~ Easy summer drinking for picnics and bbqs

It is impossible not to be drawn in to summer, a season for festivities and holidays but also for many of life’s simple joys – endless afternoons in the outdoors, picnics in the park, and the backyard. However you choose to spend these glorious long days, we have assembled a dozen to accompany you!

No other season calls more for fizz, so we checked that box before going anywhere. A riesling with dual citizenship (favouring the dry side, as it turns out), paired with a lean and refreshing picpoul from France’s south. Think salads & salmon on a sunlit terrace for the dry gewurz.  Don’t get up, just have someone bring you the fiano or the chardonnay at the second course.

If the idea of a gently pink, orange wine made from ‘grey’ grapes makes you want to get out of the sun this be the gris you might seek. A more classically pink wine from the sunny isle of Corsica follows, and then a pinot so pretty and bright it can go with food, friends, or with neither. The sangiovese and tempranillo are two sides of the same coin, mid-weight wonders built for light summery meals wherever you happen to have them, but the shiraz is summer itself – sun dark and ripe, full of warmth and goes on forever!

2018 Freeman Prosecco, Hilltops, NSW $25
A dry Italianate number grown high on a granite ridge outside Young, by ex-oenology professor Brian Freeman and daughter Xanthe. It has classic sherbet and pear flavours, with layers of complexity added by thoughtful winemaking. Equally suited to New Year’s, holiday breakfasts, or an afternoon in the garden!

2018 Jülg Riesling Trocken, Pfalz, Germany $32
In the border regions of the German Pfalz & the French Alsace, riesling styles can vary considerably, from dry to sweet and everything in between.  In the case of Johannes Jülg’s family estate, it is so far south in the Pfalz that 60% of the vineyard is actually in France! Equal parts peach and citrus on the nose, saline and mineral on the palate, with a long dry finish.   

2018 Clomarin Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc, France, $22
From under the sunny skies of mediterranean France comes this fresh and zippy white. Lip-stingingly good with seafood fresh or fried, but makes for delicious aperitif drinking over a lazy afternoon as well!

2018 Ros Ritchie Gewürztraminer, Upper Goulburn, Victoria $26
Planted exclusively to gewürztraminer  in 1975, the Dead Man’s Hill vineyard sits at 500m above sea level. A truly classic  aromatic, dry white, here you’ll  find a distinct bouquet of orange peel and roses. Overlaying a delicate body and the freshness you would expect from the cool alpine slopes of Mansfield.

2019 De Bortoli Rutherglen Estates Fiano, Rutherglen, Victoria  $22
DeBortoli’s acquisition of this historic estate earlier this year allowed them to start making fiano in the dry-but-textured style we like. A grape famed for retaining acidity even when grown in the warm, leaves it fresh enough to drink in the heat.

2017 Racine Chardonnay, Limoux, France, $26
Although both originally from Burgundy, Bruno Lafon and his native chardonnay grapes seem to be thriving under the southern sun. This may be due to the altitude and afternoon breezes typifying pre-Pyrenees Limoux, or to the generations of experiece that come with the Lafon name. Regardless of origin, the result is textured, peachy chardonnay with a long and dry finish.

2019 Fleet Pinot Gris, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria $28
There is a bit of colour in this wine, as 50% of the grapes were fermented in contact with their skins. Full of texture, but with great zip and tea-like tannin, this is as chummy with food as it is with friends in the park. Orange, pink, or white? Our love for this wine is blind to colour!

2018 Alzitella Île de Beauté Niellucciu/Grenache Rosé, Corsica, France $26
On the beautiful isle, niellucciu is none other than sangiovese.  No run of the mill pink wine, this is Mediterranean-dry in the best way possible.  Designed to address your thirst on a hot summer afternoon.

2018 Seville Estate ‘Sewn’ Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, Victoria, $28
From being among the first to re-plant vines in the Yarra in 1972, to James Halliday’s 2019 Winery of the Year, Seville has always been a top-flight estate. You can taste why in the layers of this wine, with judicious use of whole bunches, cold soaking of grapes and ageing in larger barrels. All threading complexity and depth, onto classic Yarra red fruits.

2016 Indigo Vineyard Sangiovese, Beechworth, Victoria $24
Situated high in the granite hills between Beechworth and ‘Wang’, the Indigo vineyard is a great spot for Australian sangiovese.  Both geology and altitude are highlighted in its mineral framework, holding up classic varietal notes of black cherry and dried herbs.  A gem.

2018 Mas Que Vinos ‘La Meseta’ Tempranillo, La Mancha, Spain $21
An amazing discovery.  Made from 80 year old vines, organically grown on limestone soils at 750 m, by three Riojano hot-shots resurrecting an old family estate. Joven in style, so no oak to interfere with the wonderful fresh dark fruit, begging to be invited to your next BBQ.

2016 Michael Hall ‘Sang de Pigeon’ Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia $30
Michael Hall always manages to layer just enough elegance to match the power of this black-fruited wine. Mostly from the famed Stonewell subregion, a touch of high Eden Valley fruit, some whole-bunches and time in oak, all lift the wine. Satisfying, impressive, this is the work of a master – a job well done.


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