Wines from the Rich Uncle and the Cash-strapped Friend

We ask those who make a living in wine — what would you like to see under the tree from your friend with more taste than money, or your rich rellie?
by Mary Bailey

It is our belief that great wine comes in every price range. We asked several people in the know — restaurateurs, chefs, wine store folks and wine reps — for their fave cheap and cheerful and sky’s the limit libations. What would they love to see under the tree from both their friend with more style than money and a rich and wine-savvy relation? They suggest lots of bubble as well as great wines from Italy, France and Germany, Australia, South Africa and Portugal, also Cognac, Sherry and a beer.

Click on names to see their selections. Click on images to zoom.

[dopaccordion title=”Patrick Saurette, The Marc”]

2015 Château Viranel Trilogie Rouge

From the cash-strapped friend
2015 Château Viranel Trilogie Rouge (Languedoc, France, $17) Alicante Bouschet is a cousin of Grenache, which is why I am so fond of this red fruit-loaded wine (with Syrah and Cab Franc too). Its freshness and cheeky acidity along with the discipline the Cab Franc delivers makes it a perfect companion to Aunt Shirley’s cheese ball.

2015 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Gris

From the rich uncle
2015 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Gris Sainte Catherine (Alsace, France, $75)
Terroir, winemaker, vines and that kiss from above give us a wonderful mix of marmalade and juicy pear flavours that dance and evolve in your mouth for a long farewell. Food suggestion: cold turkey sandwich with cranberry and gravy at 3am.


[dopaccordion title=”Daniel Costa, corso 32″]

2016 Azienda Agricola Monteversa

From the cash-strapped friend
2016 Azienda Agricola Monteversa Primaversa (Padova, Italy, $24)
This is a great wine to sip on before dinner. The Primaversa is an organic sparkling wine and an unusual expression of Moscato Giallo — delicious and dry (not sweet). I really love the lemon, grapefruit and pear aromas. The Primaversa will pair perfectly with oysters when starting the Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.

2013 Fontodi Flaccianello

From the rich uncle
2013 Fontodi Flaccianello Della Pieve (Tuscany, Italy, $130)
Fontodi is located close to Dario Cecchini’s famous butcher shop in Panzano. I will always remember visiting the vineyard and taking a bottle to Dario’s Chianina beef tasting, and enjoying every slice of beef with a sip of this amazing wine. It is a complex wine with blackberry, black liquorice and cedar aromas, a strong concentration of fruit and grippy tannins with a long finish. Pair this wine with a perfectly charred bistecca.


[dopaccordion title=”Paulette Scott, Pacific Wine and Spirits “]

2012 Yalumba The Caley

From the rich uncle
2012 Yalumba The Caley, Coonawarra Barossa Cabernet Shiraz (Australia, $450)
Delicious! Taste the amazing voluptuousness of Coonawarra Cabernet with Barossa Shiraz. Can’t wait to see how this wine evolves over the next decade, as it’s one of the most interesting and elegant wines I have tasted.

Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses

From the cash-strapped friend
Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé (Languedoc, France, $25)
Rosés are no longer just for summer drinking — they are the new white wine. Yes, dry rosé wine in winter is great for sharing, especially this elegant blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah with nuances of cassis, red currant and citrus. The bottle is a lovely keepsake too.


[dopaccordion title=”Mitchell Hopkins, Café Linnea”]

2014 La Collière Les Touillères

From the cash-strapped friend
2014 La Collière Les Touillères Rasteau (Rhone Valley, France, $25)
I love the big rustic reds coming out of Rasteau. La Collière in particular offers very good value, showing the garrigue, smoke and rich cocoa flavours expected. George Perrot has crafted a wine (80 per cent Grenache, 20 per cent Syrah) with balance and restraint. Drink with herbed pork chops or holiday roast and gravy.

