The best Christmas celebration wines over $50

The second half of our two-parter on Xmas wines is a real “best-of-the-best” – it’s for those that want to live large and emphatically say “good riddance” to 2020 and its woes.

When there is something to celebrate, champagne must be present. Why not chose something from a less well-known name, such as the ever-reliable, high-quality NV Billecart Salmon – or a superb Blanc de Blancs NV from the House of Bonnaire?

If you’re willing to push the wine budget a little higher, then you can’t go wrong with these:

NV Laurent Perrier “La Cuvee” Champagne, Tours-sur-Marne, France (RRP $73)

Founded in 1812, there is nothing “petite” about Maison Laurent Perrier.

“LP” is the world’s largest family-owned Champagne house and one of the top 10 Champagne houses for global sales. The “La Cuvée” is comprised of more than 100 different sites and also more than 50% chardonnay –the latter apparent from the lifted bouquet of white flowers and citrus. The palate has great vitality with delicate and complex white fruit characters on show throughout the long persistent finish. Superb as an aperitif and with shellfish or white meat.

2016 Domaine Thibert Saint-Veran “Bois de Fée”, Mâconnais, France (RRP $76)

Only 250 dozen produced of this chardonnay which hails from the Mâconnais, about 100 kilometres south of the Beaune.

Complex bouquet of white flowers, citrus aromatics and nutty oak. The palate features a superb combination of stylish, middle weight chardonnay fruit lying atop a base of superb acidity and chalky mineral characters. This has excellent mid-palate muscle and the white stone fruit flavours really persist, combining textural interest with great vivacity.
An outstanding example of chardonnay – and affordable to boot.

2019 Pierro Chardonnay, Margaret River, WA

Year in, year out, Pierro is right at the top of the tree for Margaret River chardonnay, and this delivers in spades. Never the biggest nor the funkiest, it is always a chardonnay that has extraordinary poise, complexity and character and delights the palate.

From the cool 2019 Margs vintage, matured in French oak, 50% new, 50% one-year old. The bouquet leaps at you with notes of lemon curd, cashew and sea-spray. The palate is no less exciting with a reprise of what the bouquet foreshadowed and with some mineral and saline notes joining in. Marvellous line and drive throughout and culminating with a very long finish with some tang and grip. Great, great chardonnay.

2017 Luciano Sandrone “Valmaggiore” Nebbiolo D’Àlba, Piedmont, Italy (RRP $95)

Bright floral aroma, lifted, giving notes of rose, aniseed and warm earth. The palate excites with burnished and lively small red berry fruits on entry, which go on to feature in the supple, medium-bodied palate and continue on to a long, even and fragrant finish and with an eventual full-stop of delicious, slightly-bitter milk chocolate. Yum! Give me this with the xmas turkey or duck.

2016 Wolf Blass Platinum Label Shiraz, Barossa Valley, SA (RRP $199)

Just released. From the Medlands Barossa Valley “floor” vineyard. Formidably dark, deep purple colour. The voluminous bouquet roars from the glass with an exotic melange of black and blue fruit notes, with dark chocolate and oak completing the olfactory sensations.

The aromatic lift suggested lift and vigour and the palate confirms it.Those dark berry flavours attack the palate with great intensity and drive. This is one huge bowl of macerated fruit flavours delivering a silky-smooth palate which ultimately progresses to the long, savoury complex finish which is buttressed by judicious oak handling and integrated acidity. Despite its immense build, this remains lively and ridiculously easy to drink. Superb.

2016 Louis Boillot Gevrey-Chambertin Villages, Côte d’Or, France (RRP $125)

The home of pinot noir is unarguably France’s Côte d’Or, and while Grand Cru burgundies start at $400 and quickly run to $4000 for the most sought-after producers, every now and again a wine “comes along” which punches way above its weight.

Seductive aromatics with a whiff of menthol passing over chilled red berries with back notes of darker fruits. The palate seduces with its plush fruit cloaking a shapely medium-bodied structure which exhibits real complexity through underlying minerality and perfectly crafted tannins. Really fans out to deliver a joyous finish of great length and persistence. This would shame most producers premier wines with its quality. Outstanding Gevrey villages – as good as it gets at this level.

Or why not try another Treasure Wine Estates offering?

The Chinese government, perhaps unwittingly, delivered Australian wine lovers an early Christmas present with its trade hijinks – resulting in more vinous gems available for locals to enjoy. Of course, Treasury Wine Estates have a multitude of premium reds that are highly sought-after in China.

Now, you can grab one or more for a spot on your Xmas table. Such as a stunning – and possibly greatest ever of the line – 2018 Seppelt St Peters Grampians Shiraz, which you could also choose to cellar for 20-30 years.

Or the the legendary Wynns John Riddoch, Coonawarra’s greatest cabernet sauvignon, more curvaceous and full bodied than usual, thanks to the warmer 2016 vintage conditions. Again, one of the greatest ever of this illustrious line.