Published NZME Regional Newspapers Tue 22 December 2015


Why do I do it every year?  My offspring, now in their teens, will supply me with a ‘Santa List’ on December 1st.  It’s the rules according to them.  I go through the lists and secretly cross off all the R18 X-Box games and DVD’s (sorry son, but you’re only 13 and I don’t care if all your mates have got them and they’re really not that bad because there’s really not that many beheadings and prostitute bashings), anything that’s pink and sparkly and from Smiggle (sorry daughter, but you’re 15 and you have so much of that stuff lying around your bedroom already, that I refuse to buy any more of that junk).  A hoverboard?  At $1000 and a guaranteed head injury, I don’t think so.  Anything with an ‘I’ or the word ‘Mac’ in front of it – been there, done that.  How many smashed screens and munted headphone jack point’s will it take for you to realise that you are clearly not capable of looking after those things properly?

So what are we left with? Books and CD’s and clothes written, recorded and designed by internet zillionaire teen ‘viners’ and ‘YouTubers’.  I know.  I don’t get it either.  But determined to not just give the kids vouchers, I dutifully go online to locate said ‘merch’, order, credit card details supplied, read the ‘Your order has been logged and we’ll update you on progress’ emails and then promptly go into a state of anxiety.  Will the stuff arrive before Christmas?  There’s literally only days to go!  What will I do if nothing turns up? What if the YouTubers take my money and run?

So to allay the fear of my children being present-less come December 25, I zoom to Smiggle (I suppose another glittery stationary set won’t hurt) and Rebel Sport (no hoverboard, but maybe a softball bat or something with Nike written on it will suffice).

Thankfully the adults in my life are more than happy getting a good bottle of wine. Now that I can happily manage with my eyes closed.


Elderton Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 $31 ★★★★Elderton Estate Cabernet Sauvignon NV_cropped

It’s the perfume of this wine which won me over from the first sniff.  Bay  and dried, bouquet garni herbs weave through subtle eucalypt and sweet, ripe plum and blueberry notes.  In the mouth it’s buoyant and fresh, yet velvety-smooth at the same time. The tannins are soft and powdery and there’s an attractive tobacco leaf  and cedar layer on the finish.   Good Aussie cabernet right here folks.


Beresford BelltowerBeresford Bell Tower McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013 $20 ★★★½

Who doesn’t love a big, rich, Australian shiraz that radiates ripe, dark, dusty berries, sweet plum and chocolate?  This is one of those wines that I warmed to straight away because the price is right and it held it’s flavours for a decent length of time in the mouth – not like many of the cheaper examples that fall away within seconds.  It also oozes fruit cake spices, chocolate and a layer of liquorice.  Yummy.


Avaniel Tempranillo 2013 $22 ★★★½Avaniel Red (1)

Sourced from Spain’s Ribero del Duero region is this ultra-smooth, plush and velvety red that seeps cocoa, cola, black olive, blackcurrant and all sorts of light, earthy, liquorice-like characters.  It’s got personality and an easy mouthfeel and I’m sure if you whip this out for your guests at the next BBQ you’re hosting – then you’ll get smiling nods of approval.


Keen to go a little less sillier on your liver this season?  Then aim for the ten-percent-or-less brigade when it comes to your wines.  Here’s two goodies to get you started…


Tohu Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015 $20 ★★★½Tohu Lighter Alcohol Sauvignon Blanc NV

This is a highly fruity and tropically-scented sauvignon that’s packed with passionfruit, peach and lovely lemony goodness on the palate as well.  At just 10% alcohol it’s definitely one of the more generously proportioned low-alcohol styles I’ve tried and it has good length of flavour too.  Widely available in supermarkets.


Betty-goldsSoho Betty Riesling 2015 $22 ★★★★½

There’s just 9.4% alcohol here, so expect a shwing of sweetness in this absolute cracker of a riesling that smells and tastes like crunchy green apple and lime sorbet.  Named after the elegant Betty Ford this is an elegant wine indeed.  With its intense, snappy acidity, sweet honeysuckle and citrus layers and ultra-tangy, tension on the finish, I absolutely love it.