Liquid gifts

If money was no object, what would your wealthy relative send over? And what about that friend with more taste than dosh? The one who always shows up with the stylish and tasty $20 bottle? We asked several wine folks what they would like to see under the tree from both ends of the price spectrum.

2012 Small Gully Shiraz Mr Black's Little Book 2012 Small Gully Shiraz

Rob Filipchuk, The Glass Monkey Gastropub

From my cash-strapped friend:
2012 Small Gully Shiraz Mr Black’s Little Book (South Australia) $19.
This is such a friendly red wine that displays the lovely characteristics of South Australian Shiraz (think black pepper and raspberry jam) in a subtle manner.
From rich uncle Bob
1994 Vega Sicilia Unico Gran Reserva (Ribera del Duero, Spain) $500.
Vega Sicilia Unico provides a memorable sensory experience— the aromas and flavours are complex and balanced, with a smooth and silky textural component that is truly impressive. .
2013 Botter Gran Passione
2009 Henschke Hill of Grace
2011 Domaine des Anges Rouge
1995 Masi Mazzano
2013 Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay
2011 E. Guigal Cote-Rotie La Landonne

Paulette Scott, Pacific Wine and Spirits

From my cash-strapped friend:
2013 Botter Gran Passione
(Veneto, Italy) $18.

We all love a bottle of wine that looks and drinks better than its price. Gran Passione is that wine, a blend of Merlot and 30 per cent Corvina. Full-bodied, with a solid structure, admirable balance and fine tannins and acidity.
From rich uncle Bob:
2009 Henschke Hill of Grace
(Eden Valley, Australia) $900.

I was blessed to meet Stephen Henschke this year and taste the 2009 Hill of Grace, a memorable wine that left a mark on my wine soul. The wine has depth and presence; layers of currant and dark plum fruit harmonize with black walnut, licorice, smoke and coffee notes. Hill of Grace sings like a world-renowned chorus that never runs out of breath.

Tara Smith, Sherbooke Liquor

From my cash-strapped friend:
Cleto Chiarli Brut de Noir Rosé NV (Emilia-Romagna, Italy) $20.
I’m on a real Lambrusco kick these days! And this is not the Lambrusco from your teenage days. This rosé is pale pink, elegant and lively, with romas of ripe garden red berries and a rich palate.
From rich uncle Bob:
2011 M Chapoutier L’Ermite Hermitage (Northern Rhone Valley, France) $366.
A rich, voluptous white that is finely balanced between tropical fruit flavours, minerality and a long savoury finish. Drink now or feel free to forget about it in your cellar for a few years to develop more savoury characteristics. Rare and exciting.

Jeff Sparling, Fine Wines by Liquor Select

From my cash- strapped friend:
2011 Domaine des Anges Rouge (Côtes du Ventoux, France) $19.
A terrific bargain from an overlooked appellation. Lively and intense, this blend of Syrah and Grenache leaps out of
the glass with vibrant red and black berries, pepper and dark chocolate.
From rich uncle Bob:
1995 Masi Mazzano Vineyard Amarone Classico (Veneto, mItaly) $195.
There is nothing like a classically structured Amarone with 20 years of age on it. This wine is incredibly deep and powerful, yet subtle, austere, and endlessly complex, with nuances of cherries, herbs, chocolate, cherries, dried fruit, leather, and on and on. Sublime.

Valerie Albrecht, Enotri

From my cash-strapped friend:
2013 Borgo del Cedro Rosso IGT (Lazio, Italy) $20.
This modern expression of a classic Roman wine blends Cesanese with Sangiovese. Fresh and lively; the lightness of approach belies the depth of flavour, with firm tannins and a surprisingly long finish.
From rich uncle Bob:
2012 Celler de Capcanes Costers del Gravet (Montsant, Spain) $34.
This single-vineyard wine unites Cabernet Sauvignon with 30 per cent Grenache and 20 per cent Carignan both from 40-70 year- old vines. Unctuous on the palate with pronounced acidity and tannins followed by an intense, lingering finish. Decant before serving.

