Unwined: At The Oscars
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Unwined: At The Oscars

Drink like a Hollywood star this weekend.

A 2003 Oscar showcased at the TIFF Bell Lightbox  Photo by PLTam from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

A 2003 Oscar showcased at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Photo by PLTam from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

I don’t need an excuse to open a bottle of bubbly. I love popping one open for the hell of it—often, it will pair with just about anything you serve. That being said, with the holiday season firmly in our rear view mirror and spring on the horizon, many of us will not pop another bottle until Dec. 25.

But there’s an excuse to do it much sooner.

This Sunday is the 86th Academy Awards. We can be cynical about the whole spectacle, but many of us will be glued to the show to watch Leo get denied an Oscar yet again (and likely shed a tear or two into his own glass of champagne).

Champagne and Hollywood go together like peas and carrots, so here are a few bottles that you can enjoy on the weekend.


Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut Champagne – Vintages 384529 – $79.95 – ****1/2

When James Bond isn’t drinking a vodka martini, this champagne is his drink of choice. This wine is rich and complex with toasted bread, vanilla, and subtle nutty notes on the nose. The thing I love about champagnes that have these rich aromas and flavours is that they bring a bright, crisp, palate-cleansing acidity. In spite of the bright acidity, the finish on this wine leaves you with a nice vanilla and nutty finish that lingers. I realize this wine is a little pricey—but it’s worth every penny.

Piper-Heidsieck Brut – Vintages 463432 – $57.95 – ****+

Marilyn Monroe once said she woke up to a glass of Piper-Heidsieck every morning. That’s not a bad way to wake up if you ask me. Piper-Heidsieck has manufactured 1,000 magnums of their wine specifically for Oscars guests this year, so picking up a bottle for your own Oscar party will bring you one step closer to Hollywood. This wine is bright and crisp with freshly baked bread notes on the nose, and the flavours are bright citrus with apple notes. The finish is bright, crisp and clean. Simply put, this champagne is gulpable.

Trius Brut – Vintages 284539 – $27.95 – ****+

Trius Brut has a fascinating (Canadian) backstory: This past summer, some Hollywood bigwigs had the opportunity to visit Trius in Niagara. They were so impressed with what they tasted that they invited the winery to pour their product at one of the gifting suites for the Oscars this year. Made in the champagne method, Trius Brut takes three years to produce a bottle. This is continually one of the best values in the LCBO, with bright and crisp citrus flavours driving this wine with a nice clean finish.

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For those who don’t like sparkling wine, here are a couple of wines for you to enjoy this weekend.

2014 Creekside Estate Marianne Hill Riesling – Vintages 443572 – $19.95 – *****

Here is your first perfect score of 2016. This wine came out of left field from a winery that is better known for Syrah. The nose offers a nice mineral quality on top of lemon, lime, and golden delicious apple. A perfect harmony of acidity and sugar, this wine has a nice clean finish that leaves you with whisper of peach and lemon. Given its acid and sugar balance, this is a wine that should age well over the next five to 10 years.

2013 Peller Estates Private Reserve Gamay Noir – Vintages 444745 – $19.95 – ****+

The Gamay in this province comes from a very broad palate of flavours. No two wineries are producing identical wines, but it’s easy to get a cherry and pepper fix from them. The Gamay from Peller is medium-bodied and loaded with black cherry and blackberry, but has a nice weight to the mid palate. The tannin is soft and approachable immediately after opening this bottle. I don’t think many people give a second thought to saving a bottle of this wine in their cellar, but with its acidity and tannin, it should age well for the next four to seven years while the tannin relaxes even more. Enjoy this with beef or lamb stews.