“Summer time, and the livin’ is easy…” sang Ella Fitzgerald, and we’re inclined to agree – especially when you have a glass of top-quality Australian wine in hand to enjoy the sunshine with!
Don’t be at a loss for what to drink over the warmer months – with the help of our expert Tasting Panel, we’ve put together a little list of our recommended wine varieties and styles. It doesn’t have to be all Sparkling and white, either – after all, few things go better with a summer barbeque than a classic, easy-drinking red.
Whatever your tastes, there’s sure to be something you’ll love among these picks – read on for our best wines for this summer!
1. PROSECCO… AN EVER-POPULAR DROP
Every household should have a bottle of chilled Prosecco on hand, for any summer occasion. Dry, refined and delicious, it can be enjoyed any time of day and requires no special cause to pop one open. What’s more, its status is soaring at the moment given the ‘spritz’ craze, making it even more important to have on hand!
Pizzini are one of the country’s leaders in Prosecco. Il Soffio (the breath) is named for the gentle breeze that blows through the King Valley in the evening, and it is here that the style was pioneered in Australia. Fine-boned and elegant with a bright mix of white fruit, grapefruit and a nutty layer, soft creamy texture and tightly wound acidity, this is a lovely aperitif wine and a great match for small plates like prosciutto-wrapped asparagus.
2. SPARKLING WHITE WINE… ALWAYS IN STYLE
The warmer months are the seasons for festivity and indulgence. Sparkling wine, with its nerve, energy and guaranteed refreshment captures the feeling of Australian summer to a tee. Sparkling and summer makes for the quintessential Australian combination – and whether enjoyed with or without food, Australian Sparkling has never been better!
A wine so good it was served to Her Majesty the Queen at the Royal Garden Party for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, this lovely Sparkling shows strong yeast autolysis, hints of brioche, mushroom, stonefruit and green apple on the nose, opening onto a palate showing a lively mousse, layers of citrus and apple, a chalky texture, good length and crisp acidity to balance the sweetness. Delectable with rock oysters or salads.
3. ROSÉ… YOU DON’T SAY!
Whatever the shade – although we prefer the pale, salmon-pink styles – Rosé is simply one of the best wines to sip on over summer. Today’s Rosé is firmly focussed on offering a dry, savoury and refreshing experience, perfect whether you’re sizzling in the sunshine or sitting back in the shade. Seriously, this is a style of wine that can be enjoyed throughout the day and into the evening – and its food pairing ability is unparalleled!
A Margaret River Rosé that blends Shiraz, Tempranillo and Merlot, this generous and aromatic wine delivers fruit flavours with a beautifully-textured mid palate, refreshing acidity and a deeply pleasing finish – which becomes even more impressive when enjoyed with a plate of simply-prepared seafood.
4. RIESLING… A RAVISHING SUMMER WINE
Summer is a sensational time to discover – or rediscover – the many virtues of Riesling. Light-bodied, its thrilling acidity and highly refreshing character means it’s a great thirst-quencher to counter the warmth of the summer heat. If you haven’t already, it’s time to add Riesling to your ‘best-of’ summer wines!
Another stunner from Claymore, and although delicious to drink now, this Riesling will develop further richness and character – if you have the patience to stash it away for a while! Quite rich and powerful with lashings of lime juice, white peach, wet rock and sea spray, youthful driving acidity, and a vibrant, mouth-watering finish, it’s a winner with appetisers like fried zucchini flowers.
5. VERMENTINO… VERY NICE INDEED!
The heat of summer naturally influences the kind of wines people prefer to enjoy, so it’s no wonder people reach for a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio – their lighter-bodied style and freshness makes them hard to resist. Vermentino appeals for the same reasons, giving a Mediterranean-inspired shine to any picnic or poolside gathering.
Vermentino can range in style from light and fresh to rich and textural, and this lovely drop from First Ridge captures the middle ground between these differing styles perfectly. Flavoursome and textural with savoury melon, citrus and herb characters and saline persistence, it’s a supple wine the refreshes from start to finish.
Has there ever been a better time than summer to drink Australian Grenache? Surely not! Grenache wines are filled to bursting with fruit flavour and spice, making for a suave and refined style to sip on for their smooth and silken drinking pleasure. Pop them in the fridge or ice on a hot day and they will shine… oh, turns out Grenache is a super pairing with Xmas ham, too!
A beautifully made, complex yet ethereal Grenache with Pinot Noir-like delicacy and moreishness throughout, this is a medium-bodied wine with an impressive depth of jubey red and black fruits, pepper, dried herb and stalky complexity – a beautiful drop to enjoy with a crispy pork belly.
6. PINOT NOIR… A PERFECT SUMMER RED
We admit it, we’re all a little in love with Pinot Noir. And why wouldn’t we be? Its light-bodied nature and silky tannins make it the perfect red wine for warm weather celebrations. Try it chilled from the fridge to appreciate its true character on hotter days, and prepare yourself for true summer wine pleasure.
From a superb Yarra Valley vintage comes this fine example of a classic regional Pinot style. Full of ripe flavours of dark cherry and plum with savoury yet velvety tannin concentration, well-judged oak and fine acidity from start to finish, it makes a fine match with oilier fish like salmon, trout and tuna. Yum!
7. SHIRAZ… BRING A LITTLE SPICE TO SUMMER!
We don’t stop drinking red just because it’s a little warm outside, and given Shiraz maintains its status as Australia’s No.1 varietal all year round we suspect others feel the same. Shiraz lovers can enjoy a wide variety of styles, including the lighter, spicy cool climate expressions, great for sipping on over a long lunch… or better still, a twilight barbeque, where the bigger styles really shine!
The result of a superb Barossa Valley vintage, this Shiraz from the variety’s signature region is full of flavour, ready to enjoy now or to pop away for ageing. It shows classic Shiraz power from start to finish with a deep core of black fruit, attractive leather, pepper and five-spice complexity, savoury tannins and oak persisting on the finish. Just lovely with sausages on the grill!
START YOUR SUMMER ENTERTAINING IN STYLE WITH A SERVE OF THE BEST IN AUSTRALIAN WINE
As summer kicks off, there’s no better time to get your cellar stocked for all that the season has to offer – and these seven varieties and styles promise a world of great flavour and food-matching possibilities.
If you’re entertaining over the holiday season, make sure to try some of the above recommendations, and take the stress out of your planning with our guide to easy entertaining recipes, full of top food and wine matching suggestions as well as simple tips for entertaining in relaxed style.