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Silly season is officially amongst us, along with the holiday hustle and bustle.
It’s time to put up the tree, make the Christmas pudding, and start the Christmas shopping.
Whether it’s the in-laws, your work buddy, the boss, or your good friends next door have no fear, Casella Cellar is here! It’s the one stop shop for Christmas gifting so read on for all the tips you need to eliminate the festive frustration.
Santa Claus is coming to town and so are your in-laws! We have the perfect selection of fine wines that will get you straight on their nice list.
For a sweet touch, spoil your M.I.L with a sparkling red. 2017 Baileys of Glenrowan Fronti is light and bright, inviting a ‘Turkish Delight’ sweetness to the palate. This fruity favourite is sure to score you extra brownie points.
For your F.I.L we suggest the 2012 Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon. The Limited Release wines are made each year from selected parcels of fruit in Australia’s best known wine growing regions. This powerful, bold and full bodied red is perfect for drinking now, or can be cellared for a further 10 years. Just make sure you’re invited to dinner when he finally takes it out of the cellar!
If your family gathering usually involves indulging on a festive feast, treat them to a bottle of Morris of Rutherglen Classic Liqueur Muscat. The rich and luscious flavours make it the perfect accompaniment to a delicious Sticky Date Pudding.
For any self-proclaimed oenophiles (drink their wine with a pinkly slightly raised), why not gift them an extra special bottle to add to their stash. Only made in exceptional years, Peter Lehmann 2017 VSV 1885 Shiraz embodies a soft and elegant palate with a long, intense blue fruited finish. This wine should be saved for a special occasion and cellared until 2036.
Let us take the stress out of your secret Santa office gift. Tie a big red bow around a bottle of Morris of Rutherglen 2013 CHM Shiraz and have the other colleagues wishing you had picked them. This bright red beauty boasts ripe plum aromas and is generous in flavours of dark berries. The perfect way to say Merry Christmas. Plonk one on your boss’s desk while you’re at it.
Spread the Christmas cheer(s) and put a smile on the faces of your friends next door. Peter Lehmann 2013 Sparking Pinot Noir Chardonnay Cuvée is a sophisticated offering for any celebration and also makes for perfect Christmas gift/ advanced apology for the noisy New Year’s party to come.
Last but not least, we can’t forget the big guy in red. Wine and cheese is the new milk and cookies so why not give old St Nic what he really deserves; a glass of Brand’s Laira 2015 Blockers Cabernet Sauvignon. The rich, dark fruit flavours will ensure he can get through the busy night with a wine that is bold, round and full bodied, just like Santa himself.
The theory is really quite simple; wine and food should be treated like partners, both embodying the same level of intensity and flavour. Essentially, food that’s rich in flavour requires a rich, lingering wine that won’t fade in comparison. In contrast, lighter meals will pair perfectly with delicate wines that won’t overwhelm the flavours on the plate.
So whether you’re turning up the heat with a classic Aussie BBQ, dusting off your fine china or keeping it low key with a family picnic, let us assist you with the perfect wine pairing guide so you can have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Sparkling with a Twist - Sparkling Shiraz is a worthy alternative to white on the festive table. Served chilled it will take pride of place alongside ham, turkey, seafood, and even the Christmas pud.
Drink Pink - Let’s assume that the Christmas table will be adorned with fresh seafood. A crisp, dry Rosé is the perfect wine to enjoy alongside the delicate flavours. Nothing says Christmas in Australia quite like a baked leg of ham and a great Rosé has enough weight and bright fruit to match any Christmas ham.
Sizzling Selections - Fire up the grill with a classic Aussie BBQ this Christmas. Grilled BBQ meats such as steak and lamb mean you’ll want to have a red wine on hand with big, rich fruit flavours and structure. South Australia’s premier regions are perfect to explore for wines with intensity and length. Barossa Shiraz and Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon are both perfect BBQ partners.
Christmas Classics - For roasted chicken or turkey dishes you need to choose a wine that will highlight the natural sweetness and tenderness of the meat. We recommend reaching for a crisp Chardonnay, especially with traditional sides and sauces. This also extends to baked salmon if accompanied with butter and cream, a little bit of oak will beautifully highlight the fish and balance the delicate flavours.
A Vegetarian Christmas – Chargrilled veggies, nut roasts, mushroom risotto golden grilled haloumi skewers are all wonderful alternatives to meat. Serve with a beautiful big salad and a couple of bottles of chilled Rosé or Riesling for a meal fit for a (vegetarian) king or queen!
