Wine Maven: Wines for summer drinking

by Mary Bailey

A collection of whites, red and rosé for backyard barbecues, hot summer nights and casual soirees.

2022 Jim Barry Waltervale Riesling (Clare Valley, Australia)
The seam of lively acidity provides backbone for this exceptionally pretty Riesling from Australia’s best Riesling region. The single vineyard Waltervale bottling possesses an attractive ripeness, the plushness of yellow stone fruit countered by bracing citrus aromas and flavours. Drink now with wild shrimp dishes, creamy cheeses, or hold five years.

2019 Zsirai Tokaj Dry White Blend (Tokaj, Hungary)
Huge fan of this innovative winery and huge fan of this easy drinking blend of Hungarian natives Furmint and Hárslevelü. Time in neutral Hungarian oak lends depth and nuance. Drink with chicken dishes or pizza bianca.

2022 Girlan Marna Chardonnay (Alto-Adige, Italy)
Whole cluster pressing and time on lees in neutral oak results in a delicious wine which displays its pedigree effortlessly. Most Chardonnays tell their story well. The Marna is Alice Munro. Drink with grilled salmon, roast chicken or mushroom dishes.

2022 Terenzuola Vigne Basse Vermentino IGT Toscana (Italy)
Loving the subtle salinity, notes of almond, citrus and flowers with a crisp, crackling acidity. A little skin contact adds weight and complexity to this delicious wine. This wine cries out for seafood, think pasta alla vongole or octopus.

2022 Cluster Flock Verdejo (Rueda, Spain)
The cheeky label is just the start. A group of Kiwi wine lovers (including a couple of MWs) set out to make accessible, but solidly high-quality wines. Does this mean critter wines are back? If they taste like this, count me in. Pop in your backpack and go.

2022 Gérard Bertrand Gris Blanc Organic Rosé IGP Pay d’Oc (Languedoc, France)
Grenache, very pale in the style of Provence, dry, fragrant with summer flowers and berries with lively red fruit flavours. Unpretentious, well-priced and delicious.

Lisa Rogers (Select Wines) Felix Jermann (Jermann) Cailtyn Fulton (RGE RD)

2022 Jermann Vinnae Ribolla Gialla (Collio, Friuli-Venezia, Italy)
Felix Jermann is the fifth generation in his family winery, founded in 1881 by his Austrian great-grandfather Anton. What makes Jermann revered by wine lovers? They make exquisite wines of character. The vineyards are tucked away up in the hilly Collio, in Italy’s northeast corner, formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The entire family is involved in the business, Felix’s sister Sylvia is the winemaker. As progressive and modern as they may be, history is important to the family. Take Tunina, the single vineyard later-picked selection of Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia and Sauvignon, which is considered to be Italy’s first significant single estate wine (first vintage was 1975); the vineyard is named after the vineyard’s first owner. We tasted the 2020, honeyed floral, electric. Gorgeous. The Vinnae Ribolla Gialla, made from the native grape of Friuli, may have been my favourite of the tasting, with its floral and lemony yellow fruit characteristics, a little tangy with concentrated minerality, fresh and texturey with a super long finish. Drink with rich seafood or vegetable dishes, Felix suggested its best pairing is with frico, a classic Friulan dish with potatoes and cheese.

more wines

2022 Heimann & Fiai Piros Siller (Szekszárd, Hungary)
Siller (in between a rosé and a light red) was a style of wine popular in Hungary pre-Communism. Heimann worked with other producers in Szekszárd to reintroduce it. This first vintage is a blend of Kékfrankos, Merlot and Sagrantino (grown from cuttings brought from Umbria and planted in the Bati Kereszt vineyard). It’s delicious—lots of juicy red fruit, balanced acidity, with a pleasing grip provided by the Sagrantino. Drink slightly chilled with charcuterie boards.

2022 Terenzuola La Merla Canaiolo Nero IGT Toscana (Italy)
La merla (blackbird) is the local name for the Canaiolo Nero that grows in this part of Tuscany. Love the juicy red fruit, cranberries, cherries and raspberries, a little spicy, bright acidity. Drink slightly chilled with casual foods.

wines and spirits

2022 Radford Dale Touchstone Chardonnay (Elgin, South Africa)
The first vintage from Radford Dale Organic, in cool-climate Elgin. We have been loving the wines from Radford Dale, the Vinum series and from the sister property Winery of Good Hope. This Chardonnay may redefine Chardonnay from Elgin—subtly spectacular, with evanescent notes of citrus (but think yuzu and mandarin and orange blossom, rather than lemon and lime), practically seamless, can’t wait to see where this will go with a few years in the bottle. Drink now with grilled salmon or roast chicken. The 2022 Higher Purpose Cabernet Franc is a stunner, with startling clarity of flavour—red currants, cranberry a ribbon of fresh green, notes, gently cuddled by silky tannins and a lovely fresh acidity. Drink this lightly chilled this summer with mushroom dishes or grilled lamb kofta.

2020 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico DOCG (Tuscany, Italy)
Volpaia’s vineyards are some of the highest in Chianti and a little cooler, helpful in warmer vintages. This wine displays all the classic Volpaia Chianti Classico notes we love—elegant fine tannins, deliciously balanced red berry fruit, especially strawberry, an attractive sinewiness, with freshness, great structure and a long finish. Drink with red-sauced pizza or pasta or roast pork.

2019 Domaine Peter Sichel PGI Cucugnan (Languedoc, France)
Full bodied with exuberant red fruit and fresh acidity. Mostly Grenache with 10 per cent Syrah and Carignan with bright flavours, a little bumptious and forward right now, but it will settle down. Don’t be in any hurry to drink this beauty, it will reward your patience, drink with red meats just off the grill.

2020 Gérard Bertrand Chateau Hospitalet AOP La Clape (Languedoc, France)
A Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre blend, full bodied with fine tannins and a beautiful thrum of acidity. Spicy, complex and engaging, drink now or cellar for five or so years. Drink with the best beef you can find.

Equiano Rum Foursquare Distillery (Barbados)
This Afro-Caribbean Rum (10-year-old Mauritius Rum and 8-year-old Barbados Rum) is aged in cognac and bourbon casks and blended on Barbados by Foursquare Distillery. A portion of sales goes to anti-slavery worldwide. This is a rum of contemplation, drink neat after dinner or by the fire.

The No-Alcohol Way

The No-Alcohol Way
There are many reasons people are flocking to non-alcoholic drinks, but how do you choose among the explosion of offerings? We love Ceder’s and find it to be one of the best alternative gins on the market. Four choices: Crisp (cucumber, chamomile), Classic (notes of juniper, citrus and coriander), Wild (rooibos and clove) and the bewitching Rose, which tastes like looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses.

Alt Sparkling Organic Rose is a credible alternative to any sort of pink bubble. Made from Spanish Tempranillo then gently dealcoholized in Germany (which has the best technology for this sort of thing). It still tastes like wine, a little lighter and less complex perhaps, but fine for a chilled glass in the afternoon.

Find at better wine shops. Not all selections at all shops.