Including Champagne, many Sparkling Wines are made using Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir, and quite often Pinot Meunier. The Louis Roederer is a blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier, while the Château de Bligny is 100% Chardonnay. The version from Josef Chromy is a blend of 54% Chardonnay and 46% Pinot Noir, while the rosé Champagne from Lallier is 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. From Spain, the Brut Cava is a blend of 40% Chardonnay, 30% Macabeo, 20% Parellada and 10% Pinot Noir. All of these sparkling wines are dry (in sweetness), with the exception of the Josef Chromy, which is made in a slightly sweeter style.
The main feature really lacks focus in my opinion, as there are many fantastic wines featured throughout the magazine that I would happily serve at holiday get-togethers. Among them is a Bonarda/Malbec blend from Alma Negra. For really special get-togethers, look to the Vacqueyras (50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre) or the Pomum Shya Red (63% Cab Sauv, 15% Cab Franc, 11% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot). The KWV Mentors is a Shiraz-led blend, while the Vesuvio is a blend of many grapes led by 60% Touriga Franca. Going up a few notches in price point is the Montes Purple Angel that is 92% Carménère and 8% Petit Verdot, and the Château Cantemerle is from the great 2010 Bordeaux vintage and contains 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 8% Cabernet Franc.
For sweet wine lovers, there are once again plenty of Rieslings to choose from. Included among them is a version from Vineland Estates that returns to VINTAGES this month after being featured last August. If you missed it last Fall, get it now! Kew's Old Vine Riesling comes from vines that are nearly 40 years old - these are some of the oldest vines in Niagara.
For Chardonnay fans, all of the wine recommendations below are oaked Chardonnays. And if you want to try an aged Malbec, check out the 2004 Malbec from Cicchitti.
Please note that the Cantemerle, Vesuvio, and Christoffel Riesling will all be available in limited quantities only at VINTAGES Flagship stores.
Enjoy your holidays with my wine picks, and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year! Cheers!
- DOMAINE LES YEUSES LES ÉPICES SYRAH 2012 - IGP Pays d’Oc, Midi, France (#177584) (XD) - $15.95
- TERRAZAS DE LOS ANDES RESERVA MALBEC 2011 - Mendoza, Argentina (#029280) (D) - $18.95
- PALACIOS REMONDO LA MONTESA CRIANZA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#674572) (XD) - $18.95
- ALMA NEGRA M BLEND 2011 - Mendoza, Argentina (#384297) (XD) - $19.95
- DANDELION VINEYARDS LIONESS OF MCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ 2012 - Single Vineyard, McLaren Vale, South Australia (#357475) (XD) - $19.95
- ZACCAGNINI IL VINO DAL TRALCETTO MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO 2013 - DOC, Abruzzo, Italy (#396382) (XD) - $19.95
- CICCHITTI GRAN RESERVA MALBEC 2004 - Mendoza, Argentina (#155713) (XD) - $22.95
- VIDAL-FLEURY VACQUEYRAS 2012 - AC, Rhône, France (#394643) (XD) - $24.95
- POMUM SHYA RED 2008 - Yakima Valley, Washington, USA (#395566) (XD) - $25.95
- KWV THE MENTORS CANVAS 2011 - WO Coastal Region, South Africa (#348839) (XD) - $29.95 reviewed here
- POMBAL DO VESUVIO 2009 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#392365) (XD) - $30.95 reviewed here
- ELK COVE PINOT NOIR 2012 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#234534) (XD) - $37.95
- CHÂTEAU CANTEMERLE 2010 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#256610) (XD) - $58.85
- MONTES PURPLE ANGEL 2011 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#062364) (XD) - $62.95 reviewed here
- HEITZ CELLAR TRAILSIDE VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#992438) (XD) - $119.95
- TSELEPOS CLASSIC MOSCHOFILERO 2013 - PDO Mantinia, Greece (#724583) (XD) - $17.95 reviewed here
- CHÂTEAU DU TRIGNON VIOGNIER CÔTES DU RHONE 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#394585) (XD) - $18.95
- CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY 2012 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#256552) (D) - $18.95
- KEW VINEYARDS OLD VINE RIESLING 2012 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#392126) (D) - $18.95
- VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION ST. URBAN VINEYARD RIESLING 2012 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#038117) (M) - $19.95
- MOUNTADAM ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2009 - High Eden, Eden Valley, South Australia (#333211) (XD) - $21.95
- SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#172338) (D) - $22.95 reviewed here
- VILLA MARIA SOUTHERN CLAYS SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#388405) (XD) - $29.95
- JOH. JOS. CHRISTOFFEL ERBEN ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2012 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#336396) (MS) - $29.95
- FREIXENET ELYSSIA GRAN CUVÉE BRUT CAVA - DO, Spain (#392548) (XD) - $19.95
- JOSEF CHROMY SPARKLING 2008 - Méthode Traditionnelle, Tasmania, Australia (#393629) (D) - $29.95
- CHÂTEAU DE BLIGNY BLANC DE BLANCS CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#385112) (XD) - $49.95
- LALLIER ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE 1ER CRU - AC, France (#385179) (XD) - $56.95
- LOUIS ROEDERER BRUT PREMIER CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#268771) (XD) - $69.95
- MOËT & CHANDON GRAND VINTAGE BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2004 - AC, France (#069773) (XD) - $84.95
- MOËT & CHANDON GRAND VINTAGE BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE 2004 - AC, France (#069831) (D) - $91.95
- PUKLUS PINCÉSZET TOKAJI ASZÚ 5 PUTTONYOS 2008 - Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary (#047209) (S) (500 mL) - $35.95
- CHÂTEAU SUDUIRAUT 2010 - 1er Cru Classé, AC Sauternes, Bordeaux, France (#256206) (S) (375 mL) - $62.85
The rest of the wines from this release can be found here.