Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas Cheers: FESTIVE TABLE IDEAS RED, WHITE AND BUBBLY


David Ellis

IF you've seafood on the table this Christmas,
take this Good Catholic Girl along.
DECEMBER, and while most of us know just what we'll be putting on our Festive plates this Christmas, for some there's still the decision as to what to put in the wine glass to enjoy with the meal we've so carefully planned.

To help with your planning, here are a few ideas ranging from Christmas morning brunch through to end-of-meal cheese platters; prices are an indication only.

BRUNCH: Creamy scrambled eggs and smoked salmon are a popular Christmas Day brunch idea, so consider an Australian Domaine Chandon 2008 Z*D Victorian Blanc de Blancs sparkler at $39.95, a spritzy Campbell's Rutherglen 2012 Moscato that's just 7% alcohol (half the norm) at $18 – or go all the way with a French Champagne Taittinger Brut Millesime 2004 at a cool $150... or a Dom Perignon Vintage Rosé at a mere $630.

CANAPÉS PRE-LUNCH: Wonderfully bubbly Logan Vintage 'M' Cuvee 2000 from NSW's Orange region at $35, legendary Houghton's West Australian Swan Valley White Classic (formerly White Burgundy) just $11, or New Zealand Lindauer Special Reserve Brut Cuvee NV (non-vintage) $20.
VALUE-priced McGuigan Bin 7000
Chardonnay to share with the turkey.

COLD SEAFOOD is surging to the Christmas fore and certainly takes the mid-summer heat out of the kitchen: share with a Good Catholic Girl's Teresa Riesling from the Clare Valley at $25 (very limited supplies: phone 0419 822 909,) a NSW Southern Highlands Banjo's Run 2011 Sauvignon Blanc at $28, or a Spanish Vionta label Albarino from the country's Atlantic Coast at $25.

TURKEY and a great match for the traditionalists is a McGuigan Wines' Bin 7000 Hunter Valley Chardonnay blend at just $12.99, a Tim Adams Clare Valley Mr Mick 2009 Tempranillo $15, or a Blue Pyrenees Western Victoria NV (non-vintage) Sparkling Shiraz at $24.

ROAST PORK: For something enjoyably different go for a Margan Hunter Valley 2012 Rosé Shiraz Saignee at $17, a Tim Adams Clare Valley 2012 Pinot Gris $22, or from Tasmania a Ninth Island Pinot Noir at $15.85.

DELIGHTFUL Sauvignon Blanc from
Rymill to go with the baked ham.
BAKED HAM: Grab an ideal value-priced McGuigan Black Label South Australia Traminer Riesling at just $9.99, Rymill Coonawarra 2012 Sauvignon Blanc at $15.95, or try a New Zealand Matua Valley Pinot Noir that's only $10.85.

ROAST pork, crackling and
Tim Adams Pinot Gris.
IF YOU'RE BARBECUING: Try an interesting Kurtz Family Vineyard 2008 Boundary Row GSM (Grenach, Shiraz, Mataro from the Barossa at $18, a Tintara McLaren Vale 2009 Shiraz at $24.99 or a New Zealand Giesen Merlot $18.99.

CHRISTMAS PUDDING:  Hard to look past Lillypilly Estate's 2008 Noble Blend from the NSW Riverina at $22.50, Nugan Estate's 2008 Cookoothama Botrytis Semillon also from the Riverina and $22.95, or from Portugal's Douro Valley a Symington Cockburn Fine Tawny Port at $19.99.

CHEESE Platter to wrap up the meal: Salivate over this with a BlackJack 2010 Block 6 Shiraz from Victoria's Bendigo region at $35, an Exemplar 2010 McLaren Vale Shiraz at $65, or from Portugal a Blandy's 5 Years Old Malmsley Port at $29.99.

BLOCKBUSTER red to finish off with the
cheese platter: BlackJack Block 6 Shiraz.
HOW sweet it is: Lillypilly's Noble Blend
ideal with the Christmas Pudding.
AND FINALLY DON'T hesitate to pop the reds in the fridge for an hour before serving: the idea of "room temperature" originated in Europe whose stone castles and grand homes were more likely to be 11 to 14 degrees than the 30s or 40s we can experience here celebrating an Australian Christmas. Equally don't chill the flavour out of the whites by serving them too cold.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!
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