Posts Tagged ‘Vintages’

Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day!

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Deb in vinesThe third Thursday of November – today – is a milestone date in the wine world –wine stores have a special delivery of Beaujolais Nouveau wine.

What is all the fuss about? Beaujolais Nouveau or ‘first wine’ is wine made from grapes that were picked in the most recent harvest.  By the time the bottles arrive at your local LCBO or wine shop, the contents are generally 7 to 9 weeks old. According to history books, over a century ago, casks of brilliant coloured ruby red wine, typically made from Gamay grapes, were shipped from the Beaujolais wine-producing region (near Lyon) to harvest festivals and bistros throughout France.

The popularity of this wine became an international phenomenon to the point that, in 1985 the French Government established that the third Thursday of November is the worldwide release date of Beaujolais Nouveau wines. Today, wine shops around the world stock their shelves to give wine lovers a taste of what this year’s grape harvest will produce with fully aged wines. Every year there is a good showing of Nouveau wines from France, a few from Italy & Canada with some bottles from other parts of the world.  This year there are 9 Nouveau wines that got in the spirit.

What to expect from Beaujolais Nouveau when you pop the cork?

Beaujolais NouveauTypically, Beaujolais is made from Gamay grapes.  This variety creates a light wine that is bright red in colour with cherry and strawberry aromas and tastes.  As Beaujolais Nouveau was picked, bottled and shipped in less than two months, consider drinking this styled wine similar to eating chocolate chip cookie dough. Fresh, easy drinking and best with simpler dishes of pasta, pizza, burgers or lots of cheese rather than a big steak or roast beef.

The general ‘rule of thumb’ is to pop the corks & enjoy the wine before Christmas, as they tend not to improve with age, rather they lose their vibrant characteristics.

With all kinds of powerhouse and velvety wines available, why would anyone want something so grapey? The reason is simple – to celebrate this year’s grape harvest.

 More info about the region, the wines & festivities can be found at



On the shelves at the LCBO

From France…

Art’s Beaujolais Primeur Nouveau
The funky design on the bottle sets the mood for this fun wine.  A light red wine that smells like candy (think Swedish berries). Each sip is loaded with cherry flavours combined with a taste that reminds me of fresh-out-of-the oven strawberry rhubarb pie. Fresh acidity on the finish.  It is an easy drinking wine that would be good with pizza, pasta or burgers.

DeBoeuf Gamay Nouveau
Georges DeBoeuf is a well-known producer of Beaujolais wines and Nouveau Beaujolais.  Uncorking a bottle of DeBoeuf Nouveau wine you’d expect quality. This one is a classic, medium bodied, solid wine full of cherry & strawberry aromas and taste – exactly what you’d expect when you open up a bottle of Nouveau.

Catalans Primeur Syrah Merlot
A French twist – breaking away from tradition & doing something completely different– making Nouveau wines with grapes other than Gamay.  The result of this experiment is a wine that reminds me more of Koolaid than red wine.  Honestly though, this is a characteristic of Beaujolais Nouveau so it is not a bad thing.  Bright ruby colour, fresh juicy cherries & cotton candy.

Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau
Sorry – no review as this wine was not available at the tasting

From Italy…

Negrar Novello Del Veneto
I had to double check that the label stated 2014, because this wine was like no other Nouveau I have ever tried.  I was knocked over with the HUGE aromas and tastes of over ripe red fruit…perhaps that means that Italian wines from Veneto region will be big & bold this year….jury is still out.

Tollo Novello Rosso Terre di Chieti
Ask for the Nouveau wine with the lion on the label & you will be impressed with this Italian wine.  Medium to full body (uncommon for Nouveau wines), jammy over ripe fruit shows through on this one too with some acidity on the finish.  Mama Mia, bring on the pizza for this wine.

From Ontario…

The Fool Reif Estate Gamay Nouveau VQA
No foolin’ around here! Reif has created this Nouveau wine with classic characteristics that you’d expect of a  freshly made wine.  Juicy aromas and tastes of cherry pie filling or is it fresh pomegranate juice with a fruity & acidity combo. The sweetest wine of the bunch, so grab some creamy cheese to calm down the punch of the flavours that will no doubt mellow out as other Reif red wines age in the cellar.  This wine certainly shows promise that 2014 is a good vintage for Ontario wines….red wines worth waiting for.