Deb Pirker, Andrew Peller Import Agency

From my cash- strapped friend:
2013 Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay (Stellenbosch, South Africa) $17.
This little gem is from one of the oldest wine producers in South Africa. Big on aromas and flavours combining a lemony, cinnamon, nutmeg nose with zesty citrus and ripe tropical fruit on the palate.
From rich uncle Bob:
2011 E. Guigal Cote-Rotie La Landonne (Northern Rhone, France) $500.
Who wouldn’t want a wine from Marcel Guigal, who Robert Parker calls the planet’s greatest winemaker? Guigal’s single vineyard La-Las—La Landonne, La Mouline, and La Turque— have garnered 19 perfect 100-point reviews from Parker since 1990. The 2011 La Landonne will dish out tons of pleasure for two to three decades.
Gran Patron Burdeos Anejo Tequila
Jeio Prosecco Brut DOCG
2007 Biondi Santi Brunello Riserva
2007 Biondi Santi Brunello Riserva
Villa Sandi Prosecco
Roccato Rocca della Macia
Roccato Rocca della Macia
2014 Corte di Giacobbe Soave DOC

Sasha McCauley, Glazer’s

From my cash-strapped friend:
Cointreau (France) $30.
2015 was the year Cointreau took the starring role in my cocktails. Great value for the dollar, use it to make a perfect margarita, cosmopolitan, or delicious fizzes.
From rich uncle Bob:
Gran Patron Burdeos Anejo Tequila (Jalisco, Mexico) $475.
This year I’d love to find a bottle of the delicious, velvety smooth Gran Patron

Burdeos under the tree from my rich uncle. Made from the finest 100 per cent Weber blue agave, aged in American and French oak barrels, distilled again and racked in vintage Bordeaux barrels, this is a luxury drink to sip on a long winter’s night.

Tricia Bell, The Cavern

From my cash-strapped friend:
2014 Capçanes Mas Donis Rosat (Montsant, Spain) $15.
My favourite rosé changes daily. Today it a refreshing Spanish wine that can stand on its own or up to a good range of menu items. A dry rosé is an absolute must for all seasons, not simply warmer ones.
From rich uncle Bob:
1998 Billecart-Salmon Le Clos Saint-Hilaire Blanc de Noir Brut (Champagne, France) $500.
I have always loved Champagne; for me it could be everyday drinking. My favourite maison is Billecart-Salmon. The unique terroir of Le Clos Saint-Hilaire is fully evident in this magnificent cuvée; minerality, complexity and freshness have full expression.

Erin Chipchura, Galileo Wine & Spirits

From my cash- strapped friend:
Jeio Prosecco Brut DOCG (Valdobbiadene, Italy) $20.
One of the oldest wineries in the region, founded in 1858 by Eliseo Bisol. This is an ideal Prosecco to enjoy with meals, in mimosas and as a toast for celebrations.
From rich uncle Bob:
2007 Biondi Santi Brunello Riserva IL Greppo (Tuscany, Italy) $550.
With such international prestige and extensive history, Biondi-Santi is a wine that every wine enthusiast will cherish and remember.

Sandi Hollas, Appellation Wine Marketing

From my cash-strapped friend:
Villa Sandi Prosecco DOC (Veneto, Italy) $20.
A pale straw yellow wine with a fine and persistent perlage. The aroma is fruity and flowery with hints of ripe golden apple and small mountain
From rich uncle Bob:
Roccato Rocca della Macia (Chianti, Italy) $50.
Deep ruby red with hints of red berries, cocoa, vanilla and coffee in the aromas and flavours, warm and well-balanced with excellent tannic structure.

