holiday-wine-recommendations-montreal © Will Travel for Food

Your Holiday wine recommendations from some of Montreal’s hottest sommelières

I don’t know about you but I always have a hard time picking a wine during the holiday season. There are so many available and it’s hard to know which go best with what. The SAQ’s advisors aren’t always available because the stores are so busy and there are many private port wines that we don’t even know about. So to make all of our lives easier, I asked some of my favourite sommeliers (who just happen to be women) for their recommendations. I specified suggestions in 3 categories: wines that are easy to drink (so wines that don’t necessarily accompany a meal), wines that are best to pair with a turkey or tourtière Christmas feast, and lastly, a great bubbly. Here’s what they had to say.

Please note that private import wines might take longer to obtain and that you have to buy a case of 6 or 12 when you purchase wines from importers. But if you love a wine, may I suggest you split a case with friends? 


Vanya Filipovic is the sommelière extraordinaire behind some of the most creative restaurants in Montreal, namely Joe Beef and Le Vin Papillon. I always discover such amazing and unique wines every time I dine at one of the two restaurants.Vanya is also the woman behind the private import company Les Vins Dame-Jeanne. Here are her picks in her own words.

holiday-wine-recommendations_vanya-filipovic © Will Travel for Food

Vanya’s recommendations for a great holiday season

Drei Freunde 2015 – $34.01 / Private import via Ward & Associés
2Naturkinder!!!! The most wonderful Michael Voelker in Germany making beautiful, HIGHLY drinkable orange wines. I highly recommend ANYTHING from this producer, but I LOVE the current Drei Freunde 2015, a lovely skin-contact of Bacchus, Muller Thurgau & Sylvaner. The drinkability factor is SO HIGH!

Richard Leroy Les Noëls de Montbenault – $63 or Le Clos des Rouliers – $54 / Private imports via GLOU
Richard Leroy Chenin from Anjou; from either Les Noëls de Montbenault’s stony volcanic soils or the schiste soils of Les Rouliers. These Chenins are of the purest kind, with deep deep character. UNREAL with Christmas dinner…. if you can get your hands on some.

Recardero Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2009 – $36.50 or the Recardero Reserva Particular 2004 – $107 SAQ
There is a little known secret at the SAQ: Recardero Cava. These guys are unbelievable. The Brut Nature 2009 is only $36 and is 73 months on lees, and drawn on cork. HIGHEST quality biodynamic vines… Their 2004 Reserva Particular just won 1st prize in a World Sparkling Competition (and is currently available at the SAQ!). Both and ALL from this producer are exceptional, biodynamic, and Brut Nature (no sugar added).

Champagne! So many good things right now; look for: Bereche, Pascal Agrapart, David Leclapart, Benoit Marguet, Frederic Savart, Charles Dufour, Francis Boulard, and Georges Laval.



After staging and cooking around the world and a stint at New York’s Racines as a sous chef, Emily Campeau is back in Montreal on the other side of the counter as the very talented and creative sommelière behind Restaurant Candide‘s wine menu. Here are her picks in her own words.

holiday-wine-recommendations_emily-campeau © Will Travel for Food

Emily’s wine suggestions for the holidays

Weingut Pittnauer Pitti 2015 – $19,05
This is the wine that will win over the members of your family that like to drink. This is not for wine sippers. This is PARTY wine. It’s light, it’s alive, it goes down dangerously easy, it makes you want more. It’s made with love by the Pittnauer family in the Burgenland, Austria, a lesser known wine region. Biodynamically grown grapes, vinified to keep the focus on the fruit quality and the powerful aromatic nose of the funky blend between Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch. Have fun pronouncing those grape names after a few bottles.

California – Parts and Labor – Folk Machine – $28.12
/ Private import via Agence Boires (case of 12 minimum)
The label Folk Machine is Kenny Likitprakong’s interpretation of what Californian table wine is and should be, this is a wine that was purposely made FOR the table, by a man who is part of the generation of winemakers that are redefining the common expectation of Cali wine. Drop the bottle on the table, let the cool label steal the show for a minute, pour everyone a glass, and watch how it magically brings people together, and how the bottle disappears in 20 minutes. A lively blend of Syrah, Carignan and Grenache , flirting on the fine line between structured and light, confusing everybody who thought they only liked full bodied Cab Sauv.

Ferme Apicole Desrochers – Foehn – $19.60
/ Purchase on site at Miels d’Anicet or via La QV
To surprise your loved one with something different and very festive, this sparkling mead is a show-stopper. Made by the mastermind of honey fermentation, Géraud Bonnet, who developed an incredibly smart technique in order to produce bubbles without adding gaz, yeast, sugar or sulfur. You may recognnize the name of the farm, because the mead is produced with honeys from neighbor, brother-in-law and rockstar Anicet Desrochers, his Majesty the King Bee. Believe me, this is an incredibly complex and tasty beverage, that can double as a refreshing apéritif and/or a light choice to finish a meal where you most likely ate too much.



Marie-Josée Beaudoin is a sommelière with several years of experience. After honing her skills at Laloux then Les 400 coups, she’s been the owner and sommelière at Patrice Pâtissier where she heads wine workshops every now and then. She’s also the author behind the great book L’heure de l’apéro. Here are her picks in her own words.

holiday-wine-recommendations_marie-josee-beaudoin © Will Travel for Food

Marie-Josée’s wine suggestions for a festive Holiday season


Classique blanc – Domaine St-Jacques 2015 – $15.85SAQ
A beautiful Quebec-made white and an interesting wine to introduce to your guests during the holidays. Fresh and with a nice acidity, it’s perfect for people who like sauvignon and great for l’apéro.

Navarra – Garnacha Artazuri, Artadi 2015 – $16.40 / SAQ
A festive red that’s a pleasure to drink from a nice Spanish house. Light and fruity, made with 100% grenache, it would be the ideal wine to start the evening and drink with the appetizers.


Côte de Brouilly – Cuvée Les Griottes – Château Thivin 2014 – $25.15SAQ
Beaujolais wines are always a good pairing for Christmas meals, whether you’re having turkey or tourtière. Suple and fruity but with some body, this wine should please everyone around the table.

Barbera d’Alba Superiore – Borgogno 2014 – $23.00SAQ
Another region that pairs well with a holiday meal is Italy’s Piemonte, especially wines made with Barbera. Light but complex enough and with some tanins, this wine is a great compagnon to a traditional meal.


Crémant du Jura de André et Mireille Tissot – $28.30 / SAQ
A superb sparkling wine with the quality of a Champagne at a very affordable price, especially since it’s produced from grapes that come from a winery that works in biodynamics. For lovers of sparkling wines with character, very dry with notes of rancio and hazelnuts. If you’re serving gougères, this wine would be perfect.

Champagne, Les Vignes de Montgueux – Jacques Lassaigne – $61.25SAQ
A great champagne made with 100% Chardonnay that could easily sell for $20 more because of its high quality. A lot of finesse and delicacy in this wine maker wine that’s rather lively and mineral and perfect to launch the festivities.

Share the love!

Related Posts: