Wine with Winsor

The holiday period is peak drinks time and wine writer Winsor Dobbin has selected six drops that deliver both flavour and interest.

Serious rosé
Gundog Estate 2023 Rosé
It is peak rosé time, and if you like to be into the pink with lots of flavour then this new release from Hunter Valley producer Gundog Estate delivers plenty of summer drinking pleasure. Winemaker Matt Burton has blended fruit from the Canberra region and the Hilltops district outside Young to produce a cool-climate rosé with enticing berry and spice notes. There is plenty of vibrant acidity and it finishes very crisp and dry. A lovely picnic style, or perhaps one for pairing with the leftover cold turkey and salad. Brisk and delicious. $28.

Italian accent
Angullong Fossil Hill 2022 Sangiovese
The Angullong Vineyard in Central West NSW has proved fertile ground for Italian grape varieties like this very good value sangiovese that brings a little taste of Tuscany to your festive celebrations. Made by very experienced, Orange-based winemaker Jeff Byrne, this strikes just the right note between bright fruit flavours with plenty of purity and intensity, and some savoury, earthy nuances. I cannot think of a better wine to pair with some saucy sausage rolls over the holiday period. $30.

Summer style
Shaw + Smith 2023 Sauvignon Blanc
For over three decades this fresh and lively Adelaide Hills sauvignon blanc has maintained its popularity as a quintessential summer wine; it would be brilliant served alongside anything from fresh oysters to a seafood platter to a baked whole fish – which makes it an ideal Christmas choice. it is a bloody good drink, well priced and consistent. Imagine classic tropical fruit/grapefruit flavours, green tinges, and hugely refreshing acidity on the palate. Don’t bother cellaring this; just savour its youthful exuberance over the break. $32.

Party favourite
AC Byrne 2023 Chardonnay
It is quite ridiculous how many terrific-value wines can be found on the shelves of Aldi supermarkets. Some of them, like this one, are made in house for sale only in Aldi stores. If you are looking for a cheap and cheerful Christmas party wine this is a whole lot better than that – and for a lot less than you’d expect to pay for a lip-smackingly vibrant young Margaret River chardonnay. This is nicely poised with floral notes and white stone fruit flavours to the fore and would be a good companion to poultry dishes and summer salads. But it might also be sold out. $11. 

Stylish sparkling
Arras Methode Traditionelle 2015 Blanc de Blancs
If you really want to push the boat out when you celebrate Christmas and new year, how about a new-release vintage sparkling wine from Tasmania’s most-awarded sparkling wine maker. Yes, Tasmania, not Champagne, this time around. This flavoursome beast is made from 98.8 % chardonnay grapes from the East Coast, Derwent Valley, Coal River Valley, and Pipers River with just a tiny amount of pinot noir in the blend. It is stylish and sophisticated with an impressive balance between lemony citrus notes and brioche intensity. Perfect as an aperitif, or with seafood. $125. 

Party special
Pitchfork 2021 Cabernet Merlot
Every home needs a few bottles of a wine like this over the holidays; something that’s quaffable and ready to open when friends drop by; and you want to knock back some wine with pizza or pasta. It’s an easy-drinking red wine that’s a blend of 87% cabernet sauvignon and 13% merlot. There are ripe berry fruits to the fore, the merest hint of oak and plenty of fleshiness on the palate. Pitchfork is the entry-level range for quality Margaret River producer Hay Shed Hill. $18. 

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