Wine Guy: The perfect gift for the holidays comes in a bottle

The Wine Guy continues to cross names off his list with a few more gift ideas.

Province wine columnist James Nevison. Jason Payne / PROVINCE

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Another week, and seven less shopping days until Christmas. The pressure is mounting, or maybe it isn’t. At least is shouldn’t be.

Studies consistently find that giving provides far more happiness than receiving, so the process of making a gift list alone is cause enough to release those endorphins. Anyways, my science of generosity centres around bequeathing bottles — for adults on my list, at least — and this week we continue to cross names off our list with a few more gift ideas.

Martin’s Lane Winery 2014 Naramata Bench Riesling, British Columbia ($54.99, #35483)

A bottle for the local wine lover. Looking to “wow” a B.C. oenophile with the latest boutique bottle? Well look no further than Martin’s Lane, the stunning Naramata Bench project created by Mission Hill’s proprietor Anthony von Mandl. The winery’s inaugural Riesling is nothing short of elegant, steering away from the racy Riesling card to feature juicy, well balanced baked apple and orchard fruit. It’s still fresh to finish, lively but restrained, and the sort of wine that will ably sidle up to all manner of meals: from the big turkey dinner to takeout Thai.

Bottom line: A-, Elegant Riesling 

Quinta do Crasto 2016 Douro, Portugal ($21.99, #499764)

A wine for the Old World enthusiast. Not everyone is into the new. And anyways, new bottles from new vintages are always coming from the Old World as well. Classic options abound from the world’s most reputed wine regions, but for gifting on a budget it’s tough to beat Quinta do Crasto’s venerable Douro. Always a blend of definitive Douro grapes — in this case Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Barroca — this dry red brings red fruit and floral notes in a nicely balanced style overall. Never jammy nor paunchy, it’s a rich red that manages to be both full yet taut.

Bottom line: A-, Textbook classy red

Gulden Draak Limited Edition 2018 Brewmaster Gerijpt in Whiskyvaten, Belgium ($13.39 for 750mL, #576256)

A bottle for the hops lover. Admittedly, not everyone is a fan of wine. But if there’s a beer lover on your list, there are some great wine-sized bottles of beer that make great gifts. No need to wrap up a six-pack, drop a bottle of Gulden Draak limited release Brewmaster into the wine bag to make an impression. This Extra Strong Belgian Ale is aged in whisky barrels, adding toasty notes and complexity to its malty style and sumptuous texture. At 10.5 per cent ABV, this makes for a slow sipper worthy of being shared, ideally around a roaring fire or heaping family hearth.  

Bottom line: A-, Unique and festive suds


The Swirl: 42nd Vancouver International Wine Festival

What to get the wine fan that has everything? Well there’s always the gift of experience, and advance tickets to the province’s premier wine festival are on sale now. The 42nd annual Vancouver International Wine Festival runs Feb. 22 to March 1, 2020 and features France as its theme region with, appropriately enough, a global focus on rosé. Advance tickets offer savings on International Festival Tastings, the Delta Air Lines Tasting Lounge and Gold Passes, with all public tickets scheduled to start Jan. 8. For complete details head to vanwinefest.ca.  

 

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