Drink and be merry: Holiday pours

An Okanagan sommelier is sharing a sneak peak into what she will be drinking this holiday

The holiday season is in full swing as stores close-up shop and we all get ready to spend some quality time with our friends and family.

While the smartest of us have our Christmas shopping all done and the presents placed under the tree with care, some may have forgotten about the holiday libations they may want to serve guests.

With that in mind we bring you some suggestions for the perfect adult pairing to that delicious turkey dinner.

An Okanagan sommelier and wine-purchaser for West Kelowna’s Cask & Barrel Liquor Store, Shanyn Ward, is sharing a sneak peak into what she will be drinking this holiday.

Her position at Cask & Barrel allows her to explore a whole world of wine and bring in unique items you may not find in other stores.

“We try to structure our purchasing on items you cannot buy at the government liquor store, so we have more specialty-type products, small allocation into the province,” says Ward.

For the white wine lovers this year, Ward has two special international selections she says are higher in acid and are the perfect fit for a holiday feast.

“The Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) has concentrated citrus, gooseberry and grassy flavours, it is $20.89,” explains Ward.

“The second one I recommend is the Leitz Dragonstone Riesling, from the Rheingau in Germany ($20.89). It is technically off-dry, but it has a little more acidity so it is fresh.

“You want something fresh that will cleanse your pallet as you’re usually eating heavier foods at Christmas so you want something that will do that at the same time.”

While Pinot Noir is a go-to pairing for turkey dinner, Ward suggests the Dominique Piron Brouilly Gamay Noir this year for red-wine drinkers.

“This is a Gamay from Beaujolais and a good alternative to Pinot Noir,” says Ward.

“It is fruity, it’s spicy, it’s a classic match with turkey and it’s $28.80. We get enough Pinot in the valley, let’s do something different.”

If you need something meatier in the glass, Ward is pouring the Okanagan Crush Pad’s Narrative Red.

“This is a Cabernet Franc Merlot. It was introduced as one of their more entry-level wines, but this one is just $19.49 a bottle and it is full-bodied, there is lots of fruit, the tannins are really nicely integrated, it’s not too dry, it’s really something that would please a lot of people.”

And for those of you who will always pass on the wine for a good beer, Ward has a craft beer classic to try.

She says the AleSmith Brewery in San Diego produces some sought-after quality beer that we don’t see much of in B.C. She is recommending you grab a bottle or two of their Nut Brown English-Style Ale for $6.99.

“This beer is fuller-bodied, but not too hoppy, it has good flavour.”

And who can forget the bubbles?

Whether it’s toasting Christmas Day or ringing in the New Year, Ward suggests a new one you may not have tried. This traditional-method sparkling wine hails from Luxembourg.

Bernard Massard Brut Cuvée De L’écusson is far more affordable than a Champagne at $26.89, but has many of the properties you would come to expect from one.

“Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Riesling, aged for two years in the bottle. There is a little bit of creaminess to it, but it is quite fresh,” said Ward. “This is just a really nice alternative to a brioche-bready Champagne and it is a little drier than Prosecco.

“This is a new product that just came into the province not too long ago.”

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Sommelier Shanyn Ward’s picks for your holiday feast. Image credit: Carmen Weld

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