Wine notes

December 25th, 2023Wine notes

'Tis the season to be jolly. So here are some recommendations to enjoy the festive season that can be sourced locally.

with Clive Hartley

Christmas specials

‘Tis the season to be jolly. So here are some recommendations to enjoy the festive season that can be sourced locally.

You don’t need an excuse to drink Champagne and sparkling wine but Christmas and New Year is generally the most popular time to pop a cork.

I like a couple of Australian sparkling wines, but I often gravitate towards Champagne. My favourites
are Louis Roederer NV or Taittinger for a pre-meal drink and Bollinger to have with a meal. Roederer is elegant, a tad lighter is Taittinger, whilst Bollinger is heavier and more autolytic in style.

One Australian example I’d recommend is our Hanging Rock Macedon Brut Cuvée XIX NV. This is a complex wine made from 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay. Half the wine goes through malolactic fermentation and is then barrel aged, the other half is fermented in tank.

They use reserve wine to add more complexity. Another local wine, which I got to taste recently and can recommend, is the Blue Pyrenees Vintage Brut selling for a modest $28.

My suggested white wines for Christmas include a bunch of fresh and light wines for a hot day. Granite Hills do a lovely aromatic Pinot Blanc 2023 – this Alsace grape variety is becoming popular in Australia. Best’s Great Western do a great riesling and their 2023 is on special at the moment, two for $50.

Brown Brothers Wine Maker’s Series Fiano 2021 comes highly recommended. The wine has strong lime and lemon zest aromas. On the palate it is dry, fleshy with pear skin and lemon flavours on a well balanced, medium bodied framework, currently on special at $20 a bottle.

With red wines I’d keep them light to medium bodied in style. Pinot noir, gamay, and sangiovese are all suggestions. Try Curly Flat Pinot Noir 2021/2020 or the lighter Scotchmans Hill Pinot Noir 2021.

Lyons Will Estate are specialists gamay producers so I’d drink their 2022, or you could try a cru village Beaujolais such as Morgon. For sangiovese I’d recommend Vinea Marson from Heathcote.

Local producers Red Hare and Musk Lane also do recommended sangiovese (both from the 2021 vintage). If you require something heavier then try Majella’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 from Coonawarra which offers blackcurrant and ripe mulberry aromas wrapped around cedar, mint and earthy notes.

The palate is rich, full bodied with black cherry fruits and a tannic finish. Or the Blue Pyrenees Richardson Shiraz 2019 for a more full-bodied rich, concentrated red with bags of Black Forest cake-inspired fruits.

Clive Hartley is an award-winning wine writer, educator and consultant. Read his Australian Wine Guide (7th ed) available from Paradise Books, Daylesford, Stoneman’s Bookroom, Castlemaine or via his website – www.australianwineguide.com.au

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