Stylish but affordable drinks for Christmas
Cool bubbles – Jansz Tasmania NV Premium Cuvée
Tasmania is now second only to Champagne when it comes to producing world-class bubblies. Jansz, owned by the Hill-Smith family, is a label devoted entirely to sparkling wine and this non-vintage cuvée offers superb value. Jansz was a pioneer of sparkling wines in Tasmania and current winemaker Louisa Rose is one of the best in the land. Think citrus flavours, nougat and vaguely nutty notes, freshness, creamy nuances and a lively finish. Perfect for Christmas or New Year toasts. $30.
Brilliant value – Wickhams Road 2019 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir
Wickhams Road is the entry-level label for star Yarra Valley producer Hoddles Creek. Year in, year out, this early-released pinot noir is arguably the best value easy-drinking pinot in Australia. It has around 20% whole-bunch fruit to add spice and structure. The palate offers a spectrum of dark fruit flavours while remaining unmistakeably pinot in style. Unfined, unfiltered and bloody delicious. Pair with some Christmas ham. $20.
Ripper riesling – Raidis Estate 2019 The Kid Riesling
Hard-working couple Steve and Emma Raidis are rising stars in Coonawarra, South Australia, with a range of wines that offer exceptional drinking at very fair prices. If you are looking for a dry white wine to accompany your Christmas seafood then this brisk and fresh riesling will certainly do the trick. It’s a charming wine for enjoying chilled; the perfect summer drop for enjoying by the pool. $23.
Thirst quencher – Bleasdale 2019 Cabernet Franc
Langhorne Creek winery Bleasdale has been in fine form over the past two or three years, pulling in an impressive array of show trophies and gold medals. This is an ideal lighter-style red for enjoying lightly chilled on warm days. Made with minimal intervention and vegan friendly, it has bright red fruit flavours as a result of whole berry fermentation and is alive with all the joys of youth. Perfect for a post-Christmas picnic. $30.
Heavyweight red – Chateau Tanunda 2018 Grand Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon
Chateau Tanunda owner John Geber likes to joke that his Barossa wines are heavyweights, but more Muhammad Ali than Mike Tyson. The iconic winery is celebrating its 130thbirthday right now and the current releases are in fine shape. This has a lovely boldness about it with dark red and black fruit characters alongside restrained cedary oak. You can match this with everything from a grilled steak to dark chocolate.$26.
Perfect Christmas presents – Red devil Grant Burge 2013 Meshach Shiraz
Paying $200 for a high-quality red of long-term provenance seems fair. Meshach is the flagship shiraz of the Grant Burge portfolio, made from hand-picked grapes sourced from near-century-old Barossa vineyards. Meshach (named after a Burge ancestor) is only released in exceptional vintages – and only when it is deemed ready. This is a wine of intensity, grunty but still balanced. It is full-bodied, earthy and spicy with sweet, dark fruit and plenty of length. History tells us this will age for up to 25 years if cellared well. $199.
Vinous supermodel – Vasse Felix 20118 Heytesbury Chardonnay
One of Australia’s finest chardonnays, this is made by the talented Virginia Willcock at the beautiful Vasse Felix estate In Margaret River, Western Australia. You can taste the quality in a wine that is like a supermodel – beautifully put together without a hair out of place. Classic stone fruit and citrus characters sit aside beautifully integrated French oak, (42% new oak). The end result is seamless and elegant, but with a coiled inner power. A thing of beauty.$92.
See Winsor’s work at www.gourmetontheroad.blogspot.com.