Monday 19 December 2011


FLASHING idea from NSW's Southern Highlands'
Diamond Creek Estate with Christmas seafood.

David Ellis

THIS is the story of how three colleagues will celebrate Christmas this year, and some quite different wines they'll be doing it with.

The first is a group of around a dozen couples who through Mother Nature's misfortune, have never experienced the joy of having children. They come together early each December, pull out their cheque books and go on a buying spree for kids' toys… which they give to agreed charities and childrens' hospitals.

On Christmas Day they come together again and share their love of Chardonnay, each contributing the least-known label they can find and sharing it over a Very Long Lunch, and interestingly this year two of them have chosen the same label. It's from Diamond Creek Estate in the small, cool-climate winemaking area of the NSW Southern Highlands, and the vintage chosen is the excellent 2008.

HAIL MARY – a Good Catholic Girl's idea if you've a mob
coming for Christmas Day and lamb's on the menu.
Our colleagues tell us that its beaut stone-fruit characters and tropical pineapple overtones will make it a great choice with their salmon mouse and lobster salad Christmas Day Long Lunch; it's not widely available so ring (02) 4872 3311or look at if you are interested in finding out where to buy it. It's certainly good value at $20 a bottle (by the case.)

The second of our unusual Christmas lunches is hosted by a mate who invites all his single employees – this year that'll be around forty of them – to another Very Long Lunch at which he, his wife and their adult 'kids' will cook ten legs of lamb in a battery of hooded barbecues, and roast vegies in as many electric frypans.

And as he says he's got to pray it won't rain, we've tipped him towards a Cabernet Sauvignon that'll be ideal with his roast lamb luncheon – and is appropriately-labelled Hail Mary Full of Grace. It's made by the irrepressible Julie Barry who owns the equally delightfully-titled Good Catholic Girl winery in the Clare Valley; with fresh and intense black fruit flavours and spicy tannins, it's got lamb and home-made mint sauce written all over it. Julie made just 133 cases; phone her on 0419 822 909 if you want to grab one or six at just $25 a bottle.

GRANDMUM's recipe apple pie and custard ideal
with West Aussie Voyager Estate Chenin Blanc.
And the final unusual one is a mate who traditionally finishes his family's Christmas lunch with a homemade apple pie and custard to a recipe handed down a half-century ago by his Grandmum who always said "on Christmas Day we don't have to eat stodgy English Christmas pudding." And the wine he'll have with it will be a Chenin Blanc, not one of our biggest sellers and mostly made in Western Australia, with his choice a 2011 from Voyager Estate; at $20 its great value to enjoy with his Grandmum's apple pie and custard.

And a Merry Christmas to you all…

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