A few of our favourite things to share around the table!
What a year! Our team of jetsetters scoured the globe in our never-ending quest to discover the world’s finest tipples. Starting in January, we traded Canadian winter for summer in New Zealand to attend the best Pinot conference (party) there is. We set off for Germany, Italy and France in the Spring, knocking off all of the trade shows, and then drove east and west across Spain and Portugal this fall. I’ve barely caught my breath as I write to you from our Toronto office, just back from Chile via Australia.
Now comes the hard part: selecting 12 wines that represent the best of the best for our favourite people, our customers, whose on-going support for the last 20-plus years has allowed us to thrive. Looking for crowd-pleasing wines for leisurely brunches, cocktail parties, and elegant soirées? We’ve got them! We have wines for Uncle Charles and Aunt Edith who are only satisfied with the best and wines for your nephew Bartholomew and niece Valmai who prefer to drink life-altering organic or natural wines from regions you’ve never heard of.
And bubbles! This is the time of year for sparkling. There’s the sparkle of the Christmas tree, the sparkle of snow glistening on the rooftops, and the sparkle in your eye when you get your credit card bill in January and recognize the value of Champagne alternatives. Good thing you went for the Crémant!
And Rosé — how risqué to drink it all day long and into the winter. Rosé is taking the wine loving world by storm and for good reason. A flavour step up from more neutral whites while avoiding the richness of red wines, rosé has become a go-to favourite. Perfect on its own beside the fireplace while reminiscing with old friends, or with cheese or appetizers while hanging out around the island, it’s even worthy of a spot at the table on the big day with candlelight, turkey, and all the fixins. Someone pass the cranberries!
This is our list. We checked it twice. Please enjoy these offerings responsibly.
Domaine Zinck NV Crémant d’Alsace MAGNUMS
$67.99 / 1500ml bottle (3 btls/cs)
Also available in 750ml — $31.99 / bottle (6 btls/cs)
Nothing really starts the party like a magnum of bubbly! Skip the hassle of opening that (inevitable) second bottle. These magnums come in 3-packs rather than 6.
Crémant is hands down best value sparkling wine. It’s made in the Champagne method but spends less time aging on the lees so rarely has quite so hefty a price tag. Zinck is a small winery that farms organically and does everything by hand. The NV is dry and moderately rich with notes of citrus, apricot, and biscuit.
Fattoria Zerbina 2016 Rosa di Ceparano
$22.99 / bottle (12 btls/cs)
Italian Rosé, anyone?
We often look to Provence for crushable rosé that is light and refreshing during the hot summer months. This time of year, a little more body and structure is in order. The Zerbina Rosé is 100% Sangiovese from the winery’s high-elevation vineyards in Emilia-Romagna.
Staete Landt 2015 ‘Annabel’ Sauvignon Blanc
$24.99 / bottle (12 btls/cs)
For lovers of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, nothing else will do. Annabel is the estate Sauv Blanc, named after Ruud Maasdam’s youngest daughter. The intensely aromatic nose offers classic notes of gooseberry, grapefruit and cut grass. On the palate, riper stone fruit comes through along with added weight and texture from partial fermentation in neutral oak.
Jean-Marc Brocard 2015 Kimmeridgien Chardonnay
$25.99 / bottle (12 btls/cs)
This biodynamic wine from Chablis is Chardonnay for people who don’t like Chardonnay! The crowd-pleasing style is bone dry, mineral, and racy, without a whiff of oak. If you’re planning on oysters (or any seafood starter for that matter) pair it with this savoury white.
Joseph Burrier 2015 Pouilly Fuissé Classique
$41.99 / bottle (12 btls/cs)
Why two French Chardonnays, you ask? We can explain! This is a wildly different style made from the opposite end of Burgundy, in the southern Maconnais region. The warmer climate produces a fuller bodied, round wine with ripe stone fruit and tropical flavours. The judicious use of oak here complements the fruit, adding complexity and a salted butter character.
De Martino 2015 Legado Carménère, Chile
$22.99 / bottle (12 btls/cs)
If you’re looking for a value red for the holiday crowds, this is it. Carménère originated in Bordeaux and now is almost exclusively grown in Chile. The grape is known for its exuberant red fruit, herbaceous notes, and peppery spice. De Martino makes balanced, pure wines from all corners of the country and the Legado Carménère (from Maipo Valley) is no exception.
Domaine des Aspras 2016 ‘Les Trois Frères’ Rouge
$28.99 / bottle (12 btls/cs)
Aspras is a small winery located in the 800-person village of Correns in the heart of Provence. The entire town went organic in the mid-nineties, led by Mayor Michael Latz. Today Latz is still the mayor and also the third-generation owner of the winery! This irresistible red is a soul warming blend of Syrah and Grenache. Think bright, sundrenched fruit and Provençal herbs.
Marco Abella 2014 ‘Loidana’ Priorat
$35.99 / bottle (6 btls/cs)
We fell in love with these wines on our recent trip to Spain. Priorat is a tiny mountainous region surrounded by quiet forests. The vineyards at Abella had been in the family for over a century when David and his wife Olivia abandoned their day jobs in the city to make wine from the land. They built a gravity-fed winery in the middle of the steep vineyards and converted to organic and biodynamic farming. Loidana is a silky blend of Grenache and Carignan (with a little Cab) that offers notes of black raspberry, lavender, spice and graphite.
Fèlsina 2015 Chianti Classico Berardenga
$36.99 / bottle (6 btls/cs)
This is what Chianti Classico should taste like. Fèlsina is a top producer of traditional Chianti located in Castelnuovo Berardenga just outside of Siena. For every wine that they make, only 100% pure unadulterated Sangiovese goes into the bottle (the appellation only requires 80%). The Fèlsina style is marked by layered dark fruit and savoury spice.
Jancis called the 2015 vintage ‘exotically perfumed’.
Craggy Range 2016 Martinborough Pinot Noir
$39.99 / bottle (12 btls/cs)
With the price of some Burgundy bottles inching toward that of a car, New Zealand has become a serious alternative for Pinot Noir. This one comes from selected blocks of Craggy’s Te Muna Road vineyard in Martinborough. It’s perfumed and lively with bright red berries and forest floor notes. This is ready to drink out of the gate with its youthful fruit and ultra-fine tannins.
Savage 2014 Red, Western Cape
$54.99 / bottle (6 btls/cs)
We’re having a serious love affair with South Africa. Duncan Savage was formerly the winemaker at Cape Point Vineyards before launching his own label in 2011. The sublime 2014 Red is dominated by Syrah with Grenache, Cinsault, and Touriga Nacional filling out the rest of the blend. This is a low intervention wine that speaks of place, with minimal extraction and moderate alcohol. Dark fruit, candied flowers, and iron accents.
Heitz 2013 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
$99.99 / bottle (6 btls/cs)
Heitz is one of the original Napa icons. They produce an old-world style of wine that balances power and elegance using 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Napa Cab remains one of the best values in the valley (especially when compared to Heitz’s illustrious Trailside and Martha’s Vineyard bottlings). The 2013 vintage was near-perfect and produced an expressive wine with notes of cassis, tobacco, cedar, and nutmeg. Sneak this one under the tree with your name on it.
To Place Your Order:
Call Michelle Desroches directly at (416) 779 4101 or Via Email: MichelleD@lifford.com
Shipping available for Ontario residents only (Sorry!)