Perfect Picnic - Keeping it simple with a picnic by the shore? Shucked oysters and freshly peeled prawns go hand in hand with Riesling, especially when served with a touch of lemon, capers, butter sauce or Asian-inspired dressing. When it comes to food matching with Riesling, simplicity, delicacy and freshness are key.
Something Sweet – Who doesn’t love a Pavlova? With its crisp meringue, rich cream and summery flavours of mango, berries, cherries and a squeeze of passionfruit, it’s the ultimate festive dessert. Rose lends itself to the sweetness of the pudding without
Sticky – It wouldn’t be Christmas without sipping on something sticky. Rutherglen Muscat pairs beautifully with the after dinner delights of chocolate, fruity desserts or strong cheeses. The iconic Morris Old Premium Rare Muscat has been awarded 100 points by highly acclaimed critic, James Halliday. What better reason is there to indulge in this world renowned Muscat than Christmas?
No matter the spread, we are sure these tips will impress your guests! By pairing the plate with their plonk we guarantee you’ll be the host
This Christmas in July, why not get your nearest and dearest around the table and impress them with your food and wine pairing skills? We can’t think of many better occasions to indulge in some delicious food and alognside beautiful bold reds, spicy fortifieds and textural Chardonnay.
No Christmas feast is complete without a baked ham. Why not coat it with a maple honey mustard glaze and pair it with our Morris Sparkling Shiraz Durif? The sweetness of the glaze and saltiness of the ham will complement the wine’s rich and sophisticated flavours and elegant finesse.
For something lighter, or a beautiful accompaniment to your meal, we have a delicious simple salad inspired by Thousand Pound Wine Bar in Rutherglen, with pan-fried haloumi, roasted beetroot, pickled carrot and walnut salad tossed in vincotto. This dish is sure to impress, especially when matched with our deliciously spicy and award-winning 2013 Morris Durif, it tastes just like Christmas!
Don’t forget your white wines this Winter! A beautiful Chardonnay will also suit the usually heavier, creamier sauces and side dishes we enjoy during Christmas in July. They also pair fantastically with the traditional seafood starters.
Try our Brand’s Laira 2017 Blockers Chardonnay, with its fresh, rockmelon and almost cashew-like character which match wonderfully with crispy skin salmon or chargrilled prawns. For more intensely flavoured dishes like a show-stopping gravlax, pair with our Peter Lehmann Wines 2019 Hill & Valley Pinot Gris, which with its delicate fresh pear and juicy peach lushness complements beautifully.
Last but not least, no Christmas dinner is complete without a dessert. Try our Morris Wines Classic Topaque with a homemade apple crumble sprinkled with cinnamon and whipped cream, it is sure to hit the spot. With additional years spent maturing in oak barrels, our decadently luscious Morris Old Premium Rare Topaque has developed such rich complexity of flavour, bountiful with sticky butterscotch, malt characters and syrupy toffee. Savour this rare luxury with dark bitter chocolate or serve with the family’s secret recipe Christmas pudding.
Rosé is often seen as an aperitif or a drink to be enjoyed in the sun BUT the idea that Rosé wine is only to be enjoyed during warmer months is fast fading away. We’re seeing people enjoying a pink tipple by the fire or on the ski slopes anywhere from nearby Thredbo to the French Alpes. As neither a red nor a white wine, Rosé is a very versatile food wine, perfect for any season.
Here are some suggestions for delicious ways to explore this varietal beyond the sun lounger.
Spice can drastically change the flavour of a wine. Equally, too much tannin, acid or sugar in a wine can enhance the spice too much or alternatively, completely kill it. If you’re planning to enjoy a spicy meal you don’t want either of these scenarios. Solution? Rosé.
Rosé hits the spot as it’s refreshingly textural with flavours that don’t over power. This means the wine doesn’t clash with the food but creates a beautiful balance.
We recommend Peter Lehmann Wines Portrait Grenache Rosé with spicy Asian dishes like chilli basil stir-fry or spicy banana leaf baked fish. Similar to how lemon or lime is served to enhance spicy food, the crisp refreshing acidity and the gentle strawberry and cream flavours complement the spice to create a beautifully balanced food and wine pairing.
It’s no secret that Rosé is a great accompaniment for seafood. The gentle berry and floral aromas broaden and tease out the salty flavours of seafood. The juicy palate and crisp dry finish of our Brand’s Laira Old Station Rosé provides a lovely backdrop for the subtle flavours of fresh shellfish like prawns and crab. During the colder months we also recommend trying it alongside baked salmon with a roasted vegetable salad or an indulgent, warming fish pie.