2006 Baud Père & Fils

From the rich uncle
2006 Baud Père & Fils Château-Chalon Grand Cru des Vins Vin Jaune (Jura, France, $80)
Vin Jaune makes a great family gift. If you decide to age it (over 100 years in good vintages), it can become a true heirloom. In this example you’ll find notes of almond, truffle, curry and brown sugar. Pair this with Comté cheese and candied nuts for an unforgettable experience.


[dopaccordion title=”Hayley McRae, Vendemmia”]

2016 Medici Concerto Lambrusco

From the cash-strapped friend
2016 Medici Concerto Lambrusco (Reggio Emilia, Italy, $25)
Lambrusco is a lively sparkling red wine that is straight-up delightful to be enjoyed anytime, with food or without. Concerto is the first single vineyard Lambrusco made by Ermete Medici. A dryer style wine, bright and bursting with raspberry flavours — a party in a bottle. Recommended with charcuterie or pumpkin ravioli.

2008 Salvioni Brunello

From the rich uncle
2008 Salvioni Brunello (Tuscany, Italy, $200)
This is a stunning and sexy Brunello. The silky earthy layers conjure the sense of eating spice cake in a spring rain shower. The wine is made with a long fermentation in stainless steel followed by three years in large Slovenian barrels. Cellar if you have the willpower. Or decant and drink the day your rich uncle gives it to you!


[dopaccordion title=”Lisa Caputo, Cibo Bistro “]

2016 Daphne Malvasia Secco

From the cash-strapped friend
2016 Daphne Malvasia Secco (Lombardy, Italy, $17)
Light creamy bubbles followed by fresh and vibrant fruit flavours of peaches, apples and citrus is sure to impress. The elegant packaging on this delicious bottle screams anything but cheap, making it a great host gift during the holiday season. Enjoy with appetizers or on its own as an aperitivo.

2013 Vietti Castiglione

From the rich uncle
2013 Vietti Castiglione Barolo (Piedmont, Italy, $55)
This elegant Barolo is the perfect gift for that special someone who loves wine and has great taste. The original 1970’s artwork on the label adds class to a feature wine wall or on the table during the holiday season. Barolo from the Castiglione area offer dark cherry fruit, soft rose petal and a pleasing earthiness. The powerful tannins and long finish pairs perfectly with those hearty braised meats and roasts we love to eat during the cooler months.


[dopaccordion title=”Ryan Everitt, Trialto Wine Group”]

2015 La Posta Tinto

From the cash-strapped friend
2015 La Posta Tinto (Mendoza, Argentina, $19)
The congenial Malbec-based blend called La Posta Tinto is the creation of Laura Catena of the Catena wine family of Argentina. It is a wine that honours the old postas, the general stores of Mendoza where grape growers would hang out and locals would go to get most everything, including their everyday wine.

Joseph Phelps Insignia &
JL Chave Hermitage

From the rich uncle
2014 Joseph Phelps Insignia (Napa Valley, USA, $375 750ml. /$800 magnum)
Since its first vintage in 1973, Joseph Phelps Insignia has become one of the most iconic Napa Valley red wines. Big, rich, full of character and with flavours that you taste for minutes, it is rare and expensive, with only a few cases available every year. And, if you’re feeling particularly dangerous, it is available in magnums.

2014 JL Chave Hermitage (Rhone, France, $290)
What can you say about Hermitage and Chave — a very small area of production and a very reclusive wine maker who makes one of the best wines in the world. This is the pinnacle of Syrah on the planet, a desert island wine if you will.


[dopaccordion title=”Kelsey Roos and Juanita Roos, Color de Vino”]

G.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso

From the cash-strapped friend
G.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso (Piedmont, Italy, $25)
This uncomplicated and easy-to-drink blend of Barbera, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto is a perfect gift from a cash-strapped friend. Its juicy red and dark berry flavours with fresh acidity will pair with many holiday dishes and can double as a crowd favourite for impromptu holiday gatherings.

2016 Clos des Papes

From the rich uncle
2016 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhone, France, $125)
Unquestionably, Clos des Papes is what we hope our rich uncle Bob sets under the tree. Vincent, the winemaker, makes top-quality wines that are full of personality and no two vintages are alike. Why not? “I’m not a magician… wine is made outside in the vineyard, not in the winery,” he says.


