Christmas, Naturally!

Klaire McCallum

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Season’s greetings! Its the best time of the year, and as such, we think you should be drinking the very best! The three wines below are prefect for your holiday soirees, festive gatherings, and blustery nights indoors. Not only are the wines below delicious; they are also produced as sustainably as possible. As we like to think, these are wines you can feel good about drinking!

We love supporting producers who think as much about their impact on the environment as the delicious wine in the bottle. Much like organic produce, sustainable viticulture has become more and more important to many consumers. These producers go far beyond simple organics, deep into a philosophical mindset that does not stop in the vineyards, but continues on into the cellars, where the wines are produced with as little intervention as possible. This means nothing added, and nothing removed, just wine in its purest form. These wines are classic in taste profile, while produced in the most minimalist of fashions.

La Taille aux Loups Brut Tradition $36

Jacky Blot is an awesome producer hailing from the Loire Valley. Certified organic, Jacky Blot’s practices go far beyond, with low levels of sulfur, 100% hand harvesting, and no synthetic fertilizer, Jacky Blots is on the leading edge of sustainable viticulture in the Loire Valley. All his wines go through a long, slow fermentation in old barrels, which allows for controlled contact with oxygen, and then are finished off in stainless steel to retain the lively acidity so important to this style of wine. La Taille aux Loups is located in Montlouis sur Loire which is directly south of its more famous neighbour, Vourvray. But don’t let the lack of familiarity with the region deter you; expect all the quality of Vouvray in Blot’s wines. All the things that are wonderful about Chenin Blanc are expressed in this Traditional Method sparkling wine: intensity, honeyed fruit, and fresh, electric acidity. Plus, with its fancy faux-velvet label, there is no way this wine could be anything other than lux, am I right? Pair this with heaps of Christmas shortbread, salty nuts & bolts snack mix, or even the main event, turkey n’ stuffing. Bubbles (especially if made from Chenin Blanc) are great through the whole meal, in my opinion!

Les Lunes Chardonnay $46.50

Les Lunes rents vineyards in Medocino County, California, the Chardonnay being sourced from Barra Vineyard, located in the Redwood Valley. Planted in 1973, these 46 year old Chardonnay vines produce high caliber fruit that is tended to carefully, then fermented in 100% old French oak. While the wine spends 11 months in wood on its lees, this is an elegant and finessed version of California Chardonnay, as the oak is neutral, imparting texture and elegance, rather than heavy oak influence. Organic before organic was thing, the fruit from Barra Vineyards allows Les Lunes to work with indigenous yeast, and make use of no fining or filtration techniques or additions of sulfur. Pure, delicious California gold! To me, this is a wine to share. I personally have purchased this bottle many a time because its suits so many palates. Rich enough to warm the soul, this is something every chardonnay drinker, from butter bomb to Burgundy, will enjoy. A phenomenal food wine, it will pair splendidly with roast poultry with savoury gravy delightfully, as well as with the decadent side dishes that come with the territory.

Francois Mikulski Bourgogne Pinot Noir $43

Since 1992 Francois Mikulski has been committed to the authentic production of elegant wines from Burgundy. Making use of home-produced compost, plowing, and careful management rather than aggressive chemical treatments and fertilizer, Francois Mikulski’s wines are as refined and pure as Burgundian wines come. While low intervention may be a catch phrase of the natural wine world, the wines certainly don’t need to grow up feral: it seems that careful, dutiful attention in both the vineyard and cellar is the key to producing a high caliber wine in a sustainable fashion. There are only about 6,000 bottles of this Bourgogne Pinot Noir produced annually, making it a rare treat that should surely be enjoyed in the company of good friends and loved ones. Aged in oak for 10 months and then 2 months in tank, this wine can age for about 5 years, but is drinking wonderfully right now. Certainly drinking at a higher level than one might expect of the general “Bourgogne” regional label, think dark meat, anything with a little char, and certainly every savoury dish the season has to offer when pairing this wine. It is chock full of bright red fruit like raspberry and strawberry, along with ripe blackberry and cherry preserve for good measure. Heaps of anise, pepper, and pretty floral notes round out this complex wine…just drink it - its tasty!