Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Ontario Wine Lover on Your List

Time is running out to find the perfect gift for the wine lover on your list.  Here are a few delicious Ontario wines that will surely make him or her a happy wino.  And, it’s not too late to get them!

Great Value Gift Wines

Flat Rock Cellars 2007 Riddled Sparkling:  A blend of 68% Pinot Noir and 32% Chardonnay, this is the first Ontario VQA sparkling wine to be closed with a crown cap.  Crown caps make perfect sense as a closure for sparkling wine as this is the closure used during the second fermentation and subsequent ageing on the lees, even in Champagne.  Flat Rock’s Ed Madronich actually had the VQA regulations changed to allow for this type of closure.  Made using the traditional method with the second fermentation in the bottle, this wine spent 22 months ageing on its lees.  This wine has a creamy mousse and flavours of pear and yellow apple, with a mild bready, yeasty character.  Definitely a crowd pleaser and sure to spark conversation about the closure.  Available at the winery and the LCBO for the great price of $24.95.

13th Street Riesling Old Vines: The grapes are grown on vines planted in 1976 and the wine shows the concentration of flavour expected from vines this age.  Zippy acidity, green apple, lime and grapefruit flavours together with superb minerality and a slightly floral note make this the perfect gift for the Riesling lover on your list.  $24 at the winery.

Nyarai Cellars Veritas 2007:  Not much is still available at this price point from the 2007 vintage which was touted as the best so far in Niagara, but Nyarai Cellars has just released its 2007 Veritas, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah.  Drinking beautifully now, this wine is full of flavour with dark berries, plums, forest floor, and spice that lingers deliciously on the palate.  Available in a handy gift pack with two wine glasses for $40 online at  The wine itself is a steal at under $25 a bottle.

Wines to Splurge On

Chateau des Charmes Equuleus, Paul Bosc Vineyard 2007:  Chateau des Charmes’ flagship wine is made only in the best vintages and 2007 was definitely a great one!  The 2007 Equuleus is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, and 25% Merlot.  This medium to full bodied wine is full of dark plum, cassis, spice, mocha, and black licorice flavours.  The firm tannins still need at least a couple of years to soften so this wine is definitely a cellar dweller.  This is a big, dark, and delicious wine at the quite reasonable price of $40.  Available at the winery and the LCBO in only a few stores now.

Southbrook Vineyards 2007 Poetica Cabernet Merlot: Another big, red blend, this time with 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, and 23% Merlot, from the 2007 vintage.  The Poetica series of wines showcases art in the form of poetry.  Each grape variety and each vintage has its own poem printed in elegant script on the label – a perfect gift for the reader on your gift list.  The wine in the bottle is pretty darn good too!  Flavours of cassis, chocolate, spice, earth, and leather abound with medium to full body and a long length.  Ready to drink now with beef or lamb or lay down for another couple of years.  $60 at the winery.

Hidden Bench La Brunate 2007: Yet another wonderful Bordeaux-style blend from the 2007 vintage, La Brunate is only made in the best years – so far only 2005 and 2007.  This wine won a Regional Trophy in the Decanter Wine Awards 2010.  A blend of 64% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 13% Malbec, it spent 18 months in oak, 40% of which is new.  This is a big, brooding wine with dark fruit, leather, and earth aromas.  Big and lush on the palate with ample amounts of ripe tannins.  $85 at the winery.

Inniskillin Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2008: Tired of the big Bordeaux blends?  How about something different for the Icewine lover on your list?   Sparkling Icewine is sure to put a smile on any recipient’s face.  Fermentation takes place in a special sealed vessel which traps the resulting carbon dioxide in the wine creating the bubbles.  The wine is sweet, but the sugar is balanced by high natural acidity and delicate effervescence.  Pronounced aromas and flavours of apricots, peaches and a bit of  honey make a wine that can be enjoyed at the beginning of the meal with foie gras, with fruit-based desserts, or as dessert.  $69.95 at the winery or the LCBO.

Norman Hardie Cuvee L Chardonnay 2008:  This is a great wine to convince the white Burgundy fan on your list that Ontario also makes excellent Chardonnays.  British wine writer Jancis Robinson MW, the Queen of wine, gave it a score of 17.5 saying it had “real character” and it was “really very Burgundian”.  Cuvee L is a blend of the best Chardonnay grapes from Prince Edward County (about 35%) and Niagara Peninsula (65%).  Complex aromas of citrus, mandarine, nectarine, ripe pear, vanilla yogurt, and a distinctive whiff of flinty minerality lead to a creamy texture and a long, delicious finish.  $49 at the winery.

Which Ontario wines do you think would make great gifts?  I know there are many!!!

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