Champagne. Sherry. Rosé. Refreshing whites. Lighter-bodied reds. And gin. That’s my festive shopping list on a $500 budget, and it’s one to ensure all bases are covered. There’s bound to be a barbecue or two, an al fresco lunch, as well as a birthday. To celebrate the latter (hint, hint), Champagne is compulsory. Splurge with one of the finest non-vintage styles, Charles Heidsieck, where the bottle and label are as classy as the bubbles within.
A stash of ice-cold yet desert-dry sherry, such as fino or manzanilla, is handy because it’s the perfect pick-me-up or aperitif, plus a brilliant match to tapas-style food or seafood; that’s why the Delgado Zuleta is on the list. And nothing quite welcomes in the festivities like a glass of cheery rosé. As suggested with my sherry hit, it has to be crisp, dry and ultra-refreshing, and the Bellwether Ant Series Nero d’Avola has all that, plus texture. ‘Tis also the season for mouth-watering whites and there are many choices, but as a chardonnay lover, I’ll be pouring Wickhams Road because it’s a bargain as much as a delicious, elegant drink. Slurpable reds are also essential, but not tannin bombs, which aren’t much fun to drink in warm weather. A bright dolcetto from top Italian producer Massolino, plus a youthful Aussie tempranillo from Golden Grove fit the bill.
Perhaps the best all-rounder is gin and tonic loaded with lime slices and big ice cubes. It’s an appealing aperitif as well as a cool, relaxing drink. There’s no shortage of top imports or local gins, and a favourite is The West Winds from Margaret River, distilled with juniper, lime and Aussie botanicals. Equally important is quality tonic water. Some are way too sweet, so mix it with Fentimans. On that note, chin chin!
Jane nails the seasonal drinking brief ief with a mix of lighter-bodied, refreshing hi wine styles, plus a bottle of gin for ice-cold G&T sipping.