambly on the palate, almost prickly like only age old ripe vines can offer.  With strong tannins and a long dusty finish, this red wine would accompany a rare Tuscan steak with panache.  It won a Gold medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition 2014. I would lay this down for a year or two – outstanding.

Grand Total: $ 102.75  

 

 

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Newsletter February – Win GOLD with these Valentine’s Day gifts

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
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Looking for THE perfect way to say ‘I love you’? or ‘Will you be my Valentine’? or ‘I’m falling head over heels for you’?If your love is crazy about craft beer, wine or artisan cheese, look no further – these gifts are golden!

Pssst: single gals & guys. . .why not treat yourself with a Savvy gift just for YOU?

 

For the Craft Beer Lover . . .

Savvy Hip Hops beer of the month clubA one-of-a-kind gift! Launched just 10 days ago, Savvy Hip Hops is Ontario’s first Craft Beer of the Month ‘Club’ featuring award winning breweries across Ontario.

Each month, our Savvy Brew Crew collaborates with the featured brewmaster to create a unique Savvy Hip Hops Taste Case – an assortment of what’s on tap & in tank. It’s every beer lover’s dream.

The first delivery will be Friday February 28th featuring a 12 bottle pack from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co featuring one of each of their special FeBREWary beers as well as some other hard to find Beau’s brews.

Give a SUDS-cription for 4, 6 or 12 months > >

 

For the Wine Lover . . .

Savvy Selections iconScratch ‘Buy Wine’ off the Honey-Do list! Give your Valentine a subscription to Savvy Selections – Ontario’s largest Wine of the Month Club.

Each month we feature an Ontario winery & send you 3 different wines that you won’t find at the LCBO. Check out the line-up of award winning wineries we’ll be featuring in the upcoming months.

And that is not all! When you uncork a bottle of the wine that our Savvy Sommeliers have hand-picked for you, unwind by reading our monthly Savvy eZine to learn about the people who make the wine you are enjoying, the recipes we’ve paired with each bottle & tasting notes as well as tips on cellaring the wines.

Give a subscription to Savvy Selections & we’ll arrange for a February delivery of incredible wines (1 white & 2 BIG reds) from the highly acclaimed Stratus Vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

WOW your Valentine with a 4, 6 or 12 month subscription > >

 

For the Cheese Lover. . .

Vanessa SimmonsThis is every cheese lover’s dream – join us for a fun-filled day with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons on Saturday March 22 for Cheese FUN-damentals 101 ‘Class’. Nibble & nosh all day as Vanessa introduces you to cheeses from around the world, share stories about cheesemakers & show you the ‘whey’ as you learn cheese-y lingo, how artisan cheese is made, tips on buying cheese. . . and loads more!

And to top it all off, your tastebuds will be put to the ‘test’ by sampling wines & craft beers to decide which really is the best pairing with cheese.

Date: Saturday March 22 – 10:30am to 4:30pm

Location: MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar – in Ottawa’s Byward Market

Savvy Special: $140 before March 15 (reg $155). Includes everything as well as gourmet lunch

This Cheese ‘Class’ will sell out fast! > >

We’re in LOVE with this Red & White wine duo!

We’ve got an amazing combo of red & white wines at amazing prices only available from Savvy Bin Ends.

The secretive Syrah is $19.95 – it’s a secret as it hasn’t been released yet – and the remarkable Reserve Riesling is $15.95 (reg 17.95) both from Kacaba Vineyards in Niagara. Mix & match any combo of 6 or 12 bottles of reds & whites for your Valentine. Be ready for lots of oooohs and aaaahs with every sip of these wines!

HOT Tip: shipping is FREE when you order a total of 12 or more bottles.

Order & it’ll be delivered in 2 days! > >

Planning an extra special dinner for your Valentine?

We’ve got you covered – for wine that is! Our ever popular Dinner Party Pack of 6 different bottles of dyn-o-mite wines from Fielding Winery that will make it easy to entertain. Start by popping the cork on the hard-to-find bubbly, then 2 show-stopper white wines & 3 heart-thumping red wines – you won’t find any of these at the LCBO.

Specially priced at $149 – including delivery to your home or office.

We have recipes to pair with the wines to make a delicious Valentine’s Day dinner:

A Sizzling Starter: Grilled Sea Scallops with Honeydew & Soy Glaze
The Main Attractions: Bacon Wrapped Veal Tenderloin with Leeks & Mushrooms or Beef Tenderloin with Port, Mushroom & Stilton Sauce
A Delectable Dessert: Ken Fielding’s Apple Pie – with WOW factor

Order your Dinner Party Pack > >

Mark these dates in your calendar!

Next Thursday (February 20)Debbie is hitting the airwaves to co-host for the day with Derick Fage on Daytime Ottawa on Rogers TV – schedule your PVR!

Thursday March 6 – Calling all Western University Alumni – we’re hosting a fun wine tasting to celebrate UWO’s 136th anniversary. Be purple & proud . . . bring a friend!

Thursday March 20 – Our first ever Taste & Buy featuring 3 wineries – from British Columbia & Nova Scotia. Full details to be announced soon. Can’t wait? Be the first to receive an invitation by emailing cheers@savvycompany.ca

Valentine’s Day can’t overshadow the record-breaking feats of our Canadian athletes at the Olympics. Raise a glass of Canadian wine or craft beer to them. Here’s to making us proud to wave the Canadian flag.

 

GO Canada GO!

Debbie & the Savvy Team

PS – gift enclosures for any of these special gifts are available – just ask us!

PPS – Show us a bit of your LOVE by ‘Liking Us’ on Facebook! Savvy Company or Savvy Selections and our brand new Savvy Hip Hops

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