Fat men in suits, tinselled trees and stockings at the end of your bed. Sound familiar? That’s right, it’s almost Christmas. Whatever you choose to wear this silly season, there is little doubt a barbeque will ever be far away.
Eschewing the full roasted bird with all the trimmings, a seafood Christmas is more than commonplace for a Down Under dinner. With that change of menu comes a more Mediterranean wine list too. So let’s celebrate the changing face of vinous exploration in Australia and seek out some lesser-known bottles for your barbeque this Christmas. The menu will be left to our imagination; the wine will be absolutely real.
On arrival, sometime just after the cold platters land on the table, grab some Prosecco from the ice bucket. A sparkling wine with its home in and around Veneto in Italy, Prosecco offers bright fruit expression and less assertive acidity than most method traditional wines, and delivers a soft yet aromatic fruit expression. Expressive enough to put a smile on your face, and simple enough to not worry if you drink it a little too quickly as you’re racing to ignite the barbecue. It’s the classic aperitif bubbles. Some locals to look out for are Brown Brothers and Chrismont, both from the King Valley in Victoria.
Prosecco from Brown Brothers.
You have some scallops for entrée, succulent and sweet, cooked in a way that defines brevity. You serve them simply with lemon, salt and pepper. This dish is basic, yet the flavours are intense. You have a number of options: Electric rieslings are classic - think Jim Barry Watervale and Pikes Traditional. But let’s look to Italy for some inspiration. Try some Fiano from Fox Gordon in the Barossa. It offers a comforting fruit expression without the super tropical explosion, which makes it a perfect pairing with seafood. If you want something a little firmer and tighter, try Mollet Sancerre. Sancerre delivers a thrilling yet subdued version of Sauvignon blanc, perfect with seafood.
With the main course fast approaching, the food here tends to be richer so the wine we match with it goes up in weight and texture too. A terrific intermediate option is rosé, a beautifully flexible category defined solely by its colour. Chateau Riotor from the south of France brings weight, but still has lovely herbal notes and a thread of strawberry. Spinifex and Tuesner from South Australia offer more generous fruit expression but will pair with your Moreton Bay bugs in garlic butter so very well. For something bigger and richer try La Linea Tempranillo from the Adelaide Hills. Among the top Tempranillo in Australia, the La Linea walks the line of freshness and richness beautifully with a restrained oak regime, yet there’s no shortage of bright fruit. This will hold you in good stead as you wait for the pavlova to be topped and Moscato to be poured.
Stepping it up a notch with Tempranillo from La Linea.
For more inspiration, see our cellar press.