Pick up one of these drinks on the way to your holiday party or dinner

The holiday rush often means we are running around at the last minute looking for a good buy for dinner with friends and family, or running through the aisles at your local wine merchant looking for a good bottle that looks good and tastes even better.

Here are some highlights of the 2013 Alberta Beverage Awards (ABA) that might help you out this holiday season. These wines rose to the top after being judged over 3 days by 18 of Alberta’s finest wine palates this past summer. Most of these wines are widely available, but more importantly, drink well, pair with a variety of dishes, and are sure to impress your guests.

Beer

Singha Lager

Not every occasion calls for wine, and sometimes your wintertime beer should be something that harkens to a warmer climate. Thailand’s Singha lager is crisp, refreshing, and has a great little citrus nip. It was also the top lager at this year’s Alberta Beverage Awards. $14 for 6-pack.

 

Grizzly Paw Beavertail Raspberry

I’ll admit it, I first tried this because my wife wanted to, but it’s an impressive beer with generous raspberry fruits that don’t overwhelm the quality beer underneath. Real men can drink beer flavoured with raspberries! A “Judges Selection” winner at the ABAs this year. $11 6-pack

 

Wine

Luigi Bosca 2010 de Sangre, Mendoza, Argentina

Great quality without breaking the bank,de Sangre is a well-structured blend of cabernet sauvignon and 15 percent each syrah and merlot. Big fruit, lots of earthiness, and perfect both with a hearty dinner or by a roaring fire. $25

 

Juno 2010 Shiraz, Western Cape, South Africa

The “top value” shiraz at the 2013 Alberta Beverage Awards, it delivers quality well above its very reasonable price. Dark berry fruits with a mild smokiness and spicy finish. $16

 

Poplar Grove 2012 Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

I love this wine for many reasons, but most importantly because it’s a premium wine made in Canada that still delivers great value. Plenty of tropical character PG fans love with a long creamy feel and finish. $30

 

Gabriel Meffre 2010 Côtes du Rhône, France

The top syrah and grenache offering at the Alberta Beverage Awards, we love the floral notes of great Côtes du Rhône with a touch of meatiness and spice. But most of all, we love the price. $15

 

Batasiolo 2012 Moscato D’Asti, Italy

Sometimes you just need a wine that tastes like summer in a glass; this lightly fizzy, off-dry white is bursting with summer fruits and if it were any friendlier, it would shovel your walk. $16

 

Laibach 2012 Ladybird White, Stellenbosch South Africa

I’ll be honest, I don’t think about South African wine a whole lot, but this organic white blend has something undeniable. Balance. Juicy, structured, a pinch of oak, this is a white that will pair well with almost anything. $19

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