18 December 2023

Christmas cheers: put local wines under the tree and on the table this festive season

| Katrina Condie
Lerida estate food

Choose Canberra produce when pairing wine with your Christmas platters. Photo: Region.

Canberrans need look no further than their backyard for the perfect festive wine this Christmas.

Whether you’re after a special artisan gift, a crisp white to share with friends or a robust red to crack open with Christmas dinner, with dozens of award-winning varieties, the Canberra Wine Region has all bases covered.

According to Lerida Estate operations manager Melisa Morgan, the local wine region has an abundance of amazing wines to enjoy at Christmas and throughout the festive season.

“No one needs to travel further abroad to look for delicious wines when they are on your doorstep,” she said.

“If you can’t visit a local cellar door to grab some wine, try Canberra Wines and Spirits as they stock all the good local wines.”

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Whether the family is gathering for a Christmas barbecue or a traditional roast dinner with turkey, ham and all the trimmings, Melisa has plenty of suggestions to ensure the meal is a winner.

“My go-to wines for a steak and sausage barbecue with friends would be a bubbly Prosecco or a Riesling then a Sangiovese or Tempranillo. All these wines are easy drinking and perfect for an Australian summer barbie,” she said.

“A lovely Pinot Grigio or Riesling would be perfect with a roast turkey or pork and roast veggies. You want a wine with a nicely balanced acidity to cut through the fat of pork belly or roast pork. A light Pinot Noir would also be delicious.”

As more Australians embrace the summer seafood Christmas, Melisa suggests a Canberra District Riesling for prawns and oysters.

“I would opt for a dryer style Riesling with lots of citrus and freshness. Of course, any Prosecco or sparkling would make the dish even more delicious,” she added.

And, if you’re catching up for an afternoon of cheese and wine with friends, a Rose is a great universal choice.

“Wine is a personal choice, so really anything can work here,” Melisa said.

“A classic French-style dry Rose has lots of fruit aromas, nice acid and a dry finish, making it a perfect pairing for creamy and hard cheeses and cured meats.

“It is important to pair the right wines with your meal because sometimes the wine you drink might overpower the meal or visa versa.

“If you are eating a very spicy or chilli-heavy dish, this may impact your palate and you will not be able to taste the wine you’re drinking.”

While the Canberra district is probably best known for Shiraz and Riesling, there are so many options when it comes to choosing a wine to share with friends or as a gift for a special someone.

“If you are having friends or family over to visit or if you are going to visit them, I would recommend any of the district’s Shiraz or Rieslings,” Melisa said.

“We have recently released our 2022 Cullerin Cabernet Franc (RRP $44), which is most commonly used in red blends. However, it is a genuinely delicious single-varietal wine.

“I think the only other Canberra District winery that produces a Cabernet Franc is Tallagandra Hill. I think people should buy one of Lerida’s and one of Tallagandra Hill’s and taste them side by side with some roast pork, roast turkey and cranberry – you won’t regret it!”

When people have friends and family over to celebrate during the festive season, they are generally more relaxed, happy and in high spirits. Melisa said wine was an important part of that celebration for many people.

“Wine is seen as a celebratory notion,” she explained.

“It is really lovely to share a glass of wine with your loved ones over a meal, and wines can really enhance your food. Pairing wines with food and friends and family really heightens the overall mood and creates memories.”

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When she’s invited to a Christmas party or family dinner, there are two Canberra wines at the top of Melisa’s gift list.

“I personally always opt for a nice bottle of red wine to take dinner at family or friends’ houses,” she said.

“I would probably take a Shiraz/Syrah or, if I knew they were fans of white wine, I would choose a nice Chardonnay. I always take a local wine when visiting family or friends.”

The Canberra Wine District has had a few tough and struggling years, and Canberrans are encouraged to keep supporting their local producers.

Melisa said, besides that, Canberra Wines are some of the best wines in Australia.

“There is so much choice and so many different varietals within the region,” she said.

“There are some seriously delicious wines out there to try.”

The Lerida Estate Cafe and Cellar Door is open every day except Christmas Day.

Original Article published by Katrina Condie on Riotact.


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