Not long after we have all gotten a little bit too excited by Spring, and if you are in Melbourne the Spring Racing Carnival, it is time to turn our attention to the on-going festivities that continue to batter our livers … and don’t we love it. Of course, not all events are going to be pitched at the same level, so we thought we would give you some helpful tips in finding exactly what you need, so you will always look cool and drink well.
The first situation is the friendly catch up, which usually involves cramming in visits to BBQ’s and mate’s places and smashing in a bottle of wine. There is absolutely no point in taking expensive booze to these digs, as you will be too busy talking and either getting excited about Christmas, or telling everyone how much you hate it … all the stress, the drinking, family getting together … I am sure you know what we mean. The best all rounder is a juicy, young and fairly dry Rose, like the 2011 La Vielle Ferme Rose ($13-$15) from the Cotes de Ventoux in France. It is dry, fresh, crisp, and accessible and is good for both white wine drinkers and for red. It also travels nicely when you throw a block of ice in the glass because it is too damn hot!
Time to deal with the family or business associates, and we suggest a wine that is interesting, has a good story behind it, is not too cheap (we don’t want to appear stingey) or too expensive (we don’t want to waste money on people who have no idea). Given that it is summer and the weather is likely to be hot, a refreshing glass of 2011 Red Claw Chardonnay ($20-$25) from the Mornington Peninsula is a very good option; stone fruits and tangy acid, seamlessly working together. For the red drinkers, how about a bottle of 2011 Freycinet ‘Louis’ Pinot Noir, which is like crunching in to fresh black cherries and red apples; refreshing and lip smackingly good.
Finally, it is time to get a little bit serious and dig out a bottle that you take to a close friends place (this may be family), or a friend who has gone to a lot of effort to put on a wonderful spread. Take the time to give them a call and find out what is on the menu, and then make a decision. Here is a helpful tip; lighter flavoured wines (Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Grenache) go better with lighter flavoured dishes, and conversely fuller flavoured wines (Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon) go better with fuller flavoured dishes, such as salmon, lamb and beef. Why not try the all-conquering 2010 or 2011 Coldstream Hills Reserve Chardonnay ($55-$60) from the Yarra Valley, or if red is the go a 2010 Cullen ‘Diane Madelaine’ Cabernet Merlot ($110-$125), which will definitely impress your hosts.
The sky is of course the limit when thinking about what to buy this festive season, so mix it up and have some fun, but always try and think about what sort of wine the occasion requires. Also take the time to think about the people you are drinking with, whether they are adventurous or conservative, white or red drinkers and if they have given you any other indicators about what turns them on. Let’s face it, if you nail the wine selection, you will have a friend for life.