Alison Phillips, Aligra Wine & Spirits

From my cash- strapped friend
La Ladra Barbera D’Asti (Piedmont, Italy) $20.
This Barbera has good structure and excellent harmony, rich in tannins, elegant and balanced. La ladra is the Piedmontese word for wine thief, the pipette used to check on wine in the barrel.
From rich uncle Bob:
Ken Wright Pinot Noir Single Vineyards (Willamette Valley, Oregon USA) $90.
Ken Wright Cellars single vineyard series Pinot Noirs are garnering high praise and high scores. Wright has become one of Oregon’s most respected winemakers. He helped establish the Willamette Valley as a premier location for Pinot Noir and Carlton as the hip wine region within it.
2012 Celler de Capcanes Cabrida
2012 Sur de Los Andes Malbec Reserva
2011 Gerard Bertrand La Forge
Ciderie Bigoud Artisan Cidre NV
Champagne Mailly Grand Cru Brut
Capezzana Vin Ruspo

Eberhard Tamm, Enotri

From my cash- strapped friend:
2014 Corte di Giacobbe Soave DOC (Veneto, Italy) $19.
A wonderful combination of delicate scents of flowers and fruits, well-balanced with a refreshing acidity, tasting of pears and apple. Nice on its own, with salads, also a great turkey wine.
From rich uncle Bob:
2012 Celler de Capcanes Cabrida Old Vines Garnacha (Montsant, Spain) $60.
This full-bodied red wine has super balance and complexity. Its seductive nose is followed by intense and elegant flavours of red berries and a fresh and vibrant acidity. Gorgeous texture.

Doug Hicks, Marcia J Hamm, Hicks Fine Wines


strong>From my cash- strapped friend:
2012 Sur de Los Andes Malbec Reserva (Mendoza, Argentina) $22.
Selected grapes and eight months of oak aging make this little beauty worth more than its price tag. Intensely fruity, boysenberry and blueberry notes with a minerally finish.
From rich uncle Bob:
2011 Gerard Bertrand La Forge (Corbieres- Boutenac, Languedoc, France) $104.
Possessing the aromatics of Syrah and the power of Carignan, with notes of toast, cloves, black fruits, well-balanced tannins and a spicy aftertaste, La Forge is from the centre of the sub-appellation Boutenac— considered the premier cru of Corbières.

Stacey Jo Strombecky, Renaissance, Clarus and Nobilis Wines

From my cash-strapped friend:
Ciderie Bigoud Artisan Cidre NV (Britanny, France) $14.
Having already consumed an embarrassing amount of this over the summer, I am looking forward to fall and winter pairings, likely involving smoky flavours and robust spices. Expect notes of bruised and fresh apples, and a note of oxidation, followed by classic effervescence and a dry finish.
From rich uncle Bob:
Champagne Mailly Grand Cru Brut Reserve NV (Champagne France) $70.
I am personally ecstatic that the Mailly is back on Alberta shelves. It’s a beautiful yellow gold with a complex nose of buttered toast and a lively fruity palate. Mostly Pinot with 25 per cent Chardonnay, it’s also great value—grand cru pedigree at a regular Champagne price.

Graham Usher, Bill Medak, UnWined: Fine Wines, Spirits & Ales

From my cash-strapped friend:
2013 Terra D’Alter Alicante Bouschet (Alentejano Portugal) $19.
This wine has everything a cash-strapped guy needs. Plum and prune notes, great acidity and structure, a very long and rich finish with notes of chocolate, vanilla and silky- rich tannins.
From rich uncle Bob:
1979 Gordon & MacPhail: Port Ellen Rare Old (Islay, Scotland) $1900.
Distillery: Port Ellen, Islay. Founded 1825; ceased operations 1983. Distilled 1979; bottled 2014. Lot No: RO/14/01. This was one of the iconic distilleries on Islay. With the subsequent shuttering in 1983, the quantity of available Port Ellen is dwindling—only 12 bottles are in Alberta. Subtle Sherry influences with hints of beeswax polish, charred oak and underlying peppered kipper notes. The palate offers peat smoke with a touch of black pepper. Sweet fruit flavours develop to reveal green apples, pear and lime.

Daniel Costa, corso 32

From my cash-strapped friend:
Capezzana Vin Ruspo (Tuscany, Italy) $25
I absolutely love this wine. The balanced acidity makes it such an amazing food wine. I drink it around 14oC to truly appreciate all of the character this wine has to offer.
From cool uncle Bob:
Radikon Pinot Grigio (Collio, Italy), $45
An absolute must for wine lovers to try. This orange wine has a long finish with balanced acidity, strawberry and honey notes and a surprising amount of tannin. Take a chance and try something new.
2014 Underwood Pinot Noir
2013 Barbi Brusco Sangiovese
Tenuta S. Anna Prosecco
2008 Capezzana
2010 Altos Las Hormigas/td>
2011 Azelia Barolo

Juanita Roos, Color da Vino

From my cash- strapped friend:
2014 Underwood Pinot Noir Union Wine Co. (Oregon USA) $22.
Great value that tastes like classic Oregon Pinot Noir but won’t break the bank. Soft-textured, fresh acidity, earthy notes with loads of fresh fruit, dark cherries, raspberries and blueberries.
From rich uncle Bob:
2010 Le Dome Maltus St Emilion Grand Cru (Bordeaux, France) $446.
Have you ever wondered what Mr. Parker considers a perfect 100 point wine? Here it is: “This wine swallows the entire scoring system and rightfully so.” Le Dome is a lush and ever so delicious bottle of plum, cocoa, violet, spice and leather. Extravagance and rarity. Perfect.

Hayley McRae, Vendemmia

From my cash-strapped friend:
2013 Barbi Brusco Sangiovese IGT (Tuscany, Italy) $23.
This is a fantastic Sangiovese and a great wine to drink with friends, full and fruity with some classic Italian spiciness. The palate is balanced and easy like Sunday morning.
From rich uncle Bob:
Berta L’Amaretto di Mombaruzzo (Piedmont, Italy) $66.
It’s hard not to have a bit of a crush on this elegant Amaretto from Berta Distilleries. There is roughly one kilo of Mombaruzzo almonds in every bottle. The result is liquid gold, with true almond flavour, aged in cherry wood to enhance the richness of the liquor. A luxurious gift to add to anyone’s bar and for those who love a sexy after dinner drink.

Jordan Lee, Crush Imports

From rich uncle Bob:
Larmandier-Bernier Cramant Nature Grand Cru (Champagne) $90
This Chardonnay was of such exceptional quality and character that the maître de chai decided not to have the wine undergo a second fermentation. We are left with a still wine of unmatched purity and integrity. This is about as rare as it gets for a current release cuvée.
From my cash-strapped friend:
2013 Bozeto Tinto Bodegas Exopto (Rioja, Spain) $18.
Such a lively and expressive red, luscious red fruit, racy acidity and a long lingering finish. It is the perfect example of why we should all drink more Spanish wine!

Barb and Susan Giacomin, Winequest

From my cash- strapped friend:
Tenuta S. Anna Prosecco Frizzante Spago NV (Veneto, Italy) $20.
Who doesn’t want some affordable tasty bubbles. The gentle fizz and soft peachy pear flavours makes for a joyful Italian party in my mouth. The traditional tie top (spago) over the cork is ever so charming!
From rich uncle Bob: 2008
Capezzana Trefiano di Carmignano Riserva (Tuscany, Italy) $75.
Just ask Daniel at Corso 32, this wine is a blockbuster. Complex, rich, balanced, elegant with black cherry, dark plum, liqorice, cedar, tobacco, leather. Soooo much going on without being brash, the epitome of good taste and old money.

Ryan Everitt, Trialto

From my cash- strapped friend:
2010 Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Terroir (Argentina) $25.
Altos las Hormigas is one of the most exciting winegrowing projects in South America, created by international wine dream team Italians Alberto Antonini, Antonio Morescalchi and Attilio Pagli; Chileans Pedro Parra and Leonardo Erazo. They function like a classic jazz quintet, each player contributing to a sum that is far greater than its parts.
From rich uncle Bob
2011 Azelia Barolo DOCG (Piedmont, Italy) $60.
Azelia is still a secret well- kept by Barolo lovers. Scrupulous attention is given to vineyards and procedures in the winery, where great respect is maintained for tradition and the judicious use of modern techniques. A gem.