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  • Quentin Von Essen

Wines to Enjoy... all Summer Long

It’s the start of a new year, and we still have a bit more of the warmer weather to enjoy, so make sure you are sipping lighter wines that pair well with seasonal foods and dishes.


Australian summers were made for enjoying wine… Whether it be sun-drenched beach picnics, hot days followed by warm, balmy evenings, garden parties, long lazy alfresco lunches and barbecues, there is a range of white, red and sparkling wines perfect for every occasion, and although there is no single definition of a perfect summer wine, some varietals tend to suit the warmer weather better than others.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to wine - so try new varietals and broaden your horizons - or should that be your palate? Think crisp, refreshing white wines—lighter, simpler, fruit and acid-driven dry or slightly off-dry whites, served well chilled. And if you’re thinking that summer is all about white wine, well, you’d be wrong, as many red wines are also excellent on a hot day.

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

Sparkling Wine might very well be the wine world’s best answer to summer heat. The hero of a special occasion, a glass of Sparkling Wine is always appropriate, anywhere, anytime, regardless of the time of year. The wine’s temperature and the bubbles themselves make it a refreshing, cooling beverage, and its high acidity makes it ideally suited to summer foods such as ham, salads, chilled soup, soft cheeses, and a variety of seafood.

With or without food, as a pre-dinner drink or as a refresher at the end of a long day, Hunter Valley Semillon is the wine to drink every summer and is the ideal partner for the season's lighter fish and seafood meals. It's a great accompaniment to vegetarian foods, too. When young, it's great with fresh oysters, cold cooked prawns and simply cooked white-fleshed fish. With age, it is beautiful when served with smoked trout or salmon, roast stuffed chicken, lobster with burnt butter and other flavoursome dishes.

Chardonnay is one of the most delicious wines you can enjoy in summer. The Hunter Valley produces rich, ripe Chardonnays with beautiful freshness and vitality that are wonderful paired with a cheeseboard, roast chicken, grilled fish, or crayfish on the BBQ.

Pinot Gris, with its tangy, dry, light, and fruity flavours, never fails to get a thumbs up from wine drinkers and is fast becoming one of the country’s most popular white wines and just perfect with light foods such as pasta, grilled or roast chicken, fish and delicate seafood such as tuna and shrimp.

As a full-bodied white wine, Viognier is pure summer in a bottle. It’s also a fabulous food wine that goes with everything from Northern African or spicy Asian cuisine to light meats such as pork and veal, rich shellfish dishes such as seared scallops and grilled lobster, and sweet root vegetables. It’s also perfectly at home with a cheese plate.

With its fresh, tropical fruit characters, un-oaked style and sheer drinkability, Verdelho is very much the crowd-pleaser and is well matched when served with a host of spicy Asian cuisines, including Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian, or simply enjoyed kicking back by the pool. While it is widely grown throughout Australia, the Hunter Valley consistently produces some of the best examples of this variety with pristine aromas and flavours and is ideal for early consumption.

Gewurztraminer is highly praised for its flowery aroma, elegant character, and breezy taste. This fabulous summer wine pairs perfectly with the grilled foods and spicy dishes we enjoy in the warmer weather.

Rosé has been taking over wine lists for the past few years and is now the tipple of choice for long lunches. The ensuing flavours range from red fruit and flowers through citrus and melon to celery and rhubarb. With its light body and crisp finish, Rosé is the ideal wine for summer and perfect when served with seafood such as tuna, barbecued prawns or swordfish.

And then there are the reds! A change in the season simply means a shift in wine style – out with the big, rich and powerful, in with the elegant and refreshing. Many red wines are excellent on a hot summer day, and Pinot Noir is the typical go-to warm-weather wine and can be lightly chilled without losing personality and character. Other varieties, such as Gamay, Sangiovese and Grenache, which originated in Mediterranean climates, are also perfect for drinking in warm weather.



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