Food

A guide to the season’s top wines.

The best wines of summer

Credit: Earl Carter

Luke Lambert, “Crudo”, 2016 chardonnay, Yarra Valley ($28)

Luke Lambert makes some of the best wines coming out of the Yarra Valley and his “entry-level” wine knocks most of its more serious counterparts out of the park.

– Mark Williamson, wine buyer for Cumulus Inc, Cumulus Up and the Builders Arms Hotel

 

Punt Road, 2016 gamay, Yarra Valley ($22)

Gamay – some say the poor man’s pinot noir, I say the exciting cousin. Packed full of darker red fruits and spice, this is soft, supple and great value. If summer heats up a bit too much, chill this a little as a nice quencher.

– Mark Williamson, wine buyer for Cumulus Inc, Cumulus Up and the Builders Arms Hotel

 

Alegre y Valgañón, 2015 clarete, Rioja, Spain ($33)

Clarete is pink and yet is not rosé: it is more than that. Red (grenache) and white (viura) fermented together. Full but fresh, fruity and complex, you should try it solo or with food.

– Liam O’Brien, head sommelier, Cutler & Co

 

Coriole, 2016 picpoul, McLaren Vale ($25)

Picpoul is a southern French variety that stays zesty and cool in a hot, dry climate, and is the perfect pairing for a freshly shucked oyster.

– Liam O’Brien, head sommelier, Cutler & Co

 

The Other Wine Co, 2016 grenache, McLaren Vale ($26)

The concentration of old vine grenache reimagined for the modern palate. Juicy strawberry fruit and silky tannin, this is the ultimate in slurpable summer red wine. Pass the glazed ham.

– Leanne Altmann, wine buyer, Supernormal and Meatsmith 

  

Amato Vino “Bianco”, 2016 fiano/slankamenka bela, Riverland ($20)

A wine of sunshine. Bright, golden pineapple fruit and ginger spice, slippery texture and gentle grip. This is an absolute steal and the perfect way to explore emerging Australian varieties.

– Leanne Altmann, wine buyer, Supernormal and Meatsmith 

 

Pfeiffer “Seriously Fine”, NV pale dry apera, south-eastern Australia ($29)

Why turn to sherry when Jen Pfeiffer’s producing the goods right here in Victoria? Roasted almond and citrus, with a thirst-slaking salinity – take the time to rediscover great Aussie fortifieds for hot summer days.

– Leanne Altmann, wine buyer, Supernormal and Meatsmith

 

Ka' Manciné “Beragna”, 2015 rossese di dolceacqua, Liguria ($49)

Fragrant cherry pip and spice, lithe yet supple, and one of the most exciting (and obscure) wines I've tasted all year. Both cerebral and drinkable. That’s a very good thing.

– Leanne Altmann, wine buyer, Supernormal and Meatsmith

 

Luna Rosa, 2014 sangiovese blend, Central Ranges ($16)

A cracking wine, irrespective of the price. Medium weight, bright of fruit, with an authentic sangiovese herbal/savoury thing going on.

– Liam O’Brien, head sommelier, Cutler & Co

 

Ephemera, 2016 vermentino, Heathcote ($30)

Vermentino is maybe not on the tip of everyone’s tongue but the Italian grape has now found a great home here in Australia. This one is medium bodied with hints of honeycomb and apricot. Serve nice and cold with cold cuts.

– Mark Williamson, wine buyer for Cumulus Inc, Cumulus Up and the Builders Arms Hotel

 

Yume “Dream”, 2016 semillon, Yarra Valley ($33)

Extended skin contact in the ferment gives this wine a brilliant colour, loads of exotic aromatics. The tea-like tannin from the skins plays ever so nicely with the light freshness of the semillon. A little outside the mainstream, but well worth the stray.

– Mark Williamson, wine buyer for Cumulus Inc, Cumulus Up and the Builders Arms Hotel

 

Latta Wines “Essential Crisis”, 2016 pet nat sauvignon blanc, Ballarat ($32)

Talented young Owen Latta wanted to make a pet nat (think froth rather than fizz) that was cider-like and summery. As usual, he has nailed it.

– Liam O’Brien, head sommelier, Cutler & Co

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Dec 24, 2016 as "The best wines of summer". Subscribe here.