Three last-minute wines for Christmas gifts

Champagne or dessert wine are ideal for Christmas gifts.
Champagne or dessert wine are ideal for Christmas gifts. Photo: iStock

Choosing Christmas gifts is seldom easy. You want to give something they'll like, but you're never 100 per cent sure you've nailed it. A gift of wine narrows down the options: a great champagne or a rare Rutherglen dessert wine is ideal because it's a special drink, it has cachet, everyone knows it's expensive, and if the recipient is crazy enough to not want to drink it, it's perfect for re-gifting.

Red table wine is more difficult, because there is so much choice. Even the luxury market is overloaded. I chose the Cape Mentelle by doing a search of my app (therealreview.com) and finding my highest rated Australian red wine under $100 for 2020, though the price has recently increased.

Morris Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat; Pol Roger Brut Vintage 2012; Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.

Morris Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat; Pol Roger Brut Vintage 2012; Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2016. Photo: Supplied

Morris Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat, Rutherglen

Price: $90/500ml

Score: 98

The deep tawny-brown colour with yellow-green rim denotes great age. The bouquet is very rich in toffee, caramel, rum-and-raisin chocolate aromas while the palate is tremendously rich, sweet, concentrated, powerful and viscous. It's a profound wine of great quality, balance and seamless texture. An outstanding muscat. (Screw-cap; 17 per cent alcohol.)

Ageing? Not needed: it's ready to drink now.

Stockists include: casellacellar.com and Dan Murphy's

Pol Roger Brut Vintage 2012, champagne

Price: $165

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Score: 97

A stunning vintage of this legendary wine. The bouquet is exquisitely complex, evoking toasted bread, grilled nuts, dried fruits and myriad other scents. It's quite full-bodied, powerful, rich and savoury, with a fine, persistent mousse; the finish pleasingly dry and tremendously long. A superb champagne that satisfies totally. (Cork; 12.5 per cent alcohol.)

Ageing? Drink now to seven years.

Stockists include: Prince Wine Store, Zetland (NSW) and South Melbourne (Vic)

Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Margaret River

Price: $98-$110

Score: 98

The colour is deep and youthful, the bouquet marvellously complex, black fruit aromas intertwining with mossy undergrowth, tobacco, nori and dried-herb notes. It's a more elegant vintage of what can sometimes be a massive cabernet, yet still powerful and piercingly intense, with fine, soft tannins and a long carry. (Cork; 14 per cent alcohol.)

Ageing? Drink now to 2046+.

Stockists include: Nicks Wine Merchants (Vic); boozebud.com