The best wines for when Christmas goes wrong

This column appeared in Kamloops This Week December 2016


Along with all the parties and Christmas concerts and cheer, this month can come with a few tense moments as well. Actually, the whole thing can be a bit exhausting and more than a little overwhelming. The good news is, there’s a wine for that! Here are some common catastrophes and the wines that they pair well with;

  1. Navigating the crowds, the traffic and the chaos. All. Day. Long

This calls for a little wind-down time when you get home. Especially after the blast of winter weather we have had. Church and State makes a great white blend called Lost Inhibitions. It’s a nice dry wine and their labels are perfect for this occasion. I chose the wine called ‘I just can’t even.’ Which is exactly how you should reply to any requests your family may make of you after you get home.

  1. You have spent every penny you have but still want to drink wine.

I hear you. This is the perfect reason to have a glass of wine. You are now broke. Congratulations and welcome to the Christmas Club! Raise a glass of the smoky and flavourful Obikwa 2016 Shiraz. It’s $8. You can probably find that laying around if you try hard. Sometimes my daughter saves her tooth fairy money and I’m not opposed to borrowing it if necessary. That’s just a little tip.

  1. Wrapping! Fun for the first four presents, then it gets less so from present five through ninety-nine.

I love wrapping presents, actually. But even if you aren’t a wrapping fan, you can get through it cheerfully by adding the 2015 Fort Berens Riesling to your wrapping supplies. This off-dry white is light and tropical. It is perfect for sipping chilled. And, as a bonus it would make beautiful cocktails and sangrias. Add a little cranberry and pomegranate and a bit of fizz and you could sip this all afternoon easily. Add nothing and you could do the same but I can’t guarantee how straight your ribbons are going to be.

  1. Christmas eve. Coming up on midnight. Still can’t figure out how the Little Tykes Play Kitchen goes together.

I can not stand assembly required gifts. Thank goodness Santa delivers them all ready to play with and perfect on Christmas morning, right? Phew! If Santa needs a little help, I would recommend a fortified Merlot or Foch to sip on while he struggles. These are decadent, heavy and bursting with flavour. Do you like port? You will LOVE a deep fortified red. Many BC wineries are producing these and, in my opinion, they are better than dessert wine and ice wine combined. You can find good examples staring around the $22 mark. Santa will thank you very much for switching out the milk for this. Have you tried Chocolate Wine yet? This is a good bet, too.

Good luck out there, fellow holiday warriors. We can get through this no matter what the season throws at us! The best of the season to you and yours. Cheers!


wine wednesday – my mid week pick

2012%20Groove%20WhiteLooking for a good weeknight dinner wine? You are half way there, baby! Almost the weekend! Celebrate with this…

You can find out more about it by visiting this….

It’s a great dinner wine! Well worth the splurge (to me) of $20 for the bottle.

By the way – I am headed up to the Sun Peaks Wine Festival this weekend. Hope to see lots of smiling faces there. It’s not sold out, hint hint.

how to pick a wine in under a minute if you have no idea at all about wine

If you are not into wine, this…


…can see a little overwhelming.

Here is my most basic advice about how to pick a wine.

1) Wine to bring to dinner. Bring one that costs between $15 and $20 that you can’t really understand. Go red. The label will be really wordy… like this;

thPJS20M9UTough to read… a little pricier. It’s probably got a little weight behind it/ Don’t know what that means? Who cares. It’s probably all good.

2) Bringing a wine to a party where there is no meal. Bring something between $10 and $15 that has a modern label or name. “Cowboy Red” is a good example of this. It’s probably a new world wine, made for a modern, less sophisticated wine drinker. Safer to drink with lighter fare!! The label will look like this (ish)…


3) Wine to buy if you really hate wine but need to drink it… Naked Grape. Period.

