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Local’s guide: Wines for celebrating, The Grampians Way

15 Dec 2020

Bona fide Grampians wine expert Simon Freeman from Grampians Wine Cellar has curated the perfect list of Grampians wines to take you from Christmas brunch right through until sunset sips. Support our region’s wineries and stock up on his recommendations to round out your perfect host status or take some gifting inspiration.

Purchase Simon's six-pack of recommended wines in-store. And for great value deals bundling wines from across the region don’t forget Made the Grampians Way (not surprisingly, a couple of Simon’s picks feature in the Award-Winning Mixed Dozen).

Merry Christmas one and all!

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1. Something special....

Our family have a tradition of a lovely bottle of Champagne with our brunch of ham, pineapple and cherries. This year I will be breaking the tradition somewhat as a special bottle of sparkling wine from the Grampians has been released...2016 Best's Great Western 'CMT' Methode Tradionelle.

Named after Christine Mary Thomson, current matriarch of this family-run estate and wife of legendary winemaker, Viv Thomson. This is a one-off release made with a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It has spent four years on lees and was topped up with a special dosage of a small amount of 40 year-old sparkling base wine that they found in the cellar. Made in very small quantities, it is only available direct from Best's and at Grampians Wine Cellar.

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2. Sparkling Shiraz

This is a style that the region has a great history of making, and I know many who consider it to be an essential part of Christmas celebrations.

My favourite from the region is the 2017 Grampians Estate 'Rutherford' Sparkling Shiraz. A regular winner of trophies at wine shows, this is a complex style with lots of varietal characteristics of dark berries and peppery spice, with enough sweetness to balance without being too sickly.

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3 & 4 - To drink with seafood

We will be firing up the barbie in the afternoon and indulging in a plethora of fine seafood sitting on the deck. I love fresh and crisp dry whites for this, and the region’s Riesling all would fill the brief.

2019 Fallen Giants Riesling has become one of the most consistent and high-quality examples in the region. Packed with citrus fruits, a long mineral-driven finish makes it a perfect match.

2020 ATR Wines 'Chockstone' Pinot Gris. Adam Richardson is one of the most exciting producers in the region, making some fascinating wines with less common grapes, but he also makes this Chockstone range which provides delicious wines and fantastic value. This Pinot Gris is soft and creamy, with delicate spiced pear notes. Great as an aperitif or to sip away at through a warm afternoon.

Pinot Gris is soft and creamy, with delicate spiced pear notes. Great as an aperitif or to sip away at through a warm afternoon.

18 Shiraz

5 & 6 - As the sun is setting

2019 The Story Wines Grampians Grenache has become my most popular wine at the shop as I tend to recommend it to anyone who will listen! Obviously, Shiraz is the red grape that the region is most famous for, but I have seen a shift in both consumer demand for slightly lighter styles and a wave of wineries focussing on grapes like Grenache to satisfy it. This wine is bursting with juicy berries and has a delicate hint of a savoury spice character to give depth. Would also go with turkey and cranberry sauce for anyone doing a traditional dinner!

2018 Black & Ginger 'Malakoff Vineyard' Shiraz (Pyrenees). Officially the fruit for this wine comes from our neighbouring wine region of the Pyrenees, but it is made by one of the big up-and-comers of the Grampians region, Hadyn Black. This is a delicious example of cool-climate Shiraz; blackberries, delicate pepper notes and a lifted and almost floral fragrance. Modern Shiraz for the modern palate, and a great way to finish the day!