[dopaccordion title=”John Gerum, Aligra Wine & Spirits”]

2014 Finca Las Moras Malbec

From the cash-strapped friend
2014 Finca Las Moras Barrel Select Malbec (Argentina, $16)
Irresistibly good! With rich red and black fruit, blackberry jam flavours and sweet tobacco, smoky and earthy notes, full-bodied. Even better if you decant it and give it some airtime.

2008 Numanthia

From the rich uncle
2008 Numanthia, Bodegas Numanthia (Toro, Spain, $66)
Powerful, luxurious and mysterious, crafted from 120-year-old Tempranillo vines. This massive and well-structured wine displays black fruit, plum, fig, dark chocolate, cola, spice and wisps of smoke. Round, bold and lush, ending with a long, perfumed and toasty finish.


[dopaccordion title=”Caitlin Fulton, RGE RD”]

Meyer Family Vineyards Brut

From the cash-strapped friend
Meyer Family Vineyards Brut (Okanagan Valley, BC, $35)
Blair and I are big fans of sparkling wines and while it may seem the obvious choice for the holidays, bubbles never get enough love in our opinion. They don’t fly out of the restaurant cellar the way one  would think— even on festive occasions. Summerhill, Blue Mountain, Benjamin Bridge and Tawse all have great pours, but we want to give some love to the new Brut on the block. Their first non-vintage sparkling is a great example of a clean and crisp marriage of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir made in the traditional method, with super fine bubbles that dance around the palate with zippy Granny Smith acidity — perfect to get you salivating before a big feast. Dry and mineral-rich with just a hint of bread, it makes me want to order up a plate of oysters immediately.

Vintage Krug Grande Cuvée

From the rich uncle
Vintage Krug Grande Cuvée (Champagne, France, $300 approx)
We were lucky to share a half bottle of the Krug Grande Cuvée at a celebratory dinner in San Francisco the year we opened the restaurant. This is a decidedly more decadent wine than the sparkling we typically consume — a deep golden colour, more brioche than bread, the fruit is ripe with notes of candied orange, nuttiness and baking spice (reminds me of Christmas just thinking about it). Naturally, at the restaurant in San Fran, the Krug was paired with white sturgeon caviar and smoked sturgeon belly. Nothing says you have arrived more than sipping Krug and slurping caviar from a mother of pearl spoon. I still recall that feeling of over-the-top indulgence.


[dopaccordion title=”Tricia Bell, Cavern “]

2012 Château du Frandat Enchantement

From the cash-strapped friend
2012 Château du Frandat Enchantement (Buzet, France, $19)
The region of Buzet, which neighbours Bordeaux, produces some spectacular wines at a much friendlier price than Bordeaux. This wine, a blend of 60 per cent Merlot, 35 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and five per cent Cabernet Franc, has bold fruit flavours, good structure, moderate tannins and body that stands up to grilled red meat, yet it’s gentle enough to drink solo.

2012 Cuilleron Villard

From the rich uncle
2012 Cuilleron Villard, Gaillard Les Vielles Vines Condrieu (Rhone, France, $60)
I request this tantalizing wine from my rich auntie Roberta. White Wine seems to be relegated to warm weather or to wine drinkers who have not ‘fully graduated.’ Yet, white wine is not to be under-estimated. On the contrary, it is most certainly a domain to graduate within. Condrieu is a region of pedigree in Northern Rhone where the grape Viognier held its ground in the face of near extinction (only 14 hectares remained in the world in the 1960s). This particular Condrieu sets the benchmark for this style of wine. Its dry, round and juicy character with the perfect level of acidity pairs incredibly well with seafood, chicken and beef.


