On the 2nd Day of Christmas – Monster Vineyards Merlot

Christmas wooden background with clock, fir tree and champagne

On the 2nd Day of Christmas…

We discovered a little Monster!

Monster Vineyards 2013 Merlot 

About this winery


In 2006 the owners of Poplar Grove launched this new lineup of boutique wines that are fresh, fruit forward and ready to be enjoyed upon release.  Every year Winemaker
Stefan Arnason sets out to create a fun and approachable line-up, and has more than succeeded!

Lake Okanagan has been long thought to be occupied by a Loch-Ness-like lake creature. While the presence of Ogopogo is truly unlikely, this fun boutique winery, located at the beginning of the Naramata bench route, thought it fitting to pay homage to the many contraptions that people might have created in order to perpetuate this myth of a Lake Monster.  Pause, take a good look at the label, and have a giggle!  These are little monsters you do not want to keep caged up in your cellar!

Tasting notes

This is one lovely, soft and plush medium-full bodied wine.   On the nose, ripe cherries mix with a medicinal characteristic that dances between sage and dried orange pithe. Upon first sip, dry flavours of Black Forrest cake and a hint of smokey cigar box envelop your taste buds.  Round and approachable tannins make this wine lovely to consume with a wide variety of foods, but ones with a slightly smokey quality to them will bring out the ripe fruit best.

Where to Buy?  This wine can be purchased  by our Vine Life Wine Club Members at a steep savings through our partners at Highlander Wine and Spirits 

Not a Wine Club member?  It can also be found at regular retail at Sobeys Liquor (Sierra Springs location in Airdrie)

What to serve it with over the Holidays?  When entertaining smaller gatherings this take on the traditional ‘bird and gravy’ is a go to!

Whiskey & Wild Mushroom Chicken

Spice grilled salmon with mango-avocado salsa on a white plate


  • 1 chicken, about 4 lbs (1.8 kg), skinned and cut into eight pieces (or 8 chicken thighs – skin removed, bone in)
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) chicken broth
  • 1 Cup Sliced Fresh Cremini Mushrooms
  • 2 packages (30 g) of mixed dried mushrooms (chanterelle, morel, porcini)
  • 2.5 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons  water
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (60 ml) whiskey
  • 1/3 cup (125 ml) 35% cream
  • 2 tablespoons Grainy Dijon mustard
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. In a small saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Remove from head and add dried mushrooms.  Set aside and let soak for at least 30 minutes.
  2.  Season Chicken pieces with salt and pepper
  3. In a dutch oven or large saucepan, brown the chicken in 2tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil on med/high heat.  Flip chicken pieces when they are no longer ‘sticking’ and brown on other side.
  4. Once browned, lower heat to medium and add  1 additional tbsp butter, onion and garlic.  Cook until onions become lightly translucent (approx 3 minutes).  Add in sliced cremini mushrooms and brown.  Deglaze with the whiskey and scrape bottom of pan to remove browned bits.
  5. Add the broth and mushroom mixture, cream and mustard. Bring to a boil while stirring. Cover and simmer gently for about 45 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.


This recipe is great served with Pyrogies topped with the gravy, and browned butter carrots!


           – Kathryn

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