Getting into the holiday spirits
Globe columnist BEPPI CROSARIOL picks the best things that come in a bottle this season
By Beppi Crosariol
Saturday, November 24, 2001
Tanqueray No. Ten
Call it martini perfection in a bottle. Tanqueray No. Ten, having taken U.S. cocktail society by storm, has landed in Canada. Whereas other gins rely on dried ingredients, this one is made from fresh botanicals, including grapefruit, lime, chamomile and Tuscan juniper. Handcrafted in Tanqueray's No. Ten still, the spirit offers up pronounced notes of citrus along with a soft, smooth rounded texture despite 47-per-cent alcohol. About $50 at selected retailers in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
Cave Spring Indian Summer Riesling 1999
Cave Spring Indian Summer Riesling 1999 has had raves from the likes of Steven Spielberg, who preferred it over a $1,000 bottle of Château Pétrus. And at about a third the price of many Canadian icewines, this luscious dessert elixir from one of the Niagara Peninsula's finer wineries is a steal. Intense flavours of dried apricots and juicy citrus marry delectably with its plush, mouth-filling texture. Serve it chilled with - or as - dessert. $21.95 for 375 ml. at selected Ontario retailers.
Its party-pink hue is only part of Tequila Rose's appeal. The strawberry-flavoured cream liqueur has been a phenomenon south of the border, where decadent cream liqueurs are staging a comeback. Canadian importer Corby Distilleries says it can barely keep the black glass bottle on the shelves. The taste is intriguing: strawberry ice cream complemented by a savoury, pineapple-like tequila zip that balances out the sweetness. Serve it chilled or in coffee. About $30 at selected retailers across Canada.
From the trendy Isle of Islay - home of peaty Lagavulin and Laphroaig - comes Bowmore Darkest, one of Scotland's most brooding and intense whiskies. Aged in Sherry casks the way all good Scotch once was, it's ruby red and full-bodied, offering a hint of sweetness and a smorgasbord of flavours that include toffee, nuts, grapes and smoke. A complex, wintry, late-evening Scotch if ever there was one, and an ideal match for chocolate. Ontario price: $89.95.
How do you improve on a classic champagne? Make it less expensive would be one way (but we're not holding our breath). How about making it easier to speed the bottle from room temperature to chilled? Veuve Clicquot's fold-out ice-bucket box, available at no extra cost in selected stores across the country, lets you simply slip off the top, fold out the sides, add rocks and watch smiling faces gather. It helps that Veuve is one of the best and most consistent non-vintage (i.e. regular-priced) champagnes, full-bodied and impeccably balanced. About $55 across Canada.
From the Austrian crystal maker that's made a mission out of proving the right glass shape can enhance the tongue's perception of various grapes comes the new Vinum Extreme line. Riedel's boldest design yet features a more pronounced, eye-catching curve in the bowl, which has the advantage of making the contents harder to spill as you swirl your Chambertin to release the bouquet. The extra-long stem adds elegance and mass to the bottom for perfect balance. Shown is the pinot noir/nebbiolo glass. Other models in the line include cabernet/merlot, chardonnay, riesling, champagne. Available for about $35 per stem at fine china and wine-specialty stores.
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