My ideas for easy Christmas drinking 2013

Ahhhh, December. Christmas may be the time for wishing peace on earth, but there’s no time for a moments peace in the hospitality business (or for anyone else; present buying, party going and feast preparing are usually not optional). We wouldn’t have it any other way, but I certainly look forward to my one particular hour of tranquillity on Christmas morning. I head down to La Vigna on my own (closed sorry!) and wander around the quiet aisles and cellar, deciding on the spot the wine that takes my fancy for the Christmas festivities to follow.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a well stocked cellar or wine store to peruse at the last minute, so I thought I’d do for you what I never have time to do for myself – consider the best wines to take you through the festive season.

I feel like the lead up to Christmas starts earlier each year, with let’s-catch-up-before-the-party-season invitations starting around September 1st… So by now we’re in full blown party mode and Perth Summer has well and truly hit. My choice at this point is definitely light, fresh, aromatic whites. I’m talking about Rieslings from the Clare Valley, like my favourite at the moment ‘Riesling Freak’ (worth taking to a party for the name alone!), or maybe a Gruner Veltliner from Austria. Of course, you can always keep it local and choose a Margaret River Chardonnay, or enjoy a chilled Rosé – all equally enticing when the temperature soars.

December is also the time for sharing wonderful local produce and yummy seasonal delicacies. I can’t help but mention here the beautiful range of continental Christmas cookies and cakes (many gluten free) that our friends Hans & Marianne from Gala Restaurant hand make. We must always have some for our family Christmas table, sitting beautifully alongside our Nonna’s Crostoli, that delicious crisp Italian pastry cooked in vegetable oil. Gala also make the most amazing Gingerbread houses that must be ordered by the 1st of December (I would recommend putting that date in the diary for next year). What to drink with these Christmas delights? I think I must opt for a lush, sticky dessert wine.

But back to the main event. Usually on Christmas Day this is the long lunch; hot or cold, heavy or light, traditional or barbeque, one thing is certain and that is a lot of food. The light, easy drinking character of bubbles is naturally the first thought here and, although Champagne is well loved, most of us can’t go past a sparkling red – it’s certainly the perfect complement to Christmas meats and also delicious with desserts such as panforte. A sparkling Shiraz is the popular choice, but I also like a sparkling Cabernet – for something different, I can’t go past the Balnaves Sparkling Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra.

What about something really different though? I love a French Poire Cider; apart from their dry and refreshing taste they’re low in alcohol, making them a great accompaniment to endless eating and a friend to the precious designated drivers among us (yes, you do deserve an extra Christmas present).

All that’s left now is dessert and for me that means Panettone, the Italian Christmas cake and a glass of Moscato d’asti, a fresh, light and slightly sparkling wine to cleanse the palate at the end of the meal.

I hope this gives you some direction as you make your way through the hype of Christmas beverages. On Christmas Day our family take pleasure in being very, very tired from the Christmas rush, but content in the knowledge that all around Perth our customers and their families are enjoying Christmas with the help of some truly great wines.

Now, don’t tell me you need help with New Year’s drinks too? Get in early as you’ll have to venture into the store for that. Until then, Merry Christmas!

The Secret Cellar Wine Offer – Please note this offer has now closed. Sign up to the Secret Cellar Blog to be the first to hear about my exclusive blog offers.

Our Christmas dozen selection

If you want to make it really easy for yourself, order one of our Christmas dozen selections. This contains a fixed selection of special wines selected by us to complement the Christmas season (many of which I mentioned in my blog).

For $300 you will receive:

A Sparkling:

Extra Dry Sparkling NV Vignarosa Prosecco – This wine is from Veneto in Italy’s north. I had the pleasure of meeting the team when I visited the region earlier in the year.

 Four pure, fresh, lively Whites:

 Rabl Gruner Veltliner 2011 from Kamptal, Austria
Riesling Freak Riesling No4 2012 from Eden Valley South Australia
Soumah Savarro 2012 from the Yarra Valley in Victoria
A cheeky Chardonnay vintage 2011 from Luke Lambert in the Yarra Valley Victoria – with almonds, nuts, spice citrus and wild yeast fermentation, this will get your palate singing.

A Rosé

De Bortoli, La Boheme, Act 2 2013

Three Reds

Quaranta Sessanta 40/60 Rosso 2010 – Brilliant value and a delicious drink from Lazio in Italy, a blend of 40% Shiraz and 60
Heinrich Blaufrankisch 2011, Burgenland-Austria – I liken this to Nebbiolo
Izway Rob & Les Shiraz 2012 – Something a littler richer from the Barossa, South Australia, year after year I’m impressed by Brian’s wines, sheer elegance…

 Three of what I consider the Christmas staples:

 Le Pere Jules Poire Cider from France
Balnaves Sparkling Cabernet Sauvignon NV from Coonawarra, South Australia
Giribaldi Moscato D’Asti 2012 from Piedmonte, Italy to finish.

The wines are all pictured in the photo at the top of this page and you can order the mixed dozen by opening the order page below.

You can order more than one mixed dozen, but the selection of wines is fixed and you will receive one of each per dozen. Once you have submitted your order, I will be in touch to arrange payment.

Please note this offer has now closed. Sign up to the Secret Cellar Blog to be the first to hear about my exclusive blog offers.

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