Top drops: November 2016

Whatever the cause for celebration, Max Allen has a juicy drop to enhance the festive spirit, from convivial red by the magnum to exuberant bubbles. Here's to good times.

Numbered from top-bottom and left-to-right: 

1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY

2013 Best's The Concongella, Great Western, Vic, $150

This brilliant blend of old-vine pinot meunier, shiraz and dolcetto would be a great gift for the wine collector - a celebration of the famous winery's 150th anniversary, and a wine that will still be drinking well on its own 50th birthday. bestswines.com

2. BUY THE CASE

2015 Redbank Prosecco, King Valley, Vic, $19

Crisp, refreshing, moreish fizz at a great price - just the thing if you need to buy a case or two because you've got people coming for a party. It makes a great Spritz, too, so maybe buy a few more bottles to have on hand over summer. redbankwines.com

3. BIRTH YEAR WINE #1

2016 Grosset Polish Hill Riesling, Clare Valley, SA, $45

If you're looking for a wine to cellar for a child born this year, think about buying some of this stunning, mineral-rich riesling. It'll be deeply complex and satisfying when it's 18 (and delicious in the intervening years if you can't wait that long). grosset.com.au

4. WATER OF LIFE

Belgrove Rye Whisky, Tasmania, $148

A dram or two of this exceptional, truly handcrafted whisky (distiller Peter Bignell does everything himself, from growing the rye to writing the labels) is exactly what you need for those quieter, contemplative moments of celebration. belgrovedistillery.com.au

5. BIRTH YEAR WINE #2

Seppeltsfield 50 Year Old Para Vintage Tawny, Barossa, SA, $500 (100ml)

The ultimate birthday wine for the 50-year-old wine geek in your life: ultra-rich tawny that's been slumbering in a barrel for as long as he or she has been on this planet. No, it's not cheap ($25 per teaspoonful), but a little goes a very long way. seppeltsfield.com.au


6. COMING OF AGE

2016 Sutton Grange Fairbank Rosé, Bendigo, Vic, $22

From a vineyard planted 18 years ago, this is exactly what the people born 18 years ago will want to drink to celebrate their birthday. The Fairbank rosé is consistently one of this country's best pale, dry pink wines. Buy a few bottles. suttongrange.com.au

7. QUALITY AND QUANTITY

2015 Head Red GSM Magnum, Barossa Valley, SA, $60 (1500ml)

There's something lovely about pouring red wine from a magnum at a party or big family Sunday lunch - it's so convivial, so generous - especially when it's a magnum of bold, spicy, slurpy red from one of the Barossa's best winemakers. headwines.com.au

8. WILD BARBECUE

La Sirène Wild Tripelle, Alphington, Vic, $16 (375ml)

Celebrate the Australian craft beer revolution, or the wonders of nature - or just the fact that it's Tuesday afternoon - with this incredible, rare wild-fermented ale: super-complex and funky, with flavours of sweet cereal and tart yeastiness. lasirene.com.au


9. SHOWSTOPPER

2007 House of Arras Grand Vintage, Tasmania, $70

A winner of so many trophies it's embarrassing: Grand Champion at the Royal Queensland Wine Show, Best of Show at Royal Sydney, etc, etc. The perfect cork to pop when you're celebrating an important milestone with a loved one. houseofarras.com.au


10. CHRISTMAS FEAST

Joseph Sparkling Red, McLaren Vale, SA, $90

A sparkling red is the best thing to drink with Christmas turkey (or pork, or lamb, or emu) - but why wait till Christmas? This is a superb example: richly, sweetly savoury - think plum pudding crossed with black pudding. primoestate.com.au


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