Give 'Em Gold for a Vintage Christmas

By David Ellis from vintnews.

Give 'Em Gold for a Vintage ChristmasIf you’re starting to wonder about an ideal Christmas gift for that VIP relative or friend just getting into the appreciation of quality wines – or is already there and wanting to further increase their knowledge – look no further than Rob Geddes’ Australian Wine Vintages 2016.

This great little 33rd edition of what’s more-popularly dubbed “The Gold Book” is an absolute treasure trove of information as it showcases the top 10% of Australian wineries, and gives detailed tasting notes, assessments of vintage qualities, and indicative pricing of an amazing 6,000-plus wines from 300 Australian wineries – forty of these latter being new first-time inclusions.

Rob Geddes cleverly demystifies the wine buying and enjoyment experience in this pocket-size book (of which is also available on app,) and as well as current vintages looks at selected past years for those already into, or maybe thinking of beginning a cellar. A really must-have both for the new-into-wine and the already-established, it’s a worthwhile $34.95 from, with free delivery before Christmas for that special relative, friend – or yes, yourself.

One to note: Shaw Vineyard Estate at Murrumbateman in the Canberra District has really kicked some goals in its just-ten year existence, and another for its books is a just-released 2013 Reserve Merriman Merlot made from the very best of fruit that was hand-selected from low-yielding vines, and picked in the cool of night.

Graeme Shaw has been producing Estate and Reserve label Merlots for many years – the difference being the extra time the Reserve spends in select French barrels – and has now added the moniker Merriman to his 2013 Reserve Merlot. That’s because it’s the name he gives to his best red of the year, and honours pioneer George Merriman who produced world-class wool from Murrumbateman land on part of which the cool-climate Shaw vineyard now thrives.

At $60 with lovely varietal plum and black cherry flavours, savoury tannins and a long finish, this is a great drop with duck, veal or pasta dishes, or mild-spiced curries.