MONTES RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011
Why With all the beef to stew and roasts to carve, a hefty red is a seasonal no-brainer. Rich cherry and black currant, cinnamon, oak and herbal suggestions lead to a full, dry finish. You won't regret dropping a few fivers on this Chilean Cab.
Price 750 ml/$13.50
Availability LCBO 157883
CREEKSIDE ESTATE PINOT GRIGIO 2011
Why A versatile white to satisfy them all this holiday season, from your one-glass grandma to that jolly guzzler of an uncle. Noses ripe peach and lemon blossom, with fresh acidity and a mineral finish. Consider grabbing a case - it'll be easy for a body to absorb a bottle over a three-hour family feast.
Price 750 ml/$14.95
Availability LCBO 83196
CONO SUR BICICLETA VIOGNIER 2012
Why When you're bracing yourself for the whiteout of credit card statements that marks the holidays, a good sale is the calm eye of the storm. Cono Sur's fruity, medium-bodied Viognier is already one of the best-value whites available, and the LCBO's gotten into the spirit of the season and chipped a dollar off the regular price till the end of the month.
Price 750 ml/$8.95
Availability LCBO 64287
ILLUMINATI RIPAROSSO MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO
Why There's a dizzying array of wines out there, but almost everyone recognizes Montepulciano as a safe word. True to form, this wine is a good bet for most tastes. Smooth and fruity, with hints of licorice and oak, it's easy to drink before, during or after dinner.
Price 750 ml/$13.60
Availability LCBO 269985
CASTILLO DE MONSERAN GARNACHA
Why My papa introduced this wine to me years ago (it's often on his dinner table), planting the seed that good wine doesn't have to break the bank. For under 10 bucks, this fruity Spanish garnacha is a tasty, sensible house red.
Price 750 ml/$9.95
Availability LCBO 73395
All photos by David Hawe