Get into the Christmas Spirit

By Franz Scheurer

Soon it’s time for the rellies to descend on you and drink you out of house and home, so be prepared!

Christmas Wine Recommendations;



Four generations of living by the Murray River has taught the Zilzie family an understanding and knowledge of the land unrivalled by anyone else in the area. Their courage to plant non-mainstream varieties is finally paying off.

Try their Pinot Gris, crisp and minerally with pear and citrus flavours, made in the Italian style, or their Sangiovese, a bright, young and light red with red berry fruit and fine tannins, or their fabulous Tempranillo, fruit driven yet deep and luscious with hints of demerara sugar, a perfect food wine. Their wines represent excellent value for money and are available from many bottle shops. For more information visit:


Mount Gisborne

Using vertical shoot positioning with a 1.8m high trellis, the fruiting wire positioned at 0.9m, the Mount Gisborne Pinot Noir vines are on a 2.4 x 1.2m grid, using three rows of foliage wires. This system has been chosen due to the meso climate of this part of the Macedon Ranges, its soil types and the need to control the vegetative growth. The vines are hedged in the later part of the season and netted to deter birds. No chemical pesticides are used and herbicides are used only very sparingly, although not organic, they are certainly environmentally conscious. I love their Pinot Noir, 1999, and it’s available from Pinot Now @ $31 per bottle, which is a knockout price.

For more information visit:


Castagna Allegro

Australia’s best rosé! A big statement, I know, but I have found the Allegro consistently the best, year after year and the 2004 vintage has just become available. This is a serious rosé, full of red berry fruit with a whiff of forest floor, tempered by rose petals, showing off a wonderfully deep salmon colour. It is mouth filling, textured with good acid and incredible length. It benefits from not being served too cold and is a marvellous food wine. Try it with morsels of smoked eel or Gruyere gougeres. Available from Castagna, 88 Ressom Lane, Beechworth at $30 per bottle.

For more information visit:


Fairview Wines

Our climate really lends itself to rosé wines and I reckon we should drink more of them. Perfectly suited for an aperitif, as part of a brunch or a BBQ the Fairview Wines ‘Saignee’ is a moreish drop indeed. Light and bright but never simple or sweet, this ‘run-off’ Shiraz represents fabulous value for money and easy drinking now. The 2004 vintage is now available from Fairview Wines at $16 per bottle. For more information e-mail Greg Searles at: or call in at the winery at 422 Elderslie Road, Branxton. Tel.: 02 4938 1116


Bowen Estate

Due to the slow ripening and low crop levels the 2002 vintage is pure Coonawarra Terroir at its finest and most obvious. It is full of dark berries and mint on the nose with herby aromas on the palate and a confirmation of the black berries. This is a tight but balanced and complex Cabernet Sauvignon easily lasting a further 5 years. Available from cellar door at $23 a bottle this is a terrific investment in future Christmas cheer.

For more information e-mail or Tel.: 08 8737 2229


Curly Flat

My favourite one-stop-shop for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Curly Flat, has just made two history packs available. You can purchase the Curly Flat History Pack 1 Pinot Noir ($132), which contains a bottle of each of the 2001, 2000 and 1999 vintages or the Curly Flat History Pack 2 Chardonnay ($105), with 2002, 2001 and 1999 vintages. This is an excellent way to find out just how good these wines are. For more information visit: or Tel.: 03 5429 1956


Brown Brothers

Have released another fabulous summer wine, the 2004 Pinot Grigio, a very pale, light but fragrant wine with lots of stone fruit characters and a savoury mouthfeel with a hard-edged, flinty finish. Great with a cold seafood platter this is a very good ‘Silly Season’ wine. Available from bottle shops and cellar door at $15.90. For more information visit:



It seems to me that Australian winemakers have not yet agreed on a style for Verdelho and all to often it is heavily overblown and fat. But it doesn’t need to be. Tulloch’s 2004 Verdelho is full of fresh fruit and is a vibrant and clean wine. The fruit is predominantly from the Upper Hunter with some Lower Hunter and is harvested at night and bottled young to retain the freshness and distinctive fruit flavours. Although essentially a dry white, a small amount of residual sweetness makes it a terrific wine to pair with Asian food with a bit of spice. Available at cellar door for $15 per bottle and distributed by Angove’s Wines throughout Australia. For more information contact Tulloch Wines on 02 4998 7580