[dopaccordion title=”Doug Hicks and Marcia J Hamm, Hicks Fine Wines”]

When We Dance Chianti

From the cash-strapped friend (Doug)
When We Dance Chianti (Tuscany, Italy, $25)
Although short on money, this friend thought the winery owners (Sting and Trudie Styler) just might bring the extra caché (that cash eh?). From their Il Palagio estate, this 95 per cent Sangiovese and five per cent Canaiolo/Colorino is a pretty wine, bursting with floral notes and red fruits.

2013 Guado Al Tasso

From the rich uncle (Marcia)
2013 Guado Al Tasso (Bolgheri DOC, Tuscany, Italy, $240)
Nothing says money like a magnum and what better to have than one of the Antinori family’s most famous wines, Guado Al Tasso. The 2013 vintage is made with Cab Sauv, Merlot and Cab Franc, rich and lush and will cellar for years. Uncle Bob likes to party, so he hopes you’ll invite him over when you open it.


[dopaccordion title=”Rob Filipchuk, The Glass Monkey”]

2014 Small Gully Mr. Black’s

From the cash-strapped friend
2014 Small Gully Mr. Black’s Little Book Shiraz (South Australia, $18)
Classic Shiraz flavours with a medium body and beautiful aromatics of black liquorice and cherry.

1966 Taylor Fladgate

From the rich uncle
1966 Taylor Fladgate Single Harvest Port (Porto, Portugal, $265)
I love the elegance and grace of this beautiful Tawny Port. There is nothing better than a beautifully aged Port on a cold winter’s night. And this one just so happens to be exactly the same age as I am — so that makes it even more special and a real treat.


[dopaccordion title=”Jenn Fulford, Crimson”]

2015 Almodi

From the cash-strapped friend
2015 Almodi Petit Red Blend (Terra Alta, Spain, $20)
Intense aromas of red fruits and spice lead into a perfectly balanced mouth, round and velvety.

2014 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Imperial

From the rich uncle
2014 Raymond Usseglio Châteauneuf-du-Pape Imperial (Rhone Valley, France, $85)
The old (over 100 years old) low-yielding vines in this mostly Grenache blend brings finesse and elegance to the vintage, capable of aging for decades


[dopaccordion title=”Dix Richards, Bin 104″]

2016 Hedges, CMS Sauvignon Blanc

From the cash-strapped friend
2016 Hedges, CMS Sauvignon Blanc (Columbia Valley, USA, $25)
This delectable Sauvignon Blanc blended with a caress of Chardonnay and just a smidgeon of Marsanne is pale gold in colour and will delight your nose with aromas of lemon rind, peach and pineapple. The palate has fresh pineapple, lime and spritely acidity with the Chardonnay adding tart green apple flavours while the Marsanne completes this lovely blend with just a hint of spiced pear and honeydew melon. This wine will not empty your pocketbook and will impress your friends and all those who partake.

2013 Rotie Cellars Northern Blend

From the rich uncle
2013 Rotie Cellars Northern Blend (Washington State, USA, $70)
This velvety luscious wine is a blend of Syrah and Viognier, inspired by Côte-Rôtie in the Northern Rhone. It will entice you with its aromas of smoked meat, dark berries and violets, while you will enjoy the delicious flavours of dark chocolate, black pepper, a kiss of vanilla and a wee bit of smokiness on the savoury finish. Winemaker Sean Boyd proves that fine Rhone blends in the Walla Walla area can be made with great success. This long-lived and complex wine will tickle Rich Uncle Bob’s fancy now and for years to come.


[dopaccordion title=”Barb Giacomin, Wine Quest”]

UCB Bróc Birra

From the cash-strapped friend
UCB Bróc Birra Artisan Craft Beer (Tuscany, Italy, $16)
While growing his own organic barley, tending beehives, making honey, looking after a couple of donkeys and playing in a band, busy Ugo officially made his farm a Birra Agricola (farm brewery) in 2014. Everything here is natural and hand-crafted including this incredibly tasty, bottle-conditioned, Belgium Ale-styled brew. With loads of apricot and peach flavours, it has a hint of minerality, lots of freshness and more sweet flavours than bitter notes. Super for beer and non-beer drinkers alike.

