The best Christmas stockings at the LCBO

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These mini LCBO wine bottles make the perfect stocking stuffers. So here is the beautiful official list of minis that are sure to bring some joy to the world, starting with a Niagara classic.

You can’t go wrong with a mini bottle of Vidal Icewine 2018 Inniskillin Niagara Estate, VQA Niagara Peninsula ($ 7.95 / 50 ml), which comes in its own box. Not only is this wine delicious, it is historic.

Inniskillin Vidal Icewine was the first commercial icewine made in Ontario from naturally frozen grapes. That was in 1984. Then, in 1991, the 1989 vintage of this wine won the prestigious Grand Prix d’Honneur at Vinexpo in Bordeaux, France, which put Ontario Icewine on the map.

Icewine is made by harvesting the fruit after it has frozen on the vine. Then the frozen fruit is squeezed, releasing a small amount of nectar and leaving the ice crystals behind. Slow, cool fermentation of this rich juice creates a succulent wine with high levels of natural sugar. But Vidal’s naturally high acidity balances the sugar, so it tastes delicious.

The deeply golden Vidal Inniskillin Niagara Estate 2018 ice wine captivates with its heady and articulate aromas. Orange zest and marmalade, poached peaches and pralines, apple taffy and buttery dough come to the nose before the wine imposes itself with a sweet succulence. Zesty Granny Smith and citrus flavors balance the butterscotch and poached peach to create a tangy, sweet satisfaction. The finish doesn’t linger, but you’ll find that you keep sipping. Rating: 92

For a dry white, take half a bottle of 2020 Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio Valdadige DOC from Italy ($ 11.95 / 375 ml). In the glass, it shines like sunny straw then streams in with immediate refreshment. Each shiny and smooth sip satisfies with hints of lemon, Granny Smith, and a touch of cool stone. This crisp, dry white with impeccable balance is easy to enjoy and pairs well with all kinds of foods, from plain chips to linguine to seafood. Score: 91

Now that rosé is recognized as an all-season wine, you can offer half a bottle of the 2020 Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé from Languedoc in France ($ 10.95 / 375 ml) with confidence. This pale coral rosé with rose gold reflections attracts you with subtle scents of white flowers and apricot, strawberry and nougat. The attack is luminous and elegant with delicate hints of pink grapefruit and apricot as well as notes of violet and sea salt that persist on the finish. This dry French charmer offers excellent value for money. Rating: 93

Plus, the rose-shaped base of this French rosé prompts people to use it to sweeten cookies before they are sautéed in the oven. And the bottle comes with a glass stopper, which makes it easy to reuse.

For red wine lovers, think about the lightest 2020 Folonari Valpolicella DOC ($ 9.95 / 375 mL) or stronger 2018 Masi Campofiorin Rossa IGT ($ 13.00 / 375ml) – both from the Veneto region of Italy.

Folonari Valpolicella DOC 2020 is energetic and refreshing. Expect crisp, fresh aromas of scrambled berries – raspberries, cherries and blackberries – complemented with cinnamon, toasted nuts and a touch of chocolate. The attack is crisp and lively with shiny berries supported by dried herbs and ends with a dusting of cocoa powder. It’s just the thing to pour with a plate of cold cuts or a slice or two of pizza. Rating: 91

For something a little richer and more earthy, the Masi Campofiorin Rossa IGT 2018 delivers. Each glass swirls a deeper purple hue and gives off poached black cherries and toasted almonds on the nose. A cashmere crush of fruit follows and unfolds with flavors of red and black cherries, charcuterie, dried fig and pink pepper. The enticing acidity keeps the fruit spicy and the wine refreshing. Rating: 90

Of course, some Santas fill a stocking with a big bottle – done and dusted. There is always that option. But if you plan to go the traditional route with lots of little surprises, these handy mini and half bottles will bring you comfort and joy.

But go ahead, treat yourself too. After all, we know you are on the beautiful list.

Carolyn Evans Hammond is a Toronto-based wine writer and freelance columnist for The Star. Wineries sometimes sponsor segments on her YouTube series, but they have no role in which wines she chooses to review or her opinions on those wines. Contact her by email: [email protected]


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