The holiday season is upon us and that brings with it a minefield of entertaining dilemmas – the most important of which, of course, is what wines to serve. As much as we love opening all sorts of bottles, there’s something comforting about having a reliable house wine. The key to a good house wine is versatility. Doesn’t matter if it’s an impromptu get-together or for opening at the end of a long night when everyone wants just another splash – knowing you have a quality, casual wine to rely on is much nicer than agonizing over whether you opened that Barolo too soon!

Le Paradou 2021 Cinsault Rouge
This comes from brothers Alex & Fred Chaudière of Château Pesquié. The grapes come from the young plantings in their own vineyards bolstered by a small network of growers throughout the southern Rhône Valley. All vineyards are certified sustainable by Terra Vitis. Despite the ubiquity of Cinsault in the Southern parts of France, it’s unusual to see it as a varietal wine. Fred & Alex picked it not only for its freshness and forthright red fruit flavours, but also its more moderate alcohol level. The grapes are hand harvested, destemmed and vinified and matured in concrete tanks to create a light, fruit forward wine.

Lovely aromas of fresh raspberries and red cherry with an alluring floral perfume. The palate is soft and supple, with enough acidity to keep the fruit juicy and moreish, with just a hint of spice. Incredibly easy drinking (and vegan friendly!), this versatile wine will pair with almost anything the holiday season might throw at you – charcuterie boards, small talk with your awkward cousin or even roast turkey & cranberry sauce!

Retail $19.95 / btl

Bottle image of Heartland Spice Trader

Heartland 2016 Spice Trader Shiraz
Another crowd pleaser from renown Australian winemaker, Ben Glaetzer. His Heartland range focuses on the cooler climate of Langhorne Creek, where the average temperature in the heat of the Summer is 2° cooler than further North in the Barossa Valley. The grapes gets de-stemmed and crushed with twice daily pump-overs for the first week to ensure a deep extraction. Matured for 12 months in a combination of second use French and American oak hogsheads.This wine pours deep ruby in the glass. Notes of plush dark berry fruit dominate the nose with a hint of spice and vanilla adding character and complexity. The palate is rich presenting a mix of fresh berries and sticky berry compote with fruit cake spice. Tannins are silky smooth, filling out the warm finish. Pair this one with spicy capicola or olive tapenade on the charcuterie board or try it with a salad of roasted beets, goat cheese and walnuts.Retail $19.95 / btl


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Or find it in the Vintages section at your local LCBO


Wines are sold in cases of 12 bottles unless otherwise indicated. Delivery charges may apply. Some quantities are limited, and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.