In the first of our two-part conversation, Leanne Cusack, host of CTV News at Noon, and I chat about six terrific book and bottle pairings that you can give as a gift set this holiday … don’t forget to treat yourself too! Here’s part two of our conversation, with more pairings, later today.

Veuve Clicquot Non-Vintage Champagne Chardonnay Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier, A.C. Champagne, France

Notes of green apples, orange zest and white peach on the nose with toasty goodness through the core and finish. Try the ultra-shabby chic combo here between French Champagne and a bucket of KFC chicken. Why wait for New Year’s or a wedding before you pop open bubbly when it’s so tasty? The bonus is that it’s just about the best partner for fried food on the planet: it’s mouth-watering acidity and bubbles wash away the fat, making you want more of course. Pair with: potato chips, fried food, sushi, seafood, vegetarian dishes. Drink: 2008-2008. 563338 12% D 750 mL $68.00 Score: 91/100.

 

 

The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It

by Tilar Mazzeo

 

 

Henry of Pelham Estate Winery Cuvee Catharine Brut Sparkling Wine Rosé, V.Q.A., Niagara, Ontario

A lovely bubbly with notes of ripe field strawberries, fleshy raspberries and white roses. Medium-bodied and bone-dry with terrific persistence of flavor on the palate. Is there anything prettier than strands of pink pearls gliding up the side of your glass? Float a fresh strawberry or raspberry on top for an extra festive feel. Perfect for all those celebratory moments in life. Serve well chilled. In my Drinks Matcher tool, I’ve paired this bubbly with a wide variety of dishes. Pair with: grilled salmon, salads, vegetarian dishes, mild curries, shellfish, duck, veal, nachos (why not?!). 83139 12% D 750 mL $29.95 Score: 90/100

 

 

The Best Of Roald Dahl

by Roald Dahl

 

 

 

Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay 2009, V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Twenty Mile Bench, Ontario

VC: A lively, expertly crafted Chardonnay. Notes of coconut, butterscotch, toast, pear preserves, grapefruit and yellow plum. Dry, medium bodied, crisp and elegant with racy acidity. The oak adds lovely accents to the tangy fruit. Layered, lingering finish. It will also reward 2-4 years in a cellar. My note: Something inside me melts every time I taste this wine, a slow dissolving to sensory bliss. Full-bodied, opulent, buttery and peach-apricot aromas. Pair with: crab cakes, grilled tuna steaks. Drink: 2011-2016. 33936 13% XD 750 mL $30.00 Score: 92/100

 

Shut Up and Eat: Tales of Chicken, Children and Chardonnay

by Kathy Buckworth

 

 

 

 

Norman Hardie County Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2010, V.Q.A., Prince Edward County, Ontario

Hello cherries! Wake up senses, pinot noir calling. Silky smooth, vibrant, mouth-watering and medium-bodied. Drink: 2012-2016. 125310 11.90% XD 750 mL $35.00 Score: 90/100

 

 

A Fool And Forty Acres: Conjuring A Vineyard Three Thousand Miles From Burgundy

by Geoff Heinricks

 

 

Inniskillin Wines Vidal Icewine 2007, V.Q,A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

A rich, honeyed nectar of ripe apricots and peach preserves. A mouth-filling definition of delectable. Pair with: triple cream and blue veined cheeses, rich savoury pates, seared scallops, onion soup, fruit-based desserts especially pear flans and apple crisps. Drink: 2010-2015. 551085 9.50% S 375 mL $49.95 Score: 91/100.

 

 

My Canada Includes Foie Gras: A Culinary Life

by Jacob Richler

 

 

 

Yalumba Organic Viognier 2011, South Australia, Australia

A fragrant and floral viognier with notes of lime blossom and baking spices. Full-bodied yet not heavy. Pair with: mushroom risotto with truffle oil, Moroccan lamb tagine, roast pork stuffed with prunes and dried apricots. Drink: 2012-2015. 288217 13.50% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 88/100.

 

 

Drinking Diaries: Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up

Editor: Caren Osten Gerszberg, Leah Odze Epstein

 

 

 

Lingenfelder Bird Label Riesling 2010, Q.B.A., Pfalz, Germany

Summer forever! I’m buying 2 cases. Light-bodied with delicate pear and peach aromas. The moderated sweetness makes it a divine aperitif or companion to many dishes from glazed ham to Asian and spicy. Pair with: lightly spiced Thai, Indian cuisine. Drink: 2012-2016. 568634 11.5% M 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100.

 

 

Feeding a Yen: Savoring Local Specialties, from Kansas City to Cuzco

by Calvin Trillin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest For The World’s Best Bargain Wines

by Natalie MacLean

Posted with permission of CTV News.