Bubbles, whites, and reds, some with an Italian accent, are on the wine menu for an affordable Christmas, says wine critic Winsor Dobbin.
Santa Margherita NV Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a glass or two of prosecco and ignite a party in your mouth. This is vibrant and refreshing, authentically Italian and modestly priced. Perfect as an aperitif or with seafood. Santa Margherita Wines began in 1935 and this is made from the traditional Veneto grape glera, which produces fine and persistent bubbles. This is floral and fruity – but finishes dry. $26.
Richard Hamilton 2020 Hut Block Cabernet Sauvignon
It is my view that cabernet sauvignon currently offers much better value for money than shiraz. This is a case in point, a very approachable McLaren Vale cabernet from a winery that can trace its history back generations to 1837. Named for a pickers’ hut on the property, this has a new label and offers well rounded and quite elegant flavours and impressive tannins that give persistence and length. $26.
Soumah 2021 Tutto Bianco
This is a quintessential summer wine from a fast-rising producer in the Yarra Valley in Victoria. It is a field blend of four grape varieties; savagnin, chardonnay, viognier, and pinot grigio, that offers a perfect pairing with a seafood platter or some fish and chips. The fruit-driven palate is full of energy, and this would be an excellent choice well chilled on a warm summer day. $28.
Grant Burge 2019 The Holy Trinity
Looking for a big red that still has some elegance and style? You have come to the right place. From a reliably good Barossa producer, this traditional blend of grenache, shiraz and mourvedre is an each-way bet: delicious now with any red meat dish (or turkey leftovers), but also a good cellaring prospect if you have the patience. $48.
Miss Zilm 2021 Watervale Riesling
Keeda Zilm has been one of the leading riesling makers in the Clare Valley for two decades now and is breaking out with her own label after stints making fine, dry rieslings with for several big-name labels. This is well worth seeking out. It is zingy with brisk acid and traditional pure grapefruit and lemon/lime sorbet flavours. Great with pan-fried seafood or spicy Asian dishes. $27.
Tokar Estate 2020 Carafe and Tumbler Pinot Shiraz
An old-style blend of into noir and shiraz that is coming back into fashion, this is a no-fuss quaffer that could easily be enjoyed lightly chilled on a warm day. This fruit-driven fun red sees the pinot bringing the freshness and the shiraz the spice. Think sweet fruit but with a dry finish. Enjoy this with leftover turkey and stuffing, or with a picnic or beach outing. $30.
Moorilla Muse 2016 Extra Brut
Moorilla is the Tasmania wine label owned by eccentric MONA museum owner David Walsh. The only thing eccentric about this new release is the price – it is cheap compared to many of its Tassie cousins. Made from fruit grown in the north of the Apple Isle, this is delightfully vibrant and crunchy with green apple and white stone fruit flavours to the fore, along with a hint of brioche. Persistent and refreshing. $45.
Maretti 2020 Chianti
This is one of the best buys around; a smooth and savoury Chianti imported from Tuscany by Fourth Wave Wines. Sourced from a small Italian grower in Chianti Rufina, one of the highest and coolest parts of the region, this is a very varietal sangiovese with a rustic accent. Long and dry with deli nuances this would pair well with a cheese platter, or a turkey salad. Try Liquorland or First Choice stores. $22.
And the star wine of the month – a great Christmas present for a wine lover
Oakridge 864 2018 Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
There are an increasing number of impressive cool-climate cabernets being made in the Yarra Valley, including this one from David Bicknell, who is best known for his pinots and chardonnays. This is a single block wine with classic cassis flavours to the fore and a smooth, sophisticated finish aided by quality French oak. But two. Drink one with your roast turkey, cellar the other one. $90.
See Winsor’s work at www.gourmetontheroad.com.