2013 Capezzana Ugo Contini

From the rich uncle
2013 Capezzana Ugo Contini Bonacossi Sangiovese (Tuscany, Italy, $105)
The wine is old world elegance and class personified. The grapes come from a single vineyard containing five different clones of Sangiovese created by Ugo Contini Bonacossi. The vineyard and the wine’s graceful elegance and complex structure are a reflection of the creator, “confidently complete” without being boisterous. Italy’s top wine reviewer Daniele Cernilli gave it a 98 score in his book, Essential Guide to Wines of Italy 2017. It’s an honour to drink this dedication wine, the legacy of a highly regarded man in the wine world.


[dopaccordion title=”Stacey-Jo Strombecky, Nobilis Wines “]

Cidrerie Bigoud Artisan Pear Cidre

From the cash-strapped friend
Cidrerie Bigoud Artisan Pear Cidre, (Brittany, France, $15)
I cannot get enough traditional cidre in me these days; I adore the refreshing yet complex taste profile. Made the same way Champagne is produced, they are a hit with the wine drinker side of me, as well as my inner craft beer girl. Notes of bruised, fresh and baked pear, spice, straw, wood and just enough funk to keep it interesting.

Cognac Godet XO Gastronome

From the rich uncle
Cognac Godet XO Gastronome (Cognac, France, $140)
Brand new to Alberta, but certainly not to Cognac aficionados, the XO Gastronome is quite simply a perfect display of balanced fruit and oak and a stunning digestif. The house truly strives for finesse and drives home the importance of terroir by having this Cognac certified organic.


[dopaccordion title=”Michael Fregren, Artisan Wines”]

2013 Porta 6

From the cash-strapped friend
2013 Porta 6 (Lisbon, Portugal, $20)
If you are not drinking Portuguese wines, you might need to have a word with yourself and ask why not? Portuguese wines have come a long way and this tasty little number is a perfect example. Porta 6 is a fresh and fruity blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinto Roriz (aka Tempranillo) and Castelão with loads of old world charm.

2014 Château Saint Cosme

From the rich uncle
2014 Château Saint Cosme Côte-Rôtie (Rhone Valley, France, $85)
If you like big, beefy red wines, I suggest dropping whatever you are doing and get yourself a bottle or four of Côte Rôtie. Think the finesse of a Ferrari and the power of a 1970 Mustang. It’s an experience that all wine lovers should enjoy in their lifetime. If you have the patience to cellar your Côte-Rôtie, the experience will only get better.


[dopaccordion title=”Shaun Hicks, Wishbone, Three Boars”]

Mas Buscados Macabeo

From the cash-strapped friend
Mas Buscados Macabeo (La Mancha, Spain, $18)
I’m going to go with Mas Buscados Macabeo white wine. It’s got tons of lemon, lime and pineapple aromas as well as a minerality that reminds me of old school Flintstone Vitamins. Great acidity on the palate, the slightest touch of oak and a lingering, juicy mineral finish. Not only is this a great food wine that absolutely kills it with buttery seafood, it’s also a cheerful and interesting representation of an uncommon grape that’s usually reserved for Cava.

Noe Pedro Ximenez VORS Sherry

From the rich uncle
Noe Pedro Ximenez VORS Sherry Gonzàlez Byass (Jerez, Spain, $42) The Noe 30 year PX Solera Sherry is an absolute killer. One of the most dynamic and interesting wines I’ve ever had the pleasure of indulging in. It’s spent a minimum of 30 years in oak evolving into a liquid reminiscent of coffee, figs, raisins, molasses, marmalade and marmite with enough acid to clean your palate for another sip. Sherry, being one of the most undervalued wines, means Noe costs less than $1.50 a year for an absolutely amazing experience!


[dopaccordion title=”Deb Pirker, Andrew Peller Import Agency”]

Nutty Solera

From the cash-strapped friend
Nutty Solera Oloroso Gonzàlez Byass (Jerez, Spain, $18)
This Oloroso is a lovely sipper to enjoy by the fire. Aromas of caramel and Fig Newton best describe it. Medium sweet with clove, walnuts, raisins, espresso and orange zest on the palate, it’s the wine to have with fruitcake, shortbread and cheese boards throughout the holidays.

