Neil Pike (left) with Craig Lewis from Bottling Dynamics, a trophy sponsor at the Clare Valley Regional Wine Show in November, 2014.

It seems like just last month that we were bringing in the 2014 harvest. Now Christmas is almost upon us and we are a quite a way through selling the vintage….(well the whites anyway).

Our sales have been very buoyant on the back of some excellent reviews and great wine show results, but we still have plenty of beautiful wines to grace your festive tables and make it a Pikes Christmas.

Our 2014 “Traditionale” Riesling is typically vibrant and refreshing and I always think this wine is ideal to drink around Christmas time in the year it is made. It recently won a Gold Medal at the Canberra International Riesling Challenge (again) and also a Gold medal and Trophy for Best International Wine at the recent International Aromatic Wine Competition held in NZ.

The 2014 ‘Merle’ Riesling also has done well winning a Gold Medal and four Trophies at our local Clare Valley Regional Wine Show last month, including Best Current Vintage Riesling, Best Riesling of Show, Best Single Vineyard Wine and Best Wine of Show. Brother Andrew also received the Viticulturist Trophy, so it was a big day out for us. While it takes a little while in the bottle to unfurl and show its true colours, ‘The Merle’ is a standout wine for us in most vintages. The 2014 is no exception.

Our other 2014 whites also look very, very good indeed. The ‘Valley’s End’ SBS, ‘Luccio’ Pinot Grigio and ‘Luccio’ Fiano are released and receiving many complimentary comments at cellar door. The Fiano in particular is proving to be very popular, out selling everything but Riesling in the past few months.

We have just bottled the 2014 ‘Gill’s Farm’ Viognier and ‘Damside’ Chardonnay and I can happily report these too are both of an excellent standard. They are a great change up if you find yourself succumbing to the acid build up of fresh, young Clare Valley Rieslings. Softer and with more flesh on the bones, they make a great accompaniment to much of the food we tend to serve over the festive season. Grilled prawns or calamari on the bbq springs to mind for some reason.

With the warmer months now upon us, it is an ideal time to stock up on the 2014 ‘Luccio’ Sangiovese Rose. This has only just been bottled and is the perfect wine to enjoy while watching the Boxing Day Test and eating leftover turkey sandwiches. It is one of my preferred “Shack” wines with a six-pack disappearing rapidly when I head to the beach for the Christmas/New Year break. Delicious.

We have also started to release our 2013 red wines and I am pleased to report they are a great follow up to the lovely 2012 vintage reds.

The 2013 Shiraz and Rhone varietals in particular look to be of a really high quality. In general they possess loads of bright, juicy flavours and are a great expression of both our vineyard and our region.

The 2013 ‘Eastside’, although only recently bottled, will impress many, as will the 2013 ‘Plantation’ Grenache, 2013 ‘Assemblage’ Shiraz/Mourvedre/Grenache and 2013 ‘Gill’s Farm’ Mourvedre. They are all food friendly, medium bodied wines and a great alternative to the high octane, over-ripe styles that we sometimes associate with SA Shiraz and its Rhone cousins.

In recent times Cabernet has lived in a Shiraz shadow to some extent; something we aim to change. Cabernet from Clare in the right vintage is capable of being right up there with Margaret River and Coonawarra in producing top quality wines in my opinion. We have been putting extra focus on our Cabernet-based wines for some time now and it is beginning to show.

The 2013 ‘Dogwalk’ Cabernet Merlot is about to be bottled and due for release around Autumn next year and looks particularly promising. It is all blackcurrant, dark cherry and cedar and very attractive. There are also still good stocks remaining of the excellent 2012 vintage of this wine. This is drinking beautifully right now and is an absolute bargain at the price. In fact, I just took a six-pack home myself.

I reckon there are also just a few cases left of lovely 2012 ‘Homage’ Cabernet Malbec – get in quick for this wine, as it is a thing of beauty. The 2013 version looks pretty impressive as well.

And finally, there are still some stocks of our terrific 2010 reserve reds – ‘The Hill Block’ Cabernet and ‘The E.W.P.’ Shiraz. Both are lovely wines that are drinking beautifully right now and will certainly enhance any Christmas table and perhaps make the thought of entertaining the “in laws” for Christmas lunch just a little more bearable.

Happy festive season to all and thanks for your continued support.