By Marlise Ponzo

It’s the holiday season and time for us to prepare for entertaining, encouraging ourselves and our guests to be a little hedonistic where wine consumption and feasting are concerned. At this time of year I like to have our home well stocked up with wine for entertaining and gifting purposes. The following selections are some of my current LCBO favourites. They are delicious, engaging and offer great value for under $20. Click on the inventory numbers to find a bottle at an LCBO near you. Enjoy!!!

NV Chateau de Montgueret Cremant de Loire “Brut” Loire Valley France $19.15 – LCBO# 621896
Lively traditional method sparkler. Soft sweet seductive nose of warm baking challah (egg bread), apple strudel and pink grapefruit. The wine froths joyfully across the tongue and expresses soft apple and star fruit. Oodles of minerality and acidity here. Love this as an aperitif with a huge platter of cured meat.

2007 Domaine de Vaugondy Vouvray “Sec” Loire Valley France $14.95 – LCBO# 189142
Beautiful pale golden hue. Classic Chenin Blanc nose of quince, apple pie, honey suckle florality and the wet woolies. Undertones of juicy ripe pineapple add to bouquet. The palate is brimming with tart apple/citrus deliciousness. Fruity and fresh with clean elevated acidity and chalky minerality. Great with goats’ cheese, seafood or white meat in cream sauce… better yet seafood chowder. Yummy!

2007 Argiolas “Costera” Cannonau di Sardegna Sardinia Italy $17.95 – LCBO# 99028
Concentrated aromas of raisinated black cherry, fig and prune fruit. Wood spice gives way to licorice, black tea leaves and wild myrtle. Palate is generous. And mouth filling with plentiful fine chalky tannins. The wine is very complex elegant and balanced. Alluring and spicy bold licorice root finish. Amazing value. Grilled red meats or game birds will be magnificent with this earthy lady.

Marlise Ponzo is a Sommelier, Writer, Educator and Consultant based in Toronto. Her Sommelier service, Crushing On Wine, focuses on hosting wine centered events in the private residences and offices of its clients. Crushing On Wine also offers wine list consulting and staff training for restaurateurs who understand the value of a knowledgeable front of house staff.

Photo: Emma McIntyre