Not that we’d know from personal experience, of course, but in a normal year, you might be able to get away with a ho-hum holiday gift once in a while. But this, as we know, is no normal year, and our holiday season is going to feel a bit different as a result. If anything, without all the celebratory gatherings and family feasts, choosing the right holiday gift is even more important when we want those closest to us to know we’re still thinking of them, even if we can only all gather together on a video call.
No matter the year, finding the perfect holiday gift for everyone on your list can be stressful. And gifting wine comes with the added uncertainty of catering to individual tastes: red or white? Rosé? Sparkling? And if the recipient happens to be something of an oenophile, there’s the added pressure to impress them with your own knowledge, and the nagging feeling that an ordinary bottle simply won’t do.
Here’s the good news: When you choose a gift bottle from Vintages at the LCBO, the hard part is already done. Think of Vintages as a boutique within a store: This is where all the best stuff—rare exports, top vintages, limited releases and the most sought-after producers—is always found. It’s a premium shopping experience, but there’s also something for every budget: at Vintages, high quality doesn’t mean a high price point. Whether you’re looking for something that’s ready to drink now, or a cellar-worthy bottle that’s meant to be stashed away for more normal times, Vintages has you covered.
Picking a bottle from Vintages simplifies the holiday shopping process for everyone on your list, and automatically brings your wine-gifting skills to the next level. And to make things even simpler, you can shop online, or skip the line with same-day pickup at select stores.
Still need some guidance? Here are three premium gifts to look for, only in Vintages, and only at the LCBO:
Guado al Tasso 2017
This modern-style Bordeaux blend comes from a Tuscan winemaking family with deep old-world roots. The Antinoris have been in the game since the start of the Italian Renaissance—that’s as far back as the 14th century if you’ve forgotten your history class, or don’t have Wikipedia open—and the 26 generations of lived experience comes through in the bottle. Cabernet sauvignon leads the way, with additions of 20-per-cent cabernet franc and 15-per-cent merlot, creating a wine with concentrated flavours of black fruit, black pepper and bell pepper, oak spice and mineral qualities drawn from the soils of the Guado al Tasso vineyards, which are rich in limestone. This one is worth stashing away for a few years—or decades, if you can wait that long. $161.95. Vintages 986380
Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Carte Blanche Estate Blanc de Blanc 2015
Since the corks on its debut vintage (2007) were first popped in 2012, Cuvée Catharine has become a well-known shorthand for an all-star Niagara sparkling wine. And there’s plenty of stiff competition from other wineries throughout Ontario. But Henry of Pelham’s signature sparkler remains at the top of the game. This 2015 vintage contains everything that’s great about not only the Speck family’s winery, but about the Ontario terroir itself: it’s complex, with layers of bright citrus, textbook minerality and notes of brioche that typify so many of the world’s great sparkling wines. Celebratory occasions are going to be different this year, but no matter what they look like, this bottle lives for them. $49.95. Vintages 315200
Marqués de Cáceres Reserva & Gran Reserva
Situated on the edge of Basque Country in Spain’s La Rioja region, Marqués de Cáceres has been growing tempranillo and other grapes for 50 years, helping make the region’s namesake wine one of the signatures of the Spanish table. Riojas have their own classification system, and the most sought-after are the Reservas (at least three years of aging) and Gran Reservas (at least five). This two-bottle pairing includes both a 2015 Reserva and a 2012 Gran Reserva. They’re big, juicy wines, but what makes Marqués de Cáceres unique among its peers is the emphasis on fruit expression rather than the overt oak character that typifies many older Riojas. It’s modern Rioja, and these two bottles showcase, in vivid, drinkable fashion, the inimitable effect of time on the maturation of a grape. $56.95. Vintages 16814.