A Christmas (Wine) Carol

Part One – Marley is Dead. 

Those, of course, are the famous first words of Charles Dickens’ enduring classic, ‘A Christmas Carol’. Dickens wrote it during a six-week period in late 1843. He built much of the story in his head while taking nightly walks around London.

“A merry Christmas, Bob! Said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken…I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob!…”

While we get to enjoy the many film versions of the story each year at this time (Alastair Sim as Scrooge is my fave), I thought a little Dickens would be a nice addition to the mix for this month’s get together.

So, at the top of the hour (that’s about now by my clock) the Affordable Cellar will be visited by three spirits, (bottles of wine actually). One from a vintage past, one from a vintage present, and one from a vintage yet to come. Hold on to your nightcaps. The clock is striking one.  

Welcome back to the cellar.

Part Two – The First of the Three Bottles

The old grandfather clock down here in the cellar just tolled with its deep, reverberating tone. And not a second later, hear that? …… yes, that dull, dragging sound…

Actually, it’s just me pulling a cool and dusty bottle from the wine rack. 

Our first visitor is here. It’s the red from a vintage past; 2015 to be exact. 

Colinas de Ançã Baga Reserva 2015
Bairrada, Portugal
750 mL bottle VINTAGES#:  11195

This bottle comes from the Bairrada region of Portugal. Barraida runs narrowly down the east coast, south of Porto. Baga is the dominant grape variety there, producing wines full of colour, rich in acids but well-balanced and with great longevity.

Colinas de Ançã Baga Reserva is described as medium-bodied. But I’d say there’s a full-bodied soul living in there as well. 

It comes bearing gifts of black fruits, cocoa and smoke. In the glass, it’s brooding and dark. These are the delicious shadows of grapes that have been. 

Part Three – The Second of the Three Bottles

The clock has struck again and over on the far side of the tasting table, another vision has appeared; the wine of vintage present. And a beautiful present this would be. This visitor to our table is no apparition though. It stands before us as real as the knocker on Scrooge’s front door.

Bodega Piedra Negra Gran Lurton Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Mendoza, Argentina
750 mL bottle VINTAGES#:  980334

Bodega Piedra Negra Gran Lurton comes to us from Argentina. It’s a delicious cabernet sauvignon that could just be this year’s ultimate stocking stuffer. Imagine that special someone’s face when they discover it tucked alongside those funny fling-flangers and delicious doo-dinglers. (Oops, I just took a sharp left from Dickens to Seuss.)

Back to the Lurton. It’s as dark as the deep, set eyes of the ghost of Jacob Marley. 

Aromas of raspberry, black cherry and plum rise from the glass. And this visitor has taste; of rich red berries, wood, leather and a bit of Christmas spice. Plus, it has some tannic pucker-power. 

But if I had just one thing to say about this elegant Gran Lurton, it’s as soft and velvety as the lapels on my smoking jacket. (Note to self; must get one of those).

Part Four – The Last of the Three Bottles

Again, the chimes have spoken and announced the arrival of our third guest. Of course, it is quite impossible to entertain a wine from a vintage yet to come. But how about a wine that says ‘it’s ahead by a century’.  

The Tragically Hip Ahead by a Century Chardonnay 2020
Stony Ridge Winery, Niagara, Ontario
750 mL bottle VINTAGES#:  483875

This chardonnay is a tribute to one of the wonderful spirits of our recent past; the great Canadian poet/musician, Gord Downie. The Tragically Hip Ahead by a Century 2020 Chardonnay was created to honour the 20th anniversary of The Hip’s fifth album, Trouble at the Henhouse. 

The Stony Ridge Winery had no trouble creating this full and buttery wine. It tastes of lemony citrus, apples, toast and creamy vanilla.

As Dickens told it, upon discovering he hadn’t missed Christmas nor his chance to be a better person, Scrooge learned from his three spirit visitors. “He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough in the good old world.”

It is entirely possible that we here in the cellar have gained also from the three visitors who have just appeared before us. And that perhaps it can be said of us, that we know how to keep a tasty glass of wine in our hands. Dickens would say, “May that be truly said of us, and all of us.”

So, we’ll close not with the words of Tiny Tim, but with those of Winy Jim. Keep your glass of wine close and your friends even closer.


Thanks to everyone for signing up to my web page where you’ll see this each month as a blog. If you know anyone who is interested in following the newsletter, they just have to visit jimsafffordablecellar.ca to submit their email. They’ll be notified each month, as will you when each new issue is published. And the newsletter is a little more reader-friendly there.

Please let me know if you’d like to share some wine you love with the rest of us. roamingbuffalo44@gmail.com 

4 thoughts on “A Christmas (Wine) Carol

  1. Hey Jim,
    How are you doing ? Diane and I are wishing you and Loretta a very Merry Christmas and hopefully a more sane new year although not starting out that way .
    Hope to see you guys again sometime soon .
    Dave and Di
    I totally enjoy you monthly wine info ….keep them coming . Good stuff !

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Jim,

    I loved hearing about your ode to dickens. Will be sure to try some of the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future this year – should tune out the old folks here at home

    Happy Holidays,


  3. Jim, thoroughly enjoyed the Charles Dickens story-line. You are such a creative writer with so many different stories to entertain us throughout the years. Thanks for making ‘wine lessons’ so fun.
    Merry Christmas to you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s