You’ll find these in LCBO Vintages…

From France…

Beaujolais Villages Nouveau (Joseph Drouhin)
Joseph Drouhin keeps good company with Georges Duboeuf when it comes to making Beaujolais Nouveau wines.  These are definitely the leaders of the pack.  This is a good red wine that surprised me that it was Nouveau.  Cranberry & herbal combination in the aromas that continued into the taste, this wine is worth the highest price tag of the lot.

Beaujolais Villages Nouveau
It was hard to compare this wine with the $9.95 version (see above) as they were equally good red wines.  In my notebook, I have written & circled ALIVE.  Dark in colour with fresh juicy red & black cherries combined with tart cranberries that creates some lively acidity on the finish. A solid red wine.

And which one(s) to choose?

I had the time to taste all of these wines twice and for fun, I exchanged my top 4 wines with another reviewer (and extra ordinary wine teacher – afterall I caught the wine bug from him!) Vic Haradine of  Our list overlapped on just two…showing that there is a Beaujolais Nouveau for everyone.  Click to read Vic’s tasting notes.

Grab a few of these colourful wines and toast to the 2014 harvest & the red wines to come!


Taken by Debbie Trenholm, Savvy Company

Taken by Debbie Trenholm, Savvy Company




Go on – Uncork a bottle of Malbec today!

Posted by Debbie

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Today marks Malbec World Day – how to celebrate you ask. . .

Shall we start the day with a glass or Malbec with a bowl of breakfast cereal or a hearty plate of eggs & bacon?  And another glass (or maybe upgrade to a bottle) served with lunch, then finish off by uncorking a bottle of Malbec to accompany a BBQ steak dinner?  This idea of around the clock Malbec drinking, made many giggle & come up with wild & crazy ideas to celebrate.  To kick the festivities off & to learn first hand more about Malbec in Argentine, I attended in a tutored tasting last week with Ottawa Citizen’s wine writer& author Rod Phillips.

My place setting awaited 18 glasses of various wines from Argentina – Torrontes & Chardonnay (white wines) along with 5 Malbecs with prices ranging from $12 to $27 a bottle.  Then we had a taste of Shiraz/Syrah, Bonarda, Pinot Noir & red wine blends to give the tasting a POW at the end.  The 2 hours flew by & my mind was buzzing with Malbec facts that I looked forward to share.

For the past two years, Malbec World Day has marked the calendars on April 17th.  To celebrate in Argentine style, there are festivities all around the world hosted by Wines of Argentina.

I know no other grape that has a dedicated day that shines the spotlight on it.  Malbec  began its history as a grape variety grown in Cahors, France, then was uprooted because of the phloxerra insect that decimated many vineyards in Europe in the late 1800s.  Luckily, the Malbec  rootstock that the European immigrants brought with them on their journey to Argentina, were not infected by the bug that attacked the roots of grape vines.

Today, Malbec is Argentina’s iconic grape variety, although, it is now grown in many vineyards throughout the world – even as close to home as Niagara-on-the-Lake!  There are over 564, 000 acres of vineyards dedicated to Malbec stretching along the Andes Mountain Range from 22 to 42 degrees latitude. This region has great ripening conditions with its continuous stream of sunshine during the day (ideal for ripening) , then cooler nights (perfect to produce acidity in the grape clusters).  This combination of ripe red & black fruit in the aromas & taste coupled with soft tannins with underlying acidity, makes for a crowd pleasing wine.

The wines we sampled during this tutored tasting certainly pleased me!  Here are my tasting notes about the various Malbec we discovered:

Manos Negras Malbec 2008, $14.95
(LCBO part number #271295)
A basic Malbec with juicy aromas on the nose (cherry, raspberry jam). There is good structure in this Malbec with a taste of cinnamon hearts candy.

Catena Malbec 2009, $19.95
(LCBO part number 478727)
Big juicy with loads of aromas of damsom plum boysenberry + pomegranate that continue into the taste.

Dominio del Plata Ben Marco Malbec 2009
(only available on request from winery representative, $27.00)
My hands down favorite.  A BIG wine.  Dry with loads of tannins, aromas that remind me of a big bouquet of red roses.  Layered onto the wine is licorice + plums that continue into their taste.  Too bad this wine is not readily available at the LCBO.

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2009
(LCBO part number #723478, $19.95)
From the infamous Fuzion fame, Zuccardi family has made a slightly lighter styled Malbec  compared to the others I savoured. On your first sip, there is evidence that the wine has light tannins, black pepper aromas with a refreshing acidity that ends with black pepper finish.

