Seasonal inspiration

A 100-year-old Christmas wine

By Georgia Spanos

2 Nov, 2018

Para Liqueur is the only wine James Halliday has ever awarded 100 points, and is quite the topic of conversation because of it. With tasting notes flavouring the palate of Christmas, there’s no time more suitable to bring this bottle to light; through discussion, through taste, or even if looking to gift a decadent piece of wine history this Christmas. 

The producers, Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley, are most famed for the collection line to which Para Liqueur sits within, their Centennial Collection, and remains the only winery in the world to release this 100 year old, single vintage each year. Not a year has passed where James has dropped his rating from 100 points. He then writes his yearly review, each year painting a completely different picture of the Barossa Valley delicacy. His review is anticipated all year long – just like Christmas.  

For the 1918 release, James’ tasting notes showed all shades of grace as he describes the bottle resembling “flavours of raisin, burnt toffee and plum pudding” which “search out every nook an cranny of your mouth”. With flavours so closely aligning to those of Christmas, it’s hard to not dream of traditional plum pudding draped in cream or custard, or the soaked raisins of fruit tarts within the company of family and friends. Here’s how to include the bottle within your festivities this year:

For those that choose to gift the wine:

This wine is rather special, and gifting it is a generous gesture. The bottle can be purchased directly from the producers, Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley, and may take some days to arrive, so do consider this. It’s the ultimate gift for appreciators of wine.

For those that wish to try the wine:

You’re in for a memorable Christmas. Once the bottle has arrived, pour the smallest amount (in a crystal glass if you have one), and enjoy micro-sips at a time. James shares that “a little goes a long way”, which is optimal if you’re hosting large parties or are of a large family – all can experience its beauty. It’s best enjoyed post meals with fine cheese, dark chocolate and rich fruit. 

For those that wish to pair the wine: 

As mentioned above, Para Liqueur is a special treat post dinner, which pairs well with the richer foods most seen during dessert time. Christmas plum pudding is a classic that always works wonderfully, similarly with soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert and blue. It’s also great with dark chocolate mousse, and savory cheesecake varieties. 

For those that wish to discuss the wine amongst friends:

It’s a wonderful topic of conversation to have on Christmas day. Reading James’ review always provokes thought, and if you’re lucky enough to have a bottle amongst you, try tasting and discussing its flavours. You’re sure to each pick up something completely different. Although this doesn’t just apply to Para Liqueur, you can try this with any seasonal bottle you’ve pulled from the cellar.