It's the most ✨sparkling✨ time of the year! And while we all know that sparkling wine should not be reserved solely for special occasions, there's something about this time of year that most certainly calls for bubbles! 🍾 After all, you can't spell "Happy Holidays" without "sparkling". Actually... you can. But why the heck would you want to?! 😜
The holiday season is all about family, friends and getting festive! 🎉 It's a chance to unwind, re-connect with loved ones, and reflect on the past year as we prepare to ring in a new one. Sharing stories over a glass of bubbly and looking back at some of our favourite moments is something that we always love to do this time of year. And a big moment for us in 2019 was being named VQA Promoters at Large! 😍 So we thought it would only be fitting to give our annual gift guide a local focus this year. After all, Ontario is making some of the best sparkling wines in the world, and what pairs better with the holiday season in Ontario than Ontario bubbles? 🤔 (Answer: nothing!)
So in the spirit of the festive season, we've curated an effervescent list of some of our favourite local sparkling wines to add some extra sparkle to your holiday... from Christmas through to New Years Day! Whether you're looking for a last minute gift idea, some fizz to pair with your festive dinner, Grinch Grab goodies, stocking stuffers, or... perhaps you just feel like Scrooge and would rather just treat yo’self? (Hey, it’s the holidays, you deserve it! 😜) We've got your sparkling needs covered for all occasions, and every budget, over the next two superfestive weeks.
#1: Flat Rock Cellars 2017 Riddled
The 2007 vintage of Flat Rock Cellars Riddled is to blame for kick-starting our obsession and love affair with sparkling from the Niagara region, so it's only fitting that we begin our sparkling survival guide here! The current vintage (2017) is proof that Flat Rock has mastered the art of crafting traditional method sparkling here in Ontario. Exceptionally well balanced, with baked apple and lemon zest notes, and a lengthly finish. We'd be hard pressed to find any guest who would say no to a second glass.
Fun fact: Flat Rock was the first in Ontario to put their sparkling wine under a crown cap closure (not cork). We had the pleasure of tasting a bottle of the 2006 Riddled with a crown cap closure VS. the 2006 Riddled under cork, and it was remarkable how much fresher the bottle under crown cap tasted. We think they're on to something!
Another fun fact: Yes, you can still sabre a bottle under a crown cap closure. Trust us, we've tried. 😎
#2: Back 10 Cellars 2018 Smitten
We've been 💖smitten💖 with this wine (and the wonderful folks at Back 10 Cellars in Beamsville) for quite some time now. Back 10 is fanatical about Riesling, and winemaker Andrew is super passionate about his vineyards and beautiful hand picked fruit. So it should come as no surprise that Smitten Sparkling is made from the first pressing of the best Riesling grapes, and the premium juice is then fermented using the Charmat process. Bursting with fresh citrus and tree fruit flavours, the kiss of sweetness makes this wine super approachable and oh so easy to love. You'll be smitten too after first sip. 😉
Back 10 Cellars 2018 Smitten
Price: $24.95Buy Winery Direct
#3: Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut
You know that old saying "never judge a book by it's cover"? Well, forget what you've heard. Judge away. Because in this case the exterior of Henry of Pelham’s Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut is exactly the same as the wine inside the bottle... stunning! With enticing aromas of brioche, strawberry rhubarb pie and lemon curd, this is one bottle that you might not want to give away. Or if you do... definitely convince the recipient to pop it open to share before you leave!
#4: Ravine Vineyard Brut
The Ravine Brut is made from grapes grown specifically for sparkling wine production, and hand harvested in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Aged on its lees for a minimum of 60 months, the wine is rich and creamy, with a baked apple and brioche character, and a crisp and lengthly finish. A stunning sparkling wine, and a real testament to the potential of this style of wine here in Ontario. And we're certainly not the only ones who think so! Ravine’s Brut received Platinum (98 Points) at the Decanter International Wine Awards. NBD!
Ravine Vineyard Brut
Price: $38.00Buy Winery Direct
#5: Rosehall Run Pixie
Whether you’re a casual wine drinker, or a full fledged Sparkling Wino, we have yet to meet someone who isn’t a fan of this absolutely charming sparkling rosé from our friends at Rosehall Run out in The County. The beautiful salmon colour, whimsical label, and crown cap closure will intrigue you to pick it up off the shelf – and you’ll be glad you did! Medium sweet, with super crisp acidity and lovely citrus and fresh peach character, skip the Christmas cookies and have a glass (or two) of this for dessert!
#6: Big Head Big Bang Black Blanc de Noir
We couldn't have come up with a better name than for this wine than "Big Bang" if we tried, because this sparkler packs a serious punch! 👊💥 Bold, but still incredibly elegant, this wine spent 50 months on its lees, developing a really beautiful almond pastry character, and a rich creamy texture. The racy acidity is balanced out by a minimal dosage of 2016 Chardonnay reciotto fermented in old oak – giving it a unique Big Head flair. Definitely a treat and a great way to end 2019 with a (big) bang!
Big Head Big Bang Black Blanc de Noir
$55.00Buy Winery Direct
#7: Two Sisters Lush
Pretty in pink, the Two Sisters Lush Sparkling Rosé is the perfect way to elevate your holiday. It's a classic sparkling blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but finished with a Cabernet Franc dosage to introduce the luscious pink colour and red berry character. A wonderful hostess gift, or a perfect Charcuterie wine to enjoy with friends and family by the fireside!
Two Sisters Lush
$53.80Buy Winery Direct
#8: Hinterland Les Etoiles 2015
We first visited Hinterland in Prince Edward County way back in 2009, not long after they first opened their doors. And it's been incredible to see this sparkling powerhouse grow over the past decade and produce some of the best sparkling wines in the province. In 2015 The County was hit with an intense frost and they lost the majority of their fruit. With only 100 cases produced, this rare wine is rich, complex and concentrated. With a very minimal dosage of 2 g/L, there's nothing to hide the distinct County terroir and minerality. Act fast on this one! It'll go quick.
Hinterland Les Etoiles 2015
$43.00Buy Winery Direct
#9: Malivoire Bisous Rosé
Malivoire is famous for their expertise in the rosé category, and their sparkling Bisous Rosé is certainly no exception! Made from 100% hand picked, estate-grown Pinot Noir, it was aged in bottle for 40 months resulting in a rich and expressive wine with strawberry tartlet aromas and a beautiful Bench minerality. It's a steal at less than $30. Fun fact: "Bisous" means "Kiss" in French, so share this one under the mistletoe this holiday season. 😘
Malivoire Bisous Rosé
$29.95Buy Winery Direct
#10: Trius Brut
People always ask us, “If you could recommend one Ontario sparkling wine to get a flavour for the region, what would be be?” and our answer is often “Trius Brut!”. The original owner of the property was among the first to see the potential for sparkling wine production here in Ontario. They’ve been crafting bubbles since the late 80’s and have been finessing things ever since. They’re masters of the blend, and have developed this non-vintage house style (like most large Champagne houses do) to ensure consistency. And there’s no question, this wine is consistently fantastic and quintessentially Ontario!