what I really want for christmas is a favorable supreme court ruling (vintages release 9 december 2017)

Dear Santa

It’s TheMuddler. I know that years have passed since I wrote last. Seeing that you are all knowing, it is redundant for me to say that I lost faith in you. You did not fulfill my previous Christmas requests but I now know that you were not ignoring me. Instead, I realize that asking for things such as world peace, good government, fair taxes, the abolition of daylight savings time, and a decent Mexican restaurant in Oakville are tasks too big even for you. This year Santa I will make my request more doable. So here goes. What I really want for Christmas Santa is a favorable supreme court ruling. On what issue you wonder? I’m talking about the $292.50 ticket Gerard Comeau received for bringing 14 cases of beer and three bottles of liquor across the provincial boundary between Quebec and New Brunswick.

You see Santa transporting beer or wine or spirits across provincial borders is illegal in the People’s Republic of Canada. One can bring fruit or meat or clothing or evil things like Tim Horton’s coffee or Celine Dion CDs but not a controlled substance like wine or beer. Mr. Comeau is challenging that law and all I want for Christmas is for him to win this case.

Why? Two reasons Santa and I admit that the first is a little selfish. Call me an optimist but a verdict that sides with Mr. Comeau may provide much needed choice to the proletariat of the republic. We will have government monopolies still but the people will feel hope (albeit faint hope) that we will have a choice. Santa, have you seen the selection and prices of Italian and French wine at the SAQ? Oh, it would be a Merry Christmas if the proletariat of the People’s Republic of Ontario could buy their wine at the SAQ. You are all about Merry Christmases aren’t you Santa?

A favorable verdict also has a bigger purpose. The North Pole may have you isolated from current affairs Santa so you may not have noticed that hypocrisy is now a cultural virtue. If you have nice-hair and trust-funds or a chateau in France or a TV show or a senate seat or you’re a Hollywood producer you can say one thing and do another. Even celebrity chefs are in on the game Santa but you already knew that Mario Batali was really naughty and nasty so the news did not come as a surprise to you.

You are a smart guy Santa. You know the issue is power. You also know that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. So I’m worried about you Santa. You’re male (by most people’s account) and once a year you possess absolute power. Do you realize that the “I know when you are sleeping” thing is really creepy? And, what about the elves Santa? TMZ might have a gold mine of stories there. Please tell me that you are not hiding skeletons. I’m not threatening you Santa. I am just hoping that the next shocking news story is not about you. Be like Johnny Cash and walk the line.

Sorry. I lost focus there. I know you cannot stop the bad behaviour of men in powerful positions but Santa you must realize that people need a hero. People have stopped looking for heroes in politicians or celebrates or athletics or producers. People, especially young people, need a hero. Don’t you think that a beer-smuggling retiree that sticks up for his principles would fit the modern-day ticket? Do it for the kids Santa. Convince 5 out of the 9 judges to rule in Gerard Comeau’s favor and Canada will have a real hero.

My present to you Santa is a few wine suggestions for you to give to the people who, unlike me, wrote to you with purely selfish requests. Just remember not to transport wine across provincial borders or you might find yourself on the naughty list.


Santa, I cannot say enough good things about the $76 Larmandier-Bernier Longitude Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 1er Cru—VINTAGES#: 514737. From one of my favorite producers this champagne hits all the right notes for me.


Santa for the lover of California cabs rush out and buy the $73 Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon 2013—VINTAGES#: 291914.  This wine is old-school-classic Napa cab, great flavor and balance and structure and it could stand up to wines that cost 50% more. Santa please leave a note saying to decant this wine for at least one hour before consuming. Our friends in the good-old USA can buy this wine for $33USD and if I was there I would back up the truck. The folks in the USA may not have a hero like Gerrald but they have access to wine like this one at a much better price.


The $23 Maison Roche de Bellene Vieilles Vignes Bourgogne Chardonnay 2015—VINTAGES#: 299867 is a decent Chardonnay for the price. Given my admiration for this producer I was expecting a greater “wow factor”. It’s not there but still the Vieilles Vignes is a decent wine.


Santa, if you are budgeting and need to secure a sparkling wine for your post Christmas party with the elves then consider buying the $15 Enterizo Brut Nature Cava Sparkling—VINTAGES#: 516716. This wine is the value buy from the 9 December release. With less than 12% alcohol, no dosage, 2 grams of residual sugar, some complexity, and minerality this wine pushes a lot of the right buttons for me.


The $21 Convento San Francisco 2010 Tempranillo Blend—VINTAGES#: 206409 is the value red wine in this release Santa. The winemaker somehow pulled 15% alcohol, 6 grams of residual sugar and 15 months in oak together to make a decent (not great but decent) wine for $21. I’ve already given you my Christmas wish Santa but maybe someone else will ask for a wine region in addition to Spain to provide us with decent value wines. Is that too much to ask Santa?


Gifts for those not so nice? Well, we’ll get to that in a moment. Santa, if you know someone that loves floral in his or her wine then consider getting that person the $23 Valtea Albariño 2016 Alvarinho/Albariño—VINTAGES#: 518019. I like a touch of floral in wines and this wine has a lot of field flowers. So this wine is not a pleasant one for me. Admittedly, there is a lot going on in this wine so if you like floral in your wine this one would work for you.


Santa, the wines that I would avoid are the $15 Monasterio de las Viñas Reserva Grenache Blend—VINTAGES#: 166579 and the $37 Urbina Reserva Especial 2001
Tempranillo/Mazuelo—VINTAGES#: 511568. To me the Monasterio is an oaky-coarse-fruit bomb and you are better off spending a few dollars more to buy the Convento San Francisco. The Urbina was a big disappointment for me because I really like this producer. However, this offering misses the mark. It is too fruit forward for my taste and not worth the asking price.




Published by

The Wine Muddler

The Wine Muddler blog is a reflection, criticism, and research of The LCBO Vintages Release. It is composed by Rick Wood from Toronto Ontario. The Wine Muddler is the satirical musings of a man muddling through life in search of good wine

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