Rutini Malbec 2009
See for yourself if you like this style of Malbec wines. Lighter again in weight compared to the other Malbecs that we sampled in this tasting.  The glass wafts of cherry & red berry aromas with light tannins & shorter finish.

After all of these Malbec wines, plus the other wines that were included in the 18 wines we sampled, no doubt our lips & teeth were ‘naturally coloured’ a shade of deep purple.  Want more info Malbec tips?  Contact me + I will offer you more Argentine recommendations from this delicious wine tasting.

However you celebrate it, Happy Malbec World Day.

Salud! – Debbie


Savvy Sommelier Debbie sheds some lights on bubbly

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Spring is bursting forth with much to celebrate! That hazy green glow around the trees, the flirty chirping of birds & the return of BBQ parties. Let’s celebrate the shedding of winter with the excitement of spring by popping open a bottle of bubbly!

Think that sparkling wine is too sweet, too expensive or too much of an affair for any day of the week? Think again! Have you ever had a sparkling shiraz? Or a sparkling dry rosé? They exist, and Savvy Company’s Debbie Trenholm loves how the mousse (winespeak: bubbles) cleanses your palate and refreshes the senses readying for delicious dishes of spring like risotto or BBQed plank salmon.

Bubblies are made using various methods, and available at several price points. No need to wait for a special occasion, after all, spring has arrived.

Pop a bottle open & cheers!

Taltarni Brut Taché 2008, Australia $20.40 (on sale – regular $24)
Crafted using the same grape varieties used in French champagne – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier, this crisp & dry sparkling has elegant aromas of rose petals, pear & apricots. The persistent mousse leaves a refreshing taste with every sip.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Serve chilled on its own, pack for a picnic or serve with sushi.

Hardy’s Oomoo Sparkling Shiraz 2004, Australia $19.95
This sparkling red wine has an oooh ahhh factor. This wine is striking with its racing car red colour concentrated aromas of plums, boysenberry, red licorice combined with a juicy texture & refreshing acidity.

Food Pairing Suggestions: I recommend to chill it in the fridge for 10 minutes then serve on its own, or with a meal of BBQed meats. Last weekend, I popped it open to enjoy with a Sunday meal of prime rib & all the trimmings. Save a splash to enjoy with dark chocolate cake!

Enrico Serafino Moscato d’Asti, Italy $15.95
Now here is a wine that definitely smells & tastes like spring! Swirl the glass to enjoy the concentrated aromas of apricot, orange blossom, marmalade that continues into the taste.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Light in alcohol (5.5%) this is a great wine to serve at a springtime brunch or with fresh fruit.

Nicolas Feuillate Brut Champagne, France $42.50
It’s impossible to write about bubblies without including French champagne. If you’re going to splurge then get this gorgeous Champagne as it is priced less than its competitors. The fine mousse is a surefire sign of premium quality. This champagne has yeasty aromas of biscuit (think shortbreads or Arrowroot cookies) with a touch of citrus & crunchy apple.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Steamed lobster is a classic match with champagne, grilled chicken brochettes & oysters.

Let’s toast to the arrival of spring!


Making wine around the world with Paul Hobbs

Posted by Susan

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival seminars are always engaging, hosted by well-known wine personalities, featuring the presence of principals from the featured wineries as well as pioneering individuals from the global wine industry. One such individual is Paul Hobbs, renowned global consultant, and owner/winemaker at Paul Hobbs Winery in California and Viña Cobos in Argentina, .


Paul Hobbs grew up on a farm in upstate New York, one of 11 children in a family that produced fruit from its orchards but drank no wine. His first wine tasting experience occurred when his father brought home a bottle of  1962 Château d’Yquem, which he served in paper cups around the dinner table. Paul’s path was cast. In 1969, his father put him in charge of a section of apple orchard which he planted with vines. He then went on to complete a degree in viticulture at Notre Dame, where he attended the weekly wine–tasting seminars of one of his professors, a former winemaker. He pursued further studies in oenology at UC-Davis in California, where he completed a thesis on oak extraction.


 An inspired speaker and great storyteller, Paul recounted his experiences working with Mondavi in California, including as head oenologist for Opus One, at Simi Winery, and at Catena Zapata in Argentina, where he was involved with the creation of Catena Alta. In 1991, he established Paul Hobbs Winery in California. Says Paul, “I set out to produce small lot, hand-crafted, vineyard designate wines.” In 1999, he and his 2 Argentine partners, Andrea Marchiori and Luis Barraud, created Viña Cobos. In addition, Paul is in demand as a consulting winemaker around the world, from established regions such as Chile, France and Canada, to ancient emerging areas such as Armenia.


We had an opportunity to taste a range of premium wines from his properties: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Russian River as well as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon from Viña Cobos. In addition, we were introduced to some of the wineries with whom he has consulted:  Pascual Toso (Magdalena 06), Viña San Pedro (Castillo de Molina Sauvignon Blanc 09), Chåteau Haute-Serre (Cahors 09) and Stratus (Red 05).


Tasting Paul’s wines, whether from his own wineries or from those with whom he has consulted, you are struck by the consistently true pure quality of the fruit flavours. Paul discussed his philosophy of wine making: only native yeasts are used in a spontaneous fermentation; fruit is tested to ensure it achieves natural and optimal ripeness; grapes are harvested at night and quickly moved to the winery to ensure purity and freshness; wines are not filtered; barrel fermentation and aging is used to optimize the integration of oak and fruit, catalysed by yeast and bacteria. This approach—ensuring the true expression of the varietal in the context of its unique terroir–characterizes his wines.


Paul Hobbs and Viña Cobos wines are available in the LCBO, through Vintages releases.


Paul Hobbs Winery Russian River Chardonnay 2006 (Vintages #119073, $79.95)

The 2008 vintage featured at the Festival was a bright gold with lifted aromas of sweet tree fruits, toasty oak and floral notes. Rich and complex, with a full smooth texture, it displayed flavours of ripe pear and toffee apple with a balancing citrusy acidity. The finish was extended and reflected the great balance of the wine.


Paul Hobbs Winery Russian River Pinot Noir 2006 (Vintages #119081, $79.95)

The 2008 vintage featured at the Festival was fragrant with spicy floral and berry notes. On the palate, it’s fresh but rich with sweet red and black berry flavours, overlaid with earthy spicy notes. A fine complex wine, it’s well balanced with ripe tannins and fresh acidity. The finish is long and satisfying.


Paul Hobbs Winery Crossbarn Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (118695, $69.95)

The 2006 vintage featured at the Festival was opaque and inky, with intense aromas of cassis, cedar and vanilla . It’s dry, full-bodied, structured and layered with flavours of black berries, cassis jam, spice and pepper. Fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity complement the ripe fruit flavours. The extended finish replays the dark fruit flavours and offers a tantalizing note of dark chocolate.


The Stratus Red 2005 is available in magnum format from Vintages Online Exclusives (Vintages #90498, $113.00).
The Festival sample was a semi-opaque mahogany with complex aromas of red and black fruit, spice box, mint and cedar. The wine is structured with firm tannins and crisp acidity. Red and black berry flavours are underlaid with notes of dark chocolate, smoke and herbs that carry through on the lengthy finish. With this worthy cellar candidate, decanting is recommended if you wish to savour the wine now.


If I had $100… I would buy these wines

Posted by Susan

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

‘If I only had $100, I would buy…’
LCBO Vintages Release – Saturday, September 18, 2010

This month’s LCBO Vintages release features a wide range of Ontario wines from the 2007, 2008 and 2009 vintages as well a some notable Portugese wines from the Douro. Of course there are many other delectable wines. The selection below will give you an opportunity to taste a few I consider to be of particularly good value.

Cheers & enjoy!


Vineland Estates ‘St. Urban’ Riesling 2008 VQA Niagara Escarpment
$19.95 (Vintages #38117)
8.7% alcohol
Niagara produces some of the best Rieslings you can buy, and this is a great example from one of the original estates. Light-medium bodied, the wine has an almost spritzy texture attributable to lovely minerality and vibrant acidity. It’s nicely balanced, with a whiff of petrol on the nose and aromas and flavours of stone fruit and zesty lemon-lime that carry through the mid-length finish. Try it with veal scaloppini al limone.

Quinta do Tedo Vinho Tinto 2007
DOC Douro, Portugal
$17.95 (Vintages #170217) 14.0% alcohol
Produced from an estate-grown blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca, this medium-full bodied award-winning wine offers an alluring basketful of floral and fruit aromas. It’s richly textured with firm but approachable tannins, fruity acidity and oodles of ripe fruit on the palate—red and black berries and cherries. Attractive notes of spicy toast and dark chocolate garnish the finish. A great choice for hearty grilled meats.


