For: The crowd
Peller Estates Family Series Pinot Gris 2010 BC VQA $11.99
One simple fact of Christmas entertaining is that if you're throwing a large party, you need a crowd-pleasing, inexpensive wine that's readily available. For a crazy-good deal (in local terms) and a surefire guest-pleaser, grab a case of winemaker Stephanie Leinemann's Pinot Gris. Its tropical fruit flavours and lively acids are perfect for savoury party foods and tapas: salty appetizers, tuna tartare, ceviche, smoked salmon, cured meats and ripe cheeses. Available at BC Liquor Stores and private wine shops.
For: The suit
B S Rosé Table Wine 2010, BC VQA Okanagan Valley $20
You've taken enough B.S. from your boss over the course of a year? Now it's time to give back. Michael Bartier (he's B), former winemaker of Road 13, and savant David Scholefield (the S) have made a wine from Gamay grapes that puts to rest any notion that rosé can't be serious stuff. The great acidity allows for unlimited year-round food pairing – from seafood to pork and turkey, as well as Asian, Mexican and Middle Eastern dishes. Available at VQA stores and private wine shops.
For: The splurge
Painted Rock Red Icon Estate Grown Magnum 2009, BC VQA Okanagan Valley $125
A festive double-size bottle of the 2011 Canadian Wine Awards' gold-medal blend should impress any wealthy uncle, aunt or brother-in-law on your list. Produced from fruit grown on the Skaha Bench, this wine achieves magnum force with almost equal parts Merlot, Cab Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon (plus a little Petit Verdot and Syrah). Match it with classics: Steak au poivre or lamb stew, with their earthy sauces, set the stage for its ripe berry and mocha flavours. Cellar it. Wine ages better in this larger format. (It is also available in a 750 ml bottle.) Available at BC Liquor and VQA stores and private wine shops.
Kasey Wilson is food editor of Wine Access magazine and editor of Best Places Vancouver.