Innocent Bystander, Victoria, 2010 Moscato, 5.5% (Bradley’s Off Licence)

According to Chris Pfeiffer, the Australian wine-maker who was in town recently, this wine is taking Australia by storm and it certainly went down well at the Australian Stickie Tasting in the Hayfield. The Moscato is imported by Liberty Wines and is on sale in 375ml bottles with a beer crown.

One of its big attractions of this Innocent Bystander  product  is the fact that the ABV is just 5.5% and it is naturally effervescent, a really tasty lively mouthful. Thought it might be handy around the Christmas and got a few bottles in Bradley’s, one of many stockists.

Surprised at the beer bottle top? There are more surprises to come. Just picked this straight from the Innocent Bystander website: Our Moscato is made from 100% Muscat grapes sourced from old vines, naturally effervescent and naturally pink. Perfectly balanced in sweetness and acidity, this wine has become such big phenomenon that it is available in selected venues nationally on tap.

It is quite versatile and makes an interesting aperitif. But if you want to stick with something more traditional then I’d suggest the Mont Marcal Extremarium Cava, that I really enjoyed at the recent CuriousWines Fair.

Want another talking point on your table this Christmas? Then why not try the popular Jip Jip Rocks Sparkling Shiraz .   
This is what the company says: This non vintage wine sparkles to the tune of a well balanced blend; predominantly 3 year old Shiraz aged in old French oak barrels allowing wonderful smooth integration of fruit and a rich weighty texture across the palate. This is blended with a touch of younger vintage Shiraz to bring ripe juicy varietal fruit characters to the finished wine.

I first tasted it a few months back when winemaker Brad Rey visited Karwig Wines where it is on sale. Must say I really enjoyed it and it is quite versatile and Brad indicated you could use it in any situation where you would use a Pinot Noir. Talking point yes but no joke.

Need a white to go with the red for the Christmas dinner? How about one that has been aged in oak from seven different countries? Well since you’re in Karwig’s why not try their De Muller 2010 Chardonnay from Tarragona. It is a bright light gold in colour with a rather intense fruit nose. On the palate it is very smooth, almost creamy, and well balanced between fruit and acidity. Has also been on the lees for a spell.

The winery’s notes: A sumptuous white wine elaborated with our rich Mediterranean vines of Chardonnay, of great character and personality. The latter comes from its fermentation and ageing in French, American, Hungarian, Russian, Rumanian, Slovakian and German oak barrels and posterior and adequate batonnage. The process of fermentation and the time our Chardonnay has spent in barrels conveys the crystalline, shining and slightly golden yellow colour.

Port is a traditional post dinner drink. The Australians make quite a few of this type but can’t call it port. They usually end up with a long winded title such as Hamilton Ewell Fortified Red Wine, not too long really at least in this case. This is available from Bubble Brothers for about €18.00.

In the Hayfield, this didn’t appear on the Stickie list though there were one or two fairly similar. There, Chris Pfeiffer said that the Oz “ports” tend to be sweeter than the Douro, But this Hamilton Ewell effort, which has its hints of brown sugar and raisins, is not that sweet. It has “aged gracefully” in old oak barrels and, indeed, it could well pass for the Portuguese equivalent. Might be worth a try if you’re passing the Bubbles Bros outlet in the English Market during the week.