Sparkling and Fortified Wines for the Holidays

SnowflakeThe holiday season will soon be upon us.  When I turned on a local FM radio station today they were already playing Christmas songs.  It’s time to start stocking up on wines to celebrate with friends and family.  Sparkling wines are often associated with the holidays.  For some people, a nice fortified wine, like a port wine is also appreciated over the holidays.  It is very enjoyable to sip after dinner or in front of your fireplace.  I have a sample of sparkling wines, port and other fortified wines from BC and around the world that I thought you may appreciate.  If any sound great to you, buy them before they sell out.  The holidays are always a busy time for BC liquor stores as well as private wine stores.

Sparkling Wines

A selection of sparkling wines for the holidays
A selection of sparkling wines for the holidays

Pascual Toso Brut NV, Argentina (BC $15.98) – made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. Medium-plus intensity lemon colour.  Medium-intensity aromas of lemon, dried stone fruits, ripe apples, light toastiness and lees.  Off-dry, medium-plus body with a fuller mouthfeel.  Small creamy, waxy bubble.  Stone fruits, citrus and apple flavours along with a touch of toastiness.  Medium length finishing with lemon and crisp apple plus toast. Classy bubble. Elegant. 4.5 stars

Cune Cava Brut NV, Spain (BC $25.98) – made with 40% Xarel-lo, 30% Parellada, and 30% Macabeo Spanish grapes. Medium-intensity straw colour with bigger bubbles visible in the glass.  Medium-intensity aromas of lemon and petrol with touches of honey and ripe stone fruits. Off-dry, medium-plus to full-bodied and pronounced flavours. of stone fruit and citrus.  Light toastiness as well. Larger-sized bubbles.  Medium-plus length finishing with tart stone fruit, toast and some grape stem bitterness. 4 stars4.5 stars

Modello Masi Prosecco Brut DOC, Italy (BC $19.99) – an organic sparkling wine. A pale straw colour.  Medium-intensity aromas of sweet stone fruits, ripe apricots and a touch of mandarin oranges.  Off-dry, medium-plus body and flavour intensity.  Larger, creamy bubbles.  Soft mouthfeel.  Floral and apricot flavours along with hints of mandarin orange and apple. A medium-plus length finishing with citrus and apricot flavours, some lemon meringue pie, apple and floral. A fun sip.  Lots of interesting flavours. 4.5 stars

Evolve Cellars Elan Effervescence, BC (BC $19.99) – A pale lemon green colour.  Medium-minus intensity nose with sweet stone fruits and a touch of vegetal.  Medium-sweet with higher acidity and bigger-sized lightly creamy bubbles.  Medium-plus body and flavour intensity.  Citrus, stone fruits (peach and pears), and touches of apple skin and spearmint on the palate.  Medium-length finishing with stone fruits, apple skin, and some toasty flavours. 4 stars

McWatters Collection Brut 2012, BC (BC $64.99) – made with 65% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Blanc grapes in the Traditional Method. This wine has a medium-intensity lemon colour.  Medium-intensity aromas of stone fruit, some lemon, creme brulee and vanilla.  Off-dry, medium body and medium-plus flavour intensity.  Floral, apple, and grapefruit pith flavours, with pronounced apricots on the palate.  Medium plus acidity.  Small bubble, a mix of creamy and biting.  A touch of pepperiness toward the finish. Medium length finishing with tart stone fruits, apricots, apple skin and light toastiness. A sparkling wine you can cellar for another 4-5 years. 4.5 stars

A Bonus Sparkling Wine

St. Hubertus Oak Bay Vineyard Northern Light 2009 with wine in glass
St. Hubertus Oak Bay Vineyard Northern Light 2009 with wine in glass

After starting this article, I saw that I have another sparkling wine that would be nice to enjoy for the holidays.  This sparkler is a rosé made in BC.

St. Hubertus Oak Bay Vineyard Northern Light 2009, BC (BC $26) – made with Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir grapes in the Traditional Method. A medium orangey-red colour in the glass.  Medium-minus intensity aromas of red apple, red cherry, red fruit, plus light toast and nuttiness.  This wine is off-dry, round medium-plus body with a thicker mouthfeel.  A rich mouthfeel.  Red fruit and red cherries, crisp apple, plus light oak and nuttiness on the palate.  Bubbles fade toward the mid-palate.  Medium-plus length finishing with crisp red apple and red fruit flavours, and apple skin tannins.  Quality. 4.5 stars

Fortified Wines

All the port wines listed are 20% alcohol by volume.  All these fortified wines are best served with a slight chill.

