The social media was unanimous. They recommended we drink the Mersault on Heiligabend. So we did. Twitter and Facebook had excellent taste.
Now the 1st Weinachtstag dilemma. Which shiraz to have with the duck? The choice is a bit more complex. One from the Barossa Valley, the capital of Shiraz. And two from McLaren Vale, the grape's spiritual home.
Let's start with the McLaren Vale shiraz. D'Arenberg wine is dear to my heart, from the days when my pals and I would skive off lectures at the nearby University of Adelaide to go wine drinking tasting.
There's an art to university drinking. The undergrad imbiber must calculate, usually on the run, how to squeeze maximum merriment from minimum dough.
In most parts of the world the math is easy—beer wins. Especially so 'round these parts; beer is the Poland Spring of Bavaria. Those poor students in England must resort to cider when skint, and I pity them.
In the South Australia of my youth—home to about 60% of Australia's viticulture—the most cost-efficient booze was wine. When wineries finished their run of bottling proper wine, they would often find some left over. They decanted the leftovers into three-litre bottles, known as flagons or 'goons for short, and sold it cheap to the likes of us. Depending on the luck of the draw, one's palate could become quite spoiled.
Our 'goons of choice came form D'Arenberg, and to boot, their tasting room showed great tolerance of freeloaders. D'Arrys curls up in a special corner of my heart. The wine on the table today bears the name of a highly successful racehorse owned by the founder of the winery. Historians credit Footbolt as the first true backer of the business.
The Barossa Valley, though big and tempting, lay a little bit too far from city for convenient wine-hookey. But the Barossa shiraz shows promise.
The Burge Family Draycott Shiraz comes from another long-established family winery. It contains about 30% Grenache, a light, sweet fruity grape that doesn't age so well. That makes it front-runner for tonight's cork-pop, since we must drink it urgently. The last bottle of this we opened was corked, so there will be tension in the air as we plunge in the screw.
The Beresford Shiraz—well, the winery is a comparative newcomer, established in 1985 in Langhorne Creek. I've not tasted any of their wines before. A dark horse, but if the blogosphere/twittersphere/facebookworms tell us to drink it, drink it we shall. And happily.
Let us know what you think.