4) Wine to buy for a serious wine drinker if you have no idea about wine. Buy something that has won awards. Or, buy something that has a score of over 90. What does that mean? Doesn’t matter… but make sure the ‘necktie’ that announces the award is still attached and you’ll be fine! Good gift!! Here is an example…


So there you go! Good luck in the wine aisle!! Don’t overthink it! Under a minute – I swear!!


fort berens riesling – brightest and best

Fort Berens Estate Winery is situated in Lilloett, BC. Super nice people, great tasting room and really nice wine!!

Last night we cracked into the Riesling to have with our teriyaki chicken and sautéed veggies. It was the perfect match. Here is some food porn for you…

Teriyaki Chicken with veggies. To serve with our Riesling!

Teriyaki Chicken with veggies. To serve with our Riesling!

First of all, the wine wakes you up the second you breathe it in. I can’t remember the last time I experienced a wine so bright when you smelled it! It is awesome!

As for the taste of it… equally bright. Very citrusy with a nice body and light finish. Perfect for dinner. And if you just wanted a sipping wine, a cool drink in a restaurant with the ladies, this would be perfect for that, too!

All in all, this wine is a win! It’s a beautiful spot. You can find out more about visiting them at Enjoy!

review – mommessin beaujolais nouveau 2013

wow, that’s a mouthful. Really? If I had to talk about a wine or recommend a wine publicly this one would be off the list just because it is a tongue twister mouthful.

But how does it taste?? Umm. ok. I was a little disappointed. As I’ve come to appreciate more about wines I am less impressed with these really new, tart, quick ones. That’s how I would describe it. Quick. The flavour is there and gone. There is not a lot of depth. Watered down? It French rekind of tastes that way.

Are you a newbie and have no idea what that name means? It means that this is a Gamay Noir(that’s a kind of grape) wine from 2013. The French name their wines by region. We Canucks name them by grape (usually) or by sarcasm. So this is a new, French red.


I spun it around it is has a label full of nothing useful. No pairings, no tasting notes, no wine info. It talks about France. Not helpful. Sometimes they give you no info because they are fancy enough that you shouldn’t need it. Like stores that have no prices. I don’t shop at those stores. Sometimes, though, they give you no info because it’s a table wine. It’s meant to be slurped, not sipped. And they don’t care too much about you buying it again. I think we have a case of the latter here.

It was around $14. Kevin picked it up as I was home with the start of a cold. First pay day wine of the year. Would I recommend it? Nope.

Here’s looking forward to next payday!

the three bottles you need for new years (and why you don’t need champagne)

These are the only bottles you need to buy for your new years party.

1. Sawmill Creek Merlot – this high value (cough, cough *cheap* cough) red is damn near drinkable with anything you serve for dinner. It’s a great sip with appies wine too. And you can serve it to lots of people because it’s like $9.

2. St Hubertus Wine Goddess – this is a great white wine and it’s festive and sends the right message to your lady pals!! It’s another great sipper for appies.

3. Anything that sparkles that is not champagne. So, if you read this blog you clearly don’t work in the wine industry. That is why I share little hints with you that I learned the hard way. This is one of them. Champagne (oh la la sil vous plait) is sparkling wine from a very special little pocket of france. It is called champagne because that is what the French do. They French things up. You don’t need to go looking for a bottle that starts with ‘c’. Just look for a bubbly bottle! These can be found in a designated area of your liquor store and all around the store in different regional sections too. Branch out and don’t be afraid to spend a little dough. A decent bottle, in my opinion, should be about $15-20. If you buy anything cheaper you should just put some pop rocks in tequila. And you deserve what you get out of that!!

Bonus tip – if you don’t typically like champagne, or any dry and white bubble bottle, then use a cheap one to make a sparkly cocktail for midnight. We’ll be making two tonight. The first is champagne jello shots. Search those out in the previous post. The second is a sweet, blue sparkler made with Hypnotic, lime juice and sparkling wine!! Rim the champagne flute with colored sugar first and you have a great new years toaster!!

Enjoy yourselves tonight!! Be safe and be carefree. Resolutions to follow… I find it best to make these hung over so I’ll be finalizing my list in the morning when my toddler is loudly playing beside me. Fun times!!!

Happy new year!

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