Xmas Wine

Reporter: Andrea Burns

Your every bevy.. or just a Christmas treat, WA's grape glut is good news for those who love a Yuletide tipple. Ray says "people tend to think west Australian wines are expensive, it's not" To paraphrase someone famous, The West's wine writer Ray Jordan, only drinks wine when it's hot, when it's not, and on days ending in y . Otherwise he never touches the stuff - unless he's thirsty. He loves it. And, lucky for us, he's done the tasting hard yards. Some job.

For a hot Aussie Christmas, a chilled white can be delicious. Kath and Kim says "would you like a cardonnay Kylie? - oh Kim you stupid girl , it's chardonnay. mum, the h is silent it's cardonnay, back me up here Kylie. Yeah Mrs d she's right, I've been to Paris and the h is silent, it's cardonnay" If you like a cardonnay... Ray says the best value around is the 2006 Hardy's Nottage Hill - and at six and a half dollars a bottle, maybe get a carton.

Ray says "see big companies can't afford to turn out dodgy wine so when you buy big company, you know there's a quality control in there and you can be pretty confident you're going to get good wine" At $8, the Angoves Long Row is also good... or the Jane Brook Plain Jane chenin blanc chardonnay blend . "Janebrook, another great producer from the swan valley and look this one always comes up well in tastings that I do, it's just a nice simple easy drinking wine"

Other good whites under fifteen dollars, the Houghton White Classic, $10.50 a bottle. "The white classic's the new white burgundy of course and again a most under-rated wine. the good thing about these is you can buy a dozen, open 6, put 6 away and they change totally, marvellous wines for cellaring"

Ray also likes the Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise sauvignon blanc viognier ...the Houghton Semillon sauvignon blanc... the Tulloch Verdelho at thirteen dollars a bottle or the 2002 Kirrihill Semillon for a couple of dollars more. The Madfish 2006 Riesling is Ray's favourite under fifteen dollars. "The madfish riesling is an unbelievable wine, great value, it's won trophies over the last few years through various vintages, it's just a terrific Riesling, crisp, flavoursome, intense, it's all you want in Riesling"

In the fifteen to twenty dollar range, Ray likes the Heggie's Riesling the best. Best Value, the Rockfield Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, at sixteen fifty a bottle. "I did a recent tasting and it was really nice to see some new names so when rockfield came up from Margaret river , with a sem sav blanc blend, it was just terrific you expect that from Margaret river, nice to see a new producer right on the money for this style"

Others to look out for the D'Aranburg the Money Spider, Richmond Grove Watervale Limited Release Riesling... Millbrook's sauvignon blanc... Brands Coonawarra 2004 chardonnay and the Stonehaven Hidden Sea Chardonnay. Cleanskins are big business, but Ray's not a fan. "I think it's a lucky dip. I prefer the idea that someone's got the integrity to actually put their name on the label and on the bottle and I'll support them for doing that"

To bubbles - and sparkling wines. Ray says "our sparkling wines are starting to approach a level of consistency and quality that I think even has the French looking over their shoulder and saying you know that's pretty good stuff" Under twenty bucks, he recommends the Redbank.. the 2004 Jacob's Creek Reserve... the wolf Blass red label... the Seaview Grand Cuvee. or the Omni. It might be the colour of the season but Ray says save the red, unless it's bubbles.

Now ray this is what you'll be drinking for Christmas what's so good about it it's just marvellous , sparkling red wine, classic Australian wine, rich lush - very sweet - it is sweet - it's beautiful - little bit alcoholic -oh really , is that a problem? mmm can be laugh look it's marvellous stuff , I've said it many times, it makes turkey taste halfway good so it can 't be halfway bad. Finally, some gift suggestions - if you like to give red - around fifty bucks, the Charles Melton Nine Popes.

Ray says "the white I'd go for would be Leeuwin's art series, cos I just think it's a great wine and if there's anyone who wants to buy me anything at all just a little bit special, and I'm worth it, I reckon I'd go the Krug Rose - about 600 bucks but I reckon I might be worth it"

RAY JORDAN'S CHRISTMAS WHITE WINE AND SPARKLING PICKS.

CHARDONNAY

BEST VALUE - Hardys Nottage Hill 2006 -$6.55/bottle

Angoves Long Row 2005 - $8/bottle

Jane Brook Plain Jane Chenin Blanc Chardonnay 2006 - $12.50

WHITE WINES UNDER $15

Houghton White Classic 2006 - $10.50

Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Sauvignon Blanc Viognier 2006 - $14.95

Houghton Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - $10.50

Tulloch Verdelho 2005 -$13

Kirrihill Semillon 2002 - $14.95

BEST WHITE WINE UNDER $15 - Madfish Riesling 2006 - $14.95

BEST WHITE WINES $15-20- Heggies Riesling 2006 - $19.95

BEST VALUE - WHITE WINES $15-20 - Rockfield Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2006 -$16.50

WHITE WINES $15-20

D'Aranburg the Money Spider Roussanne 2005 - $19.95

Richmond Grover Watervale Limited Release Riesling 2005 - $16

Millbrook Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - $19.95

Brands Coonawarra Chardonnay 2004 - $19.95

Stonehaven Hidden Sea Chardonnay 2004 -$19.85

SPARKLING WINES UNDER $20

Redbank Chardonnay Pinot Brut Cuvee - $11.95

Jacob's Creek Reserve Chardonnay Pinot Noir Vintage 2004- $19

Wolf Blass Red Label Chardonnay Pinot Noir Premium Cuvee - $14.55

Seaview Grand Cuvee -$9.95

Omni NV - $12.40

GIFT SUGGESTIONS -

RED WINE

Charles Melton Nine Popes 2004 ( around $45)

WHITE WINE - 2003 Leeuwin Estate art series - around $90

Krug Rose - about $600

RRP $27.97 available from West Australian Newspaper Ltd
Email;
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