Making spirits bright: Stocking the bar for holiday cheer

Stocking your bar for the holidays with crowd-pleasers, new favourites and a bottle or two of bubbly is the quintessential staple for any festive gathering.

We’ve selected some exciting pours and a few non-alcoholic options for everyone. And remember, there are no wrong wines to bring to the festivities — anything goes with everything — so it may come down to a yuletide coin toss: heads, bring red, the colour of the season; tails, bring white, if you’re dreaming of that kind of Christmas.

For B.C. VQA wines, you’re bound to find your local fave at Swirl Wine Store in White Rock (Swirlwinestore.ca) with more than 700 varieties, plus wine accessories, cookbooks and more. If you want to explore outside these holiday picks, they offer complimentary wine tastings from Wednesday through Saturday. For B.C. wines and beyond, South Surrey’s Everything Wine (Everythingwine.ca) stocks more than 3,000 wines, local and import, plus sparkling/Champagne, cider, coolers, fruit wines, ice wine, and sake: try Takasago Yamahai Plum Sake from Japan. Serve chilled with sponge cake or ice cream for a unique holiday treat. Complimentary wine tastings daily, 2 to 6 p.m.

10 Best Bets for B.C. Wines Under $20

WHITE

Quails’ Gate Dry Riesling, 2013, B.C., ($16.99): Light and fruity, crisp Granny Smith finish; nice aperitif, loves turkey and crab.

The Vibrant Vine Woops, 2013, B.C., ($19.90): Aromatic blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer Sauvignon Blanc. Platinum -Best White Wine 2013 World Beverage Competition, Switzerland; Off-dry with apricot, peach and citrus; marries well with turkey, seafood, chicken.

Synchromesh Botrytis Affected Riesling, 2013, B.C., ($17.99): Thorny Vines Vineyard’s Late Harvest, honey nose, bright acidity, crisp citrus and apricot palate; plays more to aperitif than dessert wine; pair with fruit, Foie gras and paté.

Township 7 Unoaked Chardonnay 2011, B.C., ($17.99): Visit Township 7 Winery in Langley (only 388 cases made); hearty yet soft, generous palate of citrus with crisp bursts of apple pear notes. Begs for seafood, chicken or creamy cheese.

RED

Upper Bench Red 2012, B.C., ($16.90): Red blend, predominantly Zweigelt, fruity with long cherry finish; pair with cheeses, grilled meats pasta.

Noble Ridge Meritage, 2011, B.C., ($19.90): Silver Medal winner 2013 North West Wine Summit. Cabernet-Merlot blend, licorice full dark cherry, blueberries and blackberry.

Tinhorn Creek Merlot 2011, B.C., ($19.99): Bold juicy, soft well-rounded tannins, chocolate, pronounced plum, currants blueberries on the palate.

SPARKLING, ROSÉ, ORGANIC

Sea Cider Bramble Bubbly, B.C., ($17.99): Semi-dry sparkling apple cider with pronounced blackberries; parings are plentiful: salmon, cheese, cured meats, poultry dishes desserts.

Clos du Soleil Rosé, 2013, B.C., ($19.90): Full-bodied, produced from 100% Cabernet grapes, strong ripe berries on nose, leads to a palate of lively strawberry raspberry; crisp refreshing; Christmas turkey is calling.

Summerhill Pyramid Riesling Organic, 2013, B.C., ($19.95): Platinum Medal 2014 National Wine Awards of Canada. Bright, juicy, green apple, white peach, lemon and lime with a long, clean finish. Holiday brunches: think egg dishes like quiche, frittata or omelettes, and seafood, too.

For more wine food pairing suggestions for your holiday merriment visit Winebc. com.

BAR ESSENTIALS MOCKTAIL OPTIONS

Ice, bottled water (still/sparkling), mixers (soda/tonic water, soft drinks, fruit juice) for cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages Beer, rum, rye, vodka, gin, scotch, tequila cover the basics; vermouth, port, brandy and liquors for greater options

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