2015 Seghesio Defiant

From the rich uncle
2015 Seghesio Defiant (Sonoma, USA, $62)
This blend of mainly Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon is dark, savoury and bold with blackberry, mocha and spice aromas, dense ripe flavours of black fruits and pepper with a long finish. The Seghesios pay homage to their grandmother with this wine, and the name is so relevant due to what they have faced with the recent fires in Sonoma.


[dopaccordion title=”Christina Masciangelo, Salivate “]

2015 Sybille Kuntz Riesling

From the cash-strapped friend with exceptional taste
2015 Sybille Kuntz Riesling Qualitätswein Trocken (Mosel, Germany, $30)
This dry Riesling has that wow factor! It is instantly appealing with its full, ripe, intense flavours with the perfect background of minerality that lingers, then finishes with a wallop of mouth-watering freshness that begs your palate for more. It is incredible that this is the entry-level wine from this great producer, as it tastes more expensive that it is. More to love — it’s certified organic and the alcohol is a blissfully reasonable level of 12.5 per cent.

2013 Barone Pizzin Rosé

From the rich uncle
2013 Barone Pizzini Franciacorta Rosé (Lombardy, Italy, $55)
If your rich aunt or uncle is in-the-know, they are familiar with the fact that Italy produces some of the world’s best value sparkling wine. Franciacorta is the area in northern Italy that makes bubbles using the same methods as the Champagne region of France. This beauty is made predominantly from Pinot Noir grapes with some Chardonnay, expressed with lovely aromas and a fresh, lively palate. Barone Pizzini uses only certified organic grapes from their own vineyards.


[dopaccordion title=”Lana Heiman, PMA Canada”]

2016 Sokol Blosser Rose

From the cash-strapped friend
2016 Sokol Blosser Rose of Pinot Noir (Oregon, USA, $21)
Gently pressed, estate grown, 100 per cent Pinot Noir grapes from the Dundee Hills, with aromas of fresh strawberries and a nice citrus acidity. Wonderful on its own or paired with turkey or brunch dishes.

Pommery Brut Royal NV

From the rich uncle
Pommery Brut Royal NV (Champagne, France, $60)
Madame Pommery created the first Brut Champagne in 1874. With tiny bubbles and a lovely crisp acidity, it’s perfect for celebrating any occasion or with salty foods such as popcorn and potato chips.


[dopaccordion title=”Valerie Albrecht, Enotri Wines “]

2016 Gadais Tourmaline Muscadet

From the cash-strapped friend
2016 Gadais Tourmaline Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie, (Loire Valley, France, $21)
Muscadet is a light-bodied wine that packs a punch of flavour. Think citrus, bright acidity and beautiful mineral notes that finishes with a soft whiff of saline by the sea. If a trip to France is not currently in your budget, splurge on some raw oysters, a bottle of Gadais Muscadet and transport yourself there via your senses.

2013 Tenuta Montecchiesi Syrah

From the rich uncle
2013 Tenuta Montecchiesi Klanis Cortona Syrah DOC, (Tuscany, Italy, $55)
Hillside Syrah speaks to my palate, Cortona hillside Syrah speaks to my heart, soul and palate. Hand-picked grapes from low yielding vines, aged for 16 months in French oak, then 10 months in bottle. Expect black berry fruits and dried plum wrapped in notes of liquorice and minerals, all balanced on a fine line of acidity.


[dopaccordion title=”Tara Smith, Lanigan and Edwards”]

2017 Petit Pinotage

From the cash-strapped friend
2017 Ken Forrester Petit Pinotage (Stellenbosch, South Africa, $22)
“Sometimes wine needs to just be a beverage” –Ken Forrester. This is not your typical stinky, coffee-laced pinotage! It’s produced in the same style as Beaujolais and the result is a softer, more approachable and fruitier style, that is full of violets on the nose and juicy red fruit on the palate. I recommend this with turkey dinners and charcuterie-inspired get togethers. For the adventurous types, drink it with your favourite tomato-based dish instead of Chianti. It was the runaway hit during Ken’s visit here back in June.

