Angelica's Holiday Wine and Gift Guide
Wine Importer | Wine List Consultant | Speaker
If you are anything like me, you like to make an impression and share stories with friends and family over the holiday season. So why not use the stories of the wineries below to elevate your drinking and dining experience these holidays?
.... I don't even think this needs an introduction. It's Prosecco and in my opinion, the best one available in Australia right now. It's good value for money, well balanced, can be enjoyed on it's own or in a Bellini/Mimosa/Spritz. I highly recommend trying it with 1 part Gin (make it prettier with pink gin), 3 parts Prosecco, a dash of soda and some lovely fresh berries on top. Delish!
From the Champagne house that was once served on the Titanic, this crisp and mineral blancs de blanc (made with grand cru fruit) is the light of my life right now. With it's diamond white label and dazzling perlage, it just looks like Christmas! I also believe the holidays are a time to pull out something a little more special than a standard, house style, NV Brut.
Tohu Rewa Blancs de Blanc
Tohu is the only Maori owned winery left in NZ. I love their commitment to the sustainability of culture and land. This Vintage Blancs de Blanc is outstanding. 4 years on lees before disgorge, it's as close to Champagne I've found in a long time.... so if you are a fan of keeping your wine drinking to something more local, give this a go as your Christmas bubbly.
Cheap and Cheerful
This is a tough one so I have to choose 3... also, I find it's hard to satisfy everyone during the holidays so it's best to play it safe with all of the most popular and crowd pleasing varietals.
Sensi "Collezione" Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC
How does it get better than a bottle of Pinot Grigio on the back porch while a bbq is cooking? All seafood lunches need this wine. It's crisp, dry and herbaceous with a lovely touch of tropical fruit. Absolutely lovely and definitely crowd pleasing.
Kono Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
Let's face it, there are those people that ONLY drink Savvy B. So, why not give them a really good one? Kono is the entry level/regional wines of the Tohu brand. Kono always outshines other Marlborough Savs at competitions...recently being awarded 98pts from Decanter Magazine (and noone get 100 ever so 98 is as close to perfect as it comes). Kono is also the Maori word for gift basket. Such a beautiful image.
Terra Noble Classic Chardonnay
Without sounding awful, this wine tastes like some Chilean kid has been paid to stir oak through it. It's great value, crisp and mineral but with a hint of creaminess. Excellent for people who like a complex chardonnay that's easy to drink.
Grand Marrenon Blanc (Vermentino/Grenache Blanc)
This is always the wine that makes people say "Wow" as there are no expectations going into it...most people haven't heard of Vermentino or knew Grenache could be white so it's a pleasant surprise. It's a single vineyard wine, aged in barrel for a year and it's aromatic, creamy, has zesty acidity and is very ageable.
Terra Noble Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc
Aged Riesling is ALWAYS a good idea. This 2013 vintage is the last of this cheeky blend by Terra Noble. Its 70% Riesling and 30% Sauv Blanc. Both are aged in barrel separately for a year before being blended together for a further 8 months in barrel and then into bottle for a little while longer. It's a stunning, complex and aromatic wine. Excellent with a roast of an evening!
Andeluna 1300 Torrontès
If you will be enjoying chilled seafood and antipasto for the holidays, this is an excellent option. Torrontes is to Argentina what Sauv Blanc is to New Zealand. It's their national white wine. It's aromatic, really fresh and zesty and has this delicious musky/lychee flavour that makes you keep going back for more!
Cheap & Cheerful
Marrenon Lez Arts Gris de Grenache
This wine is a bit of fun. From the label to the juice, it's got a lot of life! I love that it's a little bit heavier than rosé we are accustomed too so it goes really well with food. I love that it's colourful. I love that it's dry and refreshing without having overwhelming acidity. I also love the price! This wine was made to celebrate a big arts festival that happens in Roussillon each year. A famous artist designed the label after asking Marrenon to make the wine for the artists to drink in celebration during the event!
Marrenon Triniti Cotes du Provence Sainte-Victoire
For those that are 100% certain that rosé from Provence is the only thing you should drink, this is textbook for those people. Light, tropical fruits and a whirlwind of acidity that makes it perfect with food or for an afternoon by the pool!
Painted Wolf Wines "Den"Pinotage Rosé
Particularly if you are having a BBQ these holidays, Pinotage rosé is the perfect accompaniment. It's fuller bodied and quite savoury while also being delicate and easy to drink without food. With food though, it definitely comes alive. So, rather than have a red with a BBQ, give this a try...it's as close as it gets!
Cheap & Cheerful
Sensi "Collezione" Sangiovese IGT
This is my go-to wine for all occasions. Easy to drink no matter who is drinking it. It's soft and elegant with hints of cherry and tobacco. It definitely passes the second bottle test!
Marrenon Les Belles Escappes Cotes du Rhone
One of Marrenon's great escapes from the Luberon/Ventoux region. This cotes du rhone is small production and oozes purple and red fruit, black pepper and has a luxurious, velvety finish. One bottle is never enough and always has people asking where to get it.
Marrenon "Orca" Old Vine Grenache Ventoux, France
I cannot love this wine enough! It's what Australians expect in a wine, big, luscious and bold but with French elegance. I also love that this wine is single vineyard, bush trained and from vines that are over 80 years old! That means they escaped phylloxera (more about that below). A very special wine from a very special vineyard.
Calappiano "Collegonzi" Old Vine Sangiovese
The flagship wine of the Fattoria di Calappiano which was once owned by the infamous Medici family of Tuscany. Very old vines from the best plots highlighting the best aspect for sunlight and shade. The bottle is very impressive with a purple wax seal and large punt. This will make any guest say wow! It's also quite a voluptuous sangiovese thanks to the year it has had in new oak.
Terra Noble Gran Reserva Carmenere
Particularly good if you are hosting a meat lovers bbq this Christmas. Carmenere is the kind of the varietal that i just want to pour all over my steak. Did you know it was once considered extinct? When Phylloxera swept through France and destroyed all the vines, Carmenere was all but lost. It was only rediscovered when a French oenologist went to Chilé and found what the Chileans were calling Merlot was actually Carmenère! Pair that with the fact that Terra Noble is the Number 1 Chilean wine producer for the last 3 years and I'd say we are pretty lucky!
So hopefully that gives you some idea of what wines we will be drinking and gifting these holidays! We've put together some excellent mixed cases to make your life easier as well... so don't miss out on them!
In the comments below, let me know if you have tried any of the wines I've listed above!