Half-a-dozen wines to pair with Christmas feasting

There's a wine to match whatever's on the festive table.
There's a wine to match whatever's on the festive table. Photo: iStock

 Christmas is many things to many people, and to devise a selection of matching wines is an invidious, albeit pleasant, task. We figured on a sparkling wine to kick things off (and some people will want to drink nothing else for the entire meal); a delicate, unoaked dry white for seafood, cold cuts and vegetable dishes; a rich chardonnay for poultry and terrines; a light-bodied pinot noir to take over from the whites and lead into more meaty things, such as ham, turkey and stronger flavoured seafood dishes; then a full-bodied red for those who insist on charring some meat on the barbecue no matter how hot (or cold) the weather; and finally a light semi-sweet wine to go with cakes, biscuits and light desserts.

Nigl Gartling Gruner Veltliner 2018, Niederosterreich, Austria, $33

Score: 93

Gruner veltliner is Austria's signature white grape and is grown throughout the country, from the Wachau and Kremstal to Burgenland and Niederosterreich. This one has typical aromas of curing meadow-hay, pepper and herbs, while the palate is intense and bright, refreshing and crisp, with power and drive. There are notes of green apple and honey to taste. It's cleverly balanced, the fruitiness and refreshing acidity making for an irresistible mouth-feel and lasting aftertaste. Suits salads, vegetable terrines, cold cuts. Screw-cap; 11.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to five years.

Stockists include: Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne (Vic); Camperdown Cellars, Cremorne (NSW)

Montalto Pennon Hill Pinot Noir 2019, Mornington Peninsula, $34

Score: 90

Montalto is one of Mornington's quieter achievers, making a range of superb pinot noirs at various price-levels. Its cellar door, restaurant and sculpture garden are well worth a detour. The colour is light purple-red, and it has a charming bouquet of spices, cherries and smoky barrel nuances. The taste is restrained, delicate, youthful and tightly wound, the finish long and refined. It's a lighter style with good intensity and drive – and the price is nice. A good match for pork, ham, turkey and flavoursome seafood courses such as bouillabaisse. Screw-cap; 13.7 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to nine years.

Stockists include: The Melbourne Wine Store (Vic); Field Blend Wine & Cheese Store, Balmain (NSW)


Hay Shed Hill Pitchfork Moscato NV, Western Australia, $17

Score: 88

In Australia, moscato is not a grape variety but a style of wine that can be made from a number of grapes, which all share the "muscat" aroma. Some have pink skins. They include gewurztraminer and the various muscat varieties such as orange muscat, muscat gordo blanco and muscat of Alexandria. This has a fresh-looking pale pink colour and an attractively grapey fragrance. The taste is lively thanks to bright acidity as well as a lick of sweetness. The flavour is very light and the finish quite short: a good example of the style. Suits cake and desserts such as tiramisu. Screw-cap; 7 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Best within two years.

Stockists include: Leo's Fine Food & Wine (Vic); Broadway Cellars, Glebe (NSW)

Franck Bonneville Pur Oger Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne 2012, $140-$145

Score: 96

From a small producer with excellent vineyards, this single village champagne is very complex with nutty aldehyde, citrus and eggy chardonnay complexities, apple pastry and creme brulee prettiness. It has a sumptuous core of fruit, yet it's low in sweetness and full bodied with a lingering tang. Superb with cheese gougeres, lobster sandwiches, or duck liver pâté. Cork; 12.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink over three years.

Stockists include: Armadale Cellars, Armadale (Vic); or visit the importers burchfamilywines.com.au

Kerri Greens Hickson Chardonnay 2019, $38-$40

Score: 92

A Mornington Peninsula chardonnay cast in a crowd-pleasing traditional mould, less austere than many modern releases. The nose has ripe melon and peachy fruit with buttery and malty overtones. Barrel influence is balanced. It's ripe and round in the mouth, but not too broad, finishing long with a bone-dry finish. A good match for baked snapper, roast chicken or a vegetarian spread based on baked vegetables. Screw cap; 13.2 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink over four years.

Stockists include: Rathdowne Cellars, Carlton North (Vic); Australian Wine Centre, Circular Quay (NSW)

Schild Estate Pramie Shiraz 2017, $47-$50

Score: 95

A wonderfully plush Barossa Valley classic, deep-coloured, with concentrated blackberry, mocha, meaty and toasty oak aromas. It's full-bodied, but also perfectly balanced, with great length of ripe flavour, velvety mouthfeel and unusual refinement, all supported beautifully by layered ripe tannins. Try it alongside a fillet of beef or roast a leg of lamb with all the trimmings. Cork; 14.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink over 15 years.

Stockists include: Porter's Liquor, North Willoughby (NSW); La Manna Supermarket, Essendon Fields (Vic)