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  • Quentin Von Essen

Sip your way through Spring with Sips to Savour

According to the Ancient Calendar, Spring is considered the first season of the year - the beginning of another cycle which brings with it a sense of renewal and creativity. Spring is also the time when everything lightens up – the weight of our clothing, the type of food we eat and the type of drinks we drink. So, as we ditch the clothes and change up our dishes, we also lighten our palates with some fresh and fragrant drops.

Think crisp, refreshing white wines —lighter, fruit and acid-driven dry or slightly off-dry whites served well chilled. These are wines that are compatible with salads, shellfish, seafood, pasta, fresh cheese, antipasto and white meats.

With the warmer weather, you may well be thinking of shelving your reds… Don’t! Many red wines have qualities that work well in the warmer weather, lighter, with lower alcohol levels, higher acidity and subtle tannins. Chilled red wines can be excellent on a sunny day. Many Australian Pinot Noirs can be lightly chilled without losing personality and character, and grapes such as Sangiovese and Grenache that originated in Mediterranean climates, are just perfect for drinking in warmer weather.

To help you reach for the perfect bottle every time, we’ve compiled a selection of wines to get you through the season.

Sauvignon Blanc, with its crisp, herbal edge and refreshing acidity, earns a thumbs up from many wine drinkers, but there are so many other great spring wines from which to choose.

With or without food, Hunter Valley Semillon is the wine to drink this spring. Naturally low in alcohol and almost devoid of residual sugar, Hunter Semillon is the ideal partner for the season's lighter fish and seafood meals. When young, it's great with fresh oysters, cooked prawns and white-fleshed fish. With some age, it is wonderful when served with smoked trout or salmon, roast chicken, lobster with burnt butter and other flavoursome dishes.

With its fresh, tropical fruit characters, un-oaked style, and sheer drinkability, Australian Verdelho is very much the crowd-pleaser and perfect when served with spicy Asian cuisines including Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian dishes, or simply enjoyed on its own on a warm day. While it is widely grown throughout Australia, the Hunter Valley consistently produce some of the best examples of this variety.

Chardonnay – the diva of differences. To beat the warm weather, choose an unoaked Chardonnay without the dense, buttery texture of malolactic fermentation. It’s a simple and effective way to compete with the higher temperatures and superb with shellfish such as crab and prawns, grilled fish, chicken dishes, pasta and risotto.

As a tangy, dry white wine that is perfectly light and fresh with fruity flavours such as pear, apple and melon, Pinot Gris is a warmer weather wine through and through and can be paired with a variety of food with ease.

A glass of Sparkling Wine is always appropriate, regardless of the time of year (or time of day). But with the arrival of Spring, a glass of bubbly feels almost mandatory. The wine’s temperature and the bubbles themselves make it a refreshing, cooling beverage, and its high acidity makes it ideally suited to lighter foods such as ham, salads, chilled soups and a variety of seafood.

Rosé is undeniably the first choice for many wine lovers when the weather starts to warm up, and it can be found everywhere - especially when seafood such as tuna or swordfish is on the menu. This wine is also the perfect partner to barbecued prawns, Moreton Bay bugs and eggplant skewers.

Pinot Noir is, without a doubt, the first go-to red wine on a warm day and superb with duck, mushrooms, cured meats and charcuterie as well as seafood.

Easy drinking, fresh and vibrant, Grenache is one of the more seasonable varieties and is very trendy at the moment. Best served with wood-fired pizza, olives and warm nights, Grenache is a wine very much reflective of the Mediterranean climate in which it originates.

This Spring, make sure you try something new – a variety you have never tried before. No matter where you are or what you are doing, with good wine, good food and in the company of good friends - you just can’t go wrong.

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