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A Few Festive Season Favourites

By Alex Russell (@ozwineguy) on December 17, 2018 in Food

Silly season is here, by Tina Sparkle

Well here we are, approaching the end of yet another year. 2018 has been pretty full-on for me thus far with my youngest starting daycare and bringing home every bug under the sun – it took quite a bit of wine to get through it!

This festive season I’ll be celebrating making it through a challenging year, although a good one nonetheless. December will be filled with bubbles, and I’ll treat myself with some particularly nice wines. I might even finish up with a sticky for a bit of fun.


Not everyone has the budget to go French, but there are some killer specials at this time of the year. Because most stores give you a discount on six or more bottles of wine, if you’re buying half a dozen for gifts (or for yourself ) it’s not too much of a stretch to throw in a single bottle of Veuve, Pol Roger or whatever takes your fancy.

Don’t forget that there are also plenty of great non-French imports (Proseccos and Cavas) that taste
sensational, and the locals do great stuff too. Tassie bubbles can be a weakness of mine, especially the House of Arras and Clover Hill.

That said, my favourite thingmto bring out at this time of year is the sparkling red – an Australian classic. This year it’ll be Castagna’s ‘Genesis’ sparkling red. People freak out a little bit when I pour them a glass, but then they try it. I’ve never had any complaints!


Those who follow this column (thank you) will know that I like the interesting producers who make something fun and different. I’ve signed up to Tom Shobbrook’s wine club and will get a handful
of exciting Barossa drops every so often. If you want a wine to challenge you, this is where you’ll find it.

I also recently raided my cellar and found a few bits and pieces that I’m looking forward to trying in the near future – Sami-Odi wines are spectacular (contact Fraser directly), as are the always
fun Ruggabellus reds and whites from the Barossa (tell Abel I said g’day when you order directly).

I also have a vertical (consecutive vintages) of Thomas Braemore Semillon that will get me through a few prawn sangers on a hot day.


We don’t drink enough dessert wine in Australia. I think this is partially because we don’t often drink wine specifically to match with food, like many other cultures do. We just get on the piss. It’s a shame, because dessert wines are so fantastic. Sure, they’re a little expensive given that they come in those smaller bottles, but they’re delightful all the same.

De Bortoli Noble One is, of course, a staple here, but talk to your local bottle shop about their selection. Pro tip: spend a little more here. It’s worth it. And if you can find it, Chateau d’Arche is a personal favourite.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all you crazy Beasts!