By David Ellis from Vintnews.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
If seafood is 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.
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 veggies 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.
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 pudding. HAPPY CHRISTMAS!