What to drink ... on special occasions
From left: Dandelion Vineyards Legacy of the Barossa 30-year-old Pedro Ximenez, Pewsey Vale The Contours 2007, Kooyong Haven Pinot Noir 2010 and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2002.
UP TO $25
Dandelion Vineyards Legacy of the Barossa 30-year-old Pedro Ximenez $25
FORTIFIEDS are a wonderful legacy of Australia's wine history. This Pedro Ximenez is a tribute to the Barossa Valley, or, rather, vigneron Carl Lindner, whose family created it in 1944. Today, the blend has a base wine averaging 30 years, yet it's beautifully bright and fresh with a glorious amber hue. Complex and aromatic with hints of toffee, marmalade, burnt orange cream, figs and a real spice kick of aniseed and pepper. From Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne.
UP TO $40
Pewsey Vale The Contours 2007 $26
RIESLING is one of the classiest varieties because it is refreshing and vibrant in its youth yet develops complexity and depth as it ages. Unfortunately, it's hard to find readily available aged riesling. Thanks then to Pewsey Vale for The Contours, a riesling it releases with five years' bottle age. While super fresh, vibrant and lively, this has touches of a riesling with a bit of age. There's candied lemon peel, some toastiness and savoury nuances, very focused and a long finish. Bonus: the price belies its quality. From Boccaccio Cellars, Balwyn.
Kooyong Haven Pinot Noir 2010, $71
A SINGLE vineyard should be exquisitely unique, defined by its meso-climate, soil and generally small scale. Most importantly, the wine should be exceptional. Kooyong has three disparate and outstanding single-vineyard pinot noirs, with Haven defined by its structure. It usually needs extra time in the bottle but the 2010 is incredibly approachable. It's a fragrant mix of dark fruits, blood orange zest, earthy sous-bois. Expect the savoury and meaty nuances to meld with the fruit alongside tangy cleansing acidity. From Vintage Cellars, Brighton.
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2002, $335
NOTHING quite marks a special occasion than popping the cork off a bottle of champagne - and drinking it, of course. It's the ultimate celebratory drink and Taittinger's prestige cuvee, Comtes de Champagne, is one of the most beautiful. The 2002 is an exceptional vintage and this blanc de blancs - so it's all chardonnay - is one of the best. It is opulent with a hint of citrus and toastiness. This is one of my favourite champagnes but, alas, at a price that makes for rare drinking. From Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne.