Holiday Wine Guide: 17 of the LCBO’s best bottles to give as gifts

Holiday Wine Guide: 17 of the LCBO’s best bottles to give as gifts

Bottles to give or cellar for a special occasion—even if the recipient is yourself, and that occasion is right now

2018 Errazuriz MAX Reserva

$19.95 | Chile
Considered one of the best vintages in a long time—which is saying something for Chile, where they have great vintages all the time–this might be the best Max to date. Dominated by dark fruit with a little floral and some cocoa notes, it brings nice complexity with a long finish. It’s not priced as a premium bottle, but a lot of people would be fooled. LCBO 335174

2015 Fontanafredda Barolo

$28.95 | Italy
Barolo usually needs time in a cellar to bring the savoury notes and acidity under control, so if you plan on opening this immediately you will need a bit of patience—an hour or two in a decanter should suffice. When they begin to reveal themselves, the fruit flavours are raspberry, strawberry and red currant, with some campfire aromas. $32.95 after Jan. 3. LCBO 20214

Le Volte dell’Ornellaia

$29.95 | Italy
Its price point is far from the top tier Ornellaia ($249.95), but this is still a fantastic bottle to gift someone. Plush strawberry, cassis and plum aromas and flavours are abundant, with a finish like liquid velvet. Can be cellared for 5-7 years. Vintages 964221

2017 Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir

$34.95 | Ontario
Many Ontario winemakers refer to 2017 as the miracle vintage, due to the cold and rainy summer growing season that was saved by a beautiful long fall. It produced this pinot, which is one of the best to ever come from the province. It’s brimming with juicy concentrated fruit, hints of damp forest floor and a finish that is smooth and elegant. Vintages 1560

Roco Gravel Road Pinot Noir 2018

$34.95 | Oregon
The best of a fresh crop of Oregon pinots at the LCBO, this one is ripe with dark cherry and blackberry notes with beautiful concentration. LCBO 575431

2018 Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay

$44.95 | Ontario
This continues to be a benchmark for quality in Ontario wine. Strong notes of baking space soar over orange and pineapple. The finish is long, but restrained thanks to the food-friendly acidity. LCBO 184549

2018 The Prisoner

$54.95 | California
The Prisoner is a blend of the grapes that thrive in California’s climate: zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, petite syrah, syrah and charbono. With prominent aromas of cocoa, smoke, cherry, and blueberry, it’s essential for lovers of big red wines. Vintages 104299

2016 Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon

$74.95 | California
Everything you would expect from a juicy Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon, with elegance to spare. Juicy cassis, cherry and strawberry flavours are met with cocoa and cedar smoke. The tannin is already soft and well integrated, so it’s ready to enjoy now, or cellar for five-to-10 years. Vintages 16405

2018 Tedeschi Ansari Amarone della Valpolicella

$54.95 | Italy
A turbo-charged amarone with an intense concentration of cocoa and attention-grabbing flavours of  black currant and black cherry with hints of vanilla. Could be stashed away until 2028 or beyond. LCBO 16103

2016 Massolino Barolo, Serralunga d’Alba

$61.95 | Italy
A beautiful 2016 barolo that deserves to be held and savoured. Sour cherry and earthy notes kick things off, revealing dark fruit, mocha, and coffee bean the deeper you go. The finish doles out tobacco and cigar box, and the dark fruit becomes red currant and cherry. An amazing bottle that will hold for 20-plus years in the cellar. Vintages 11205

Taylor Fladgate 20-Year-Old Tawny Port

$69.95 | Portugal
The holidays were made for port. This deeply complex wine has hints of hazelnut mingling with notes of strawberry jam, apricot, and plum. It belongs next to a tray of appetizers with some hard cheese. LCBO 149047

2018 Inniskillin Riesling Icewine

$79.95 | Ontario
Inniskillin’s icewines are known worldwide. But a common mistake is to only consider icewine only as a dessert pairing. This bottle has plenty of honey and apricot aromas, buffeted by ample acidity. Deploy it as an aperitif, with charcuterie and cheese, and the marriage of sweet and salty will be a game-changer. LCBO 558288

2015 Paul Hobbs Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

$144.95 | California
This Napa cabernet from a producer once dubbed “The Steve Jobs of Wine” is rich with cassis, plush cherry and notes of cocoa. Decant for several hours if drinking now, or cellar for several years: think 2023-2030. LCBO 119065

2014 Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz

$399 | Australia
The intensity of this wine must be experienced to be believed. In spite of its profound depth and ample blackberry, cherry, clove, and hints of smoke, there is a beautiful elegance in every sip. As a bonus, the screw cap will come in handy should you wish to cellar this one away for a decade or three, which is certainly a possibility. Vintages 424077

2018 Kistler Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay

$116.95 | California
Kistler’s are some of the most sought-after California chardonnays on the market. This wine is rich and complex with aromas of pineapple, coconut and spice, and a rambunctious broad texture on the palate. Serve a few degrees below room temperature. Vintages 183921

2017 Paul Jaboulet Aîné La Maison Bleue Hermitage

$110 | France
Wines from Hermitage do require a bit of patience either in a cellar or a decanter. But these are perfect bottles for someone who is either a collector, or looking to build a wine collection. This syrah has aromas of licorice and blackberry, and will reveal layers of spice—nutmeg, clove, fennel—as it opens up.  Vintages 688663

2005 Roche de Bellene Collection Bellenum Les Charmes Meursault 1er Cru

$175 | France
Gifting this bottle is like giving the gift of time. The wines from this collection have been hidden away in Burgundy cellars for nearly 15 years already. It’s ready to enjoy now, without having to do any of the waiting yourself. LCBO 399741