Have yourself a merry little Christmas…

December 13, 2017

While the kids are rocking around the Christmas tree, grab yourself a wee dram and retire to the corner recliner for a little time out. It can be difficult to find a few seconds to yourself amid the Christmas rush, but with the right wine… or spirits (depending on the volume and enthusiasm with which the kids are rocking), you can escape to a place where all is calm… Sometimes a few minutes is all you need to refresh your Christmas spirit (take that in whichever way you choose) and it certainly pays to have the right drop on hand for such occasions. As my contribution to your festivities and sanity, I would like to offer a few suggestions, based on my observations throughout 2017 of current trends and enduring favourites.

Rose falls somewhere between current trend and enduring favourite. After suffering a decline in popularity, Rose has redeemed itself beautifully through its transition from exclusively over sweet, to more honest and down to earth dry. Since then, the popularity of Rose has remained solid as more and more people discover it’s fresh, youthful versatility. Rose pairs perfectly with so many dishes, making it the perfect wine to have chilled and ready for guests throughout the festive season.

Craft Beers
You will also want to have a few beers in the fridge. Replace the mass produced larger with small batch, local labels and you are sure to impress the beer connoisseurs in your life. Craft beers are on trend and we have some delightful labels right here in our own backyard. Margaret River is home to the renowned Bootleg Brewery and Colonial Brewing Company – two independently owned micro-breweries, producing handcrafted award-winning ales and lagers. Little Creatures, Matilda Bay Brewing, Wild Yak and James Squires are a few of our notable Aussie micro-breweries that are owned by larger corporations, but continue to produce high quality craft beers that offer something unique, novel and distinctly Australian.

Gin and Vodka
Australia is also home to highly acclaimed small distilleries such as Victoria’s Four Pillars where Cameron MacKenzie uses his mum’s fifty-year-old recipe to make Christmas puddings. After distilling the puddings with star anise, cinnamon, coriander, juniper and angelica, Cam works his magic to produce an exquisite gin that truly captures the spirit of an Australian Christmas. Young Henry’s is another highly regarded small Australian brewery/distillery. Young Henry’s Noble Cut gin is made using a combination of brewing and distilling techniques as well as the addition of Australian pepperbush and bush tomato to achieve its unique flavor. If you are after a gorgeous Aussie vodka, try Archie Rose which is made from local wheat and water. Archie Rose is naturally sweet with apple freshness and minty notes, perfect for a summer Christmas.

Natural wines
Of course, for me nothing says festive season like wine. And if you have been indulging in The Secret Cellar, you will already be well versed in my take on wine trends and favourites. But, if you have not yet tried natural wines, perhaps it is time. Natural wines have been on trend for some time now and they continue to gain popularity, particularly with younger consumers. Organically farmed, naturally fermented with minimal intervention and no additives, natural wines are giving consumers a taste of traditionally prepared wines – and they love it! Yoko Luscher-Mostert and Andries Mostert from Brave New Wine in Denmark use locally grown grapes and a single fermentation to create their sparkling pet nat (natural sparkling) wine. Raw, textural and fruity; each release has its own unique personality and Australian’s can’t get enough.

If you are looking for a unique gift for a wine-lover, check out the Coravin. Earlier this year, while traveling in Europe, I noticed this unique device was used in all the best restaurants to preserve freshness. The Coravin wine needle allows you to pour wine, without removing the cork or even screw top, so you can enjoy a glass every now and then, over days, weeks or even months.

Who am I kidding? At this time of year you will be lucky if your bottle lasts an hour, but that’s what the festive season is all about. So, whether it’s wine, beer or spirits – sit back and have yourself a merry little Christmas.

- Ann Marie,

La Vigna

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