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It is that time of year again! While this year looks entirely different, I choose to focus on the good things; like family, friends and delicous wine.

I am a ‘make a list and check it twice’ kind of girl who truly enjoys compiling this list each year to make your holiday shopping decisions more straightforward and less stressful. Yay! Your selections this week feature some beautiful British Columbian wines alongside some international selections. I have a few choices that are great for entertaining (when we can actually do that again!), some for gift giving and others to secretly purchase for yourself and savour when you have some well-deserved ‘down-time.’ 

GGG’s 2020 RED Wine Shopping Guide:

  • Kaiken Selecction Especial Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 Mendoza, Argentina $13.49 – At the price, here is a wine you’ll want to load up on for the holiday season. Kaiken is owned by the famed Chilean wine producing Montes family. It is full-bodied, tasty and robust.
  • Orofino Vineyards Red Bridge Red 2018 Similkameen Valley, B.C. $21.65 – The Similkameen Valley of British Columbia is quickly becoming one of my favourite spots. The Weber family of Orofino Vineyards combine just the right about of excellence with personality that their wine portfolio shines as brightly as they do. This Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from four different vineyard sites is approachable and incredibly satisfying.
  • Casale Del Giglio Cesanese 2017 Lazio, Italy $22.49 – One for the wine adventurer on your list. This is a full and fruity wine made from an indigenous Italian grape known for its interesting flavour profile of cranberry sauce, plum and wild game. A perfect pairing with some wild boar salami and olives.
  • Upper Bench Winery and Creamery Zweigelt 2018 Naramata Bench Okanagan Valley, B.C. $25.00 – Have you heard of this delicious Austrian grape variety before? Fun fact – the man who invented this hybrid grape loved it so much, he named it after himself! Winemaker, Gavin Miller, of Upper Bench does an excellent job with Zweigelt. It is lower in tannin than most reds for those of you who may suffer a bit with red wines. Notes of cherry, mocha and cured meat on the palate make this an intriguing and enjoyable wine.
  • Gérard Bertrand ‘Les Aspres’ Grand Terroir Languedoc/Roussillon $26.99 – When I met Monsieur Bertrand at the Vancouver International Wine Festival this past February, I was able to practice my French language skills and we had a nice chat. At the time, I had zero idea who this dashing man was, only that he was tall, French and very well dressed. When I entered the seminar room and he took his spot on the stage beside Anthony Gismondi, I figured that the universe was smiling. I was a fan of his winemaking before and I continue to be. Bertrand practices biodynamic farming and produces organic wines. This Syrah/Mourvèdre/Grenache blend is full and loaded with notes of blackberry, black pepper, rosemary and vanilla spice.
  • Hester Creek Block 3 Reserve Cabernet France 2018 Golden Mile Bench, B.C. $28.99 – Cabernet Franc, over the last few years, has become one of my favourite varieties. This summer, I had a wonderful opportunity to hang out, explore vineyards and taste with with Hester Creek’s winemaker, Mark Hopley. He drove me to Block 3 in the vineyard and showed me the majestic Cabernet Franc vines that are over 50 years old and create beautiful wines. An excellent gift for the B.C. wine lover on your list, this Cabernet Franc is complex and refined. On the palate, enjoy flavours of ripe raspberries, a dash of white pepper, and a top note of sage.
  • Okanagan Crush Pad ‘Narrative’ Malbec 2018 Okanagan Valley, B.C. $34.90 – You probably don’t think about British Columbia when you think about Malbec? Think again. This Malbec is sourced from a Southern Okanagan vineyard in Osoyoos and the result is impressive. With notes of sweet tobacco, plum and hints of blackberry, you will enjoy this special wine. http://www.GirlsGoGrape.com Wine Score – 91 Points
  • Time Estate Winery Syrah Okanagan Valley, B.C. $39.90 – Smooth and sultry, this Syrah is one elegant wine. It is nicely balanced and bursting with flavours of fresh blackberry, baking spice and a hint of bramble. If you haven’t visited Time Estate Winery and Kitchen in Penticton, B.C. yet, I suggest you put it on your list of places to go when it is safe to do so again. Try this Syrah paired with their ‘The Original’ Time burger or their ‘Smoke on the Rhône’ burger. Yum! http://www.GirlsGoGrape.com Wine Score – 90 Points
  • Marchand and Burch ‘Mount Barrow’ Pinot Noir 2018 Great Southern, Western Australia $49.99 – Elegant and savoury, here is a very distinguished Pinot Noir that can cellar for the next decade. Loaded with silky, cherry flavours and a herbaceous dusting on the finish, this is an excellent wine to savour or share.
  • Cagliero ‘Ravera’ Barolo 2015 Piedmont, Italy DOCG $67.99 – One to enjoy with your love, this nuanced Nebbiolo is an excellent value to the quality of wine inside the bottle. You will find flavours of red cherry, hints of leather and a top note of rose petal. This is a beautiful wine to enjoy this holiday season.

Also, if you are searching for the perfect cookbook for the wine lover on your list, look no further than Jennifer Schell’s ‘The B.C. Wine Lover’s Cookbook’ available at Indigo and Amazon. I am working my way through the recipes (well, David is and I am pairing the wines and loving the meals) and it is by far our favourite cookbook in our home.

I wish you a healthy and beautiful holiday season. Your rosé and bubble shopping lists will be out shortly!