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. Photo: Supplied
Morris Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat, Rutherglen
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
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
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