2014 Ernie Els Proprietor’s Blend

From the rich uncle
2014 Ernie Els Proprietor’s Blend (Stellenbosch, South Africa, $45)
Yes, Ernie is better known for his golf, but his wines defy the usual celebrity wine preconception. This is a full-bodied Bordeaux-inspired blend with a splash of Shiraz for good measure. Sweet blueberry notes on the nose, which lead to an herbaceous and cherry-laced palate. This is a serious wine, which will make most people rethink South African wines in general. If you really want to see what this wine can do, it’s inexpensive enough to lay down a few bottles in your cellar for up to 10 years.


[dopaccordion title=”Nic Brandt, sommelier”]

Col Fondo Prosecco

From the cash-strapped friend
NV Case Paolin Col Fondo Prosecco DOCG (Veneto, Italy, $21)
This wine is made in the traditional method where the secondary fermentation happens in the bottle, but unlike Champagne there is no disgorgement. The result is a wine that is frizzante (slightly less fizzy), cloudy, a little funky and less sweet than most Prosecco. It is also beautifully floral and minerally with notes of citrus.

2008 Vite Colte Spezie Riserva

From the rich uncle
2008 Vite Colte Spezie Riserva Barbaresco DOCG (Piedmont, Italy, $75)
This full-bodied beauty is 100 per cent Nebbiolo. Rich and spicy with flavours of cherry, cranberry, clove and a light floral aroma. Intense, with balanced tannins and a long finish.


[dopaccordion title=”Sasha McCauley, the Fairy Booze Mother, YEG Woman in Wine “]

Enrico Gatti Franciacorta

From the cash-strapped friend
Enrico Gatti Franciacorta Nature DOCG (Lombardy, Italy, $55)
This is an elegant wine with notes of toast, hazelnuts and citrus, fresh and fruity with 85 per cent Chardonnay and 15 per cent Pinot Noir making up the blend. A sparkling wine made in the same way as Champagne, most Franciacorta is consumed in Italy by savvy and stylish Italians. Follow their lead and share something different with a friend.

2006 Cristal Rosé

From the rich uncle
2006 Cristal Rosé (Champagne, France, $750)
The blend is 55 per cent Pinot Noir and 45 per cent Chardonnay, beautifully aromatic with wonderful bubbles that dance across the palate along with a rich and round texture. Cellar master Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon makes brilliant Champagne (follow him on Twitter for insight into the region). The old-vine Pinot Noir from the finest Grand Cru vineyards at Aÿ, farmed using biodynamic principles, produces a wine of great structure and finesse. Truly a wine that is bottled poetry.


[dopaccordion title=”Dianna Funnell, Sherbrooke Liquor”]

2015 Salentein Malbec

From the cash-strapped friend
2015 Bodegas Salentein Reserve Malbec (Uco Valley, Argentina, 750ml, $21/$38 magnum)
Its rich nose of ripe plum, wild cherry, blackberry and tobacco leads to a mouth-watering palate of redcurrant, black cherry and cinnamon. The 1.5 liter bottle is perfect for large gatherings of friends, but even better to cellar for a few years.

Château Montifaud Six Pack

From the rich uncle
Château Montifaud in a Wooden Gift Box (Cognac, France, $165)
Discover 200ml each of Montifaud’s V.S., V.S.O.P. and X.O. In addition, two small bottles of Pineau des Charentes Rouge and Pineau des Charentes Blanc. Legend goes that during the harvest of 1589, a winemaker accidentally added grape must to a barrel he believed was empty but in fact contained distilled spirit. The mixture was sent to the cellars for fermentation. Years later, the barrel was opened and the wonderful wine-based liqueur called Pineau des Charentes was born.