Oyster Bay Merlot 2009
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
$18.95 (Vintages #692343) 13.5% alcohol
Hawkes Bay is known for its production of the Bordeaux varietals, and here is a fabulous example of one from an iconic producer. Well-balanced, it has a wonderful silky texture, fine-grained tannins and soft acidity. While the aromas of cherry and red plum are subtle, the flavours are vibrant—cherry and raspberry garnished with spiciness and a hint of toast persisting through the lingering finish. A quality wine at a great price. Share a case with friends!


Vinecol ‘Organic’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Mendoza, Argentina
$13.95 (Vintages #167270) 13.0% alcohol
Fruit-forward, this is a wine with appealing aromas of red and black berries, plums and spice. It’s dry, medium-full bodied with a replay of the fruit on the palate, along with hints of spice and pepper. It has nice structure and balance, with fresh acidity that delivers a mouthwatering spicy fruit finish. An organic wine at this price — you can’t go wrong!


Banfi Centine 2007
IGT Toscana, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #947440) 13.5% alcohol
This may be one of Banfi’s ‘second’ wines, but it’s a fabulous. A blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, it’s dry and full bodied with complex aromas—floral, dense dark fruit, earth, anise and leather. There’s a nice balance of rich spicy fruit, firm tannins and bright acidity. It’s a great value and can be cellared for a few years. Try it with steak Florentine and grilled vegetables.


Grand Total: $87.75


Optional wine:
Domaine Saint-Pierre Sancerre 2008
AOC Sancerre, France
$24.95 (Vintages #179258) 13.0% alcohol
If you prefer Sauvignon Blanc to Riesling, you may want to consider this classic award-winning wine. There’a a delicate and enticing bouquet—citrus, stone fruit, mineral notes and fresh snap peas. Mid-weight with a long-lasting finish, it’s zesty but silky and has a lovely balance of fruit and acidity. A great choice for a salad garnished with warm sautéed mushrooms and goat cheese.



More about my If I only had $100, I would buy…
There is a myriad of wines out there, so it’s often a challenge deciding what to select when the LCBO Vintages catalogue comes out every two weeks or so. Like a kid in a candy shop, your attention darts from one treat to another, but what to choose . . . Something to serve to your guests this weekend? Something to put away for a special occasion? Something to store for a autumn afternoon?

I recognize that each person’s tastes and preferences are unique. “If I had $100 . . .”, will be posted just prior to LCBO Vintages releases and will highlight unique wines I have tasted that provide good value; the selection will total no more than $100.

Occasionally, I may include an optional wine – you can substitute or add it for a little more or a little less! Print this off as your shopping list knowing that these wines have been selected by a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages.  Hopefully you too will find a new favorite wine.  And when you do, quickly save your pennies to buy a bottle or two more.  Warning that once a wine is gone from a particular Vintages release, that vintage, and sometimes that wine, is gone for good!


If I only had $100, I would buy these wines…

Posted by Susan

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

‘If I only had $100, I would buy…”
Wines to be released in Vintages on Saturday September 4, 2010

There is a myriad of wines out there, so it’s often a challenge deciding what to select when the LCBO Vintages catalogue comes out every two weeks or so. Like a kid in a candy shop, your attention darts from one treat to another, but what to choose . . . Something to serve to your guests this weekend? Something to put away for a special occasion? Something to store for a lazy afternoon?


I recognize that each person’s tastes and preferences are unique. “If I had $100 . . .”, will be posted just prior to LCBO Vintages releases and will highlight unique wines I have tasted that provide good value; the selection will total no more than $100. Occasionally, I may include an optional wine – you can substitute or add it for a little more or a little less! Print this off as your shopping list knowing that these wines have been selected by a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages.  Hopefully you too will find a new favorite wine.  And when you do, quickly save your pennies to buy a bottle or two more.  Warning that once a wine is gone from a particular Vintages release, that vintage, and sometimes that wine, is gone for good!

Let me know what you think of our “If I had $100” selection! And be on the look out for my blog for recommendations from upcoming LCBO Vintages releases.



The LCBO Vintages September 4th release theme is Southern Rhône with a small feature on British Columbia wines. With the broad range of wines available, I can only taste a subset, but of those I tasted, here are my recommendations:

Flat Rock Cellars Riesling 2008 VQA
Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara
$16.95 (Vintages #43281) 11.0% alcohol
A refreshing, crisp, light-medium bodied wine with lovely orchard fruit aromas, a silky texture and bright flavours of tree fruit and zesty lemon-lime. A fine Niagara Riesling that will work very well with light appetizers, grilled white meats, or fish. Pour a little more please . . .