For many, the winter months mean the end of BBQ season and the start of a traditional Sunday roast and it’s surprising how versatile Rosé can be with meat. Take our organic Baileys of Glenrowan Small Batch Rosé for example, predominantly made using Cabernet Sauvignon, it displays elements of cassis and a slight spice. This means it matches beautifully with roasted juicy pork belly, where its grapefruit-like acidity cuts through the fattiness of crispy crackling to give a stunning contrast. The same principle applies for slow-roasted turkey and you could even try it with a glazed ham for Christmas in July – trust us, it works a treat!
The winter chill gives us the perfect excuse to snuggle up in front of an open fire if you’re lucky enough to have one, or otherwise just rug up and get cosy! You may be naturally inclined to reach for heavier reds but it’s the perfect season to explore fortified wines in their many hues and styles.
North-east Victoria, especially Rutherglen, is Australia's pre-eminent region for these. Morris Wines has an incredible range of fortified wines and this was recently celebrated at the International Wine Competition held in London - one of the most important shows in the world’s wine industry calendar. Morris Wines won 5 trophies and 4 gold medals and David Morris has been shortlisted for the prestigious Fortified Winemaker of the Year award, up against others also regarded as some of the world’s best.
David Morris shares a bit more about these wines with you, so you can explore them in the coming months. Here’s what you need to know…
Muscat is a wine style unique to Australia. Rutherglen Muscat is made from the Muscat à Petit Grain Rouge grape, known locally as Brown Muscat. Super-ripe, late-harvested grapes are only partly fermented then aged for long periods in old oak barrels of various sizes. Ranging from bright rainsiny sweetness in its youth to more intense, complex and rich flavours of fruit cake, mocha and citrus peel as it ages, Muscat pairs beautifully with a post-dinner platter of strong cheeses with nuts and dried fruit or rich chocolate desserts to match the smooth luscious texture.
- Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat NV (IWC Rutherglen Muscat Trophy)
- Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat NV (IWC Rutherglen Trophy)
- Old Premium Rare Liquer Muscat NV (IWC Australian Fortified Trophy)
- Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat NV (IWC 96 points – Gold)
As ''Apera'' has replaced ''Sherry'', so the word ''Tokay'' has been replaced by ''Topaque''. Topaque is made from the Muscadelle grape, a white wine grape which calls the Rutherglen region home. The wine takes on a golden amber hue from its extended time in oak and displays candied fruits, honey, toffee and a distinctive butterscotch on the palate. Created in three distinct styles, there is a Topaque for all occasions. Enjoy with crème brulee or sticky date pudding and or double brie with drizzled honey for an indulgent treat.
- Old Premium Rare Liqueur Topaque NV (IWC Champion’s Trophy)
- Classic Liqueur Topaque NV (IWC Rutherglen Topaque Trophy)
- Classic Liqueur Topaque NV (IWC 96 points – Gold)
- Old Premium Rare Liqueur Topaque NV (IWC 96 points – Gold)
- Cellar Reserve Grand Liqueur Topaque NV, (IWC 95 points – Gold)
Whilst we believe every season is wine season, certain wines lend themselves to specific months of the year, particularly as what we eat tends to change with the weather and is often based on the fresh produce that is available.
The most obvious transition as the weather starts to cool is from white to red, however there are no hard and fast rules around what to drink and when. Although the most obvious, colour is not the only consideration in drinking seasonally. In fact, many winter dishes call for white wines with a balance of fruit and palate-cleansing acidity to cut through the richness. Style, texture and weight all play an important role when choosing a wine, as of course does the food, mood and occasion.
We’ve selected some wines which we believe are particularly enjoyable during the autumn months so if you’re ready to switch your chilled Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc for some cooler weather wines, please read on.
Here are our top six wines to try this autumn, along with some food pairing inspiration.
With Frose all the rage, its easy to overlook just how well-suited Rosés are for enjoying during the cooler months. Offering the fruitiness of a white combined with the structure of a red, it can be the perfect transition from summery whites.
This is a juicy rosé fresh and vibrant in style with lovely fruit flavours of strawberry and rhubarb capped off with a crisp, refreshing finish. Pair with baked salmon or a warm roasted vegetable salad using fresh seasonal ingredients.
