Fri | Apr 28, 2017

Wines for Christmas

Published:Thursday | December 18, 2014 | 12:00 AMJason Clarke
Ian Allen/Photographer Lindemans Merlot is a great match maker for this roast chicken, with its lovely flavours of plum, spices and vanilla..
Ian Allen/Photographer The Rosemont Traminer Reisling is simply yummy with a slice of Christmas cake.
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WITH EIGHT days to go before Christmas, by now you must be feeling the Christmas cheer, even if you are a grinch like me.

It becomes near impossible to not look forward to a Christmas Day dinner with family. Doing my own preparation, I baked a ham and had a few friends over to make the experience more enjoyable. What better way to cook, especially for hours, than in the company of friends, and, more important, a few good bottles.

Versatility is the order of the day when thinking about what to pour on Christmas Day. I am always a lover of reds, and Lindemans Merlot is a great match maker. Lovely flavours of plum, spice, and vanilla make for a very rewarding glass of wine. If you are likely to eat at someone's house on Christmas Day, this is a great bottle to walk with. I am sure your host will appreciate the gesture and tongues will sing with the first sip.

If you are thinking of something more striking, intense, and full-bodied, think Cabernet Sauvignon or the Shiraz from Lindemans. Both are very distinct. Just ensure you serve it at the right temperature to really enjoy its beautiful flavours.

Lindeman's Bin65 Chardonnay is by far one of the best value-based Chardonnays I have had recently - delicate, creamy, and easy to drink. What is nice is how well it pairs with the Christmas feast. No wonder it has won so many awards. This Australian winemaker found a winning formula and knocked this one for six with very fruity aromas and subtle hints of oak, and now is the time to drink it.

Sweeter wines are always great for entertainment, not to mention dessert. Fruitcake is a must-have, whether store bought or homemade, for any Christmas feast to be complete. I find moscatos nice, but why not try something new? Reislings are the way to go. The Rosemont Traminer Reisling is simply yummy and very aromatic. The moment you open the bottle, it screams at you to indulge. It has very fruity characteristics, which make this ideal for Christmas cake, with the right balance of sweetness and acidity. Again, these Australian winemakers are clearly showing they know a thing or two about making delicious wines.

Although it's always nice to pair according to the meal, the most important thing is that you enjoy whatever you are drinking and who you are drinking with.

• 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.