Perrin & Fils Réserve Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2009
AOC Côtes du Rhône, France
$14.95 (Vintages #499509) 13.0% alcohol
This versatile medium-bodied blend is a great value from a reliable and consistent producer. It’s dry, fresh and balanced with a lovely clean texture and loads of ripe orchard fruit and citrus lingering on the finish. Enjoy it with herbed roast pork or chicken, or with warm Brie with a garnish of wild mushrooms.


Astrolabe Pinot Noir 2008
, New Zealand
$24.95 (Vintages #179200) 13.5% alcohol
Astrolabe crafts an outstanding Sauvignon Blanc, and they’ve brought the same care and expertise to this medium-bodied Pinot Noir. Freshly textured and silken, it presents intricate aromas and flavours—red berry, plum, floral, herbs and spice. Not to be missed! A great match for grilled salmon or chicken with a mushroom medley.


Sandhill Small Lots One 2007
VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
$34.95 (Vintages #186536) 14.0% alcohol
Sandhill produces only single-vineyard wines, and this one is a fine investment. Deeply hued, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec is dry, medium-full bodied with great structure for aging and enticing and complex aromas and flavours—think of rich ripe red and black fruits, spice, and earthy, toasty notes. If you’d like a fine BC wine for the cellar, this is definitely one to consider.

GRAND Total:  $91.80

Optional wine:
Château Saint Maurice Les Grès Laudun Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2007
AOC Côtes du Rhône, France
$14.95 (Vintages #177576) 14.8% alcohol
As a great fan of Rhône wines, I couldn’t help including this substantial blend. Dry, it has some intriguing aromas—fruit, floral, menthol—as well as hefty tannins and vibrant acidity framing juicy fruit flavours. A wine with very appealing character and texture, it can be cellared or served with strongly-flavoured meat dishes.


Holiday Values from Vintages

Posted by Susan

Friday, December 19th, 2008

I’m a great one for that elusive combination of quality and value in a wine.  This holiday season, in addition to its regular selection of holiday spirits, LCBO Vintages is offering a range of products from previous releases that provide excellent value for money.  If you want a special wine for Christmas dinner or New Year’s Eve, or something to share with family or friends of a cold winter’s evening, visit you local Vintages boutique and speak to the product consultant about their special holiday sales and promotions.

As an example, if you’d like some refreshing fizz to get you in the holiday spirit, there are a range of products available.  I recently served the Nino Franco Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut (#349662, $17.45, marked down from $20.95) at a birthday party.  This wine is produced on a family estate in the Veneto by an innovative winemaker who is the grandson of the original owner.  This is a bright, balanced bubbly with aromas of pear, apple and citrus that persist on the palate.   Light-bodied with a fine effervescence, it has a well-defined seam of acidity that will have you coming back for more.

If you’d like something a little more regal, consider the Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad Cava (#50864, $31.95, marked down from $37.95).  Segura Viudas is the crown jewel and an independent operation of the producer Freixenet.  A very special wine, the Heredad is the only Segura Viudas cava where the bottle is hand turned as it is aging.  I visited the 6 stories of underground cellars at Segura Viudas last year – the Heredad has its own special resting place.  Reserva Heredad is composed of 2/3 Macabeo and 1/3 Parellada, which are two of the three grapes used to produce cava in Spain (the third is Xarel-lo).  It experiences a very long aging process and has lovely toasty aromas and a very persistent finish.  The wine is captured in a unique bottle with intricately worked designs on the base and a heraldic brand on the bottle itself.  This would make a magnificent gift for a special person.

If you’re thinking of sitting by the fire some cold evening, snacking on cheese and crackers, consider a bottle of Amarone from these special Vintages offers.   For instance, the Giuseppe Campagnola Amarone della Valpolicella (#76653, $36.95, marked down from $46.95), or the Valpantena Torre Del Falasco Amarone (#922161, $42.95, marked down from $54.95).   Amarone is produced using three indigenous Italian grapes:  Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara.  Select bunches of the grapes are handpicked in the fall, then dried in a controlled environment until February to create concentration of the sugars.  After pressing and fermentation, the wine is aged 18-24 months in oak.  This process produces a rich, full-bodied wine with hints of dried fruit and chocolate.  At 15% alcohol, it is bound to create the warmth we all need at this time of year.  

Enjoy a happy holiday season!  All of us at Savvy Company want to see you next year, so remember to drink responsibly.