There are occasions over the holidays when opening a special bottle is apt. I like to pop a nice bottle of Champagne on Christmas morning, or maybe a pricey bottle of Burgundy at an intimate dinner with friends. That being said, the vast majority of the socializing I take part in over the holidays is in a very loud room with twenty-five members of my extended family, or in a crowded bar with a dozen co-workers. There are times when a special wine can be appreciated and given the respect and attention it deserves, and other times when you look over to see that your aunt has emptied almost half a bottle into her wine glass so it's brimming at the rim. Here are a few delicious wines offered on My Wine Canada that are perfect for sharing, but also won't set you back more than $20.
1) Marynissen 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay - Niagara Peninsula VQA
Marynissen has been one of the most important names in wine on the Niagara Peninsula for decades. While known well for their high-end tier, their entry-level wines offer incredible value. The 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay is fresh and clean, with lemon, pear, and apple blossom notes. It makes for easy drinking on its own, but will also be a versatile pairing partner with food. ($13, 13.4% alcohol)
2) Eau Vivre 2013 Riesling - Similkameen Valley VQA
Despite the stigma created by cheap and sickly sweet Riesling that once dominated the shelves, I find good quality Riesling to be a crowd pleaser with my family. Examples like this one from Eau Vivre, where there is a touch of sweetness, but it's also balanced by tons of acid, so it doesn't come across as sweet. Look for zippy characters of green apple, lime, and an undertone of crushed-rock minerality. ($19, 11.3% alcohol, 2014 vintage now available)
3) Tawse 2014 Gamay Noir - Niagara Peninsula VQA
With Tawse having such a good reputation for Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc, some of the other stellar wines from their portfolio come in under the radar. In fact, Tawse's Gamay is one of my favourites from Niagara. It balances its fresh, fruity, easy-drinking appeal, with enough complexity that won't leave you bored. It's just under medium-bodied with vibrant red fruits like cherries, plums, strawberries, and faint notes of smoke and forest floor. It's a delicious wine that should have wide appeal. ($18.95, 12.5% alcohol)
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.