10 Of The Best Festive Wines To Try This Christmas
Master of Wine Emma Jenkins selects the season’s best bottles to pop
Christmas is a time when we put a lot of thought into special food to share with loved ones, but often the accompanying wine can become somewhat of an afterthought. Fear not, the festive furrowed brow can be soothed by this tempting selection.
They are equally good for the silly season and beyond, I always like to pop a couple of spare bottles in the shopping basket — handy for last-minute gifts, and should they make it past Boxing Day, you can always reward yourself for another year done well. Merry Christmas!
Champagne Pol Roger Brut Reserve NV $70
It’s a mystery to me why many people restrict Champagne to the festive season. If that’s you, Pol Roger may just be the fizz that’ll convert you to a more regular habit. Perfectly poised and lengthy, it’s rich in fresh baked bread, citrus, crisp apple notes, with hints of strawberries and summer flowers. Keep an eye out for special Christmas pricing too.
2013 No.1 Family Estate Marlborough Methode Traditionelle Cuvée Adele $240
It’s hard to think what could add more bling to your Christmas than veteran sparkling winemaker Daniel Le Brun’s tribute to his wife, Adele. Just the second release, it’s artfully decorated with Swarovski crystals and presented in a stylish box that’s been cleverly lit from within. Beautiful on the outside, it’s equally delicious on the inside — vibrant, complex and layered with delicate stonefruit, ripe citrus, brioche and acacia flower notes.
2017 Astrolabe Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc $20
Astrolabe have long been the producers of thoughtful, beautifully crafted wines. This is a textural, balanced wine that captures the vivacious fruit purity of Marlborough while keeping nuance and depth. Superb on its own, but possibly even better should you add crayfish.
2016 Greywacke Marlborough Pinot Gris $28
Pinot gris is everywhere these days but good pinot gris is a more elusive beast. You’re in safe hands, however, with Greywacke (who never seem to put a foot wrong). This is an aromatic off-dry style with plenty of personality. There’s ripe stonefruit, red apple and fresh pear notes with subtle gingerbread spice, textural richness and a long, lively finish. Super stylish.
2017 Te Mata Estate Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay $19
When you consider Te Mata Estate’s pedigree with chardonnay (the flagship Elston is world class), it’s not surprising the Estate wine is so good — what is surprising is the very sharp price. With bright citrus, white peach with a touch of smoky nuttiness from the cleverly integrated oak, the palate is crisp, linear and reviving. Very young — at this price, buy a case to savour.
2018 Matawhero Estate 'First Sun' Gisborne Rosé $40 (1500ml)
What’s not to love about a magnum of delectable shimmery pink, berryfruit-rich, textural rosé? Rosé wines have well and truly moved beyond a trend to become a staple, and with our summery Christmases they’re the perfect choice over lunch or as a pre-dinner drink.
2016 Collaboration 'Impressions' Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cab $28
Winemaker Julianne Brogden crafts impressive, lovely wines in close collaboration with like-minded growers, then adorns the labels with artwork from a friend she met while making wine in California’s Napa Valley. "Impressions" is a perfumed fruit-rich red with structured brambly dark berries and plums, fine-grained tannins and a long, elegant finish. Boxing Day barbecue sorted.
2015 Carrick Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir $40
A classic Bannockburn pinot noir that deftly straddles the line between brooding dark cherry and spice, and red plum and raspberry freshness. Add in a lick of thyme, a silky dense palate and moreish dry finish, this is a very complete and satisfying wine. Organic too.
2016 Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley 'Fortissimo' Muscat $40 (375ml)
A unique style of sweet wine, based on the lightly fortified Muscat wines of Mediterranean France, Spain and Italy. Intensely aromatic, rich in honeysuckle, quince, ripe peach and citrus with a dusting of musk, spice and a dash of spirit. Sweet, fresh and crisp — lightly chill and serve with plenty of pavlova.
Lustau Pedro Ximenez 'San Emilio' $32 (375ml)
It’s the time of year for indulgences so if sweet wine is not usually on your list, now’s your chance. This is a rich, dark, unctuously sweet sherry made from dried grapes, redolent with treacle, sultana and spice cake notes. Fabulous with Christmas pud and brandy cream sauce.