Wine notes

Master of Wine Emma Jenk­ins has some valu­able ad­vice and sug­ges­tions that will help en­sure your Christ­mas drinks are sorted.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

So... you’ve spent the past 10 months dili­gently pur­chas­ing and wrap­ping presents, and of course you’ll have your Christ­mas din­ner planned, the tree dec­o­ra­tions un­rav­elled and up­dated, and you’ll know who’s bring­ing the crack­ers and who’s in charge of the Se­cret

Santa. No? Me nei­ther. That’s what De­cem­ber 24th is for. But what I do have – and you can too – is my wine sorted. There’s noth­ing like hav­ing your drinks in or­der to soothe the fes­tive fur­rowed brow.

This time of year, great spe­cials abound. A mo­ment taken to pon­der what’s loom­ing ahead works won­ders for get­ting the right wines at the right price. Is there an of­fice party to cater for, 50 fam­ily bar­be­cues, or per­haps you need wines to match an elab­o­rate Christ­mas menu? While it’s tempt­ing just to head to the su­per­mar­ket, a good spe­cial­ist wine shop is worth con­sid­er­ing, as not only will they have sug­ges­tions to match your bud­get and menu, they also often have glass­ware for hire, usu­ally at min­i­mal or no charge when you buy their wine. An­other bonus can be sale-or-re­turn options for any un­opened bot­tles.

How much should you buy? Gen­er­ally al­low around half a bot­tle of wine per head and make ad­just­ments from there based on the habits of your guests and type of oc­ca­sion (for ex­am­ple, peo­ple tend to drink more in the evening than the day, and more white than red when it’s hot). In­clude plenty of non-al­co­holic options – you can also lighten things up with low­er­al­co­hol wines or have chilled soda water to make wine spritzers.

Tak­ing time to match a few wines to your Christ­mas menu can re­ally el­e­vate the meal to an­other level. Sparkling wine is a great fes­tive mood set­ter, and part­ners most seafood well. Sau­vi­gnon blanc is an­other seafood match, and per­fect with sum­mer sal­ads. Ham suits rich chardon­nay, aged semil­lon or lighter pinot noir; the lat­ter is also su­per with salmon. Pinot goes well with turkey too, but for some­thing dif­fer­ent and fun, look for an Aussie sparkling shi­raz. Serve New Zealand syrah with a bar­be­cue and round it all off with a late har­vested ries­ling or fruity, fizzy moscato with your pav or tri­fle.

A lit­tle plan­ning now will pay good div­i­dends when the silly sea­son is in full swing. Tuck­ing away a few bot­tles each week in the run-up makes the bud­get more man­age­able and en­sures you are well stocked for any last-minute in­vites or un­ex­pected guests. I like to buy a few ex­tra bot­tles of de­cent sparkling wine to have on hand as spare/emer­gency gifts too – any re­main­ing post-Christ­mas make the per­fect gift to your­self for hav­ing made it through an­other year!

A lit­tle plan­ning now will pay good div­i­dends when the silly sea­son is in full swing.

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