Gobble these wines with turkey

Starting a few weeks ago, people started asking about wines for the holidays. But, apart from sparkling wines, which pop more frequently in the last week or two of the year than at any other time, I’m not sure what wines for the holidays are. Do we really break out of our normal buying patterns, apart from buying more wine than usual? As the temperature drops, many people stay inside more and drink more — a pattern helped along by the parties, get-togethers and family gatherings of this time of year.

If you’re looking for inexpensive wines for larger groups, check out the Italian and Portuguese sections at the LCBO. Some wines there are seriously underpriced, and my go-to red is Montalto Nero d’Avola Cabernet Sauvignon from Sicily, a steal at $8.95 (LCBO 621151).

A white bargain: Cavallina Grillo/Pinot Grigio 2010 ($7.55, LCBO 123166).

If I were looking for a red wine to go with a roast turkey and the usual accompaniments, I would think of any of the wines reviewed today. Other candidates would include Bouchard Père & Fils Côte de Beaune-Villages 2010 from Bourgogne ($24.95, Vintages 714998), which is quite elegant; Cono Sur ‘Bicicleta’ Pinot Noir 2011, a well-made, flavourful and balanced pinot from Chile ($10.95, LCBO 341602); Cave Spring Cellars Gamay 2010 ($14.95, LCBO 228569), which is brightly textured with solid fruit; and Flat Rock Pinot Noir 2010 ($19.95, Vintages Essential 1545), one of the most attractive styles, in my book, with concentrated fruit and high-toned acidity.

If you’re also looking for a white to go with your turkey, look for Domaine Laroche ‘Saint Martin’ Chablis ($21.95, LCBO 289124), which is really quite delicious and lean. For a fatter chardonnay: Domaine Delorme ‘Sur la Roche’ Pouilly-Fuissé 2010 ($29.95, Vintages 87460). If you want to buy local, try Château des Charmes ‘Barrel Fermented’ Chardonnay 2010 ($13.95, LCBO 81653 and Château des Charmes stores), a chardonnay that combines weight and elegance, or Henry of Pelham Chardonnay 2010 ($13.95, LCBO 291211), which delivers consistent fruit and excellent balance.

For sipping something out-of-the ordinary, have a look at Crazy Uncle Blood Orange Rosemary Maple one-pour cocktail ($17.95/litre, LCBO 290148). I tried it at the Ottawa Wine & Food Festival and liked it, even though it’s not the sort of thing I often drink.

In the end, of course, it’s the company and the occasion that matter, not the choice between chardonnay and pinot grigio, or pinot noir and merlot. Enjoy the holidays!

Allegrini Valpolicella 2011

This would be a great choice for roast turkey, as well as hearty tomato-based pastas. It shows good intensity in the ripe, fairly complex fruit flavours, and has bright and refreshing acidity. It’s dry, medium bodied and has light tannins. 13-per-cent alcohol; $13.95 (230789)

Colio ‘CEV Small Lot’ Syrah 2010

From an excellent vintage on Lake Erie North Shore, this dry syrah delivers consistent and focused flavours from start to finish, together with nicely balanced acidity. It’s yet another candidate for turkey (as well as pork). 12.5-per-cent alcohol; $19.95 (Colio Wine Boutique, Kanata or coliowinery.com)

Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2011

This syrah from South Africa suggests why the Swartland region is getting so much attention. The fruit is ripe, concentrated and layered, and synthesized beautifully with the acidity. Drink it with poultry, pork and even lamb. 14.5-per-cent alcohol; $14.95 (595280, Vintages Essential)

Château Joinin 2009

This new merlot-dominant Bordeaux in the LCBO delivers good value. Look for well-defined fruit that’s layered and subtle in its impact, harnessed to clean, fresh acidity. Dry and moderately tannic, it goes well with poultry and red meats. 13.5-per-cent alcohol; $15.95 (305524)

Email Rod Phillips at rod@rodphillipsonwine.com. Join him online Thursdays, 2 to 3 p.m. at ottawacitizen.com/winechat, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/rodphillipswine

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