My dream Christmas lunch? Freshly shucked Sydney rock oysters (Moonlight Flat from Batemans Bay) with a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh crusty bread (Iggy's) with cultured butter (Pepe Saya). Partnering this would be a top local or Champagne blanc de blancs or an especially fine, dry pinot/chardonnay blend such as Bream Creek vintage. Next, something porky – could be glazed ham on the bone, could be roasted pork with lots of crackling, could just be porchetta, lomo or prosciutto. That would sit well with a quality rosé sparkling, and the Sidewood is a ripper, ramping up the richness and umami levels. Finally, something barbecued, be it a whole fillet of beef, beef ribs, some fancy sausages or half a duck. The perfect wine with all of these is high-end Aussie sparkling red. Teusner is essence of the Barossa and hard to beat.
Bream Creek Cuvee Traditionnelle 2015, Tasmania, $48-$50
Located on Tasmania's East Coast, Bream Creek Vineyard has come of age, fielding riesling, pinot noir, chardonnay, sparkling and other wines at the highest level. This blend of pinot noir and chardonnay has a bright mid-yellow colour and a rich buttered-toast bouquet, the palate rich and mouth-filling, loaded with flavour and character. There's a lot happening in your mouth with this wine. It's powerful and balanced, with a dry and resonating aftertaste. Diam; 12.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing Drink now to five years.
Stockists Wine Square (NSW); Wine Cloud (Vic)
Sidewood Isabella Rosé Methode Traditionnelle 2015, Adelaide Hills, $35
A high-quality six-year-old bubbly, made from the classic Champagne grapes, using the Champagne method of bottle fermentation – for $35? That's an extraordinary bargain. The medium-light onion-skin colour denotes an aged wine based on pinot noir. The bouquet is very complex and mellow, showing considerable aged character: smoky mushroom, truffle, dry forest floor and smoked-meat charcuterie touches. The taste is dry and savoury, loaded with umami. It fills the mouth and leaves you wanting more. Diam; 12 per cent alcohol.
Ageing Drink now to three years.
Stockists Selected Dan Murphy's stores; Brighton Grocer; Willy's Fine Wine, Essendon (Vic); Midway Cellars, East Denistone (NSW)
Teusner MC Sparkling Shiraz 2013, Barossa Valley, $65
Kym Teusner is noted for hearty, full-bodied Barossa reds. This deadly serious sparkling shiraz is based on the same blocks of vines that produce his Albert shiraz. The colour is dark red with a tint of purple, the bubbles forming a persistent mousse on the surface. The bouquet is very terrestrial: freshly turned earth, ironstone and graphite, complex and savoury. There's a tickle of sweetness on the palate, happily understated but just enough to give the wine extra charm and drinkability while maintaining balance. A superb wine, intense and lingering, harmonious and satisfying. The new model 2017 ($65) while younger, is equally lovely. Crown cap; 14 per cent alcohol.
Ageing Drink now to 7+ years.
Stockists Willy's Fine Wines, Essendon (Vic); Liquor Emporium, St Peters (NSW)