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The holiday season is in full swing, and it’s full-on open house season. And even if the host says not to bring anything, I just can’t bring myself to show up empty-handed. My mantra remains, when in doubt bring a bottle of wine. While it’s always great to tailor the pick to the host’s preferences, when keeping things general be mindful of a few considerations. Finally, don’t expect the bottle you bring to be opened at the event — leave it to the party-giver’s discretion.
Bartier Bros. N/V Brut, B.C.
($34.99, available through the winery)
Bubbles are never a wrong option: To be fair, this advice is valid for dinner parties throughout the year. But fizz will always give the holidays an extra festive flair. No need to look far to find quality sparkling wine, and add Bartier Bros. to the growing local list. The Oliver-based winery’s first Brut release is made with 100 per cent Chardonnay following the traditional method. After whole cluster pressing the wine spends time in both stainless tanks and in bottle on lees, with no added dosage. Bright citrus and apple aromas lead to a richer, creamy mid-palate featuring stone fruit and toast before a crisp kiss to finish.
Bottom line: A-, Festive and friendly.
Karp-Schreiber 2021 Off Dry Riesling, Germany
Opt for a convivial curveball: It’s fun to show up with an unexpected bottle. These days too many people shy away from off-dry Riesling. There’s a misrepresentation that sweet equals simple. But when residual sugars are balanced by bracing acidity, for example in this bottle of Karp-Schreiber Off Dry Riesling from Germany’s Mosel, then a world of deliciousness is unlocked. Classic aromas of citrus, green apple, and stone fruit lead into a fruity, smooth style. This is not sweet wine, thanks to good acidity throughout it is balanced wine — not to mention an easy pairing partner with all sorts of open house appetizers and canapés.
Bottom line: B+, Deliciously off-dry.
L’Artisan 2021 Le Grenache Noir, France
When going red, steer bold and fruit-forward: Some wine times call for an engaging, subtle bouquet and thoughtful savoury layers of flavour — not likely during a holiday open house. It’s time to mingle and spread cheer, and these times call for a crowd pleasing, robust red wine. L’Artisan Le Grenache Noir goes well with the occasion. Pouring a deep purple-black, it brings gregarious aromas of plum, herbs, and flowers. A punchy entry leads to a fulsome mid-palate. It’s powerful, but not an over-the-top palate bruiser, and it works well with everything from roasts to charcuterie plates.
Bottom line: B+, Robustly elegant
The Swirl: Nk’Mip Cellars Solstice Dinner
Nk’Mip Cellars Patio restaurant (1400 Rancher Creek Rd., Osoyoos) is getting set to host the winery’s annual solstice dinner, celebrating the final season of the year, a time when stories and teachings are shared around the table. Taking place from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22, tickets to the three-course meal created by chef Kenny Dia are $55, with wine pairings $30 (per person, plus tax and gratuity). To reserve call 250-495-2985 or visit exploretock.com.
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