Tue | Dec 6, 2016

Wine for the festivities

Published:Thursday | December 11, 2014 | 12:00 AM
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Jason Clarke, Contributor

As I slowly put together my wines for the season, I often get stopped in the supermarket with the query of what should be purchased. Well, I have the inside scoop on how to please your palates for the Christmas season. Everything comes down to three things:

a) price, because I know we are all on a budget

b) your personal taste

c) the taste profile of your prospective guests.

Red blends

Red blends provide the best flavour and tend to have just the perfect balance. They go with just about anything you are likely to serve, making it ideal for the table. The Trapiche Extravaganza Red Blend I recently sampled at Wine Wednesdays in Market Place includes a blend of Malbec, Bonarda and Syrah. The fruity aromas danced on the taste buds with just the right kind of weight, and is quite affordable.

The Apothic wine is a Californian blend portraying a different profile. A blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this round and supple red blend certainly has more body to it with an amazing nose.

Last, one of my all time favourites is the playfully suggestive Menage a Trois Red Blend. This smooth blend is an easy crowd pleaser and if you need a conversation starter, this is definitely an ice breaker. A blend of a Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the Zinfandel in particular offers dark fruit flavours and spicy notes, making it such an alluring partner for the other two red blends.

There is a host of red blends available and no doubt, economics may determine exactly which one you settle on, but they all tend to sit well among mature family and friends.

Sweets

When it comes to versatility, Moscatos are very approachable for new wine drinkers. Cavit Moscato is one my personal favourites. It is just one those refreshingly sweet wines that you can't help but love. Think Apricots and peaches, and you will be whisked off to a fruity paradise. Another great option is the Banrock Station Pink Moscato, or what I like to call the 'go-to lady pleaser'. That light pink hue, with citrus aromas and natural fruit sweetness makes it easy to understand why it is so simple to drink and enjoy.

Sparklings

We all want to ignite that spark and dance with the stars with champagne tastes. Unfortunately, often times we are quite lacking the champagne pocket: that's OK. There are quite a number of sparkly options which easily serve its enchanting purpose. A new addition to the shelves is the Yellow Tail Dry Sparkling. Nice vigorous bubbles with a citrus nose, it is beautifully crisp when served at the right temperature.

My go-to bubbly at this time of the year is Freixenet which is a Cava (the Spanish version of champagne). It is made from the same varietals and process as traditional champagne, but just a lot cheaper. Its beautiful black bottle certainly makes it look premium. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

As you kickstart the festive season, don't limit yourself. Indulge in new tastes, especially with friends and family so they can help you finish them.

I am not an expert, merely a wine enthusiast sharing my thoughts and experiences. Feel free to share your own experiences at wineenthusiastja@gmail.com.