Christmas Drinks with a Little More Bling

by Fergal Gleeson

Some say that Christmas is for children. But isn’t every day for children? Every day they hog the television, they download their games on your iPad, they pester you for McDonalds, they take selfies on your smartphone and they leave their clothes everywhere.

The only time they’re not eating is when they’re doing the things I mentioned earlier. So how about on December 25th you please yourself a little and drink some nice wine? This article is here to help.

Last week I recommended some “value wines’’ for mostly around $15. But frugality and Christmas aren’t easy bedfellows. Austerity is something for Scott Morrison to worry about. Gangsta rapper Lil’ Wayne would say:

If you got money, and you know it

Take it out of your pocket and show it

I don’t generally look to gangsta rap for wisdom or insights. I generally look to change the station but Lil’ Wayne might have sage advice here on stocking up for Christmas.


The perennially weak Euro and competition in the Australian retail market means that there are lots of non-vintage (NV) champagnes in the $40-70 range. Australian sparkling wine doesn’t have the same brand power. It’s Holden vs Mercedes in buyers minds. So you could play it safe and buy a Veuve Cliquot or a Tattinger this Christmas.

But what if there was an Australian sparkling wine that was as good? Well there is. It’s the House of Arras Blanc de Blancs 2005, a 10 year old vintage Tasmanian sparkler selling for under $60. It’s superior to NV Champagnes at the same price. The House of Arras has won more awards than Meryl Streep but unless you are a wine anorak you may not have heard of it.

White Wine

Christmas Day in the Ireland involves sinking your chin into your chest after lunch and having a little dose. People in Mediterranean countries have siestas. Americans have powernaps.

This is more of a short time out where you mentally withdraw from company, put your body in energy saving mode and enter into a yoga like trance. In Australia you are much more likely to be jumping into the swimming pool after lunch which is why it’s not good to be sozzled.

This is where Dr Loosens Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett comes in. It contains a modest 8% alcohol, about half that of a South Australian Shiraz. Does this make it the wine equivalent of a weak handshake? Not at all.

The German’s know what they’re doing with Riesling…. it sells from about $30. My favourite Australian Riesling is Leo Buring Leopold which dials up the crunchy acidity and is a memorable wine for a similar price to the Dr Loosen.

Red Wine

I’ve raved about Etude’s Carneros Estate Pinot Noir (c$60) this year. The boys in the office who’ve drank it rave about it. Tis’ a pinot worth raving about and it will work a treat with your turkey and ham. You’ll get compliments, you’ll get backslaps, you’ll feel good about yourself for serving it.

Christmas is about sharing but this next wine is so good it will test your generosity. Not just because it’s good it’s also rather expensive. The best wine I’ve drank all year is the Hospitalet de Gazin 2007 from Pomerol in Bordeaux. Have a sip and you’ll understand why wine matters.

Feeling guilty about dropping big dough on some vino? Just think what Lil Wayne would do in this situation. Or have a look at what you’ve spent this Christmas on Apple products for the little scoundrels.

For more Wine Reviews read and follow  Drink and be merry!

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