Celebrate the changing colours of autumn with a glass of Pinot Noir. Peter Lehmann Pinot Noir is an elegant cool climate wine displaying rustic aromas of sweet spice, red cherries and a forest floor earthiness. The palate is ripe and juicy, offering an array of bright red fruits finishing and balanced acidity.
This versatile wine is perfect for pairing with food as it goes well with so many dishes. Commonly known for enjoying with duck and salmon but it makes fine friends with wood fired pizza and Charcuterie. Vegetarians can also rejoice as it is delicious alongside an array of vegetable dishes, particularly mushroom risotto and grilled eggplant. What’s not to love?
For those who chose not to drink red wine, there are plenty of winter-appropriate white wine options and Chardonnay is one such varietal.
Brand’s Laira Chardonnay has ripe melon and stone fruit flavours accompanied by creamy nutty oak characters which perfectly accent the richness and flavours of cold-weather favourites such as homemade macaroni and cheese, chicken in a creamy mustard sauce or roasted vegetable risotto.
Peter Lehmann Wigan Riesling — named after chief winemaker Andrew Wigan — is aged in the bottle for five years before being released, which gives it toasty notes. The layers of texture and flavour make it a great partner to a good roast chicken with lemon and sage stuffing. Riesling makes the perfect accompaniment to spicy food; Indian and Asian spices are a natural pairing.
This indulgent, sparkling Shiraz is a perfect celebration wine during the cooler months. It’s regal red in colour and boasts bold flavours of ripe plums and dark chocolate. Best enjoyed chilled, it matches beautifully with smoked oysters or a delicious roast turkey. And here’s a little wine trivia to share with friends and family as you toast – Black Queen is named after the Queen of Sheba who, like the wine, was a woman of great richness, power and beauty.
As autumn gets underway and the nights draw in you may find you’re drawn to heavier red wines and comfort food, Shiraz is a classical varietal that won’t disappoint. The Brand’s Laira Blockers Shiraz from Coonawarra offers a plush flavours of red plum, raspberry fruits and spice with vanilla oak, combined with fine grained tannins and a lovely long and lingering finish. The palate is of medium weight with an elegant structure and lingering fruit flavours, making it the perfect guest at the final few barbeques of the season.
As the leaves turn to shades of rich red and golden brown, so should what’s in your glass. Cosy up around the first fireside of the season with a glass of Morris Classic Liqueur Muscat. Sweet, yet fresh and bright with flavours of dried fruits, chocolate and burnt toffee it is the perfect way to bring a warm glow to a dark chilly evening.
With the hot Aussie Summer on our doorstep and the festive season just around the corner, most of us will no doubt be enjoying a chilled glass of sparkling wine in the coming months to celebrate the warmer weather and holidays. So what exactly is sparkling wine? What types exist and what do I choose?
On the simplest level, the bubbles or effervescence found in sparkling wine is carbon dioxide gas. This can be introduced to wine in a few ways, such as during the bottling process or during the fermentation process. Sparkling wine is produced right around the world, with several regions having unique means of production, with varying emphasis on fruitiness, levels of effervescence and bottling methods.
Champagne is probably the most famous type of sparkling wine. It’s named after the region where it is grown, fermented and bottled – Champagne, located in north-east France, near Paris. Only wine that is bottled in, or around this French region is allowed under European Law to be called ‘Champagne’. ‘Blanc de Blanc’ or ‘Blanc de Noir’ Champagnes are made from 100% Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir grapes.
Although Champagne is widely synonymous with special occasions, Australian sparkling wines are rising quickly in popularity and fast becoming the celebratory drop of choice. Many are made in the ‘methode traditionelle’ style. Popping a bottle of sparkling wine is just as acceptable in everyday settings as special occasions – around the family dinner table, a picnic lunch or with a cheese platter after work with co-workers.
The fact is, Australians have been enjoying sparkling wines for many, many years dating as far back as the late 1800s. It was around this same time that Sparkling Red was first introduced and is still known today for its unparalleled wine style, iconic to Australia.
If you haven’t yet tried a Sparkling Shiraz, consider tasting Peter Lehmann Wines Black Queen. It’s a unique and indulgent sparkling wine that is made with premium quality Shiraz grapes sourced from low yielding vineyards in the Barossa, South Australia. Or the Morris Wines Sparkling Shiraz Durif –the addition of Durif elevates this Rutherglen favourite with extra richness and flavour. Whether it’s sharing a glass of chilled sparkling red or white wine with friends at a party or enjoying a long and lazy Sunday brunch, it’s a delicious drop that’s sure to delight the palate and tickle the taste buds.
