33 2016 Yarra Yering Dry Red No. 1, Victoria, $120
Wow. This is an amazing wine, up there with some of the great sparkling wines of the world. At my Christmas lunch with family, we always have Champagne, and if I served this blind, it would blow them away to learn it’s Australian. A game-changer.
This is a gift that will impress. It's one of those classically beautiful Australian wines you can drink now or age for decades. For gifting, I like to go for these kinds of high-quality Australian wines made by producers with amazing reputations. It’s also the type of wine I love drinking.
34. To take to a party: 2018 La Violetta Great Southern Spunk Nat,
Western Australia, $32
This pet-nat is such a bright expression of fruit, and so drinkable and delicious, so it’s perfect for a party. It also looks great – it’s pink and fizzy with eye-catching packaging – so that will excite people too.
35. If someone wanted to impress me:
2017 Tolpuddle Coal River Valley Pinot Noir, Tasmania, $83
This pinot noir is such a complete, stunning wine. I tried it recently and it made me so excited that I thought I could happily drink it all the time. It’s in limited supply, so it would be a nice gift to receive.
36. Kris Kringle banger: 2017 Cape Grace Margaret River Chenin Blanc,
Western Australia, $20
Chenin is a bit of an under-recognised wine. This example is beautiful and a bargain, and it works great with spice.
It’s also something people probably wouldn’t choose for themselves.
37. Christmas Eve: 2015 Alberto Marsetti Grumello Valtellina, Lombardy, Italy, $57 Because I work in hospitality, I’m always exhausted come Christmas Eve, so I want to drink something delicious that I can sip slowly. This is the kind of wine to sit and smell, and take your time with.
38. Christmas morning: NV Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé
(375ml half-bottle), France, $55
Again, working in hospitality, I used to get a bit Grinch-y on Christmas, so I made it a tradition that all I wanted was a decent halfbottle of Champagne and a ham sandwich on Christmas morning. I now have small children, so it’s all about them, but it’s still nice to unwrap presents with a glass of Champagne in your hand.
39. To go with prawns: 2016 Jo Landron Loire Valley Muscadet-Sevre et Maine Cuvee La Louvetrie, France, $36
At an Aussie Christmas, there’s always a cooked or cold prawn. Muscadet is such an underrated grape variety that’s perfect for summer and seafood.
40. Game night delight: 2017 Farr Rising Geelong Gamay, Victoria, $40
Our Christmas night is all about board games. I'm mad for gamay at the moment, but by that time of night, you just want to sip on something delicious, and this is beautifully well made.
41. Boxing Day recovery: 2017 PichlerKrutzler Loiben Riesling, Austria, $53
By Boxing Day, I’m usually ready to chill out on the couch and watch cricket while the kids play with their toys. Easy drinking and low alcohol are what I’d want. This riesling is super juicy and has amazing concentration with a hint of sweetness. It's the kind of wine you can drink in the morning without food.
FOR CHRISTMAS LUNCH
43. 2015 Oakridge 864 Drive Block
Yarra Valley Chardonnay, Victoria, $78 When I want a serious white wine, chardonnay is where I look, and Dave Bicknell at Oakridge is making some of the greatest in Australia at the moment. It’s not an overly rich style, but it’s got enough weight that it can pair with turkey, ham and smoked salmon.
44. 2008 Gravner Ribolla Venezia
Giulia, Italy, $150
I’m a big fan of orange wines, and this one from northern Italy is a benchmark of the style. It’s amazingly detailed and complex, and it will surprise people. It won’t keep everyone happy, although it’s not funky or faulty, but it’s a truly wonderful wine.
45. 2016 Benjamin Leroux, Burgundy, France, whites $66-$385, reds $70-$695 This is my current, top Burgundy producer. The 2016 vintage has only recently been released, and if you can get your hands on any of these wines, they will be worth every cent.
TO TAKE TO A PARTY
46. 2016 I’ll Fly Away Yarra Valley
Pet Nat Rosé, Victoria, $27
This pet-nat is a lovely rose-pink colour, and it’s shiraz-based with a touch of cabernet franc.
47. 2018 Nick O’Leary
Canberra Riesling, Australian
Capital Territory, $25
This is one of my favourite wines.
It's dangerously smashable – no one could argue they don’t like riesling after trying this wine.
48. 2017 Vignerons Schmölzer & Brown Beechworth Prêt-à-Rosé, Victoria, $28 What better wine to drink than rosé during summer? It’s a no-brainer.
FOR UNDER THE TREE
49. 2006 Tyrrell’s Vat 1
Hunter Valley Semillon,
New South Wales, $175
I love Hunter semillon. It’s not a wine people automatically go for, but if you presented a bottle of 12-year-old semillon from a great house like Tyrrell’s, and they opened it and didn’t like it, perhaps wine is not their thing.
50. 2015 Antoine Sanzay Saumur Champigny Cabernet Franc,
Clean and bright with lovely red fruit, good acid and tannins, this is a really well-balanced red. It’ll go well with the turkey or roast beef, and could even be interesting with the Christmas pudding, depending on how boozy you make yours.