I'm often asked for wine recommendations, so here are two dozen gems that I selected for the December edition of Golf Magazine Australia.
I've selected some of the best (and best value) wines to be found for enjoyment over Christmas and New Year. Enjoy!
Cheap and cheerful
Zonin NV Prosecco $14
Prosecco has overtaken Champagne as the world's favourite sparkling wine style. This is fresh, crisp and uncomplicated Italian import. A great party choice.
Angoves 2015 Long Row Riesling $12
One of the best wine bargains to be found right now, it has lifted aromatics, citrus zest and Granny Smith apple crispness. Great with spicy dishes.
Airlie Bank 2015 Franc $20
A charming young Yarra Valley red made entirely from cabernet franc. It is fruit driven, aromatic and supple and could be enjoyed lightly chilled on a warm day.
Paladino 2014 Pinot Grigio $15
For lovers of fresh, crisp and dry white wines that can be enjoyed chilled, this is a bargain buy from the Veneto region of Italy. A lovely aperitif.
Rosabrook 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon $20
A lovely wine for enjoying on a warm summer's day; this West Australian wine is pungent, crisp and very fruity. Think lime citrus notes, passionfruit, guava and some brisk, refreshing acidity.
Shingleback 2013 Haycutters' Shiraz $17
You get a whole lot of value with this bold, brash shiraz from award-winning McLaren Vale winery Shingleback. This is all about dark, inky fruit. Great with lamb roast
Shaw + Smith 2015 Sauvignon Blanc $28
Adelaide Hill producer Shaw + Smith remains Australia's benchmark sauvignon blanc producer, making impressively bright and fresh wines with pure fruit and brisk acid.
Heartland 2013 Dolcetto & Lagrein $22
A blend of two Italian grape varieties grown in Langhorne Creek, South Australia, this is a delicious soft, easy drinking red style perfect for barbecues.
Hay Shed Hill 2013 Block 8 Cabernet Franc $35
Hay Shed Hill 2013 Block 8 Cabernet Franc $35
An unusual wine that offers both restrained power and finesse (none of your airy fairy franc lightness here). It is extremely food friendly, too.
Tulloch 2014 JYT Selection $40
Only made in outstanding years, the JYT Selection represents the best of vintage from the Tullochs, regardless of variety or region. This is an elegant blend of shiraz from Young and Orange.
Charles Melton 2015 Rose of Virginia $25
This is probably the benchmark rosé in Australia, a wine that's perfect for summer enjoyment. It is a blend of five different grape varieties, primarily grenache and pinot meunier.
Briar Ridge 2015 Dairy Hill Semillon $35
Young Hunter Valley semillon is a delightful summer drink, full of brisk fresh acidity and refreshment. This stand-out would be great paired with freshly shucked oysters.
Splurge a little
Arras Brut Elite Cuvée No. 801 $50
High-quality sparkling wine from Tasmania is now recognised as among the finest in the world and this elegant number would be perfect for welcoming in the New Year.
Grosset 2015 Springvale Riesling $45
This wine is often overshadowed by the more expensive Grosset Polish Hill Riesling, but is a better “drink now” bet; zesty and vibrant with slatey minerality.
St Hallett 2012 Old Block Shiraz $100
One for lovers of powerful Barossa shirazes, this is an outstanding wine, cellar-worthy for sure, but also just a little more suave than several of its more brash rivals.
Oakridge 864 2013 Lusatia Park Chardonnay $75
Oakridge winemaker David Bicknell is really in the groove right now, producing sensational lean, and throroughly modern chardonnays. This is a cracker.
Ruckus Estate 2013 Merité Merlot $50
A newcomer makes a big impact; new clones from Wrattonbully and magic from consultant winemaker Sue Bell have created an impressive wine that could be mistaken for Pomerol.
Phi 2013 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir $60
A spectacularly good Yarra Valley Pinot that is a joint venture between grape grower Stephen Shelmerdine and winemaker Steve Webber. A plush and exciting pinot.
No expense spared
Taittinger 2008 Millésimé $120
Perfect as an aperitif or with the turkey, this is a very classy and expressive bubbly from Champagne's “vintage of the decade”. It is a 50-50 blend of chardonnay and pinot noir.
Penfolds 2013 Yattarna Chardonnay $130
Penfolds may be best known for their stylish red wines, but this is an outstanding chardonnay, made almost entirely from Tasmanian fruit. It is complex and elegant.
Katnook Estate 2010 Odyssey $100
An outstanding Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon released with some age, so it is ready to enjoy right now. Think dark, rich berry fruit flavours and cedary oak.
Tahbilk 2010 1860 Vines $285
A classic Australian shiraz made from fruit grown on vines that are 155 years old, some of the oldest in the country. The 2010 is considered one of the greatest vintages ever.
Cullen 2013 Kevin John Chardonnay $105
Biodynamically grown, this is always one of Australia's finest white wines, a Margaret River chardonnay where brilliant fruit and quality oak come together to create a tour de force.
De Bortoli 2013 Noble One $65
This is the 30th vintage of Australia's landmark dessert wine and it has been released in a special anniversary gift box to mark the milestone. Pair with Christmas pudding.