Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Thanks so much for your letter. We’re really pleased that you can make the Chateau Shanahan Boxing Day lunch. And thanks, too, for offering to bring the wine. As promised, I’ve put the wine list together, including prices and where to buy.

Thanks, especially, for offering to visit those nice Krug people in Reims on your way south. But we won’t need their new $5,000-a-bottle, Clos d‘Ambonnay Champagne after all.

I’ve found a cheaper alternative that ought to be very close to it in quality. Like the Krug it’s also sourced from old pinot noir vines in Ambonnay – and it’s also barrel fermented and bottle aged for many years. But it costs only $140 – so we can get three-dozen bottles for the same budget. Perhaps you could stay for dinner, too?

The Champagne’s called Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes NV. Just call Bibendum Wine Company on 03 8415 0070 for the pick-up address in Melbourne.

I can’t think of a lovelier starter, Santa – just imagine all the freshness and delicacy of Champagne but with the amazing flavour and power of top-notch pinot noir.

It’ll be a hard act to follow. But we’ll try. We’re air freighting half a dozen live crayfish from Robe, South Australia. They’re firm fleshed and luxurious and a great match with fine-boned, equally luxurious chardonnay.

I thought originally of white Burgundy – a Corton Charlemagne or Le Montrachet. But since the Krug visit’s off, you might as well skip France and pick up a bottle of Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay 2005 here in Canberra.

It’s as good as any chardy I’ve tasted this year and has that nice bit of bottle age that the best wines need. It’ll cost about $150.

The duck and mushroom main course calls for a juicy, soft, earthy wine – something supple, smooth and elegant. Cool-climate shiraz is a possibility. But pinot’s the classic match and there’s a beauty down on the Mornington Peninsula.

If you visit Nat and Rosalie White at Main Ridge Estate, they should be able to fix you up with a few bottles of Half Acre Pinot Noir 2006 at $62 each. This is a beautiful Aussie pinot. And could you ask Nat to reserve a couple of 2007s for next year? There’s not much of it, but it’s sensational. Best to look at for the details.

After all that, Santa, I reckon we might enjoy summer pudding with a new round of Egly-Ouriet Champers.

Merry Christmas from all at Chateau Shanahan.

Copyright  © Chris Shanahan 2008