Whether it’s trawling through an online site or standing in front of a wall of wine in a retail store, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by choice and not knowing what bottle to choose.
Here are some easy tips to help you select a good bottle of wine.
Don’t just admire the artwork on the front of the label, take the time to read the back of the label. Where is the wine from? Which region and vintage? What kind of wine is it? Although the label information isn’t going to tell you everything – including whether you will definitely like it – it offers important clues about its taste and style and helps you make a more informed purchase. At the end of the day, it’s about discovering new wines and broadening your palate.
If you are gifting a bottle of wine to a friend, knowing whether they prefer red or white is a good place to start. If you are taking wine to dinner, familiarise yourself with the cuisine or research the restaurant. For example if you are going out to enjoy Thai, you might like to pick-up a crisp and delicate Brand’s Laira Old Station Rosé – a winner with most Thai dishes. An off-dry Riesling, like the lively Peter Lehmann Wines Portrait Riesling can also be a treat with the spicier Thai plates.
You don’t need to spend an excessive amount of money to buy an excellent bottle of wine. There are many Australian wines available that offer outstanding quality at a friendly price tag, say between $15-35. Are you buying wine to enjoy right away or are you buying it to cellar and improve with age? Generally speaking, if you’re buying a bottle to drink immediately, then you probably don’t need to spend as much as if you were going to put it away for a few years. Wines that age are usually made with cellaring potential in mind and have already spent time in barrels or have had extended bottle ageing, hence the increased cost.
Explore a broad range of wines and you will start to get a feel for what you enjoy more – juicy or jammy, light or full bodied, sweet or spicy notes. Listen to your palate and take the time to take in the aromas. There are many wine descriptors out there and it all comes down to personal preference. The more you try different wines the more you’ll learn about what you enjoy most.
If you’re still not sure…here are some of our top wine picks this month.
During the warmer months, we tend to opt for lighter meals such as seafood, grilled meats, or perhaps fresh and vibrant salads. When it comes to wine, the ‘go to’ summer drop is often described as a crisp, light and refreshing white. However, there are plenty of other wine varietals and styles that pair beautifully with lighter dishes and snacks, or are perfect on their own as a sundowner! And they are not all white wines either.
Here is a quick guide to help you find the perfect summer wine across different occasions.
Pairing wine with seafood can be slightly daunting. While white wines, like a zesty Riesling or fresh Pinot Gris are the general rule of thumb when it comes to pairing white fleshed fish such as ling or John Dory; red wine (or Rosé) definitely have potential to rise to the challenge. Softer, more delicate reds such as Pinot Noir or Blue Imperial can be a great accompaniment to red or pink fleshed fish like tuna and salmon, or even a more robust and spicy Shiraz goes exceptionally well with oily fish like mackerel. The same thing applies for seasonings and sauces, such as Moroccan-inspired barramundi tagines or stuffed calamari in tomato sugo, which could pair nicely with a flavoursome Grenache. The Morris Pale Flor Apera could work really well with seafood too.
When it comes to BBQs, red meat and red wine makes for the perfect partnership. However, you may be surprised to know there are a few other wine varietals that are an equally great match with grilled meats, including steak.
Try teriyaki chicken skewers with a glass of Riesling. This wine usually pairs well with sweet or spicy BBQ flavours. A Pinot Gris - like Peter Lehmann Wines Hill & Valley Pinot Gris - with higher acidity is also a winner with pork, especially the fatter cuts like pork belly. A full-bodied and fruity white - like Brand’s Laira Blockers Chardonnay - can also be a surprising match to a juicy steak. Mature whites with bottle aged complexity (like Peter Lehmann Wines Margaret Semillon) also stand up to the char of the grill. At the end of the day, the goal is to find a white wine that imitates the robust qualities of typical reds.
Summer Sundays are for lazing around and soaking up the sunshine. Whether you’re entertaining friends at home by the pool or having a beach-side picnic, a chilled glass of wine is a must-have on the drinks menu. Try a bright and crisp Sauvignon Blanc or an elegant and delicate Rosé like Peter Lehmann Portrait Grenache Rosé. Just make sure if you are serving wine outdoors, keep it cool in a bucket of ice and water, and out of direct sunlight. Or if you’re feeling a little creative, pour the Rosé into a shallow tray and freeze overnight. Scrape with a fork and serve in an elegant glass with fresh berries for a show-stopping Frosé! Cheers!