Christmas Wine Guide 2012

It’s always handy to have a guide to good drinking over the Christmas period. Here’s my pick for the best bots to crack this Chrissie.

Bird in Hand Sparkling It’s an unusual wine this one with enough fruit and sweetness to keep the occasional wino happy and enough quality fruit to shift curmudgeonly wine snob from miffed to mollified. Pleasures best on its own but suspect it would be all over the turkey if given a sniff. Most accommodating Sparkling. Dandelion Vineyards Rosé 2011 A delight from its light pink hue to its delicate, near dry ending. The fruit in this is sourced from an 85-year-old bush-grown Grenache vineyard. Unusually the wine was left to wild ferment and stored on a bed of dead yeast in old barrels for a bit. The result is a superb texture with pristine and bright Grenache flavours and a whip crack of acidity that made me stand up and pay attention. Sugar is very low at four grams per litre residual; more is not needed because of the wine’s stunning fruit and texture. My favourite Rosé of the year. Three Buckets Pinot Noir 2010 A rare beast this, offering sweet Pinot perfume along with truffly complexities very hard to find in the sub $25 category. A beautiful and svelte erudition of beauty, with layer of swirling pinot fruit and perfume melding kaleidoscopically into one another. Great texture. Aniseed tea duck please. Best value. Leconfield Riesling 2011 This vintage is dry and limey, with a bath powdery fragrance good fruit clarity and excellent intensity. Citrus zest, lime and blossom are all on offer in this age-worthy wine. I recently cracked one alongside a bottle of the 04, which had matured beautifully, showing honeyed complexity and a beautiful fejoia mid-palate. Drink now or cellar. Turkey Flat Butchers Block White 2011 Turkey Flat’s Marsanne Viognier Rousanne blend is a stunning textural wine offering flavours and aromas of granny smith apples and pear. This was ages on lees in barrel and lees stirred giving it a lovely creaminess. Up there for most moreish sub $25 white of the year. Mountadam Chardonnay 2008 Something old and something new here, with a cashew nut creaminess and mouthfeel born of malo and lees stirring sitting alongside bright grapefruit and stonefruits. Texture and length are stunning. Favourite Chardonnay of the year. Turkey Flat Butchers Block Red 2010 Gold and second highest pointed in class at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show, Turkey Flat’s Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre blend is the best medium bodied red we have seen this year. Features the most generous (but in no way overblown) palate and soft fine tannins. The fruit profile is complex and seamlessly integrated. Equal best red blend under $25 Richard Hamilton McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010 This has been a bit of a sleeper. When we first tried it, it was fairly cranky and uncommunicative. Now that the sleep is rubbed of its eyes thanks to a couple of short blacks it is looking the business. Plenty of sweet dark fruit and chocolate here, would murder a rate T-Bone. Equal best value Shiraz. Madeleine’s Nangkita Shiraz 2010 Chris Dix was a Fox Creek Winemaker around the time they were winning everything in sight, and his current venture is just as acclaimed. A massive Shiraz, well balanced and complex. Brilliant. Previous vintage picked up three trophies and this is even better. Equal best value Shiraz. Heirloom Eden Valley Shiraz 2010 A beautifully crafted Eden Valley Shiraz offering intense black and blue fruits, quality oak and a lengthy finish. These guys clearly know how to make good booze… Well worth pondering it’s merits whilst enjoying marinated Lamb Backstrap. James Halliday reckons it's alright too, gave it 96 points. 919 Vineyards Durif 2010 We’re big fans of Durif and this edition is magnificent. Satsuma plum, morello cherries and dark chocolate in abundance wrapped up in gloriously soft fine tannins. Like most Durif wines, it is massive, so let it breath or pair it with a nice wooly mammoth steak. Best alternative red. Leconfield Cabernet 2010 Cracking Cabernet this. The best we have seen from Leconfield. All of the assertively angular Cabernet pointy bits, with the crannied filled with sweet fruit. Length and structure are impeccable. Whilst this will age nicely, it is just so beautiful right now. Best Cabernet.