What to drink ... in the festive season
From left: De Bortoli Rococo Blanc de Blancs Non-Vintage, Domane Wachau Terrassen Federspiel Gruner Veltliner 2011, Barbieri Aperol and La Spinetta Biancospino Moscato D'Asti 2012.
UP TO $25
De Bortoli Rococo Blanc de Blancs Non-Vintage $23
DE BORTOLI'S Rococo is one of the best-value sparkling wines - there's also a rose´ but the blanc de blancs has a fine acidity, a creamy mid-palate with biscuit notes, ripe fruit and a sweetness on the finish. It punches above its weight for the price, which means plenty of Christmas cocktails can be concocted. Simple yet delicious: drop a sugar cube into a flute, drizzle in about two teaspoons of cassis, let it soak for a minute, then add two tablespoons of cranberry juice and top the glass with the Rococo. At Leo's Fine Food & Wine, Kew.
Domane Wachau Terrassen Federspiel Gruner Veltliner 2011 $23
AUSTRIA'S most famous white wine, gruner veltliner is always a pleasing, moreish wine and this - from Domane Wachau - is one of them. It smells of pears and spice, with a whiff of white blossom and a hint of white pepper. It's textural with an almost bitey palate and a dry finish. On a hot day, it's thirst-quenching. I'd be happy to quaff this easy-drinking wine on its own but as a festive option, serve in a flute to look like a sparkling wine without the punch. From Prince Wine Store.
Barbieri Aperol $25
COULD there be a better festive cocktail than an Aperol spritz? While a Campari and soda remains a firm favourite during the holiday season, Aperol spritz is slightly sweet but still has that distinctive and refreshing bitter herbal finish that is much loved in Italian spirits. And it looks enticing, thanks to its striking orange hue. Best of all, it's a cinch to make. Fill a tumbler with ice, pour in three parts brut or extra-dry prosecco, a splash of soda, then one part Aperol. Garnish with a slice of blood orange and ta da - a great aperitif. From Dan Murphy's stores.
La Spinetta Biancospino Moscato D'Asti 2012 $44
ON ITS own, this super-fresh moscato is light with the right amount of sweetness, touches of fresh pear and apples and white florals. At just 4.5 per cent alcohol, it makes an ideal tipple for Christmas morning with panettone. According to Luca Cigliuti, La Spinetta's export manager, it can also be enjoyed in a cocktail. Pour one part vermouth rosso in a glass and top with the chilled moscato. Easy, refreshing and utterly delectable. From City Wine Shop.