If you’ve been super organised this year, and have already bought and wrapped all your presents, sent all of your cards, and planned all your menus, then the only thing you have left to worry about (apart from war stories from great uncle Norman and questionable politics rants from auntie Doris) is the wine.
Luckily, a few of us here at The Plus Ones Sydney got together and tasted our way through some festive drops, both to bid farewell to the year that’s been, and so that we could give you all a helping hand on the wine-buying decision process.
We kicked off the festivities with the House of Arras Brut Elite Cuvee N.V., a delicious sparkling white wine from Northern Tasmania, made according to the traditional method (or ‘méthode traditionnelle’) used to make champagne, and with the same grapes – those being Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Tasmania’s cold climate is perfectly suited to growing these grape varieties, and as a consequence they display the perfect balance of bright, zingy acidity; fresh, juicy fruit; and lingering length and backbone.
This wine had undergone extended ageing in bottle (four years, to be exact) lending complexity, structure and nuance to its aromas of pawpaw, guava and lychee, pink lady apple, nashi pear, brioche and toasted pine nuts. This is an absolutely ideal aperitif with which to kick off the Christmas Day celebrations.
(As a point of interest, a different House of Arras wine, the ‘E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004’, was recently named the ‘Top Sparkling’ wine in the world by heavyweight industry magazine Decanter).
We then moved on to our first still wine, again from Tasmania, this one the 2019 Bay of Fires Chardonnay. In this layered, ever-so-slightly creamy wine, I perceived notes of yellow apple, peach, pineapple, and lemon meringue pie, alongside intriguing hints of tea tree. For me, it conjured up memories of beautiful walks in the verdant Tasmanian bushland.
And for TPO Co-Founder Theresa, who doesn’t normally like Chardonnay, it was a big hit.
A perfect food-pairing wine, this lovely Tassie Chardonnay had a robustness and weight that would go wonderfully with your Christmas turkey.
Our final wine was the limited release 2018 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon, hailing from the Monterey Coast in California.
Three months of ageing in bourbon barrels added aromas of vanilla essence, baking spice, dark chocolate and woodsmoke to its primary fruit flavours of black cherry and blackberry.
Smooth, rich and easy drinking, with barely perceptible tannins and a lovely aromatic nose, this wine is sure to be a real crowd-pleaser at barbeques across Australia this Christmas.
Merry Christmas folks, have fun and enjoy the holidays – and the wine (in moderation, of course)!
Jonathan Leeming is a wine industry professional with a background in sales, client development, and account management; partnerships, events, and communications. A member of Mensa, his passions are wine (obviously), dogs, and intelligent conversation. Follow him at @jpleeming, LinkedIn, and Vivino.
House of Arras, Bay of Fires and Robert Mondavi Private Selection wines are available at liquor stores nationally.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Dialogue PR.
Image credit: Ace Mamun.