Monday, 12 December 2016

Ten Dollar Christmas Wines

BUBBLY way to start that
Christmas Day lunch or dinner.

$10 WINES FOR CHRISTMAS DAY PLEASURE
David Ellis

WHILE we all like to have a nice bottle or two on the table for family and friends joining us for Christmas Day lunch or dinner, "nice" for some equates to "expensive," yet with a bit of judicious buying such doesn't necessarily need to be the case.

And in anticipation of the big day ourselves we started the month with a bit of early shelf-gazing, inspired by the fact we plan to offer a different wine to suit each course come Christmas Day, rather than just one white or one red to see through the whole meal.

JUST so good with festive
seafood lunch or dinner.
We also set a price target of "$10 or so" for each choice to see if we could contain costs without sacrificing quality and flavour. And remarkably we came home not only within budget, but more than impressed with our purchases that we taste-tested with some obliging "guinea pig" neighbours.

And if you too are looking to offer a different wine appropriate to each course this Christmas, and not break the bank doing so, here's what we chose in our test run.

For welcome drinks as guests arrive and as an aperitif with nibbles and finger food,  bubbly is an obvious. We opted for Yellowglen's special Festive Season "Yellow Glitter Pack," a nice crisp, elegant and dry fizz that bursts with melon, pineapple and citrus flavours. Officially $13, you'll get it at $10 or even less at most major outlets.

FOR traditionalists who stick
with their Christmas turkey,
here's the ideal accompaniment.
If seafood's your option this Christmas, at just $10 – and as low as $7.60 at one liquor chain – is McGuigan Wines' Black Label 2016 Chardonnay. With Hunter Valley master, Neil McGuigan behind this one it's an ideal match with seafood, having wonderful sweet tropical fruit and melon flavours, coupled with a delightful creaminess and a touch of vanillin from a light use of oak. A real 'Bravo' $10 drop.

PERFECT with the plum pudd to round
out a grand Christmas lunch or dinner.
And for traditionalists for whom turkey is the only option on Christmas Day, from the Riverina comes a 2016 Shiraz under the renowned Calabria Family Richland label. A recommended $11, but under $10 at some larger outlets, this one's full of varietal fruit and spicy black pepper flavours that go so well with that turkey, baked vegies and gravy. We're sure the Calabria's themselves will go for this at their place – although not head honcho Bill Calabria himself… believe it or not, he's a teetotaller.

And finally for those with still enough room for Christmas pudding, put a bottle of Penfolds Club Reserve Tawny Port on the table with this. It's perfect – at just $15 or a little less at larger outlets, its rich dark berry fruit flavours and a caramel sweetness make it a hand-in-glove match with that pudd.  HAPPY CHRISTMAS!



Monday, 5 December 2016

Bromley by Wolf Blass wines

BIRDS, nudes, butterflies and Wolf Blass wine
– what more could one ask for?
ONE TO NOTE:  A NOVEL idea if you're still looking for something different and rewarding for that wine-loving friend or relative this Christmas, is an Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, or a McLaren Vale Shiraz or an Adelaide Hills Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay that are all excellent wines from Wolf Blass, and which bear wonderfully colourful one-off labels by acclaimed Australian artist David Bromley.

These Bromley by Wolf Blass wines are $30 a bottle each, with their labels featuring some of Bromley's most recognised art from his Birds, Nudes and Butterflies series. And while making for excellent and unusual gifts for those who enjoy their wine and art, they're also great statement pieces for buyers' own homes too.

Available from most fine wine retailers until sold out, or visit www.wolfblass.com/en-au



for week beginning 05 December 2016 

Margan Family Wines 2015 Merlot - Hunter Valley

HAPPILY put this one on the table
with all manner of dining opportunities.

MERLOT GOES SO WELL WITH SO MUCH
David Ellis

FOR those who like their Merlot, Margan Family Wines have released an interesting and tasty 2015 from their Broke property in the Hunter Valley, a drop that makes for a great match with a whole list of dining options for this time of year's entertaining.

It is interesting because this 2015's fruit is off vines on their own roots rather than having been grafted onto other stock, and tasty as it's true to variety with loads of primary fruit flavours, a touch of spice, and with nice soft tannins. In short, a quaffable, early drinking style of the finest order to enjoy with anything from meatloaf to lamb leg roast, lasagna to barbecued veal chops, or pizza to spaghetti Bolognese.

And interesting too because 2015 was a difficult vintage in the Hunter, with a dry Winter and Spring rolling into a then-wet December, January and February. Which all meant for a threat in particular to the region's red harvest. But Andrew Margan says that while those difficult conditions are reflected in such reds as the 2015 Merlot by way of softer tannins than normal and slightly lower acidity, that resulting softness actually means for wines that can be enjoyed while still very young.

So give this 2015 Margan Merlot a try at a nice $20 with the above food ideas.



for week beginning 05 December 2016 

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