Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.
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And his lucky host city is…
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"Great cake, also known in Barbados as black cake or rum cake, is a variation of British Christmas cake that's smashed with rum and falernum syrup," says Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael. "This festive cake varies from household to household but they all have two things in common: tons of dried fruit and rum. It's a cake that should be started at least a month out so the fruit can marinate in the booze. Start this recipe up to five weeks ahead to macerate the fruit and baste the cake."
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These are the drops we're savouring this month, from a tangy fortified wine to a refreshingly dry Australian rosé and a bargain bin riesling.
Numbered from top-bottom and left to right;
1. SUPER SWEETIE
2015 Oakdene Late Harvest Riesling, Geelong, Vic, $23
Don't let the very pale, innocent appearance fool you - this deliciously sweet late-harvest riesling is full of flavour and character. Fine, floral, almost sherbety perfume leads on to super-ripe, fat yellow fruit finessed by zingy acidity.
2. GREY FOX
2015 Foxey's Hangout Pinot Gris, Mornington Peninsula, Vic, $28
Over the past couple of decades the cool hills of Victoria's Mornington Peninsula have proved to be particularly well suited to producing rich and savoury, spicy and nectarine-fruity, ripe and textural pinot gris such as this one. Terrine, please.
3. SUPER SPICE
2014 Riversdale Estate Musca Syrah, Coal River, Tas, $57
From a vineyard just outside Hobart, this is cool-climate shiraz at its most thrillingly spicy and refined. Intensely attractive aromas of black pepper and clove lead to a mouthful of juicy wild blackberries and slinky tannin. Gorgeous.
4. MODERN CLASSIC
2015 Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier, Canberra District, NSW, $120
I have been following this wine since its first vintage back in the early 1990s, and I think this might be the best yet: all the entrancing spicy perfume and elegance you'd expect, but with unusual depth and a thrillingly grounded sense of place.
5. GIN SPIRIT
Shene Estate Poltergeist Unfiltered Gin, Pontville, Tas, $85
Distilled in a renovated barn on a colonial estate north of Hobart that dates back to the 1840s, this unfiltered gin is bursting with complex botanical aromas of herbs, citrus and juniper, and has a lovely satisfying richness on the tongue.
6. WILD THING
2015 Basket Range Wines Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills, SA, $32
From one of the original vineyards planted in this forest-fringed corner of the Adelaide Hills comes a pinot that perfectly captures its terroir: wild undergrowth aromas, sappy black-cherry fruit, some gently grippy, dusty tannin.
7. BARGAIN RIESLING
2016 Alkoomi White Label Riesling, Frankland River, WA, $15
This is a mad price for a good estate-grown riesling: with fresh apple and citrus aromas and lively acidity on the tongue, it's fine, moreish and even destined to develop a bit more complexity over 10 years in the cellar. All for 15 bucks.
8. UNIQUE LIQUEUR
Hardys Rare Liqueur Sauvignon Blanc, McLaren Vale, SA, $100
The winemakers at Hardys think this luscious, tangy fortified wine may be the only one of its kind made from sauvignon blanc grapes in the world. It tastes stunning, like a cross between very old muscat and Madeira.
9. WHITE SATIN
2015 Yalumba Roussanne, Eden Valley, SA, $24
Having proved their mastery of the aromatic white grape viognier, Yalumba have turned their attention to its Rhône relative, roussanne, with delicious results: delicate perfume of white flowers and green apple, lovely richness on the tongue.
10. PALE BELLE
2016 Hewitson Belle Ville Rosé, Barossa Valley, SA, $23
Another addition to the growing list of refreshing, pale, dry Australian rosés: grenache and cinsault grapes picked early (it's just 12.5 per cent alcohol) produce a gently perfumed wine with crunchy fruit and a savoury finish.
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