The holiday season is coming fast, and there’s no better time than the present to line up a row of great Christmas spirits. These will all help set the mood, even take the edge off amid an Austrian avalanche of lousy Covid variant news. Omicron, be damned. We’re plowing ahead.
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Try these six. You’ll thank us later.
The vineyards of Germany’s Mosel Valley are the source of some of the world’s finest rieslings. Pouring a bright pale straw colour, Green Label has exotic notes, papaya, mango, passion fruit, supported by fresh hints of citrus and orange blossom, the sweetness of apples, fig and honey on the nose. On the palate, it is soft with medium sweetness, balanced acidity and a minerally finish. $11.95 at the LCBO.
Ideal matches include thai, vietnamese, indian, asian style salads, BBQ dishes, venison with honeyed carrots, or creamy pumpkin soup with chicken.
Grahams 10 YO Tawny Port
Graham’s 10 Year Old Tawny has a deep tawny colour. On the nose, it shows complex nutty aromas combined with hints of honey and figs. On the palate, look for rich mature fruit flavours, nicely mellowed with a luscious long finish.
Great match for sweet pastries, like apple pie with cinnamon. This port is best enjoyed slightly chilled. Graham’s 10 Year Old Tawny has been awarded two Gold and three Silver medals at the Decanter World Wine Awards. $31.95 at LCBO.
20 YO Tawny
Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny has an amber, golden tawny colour. On the nose, it shows an excellent bouquet with a characteristic “nutty” character and delicious mature fruit with hints of orange peel, mellowed by careful aging. On the palate, it is rich, softly sweet and smooth, perfectly balanced, with a long, elegant finish.
This holiday season, Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny should be served slightly chilled, and pairs extremely well with nuts, dried fruits and fruitcake but also with vanilla ice cream or crème brûlée. $39.95 at the LCBO.
Stoli Elit Vodka
Stolichnaya is a classically styled smooth vodka. Crystal-clear in colour with marshmallow, mineral and mild fruit peel aromas. A soft, supple entry leads to a smooth, medium-bodied palate with pastry frosting, talc and citrus rind flavours. Finishes with a clean, lightly sweet, sugar dust, wet straw and balanced pepper fade.
Spirit is blended with artesian well water, then filtered through Russian birch charcoal and quartz sand to create unsurpassed smoothness. It took Gold at the 2014 Beverage Testing Institute Awards. $28.95 at the LCBO.
Matured in American White Oak ex-bourbon barrels for 12 years and finished in Oloroso Sherry casks from Jerez, Spain. Flavours are honey sweetness, spiced chocolate, with a hint of smoke. The Jura Single Malt Scotch Whisky 12 Year Old is a smooth island malt with a subtle smoky sherry finish.
Try it neat, over ice with salted banana chips. $74.95 at the LCBO.
Villa One Tequila (Silver)
Villa One is an Ultra-Premium 100% agave Tequila founded by John Varvatos and Nick Jonas together with Master Distiller Arturo Fuentes. During a trip to Mexico in 2018 with family and friends, Nick and John were inspired to embark on a new adventure and launch their own tequila brand.
In the spirit of the property they were staying in, and the enjoyment of family and friends, the idea quickly turned into a tangible venture. Villa One Tequila is hand-crafted at a small distillery, Fabrica de Tequilas Finos, in Jalisco. On the nose, fruit aromas with sweet cooked agave on the nose. Dried fruit and wood toasted flavour with nuts that meanders into a caramelized agave. Long and smooth finish. Best served as a margarita or neat. $66.35 at the LCBO.