Jane Faulkner.

Halliday - - Festive Season -

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.

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