Just in time for Christmas we have a good selection of goodies for you to celebrate the holiday season.  From the all-important bubbles for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations to a few solid whites and reds for your special meals or just to enjoy at any time at all!  Your puppy tails will be wagging at these!

Note: You will be thanking Toronto Star wine writer Carolyn Evans Hammond for a few of these recommendations.  You too might just want to follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

Instagram: www.instagram.com/carolynevanshammond

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Thewinefind

Twitter: twitter.com/thewinefind

So how about some Baby Duck??  How about NOT – just kidding!!

Instead here is a great one for ya!

Gérard Bertrand Thomas Jefferson Brut Rosé Crémant de Limoux – Rose – $22.95, France 2017

This was one of Carolyn’s recommendations a few months back and as soon as I picked up the bottle and read the back indicating that Pinot Noir was part of the blend, I did not hesitate in picking up half a dozen bottles.

What the Experts say:  This blend, built around Chardonnay with equal parts Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir in support, commemorates Thomas Jefferson, a terrific fan of the sparkling wines of Limoux. Opening with lovely aromas of peach pie and dried orange peel, the wine is juicy and bright with a wonderful interplay of fruit and pastry notes, while zesty orange citrus outshines all else on the lengthy finish.

What do I think:  Really glad that I picked up 6 bottles when I did!  Silky smooth, fruity, with a delicious lingering finish.  Sooo good that all I introduced it to agreed!  Still some around in Ontario hopefully some in other parts of North America.

Undurraga Rosé Royal Brut Sparkling – Pinot Noir – $16.95, Chile

What the Experts say: Aged on the lees for six months before bottling, this bubbly was named Best Sparkling at the 2017 Wines of Chile Awards. It’s crisp and dry with nice strawberry character and an easygoing mouthfeel. Excellent value. Nicely suited to seafood appetizers or summer salads.

What do I think:  The colder the better I think with dry and crisp!  You can always count on Pinot Noir to make bubbles flavourful.  Might be a candidate for breakfast bubbles.  A steal at $17.00

Of course, if you want to raise the bar over the holidays – two of my favourites: Champagne and always available Laurent Perrier and Belle Glos – Pinot Noir from a previous review…

A couple of whites for ya!

Beringer Founders’ Estate Pinot Grigio – $16.95, Napa California

What the Experts say: From one of California’s earliest wineries, this is made with fruit grown in the California Delta, where vines thrive with warm, sunny days and cool evenings. Dry, light-bodied and fresh, with flavours of lemon zest, pear, and apricot. The finish is balanced and crisp; serve well-chilled with salads, pasta or grilled fish.

What do I think:  Sauvignon Blanc is not one of my go to wines but agree with above notes and thoroughly enjoyed this one with BBQ steelhead trout.

Carolyn led me to the Cab Sav Bar Dog so we will make her guilty by association the Chardonnay BAR DOG is pretty awesome…thank you Carolyn.

Bar Dog Chardonnay – $17.95, California, USA

What the Experts say:  Named in honour of faithful hounds everywhere, Bar Dog offers a well-balanced, refreshing chardonnay. Its aromas and flavours of citrus fruit, ripe pear and apple lead to a crisp finish. Pair with roast chicken, grilled pork chops or vegetarian fare and enjoy with Spot at your side.

What do I think:  If you like Chardonnay you can pair this smoothie with anything you like!  A steal for $18.00. Good to the bone!

Sticking with the hounds let’s move on to one of Carolyn’s picks of the week and this is certainly a Bossy Dog!

Bar Dog Cabernet Sauvignon – $17.95, California, USA 

What Carolyn Evans Hammond says in the Toronto Star Nov. 30, 2019: This classic ripples with aromas and flavours of poached black berries, melted dark chocolate and crème brulee that taper to a silky, long finish.

What do I think:  It’s a bossy dog that is a perfect accompaniment to any meat – steak, pork or lamb.  So good that I now have a whole kennel of Bar Dogs to enjoy.

Ardal Selección Especial Reserva 2006 – $23.95, Ribera Del Duero – Spain (Robert Parker – 92 Points!)

What the Experts say: The 2006 Ardal Reserva sees 24 months in French and American oak and is blended with a relatively high (20%) of Cabernet Sauvignon. That addition of Cabernet works well on the vibrant, graphite-tinged nose with touches of wild heather. The palate is full-bodied with copious, chocolate-tinged black fruit, offering real presence and grip on the surly finish. But I like the balance and style, plus it has the substance to age well.

What do I think:  I have had plenty of graphite in my hands before but mainly in the form of golf clubs, can’t say that I have smelled the shafts or can I say that I have sniffed around wild heather before?  This Tempranillo is full bodied, smooth and flavourful for sure.  Great for the price.

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon – $20.95, Monterey County, California 2017

What the Experts say: Aged in used bourbon barrels, this rich California red has notes of cassis, black cherry, vanilla and oak. It makes a great gift for the barbecue-and-bourbon fan.

What do I think:  Bourbon and Cab Sav – two of my favourites.  Can’t go wrong with this baby!  Deep in flavours of blackberry and dark cherry – smooth with a great finish.  Limited release but plenty around LCBO.

Primus Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – $19.95, Maipo Valley, Chile

What the Experts say: The same grower has supplied this varietal Cabernet since the beginning and deserves a round of applause. The vineyard is at 600 metres in the Alto Maipo and it shows in the freshness and precision of the wine. Subtle wooded, with well-toned tannins.

What do I think:  Nice smooth medium bodied Cab Sav with a long silky finish.

Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo DOCG – $14.95, Tuscany, Italy

What the Experts say: Deep ruby colour; floral, cherry and sweet spice aromas; dry, medium-bodied with tart cherry and spice flavours, well balanced and a dry finish.

What do I think:  Chianti goes with turkey – right? Chianti goes with pretty much anything!  Can’t go wrong with this cheapy any day of the week.