Port and other fortified wines
Port and other fortified wines

Fonseca Porto Terra Prima Organic Reserve Port (BC $31.99) – Ecocert Portugal certified.  Fonseca’s only organic port.  It has an opaque ruby colour.  Light aromas of sweet ripe black fruit, plums, and light sweet spices.  Medium sweetness, round with a medium-plus body.  This port is exceptionally smooth.  Sweet black fruit, plums, and touches of oak and red cherries.  Also has black pepper that gets stronger toward the finish.  Medium tannins.  Medium-length finishing quite peppery.  Sweet black fruit, red cherries and red apple flavours. 4.5 stars  

Fonseca Porto 10 Year Old Aged Tawny Port (BC $39.99) – Medium-plus clear mahogany colour.  Medium-intensity aromas of caramel, red fruit, stewed fruit, and touches of oak and sweet spices.  Medium sweetness, semi-round with a thicker mouthfeel that lightens up on the mid-palate.  Caramel, light pepperiness, and sweet stewed berry fruits.  Hints of Vanilla and oak on the palate.  The medium-intensity acidity keeps this port fresh.  Medium-plus length with lingering caramel, red berry fruits, and plum flavours. 4.5 stars

Fonseca Porto Bin No. 27 Reserve Port (BC $24.99) – Opaque ruby in colour.  Medium-minus intensity aromas of sweet red cherries, plums, and a touch of oak.  Medium body and sweetness, smooth and round with a silky thicker mouthfeel.  Ripe juicy and jammy berries, black cherry and plums, plus a touch of nutmeg and oak on the palate. Medium acidity and tannins.  Starts off with medium pepperiness which builds toward the finish.  Medium-plus length finishing with juicy jammy berries, pepperiness and bright acidity. 4 stars4.5 stars

Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Porto 2017 (BC $26.99) – Opaque to the rim, dull ruby colour. Very light aromas of black fruit and a touch of woodiness.  Medium sweetness, smooth and round mouthfeel.  Medium-plus tannins and medium acidity.  Ripe sweet black fruit and plums, plus chocolate with air.  Gets peppery and sweet spices show up toward the finish.  Medium length with firmer, drying tannins.  Ripe black fruit flavours, plus sweet spices and a touch of pepperiness on the finish. 4 stars4.5 stars

Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Port (BC $41.99) – A medium-intensity clear mahogany colour.   Medium-plus intensity aromas of raisins, Xmas cake, plums, and caramel. Fresh aromas.  Medium-plus body and flavour intensity with a thicker round mouthfeel. Medium tannins and acidity.  Plums and jammy dark fruit flavours along with oak and pepperiness.  Medium-plus length finishing with caramel, fruit, peppery and some nuttiness. 4.5 stars

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Coruja NV, BC (BC $45) – This BC port-style wine is made from Syrah grapes.  This dessert port-style wine was first made in 2008 (first bottling 2011) with each subsequent year added to the initial wine, so you are getting a fraction of each vintage. Known as a solera method when you make sherry.  This wine is opaque ruby to the rim.  Medium-intensity aromas of purple fruit, plums, cedar, sweet spices and a hint of oak.  Medium sweet, light body with a lean mouthfeel.  Medium acidity and very light tannins.  Light flavours of purple fruit cedar, plums, sweet spices and touches of coconut and milk chocolate. Medium-plus length with cedar, plums and coconut flavours.  A touch of tannins on the finish. 4 stars4.5 stars

I tasted this wine at the winery in  Fall of 2021 and made tasting notes at that time.  I bought a bottle to take home and opened it for this article.  The wine has changed in the bottle over the past year. My article last year about Coruja.  

Vecchia Romagna Etichetta Nera Brandy, Italy (BC $32.99) – Vecchia Romagna is the number one brandy in Italy. It is made using Trebbiano Bianco grapes which are known as Ungi Blanc in France, and are used to make cognac.  This fortified wine is made by combining continuous and discontinuous distillation and a double ageing process, first in barriques and then oak barrels. This brandy is at 40% alc so much stronger than the port wines.  A medium-minus translucent tawny colour.  Medium-intensity aromas of caramel, dried stone fruits, vanilla, and a hint of floral.  Medium sweetness.  Medium-plus body and pronounced flavours.  Quite peppery.  Caramel, dried stonefruits, vanilla, a touch of cloves, and then coconut on the finish.  Medium-plus length finishing with caramel, coconut and pepperiness.  This brandy very much reminds me of cognac.  4.5 stars

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

These wines are available through the BC Liquor Stores:

The BC wines are available from the winery websites:

Cune Cava Brut is available at Everything Wine.  The Pascual Toso Brut is showing as sold out at Marquis Wine Cellars and at Everything Wine at the moment. Check in with these stores to see when this wine arrives.

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.