Olssen of Watervale

This vineyard really does deserve more exposure. They consistently produce wonderful wines. Located in one of the most beautiful areas of the Clare Valley they produce an impressive Shiraz, a very good Riesling and a tightly structured Cabernet Sauvignon. But my favourite is the 2003 Mataro. This is a very fragrant red wine, full of violets and blueberries sitting on a rock-solid foundation of tightly structured tannins. A great mouthfeel, with the floral elements resurging retro-nasally, this is a masterpiece of Australian winemaking and at $35 a bottle at cellar door this is a steal! For more information e-mail or Tel.: 08 8843 0065


Other News and Christmas Ideas;


Looking for that elusive dram? Collecting Single Malts? Looking for a treat for yourself? There’s a new kid on the block… well, an old kid renewed, really. Whisky Guru Graham Wright heads the new The Odd Whisky Coy company sourcing those rare collectables, hard to find and sometimes ‘odd’ whiskies from Scotland and other spiritous exotica from around the globe. Give him a challenge; get him to find you a Black Bowmore for under $2000 a bottle! For more information contact Graham Wright, The Odd Whisky Coy, 33 Sunbeam Road, Glynde, SA 5070 Tel.: 08 8365 4722


Still shopping for Christmas, here are a couple of ideas:


Shannon Bennett’s leather bound, boxed, hand numbered and signed, exclusive My Vue – Edition Limitée, has finally arrived. Limited to just two hundred copies it is available through Vue de monde’s secure Internet merchandise site ‘The Pantry’ at


Looking for something a bit more extravagant? There is a Tuscan village for sale. The tiny hamlet of Bacchionero, consisting of 14 houses and a church (total living space is 1220 m2) is looking for a new owner with flair and loads of extra cash for major renovations. It is in the Lucca province at 1000m above sea level with panoramic views about 50km from Pisa. For around 500,000 euros this could be yours. For more information contact:

Il Parco Immobiliare

Brunello Orsetti, Via F. Azzi, 7/D


Garfagnana 55032 LU


Tel.: +39 5836 2169


Still undecided about New Year’s Eve? How about a dinner at the Grange in Adelaide? Let Cheong Liew cook an irresistible dinner for you, incl. Champagne on arrival, for a mere $175 per person. Starting with a canapé of sea urchin laksa with glazed whitebait, pineapple and smoked paprika stick followed by his famous ‘Four Dances of the Sea’, then ‘Marron, wild mushroom risotto, salmon consommé with crème fraîche’ and main courses of ‘Breast of pigeon with caper, anchovy veloute, yellow capsicum, pine nuts, cornichon pulse, balloting of pigeon leg, followed by the incredible ‘Shark-fin pie’ and a ‘Loin of veal, scampi, green tea, cucumber, toasted rice’. You will finish, just in case you’re still hungry, with a ‘Chocolate Bonnet, Anis parfait with macerated prunes. A matching wine package is available for a further $85 per person. For more information contact Kerryn Delen, Food & Beverage Executive, Hilton Adelaide on 08 8237 0737 or e-mail:


And finally a couple of

Cocktails for the Silly Season:


Rémy Martin Centaur:

40ml. Rémy Martin Grand Cru

Mint leaves

2 tsp brown sugar

Fresh lime

Ginger Ale

Angostura bitters

Crushed ice


Crush a few mint leaves with brown sugar and fresh lime in a tumbler glass. Fill glass with crushed ice, pour over Rémy Martin Grand Cru and top with chilled ginger ale. Finish with a dash of bitters.


With Belvedere Vodka’s release of the Belvedere Cytrus and the Belvedere Pomarancza you can add a new twist to any of your favourite vodka based cocktails. The Cytrus shows off lemon and lime flavours whilst the Pomarancza entices with notes of orange blossoms. Try this one:


Belvedere Summer in the City Martini

60ml Belvedere Cytrus vodka

60ml strained fresh lemonade

30ml peach nectar

15ml mango nectar



Shake all of the ingredients then strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a slice of peach.


And finally our creation whilst on holiday on Turtle Island:


Green Turtle

Equal quantities of freshly squeezed limejuice and Amaretto

Pour over lots of ice and serve in an Old Fashioned glass.