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Spring Drinking!

By Alex Russell on October 13, 2011 in Food

The Picnic

At a picnic, you’ll generally want to drink whites and rosés, so pack the Esky up with a lot of ice and whack your vino right down the bottom of it.

Keep in mind that as a wine warms up it will become more flavoursome – so if you don’t like a wine so much, chill it right down. Crisp whites (young Semillons, Sauvignon Blancs or blends) will treat you well and taste okay when a bit warmer. Drier rosés will also go well. Try wines by Spinifex, Dominique Portet, Yering Station or just about anything from Provence in southern France.

The Barbecue

If you want to stick with the whites, a not-too-oaky Chardonnay will go well with that sausage sandwich. Want to experiment? Try a Viognier or a blend with a bit of Viognier in it.

For a Chardonnay, go Hunter and give Scarborough a go (about $25). There are some great drops coming out of Victoria too, especially the Mornington Peninsula and the Yarra Valley. For Viognier you can’t go past Yalumba (Y Series for around $13 or the Eden Valley label for about $22) and Massena from the Barossa (also around $22). If you like your Chardonnays, many Viogniers will be right up your alley.

With reds, you don’t want a really tannic wine because it will dry your mouth out. Look for something with a lot of fruit flavour through it, like a GSM blend (Grenache, Shiraz, Mataró/Mourvèdre), and go for labels like Kaesler (Stonehorse for $22; Avignon for $30), d’Arenberg (Stump Jump for $12; d’Arry’s Original for $20), or Spinifex (Papillon for $26; Esprit for $33). Areas like the Barossa and McLaren Vale are the best here.

When it comes to rosés, you can get away with a bit more sugar as long as you can keep them cold. Try the Wirra Wirra Mrs Wigley Rosé ($18ish).

If you’re still not happy, try a Moscato. They’re lower in alcohol, higher in sweetness, boast a little bit of spritz and they even come in pink, just in case you want to match your accessories to your wine.

The Seafood Lunch

My personal favourite thing to do on a sunny day is grab a few fresh white bread rolls, some lettuce, tomato, mayo and fresh prawns, and sit out in the backyard making an awesome sanga.

The best match with seafood is Riesling. Most of you will automatically think of sweetness but that’s not the case with most decent Australian Rieslings. Crisp, refreshing citrus flavours are what you’re looking for, and since you usually squeeze a bit of lemon over your seafood it’s the perfect match. These days you’ll find some great drops out of Victoria (try Best’s for $22 or $35 for their reserve wine) and most things from the Clare Valley will be perfect (including O’Leary Walker, Mitchell, Kilikanoon and many others, all in the $20s). Eden Valley is also certainly worth a shot (Mesh, $30) and from WA, the current Leeuwin Estate is brilliant and Howard Park is consistently solid.

If you still don’t want to try a Riesling, how about a young Semillon? At the moment I’m loving Andy Thomas’ work in the Hunter (and he just picked up six trophies at the Hunter Valley Wine Show, so someone agrees with me). His Braemore (high $20s) and OC (mid $20s) Semillons are outstanding value. Brokenwood (starting at $24) and Vasse Felix should also keep you happy, and if you’re on a budget try the Peter Lehmann for around $13.

If you’re still not convinced, grab a Pinot Gris or Grigio. Redbank Sunday Morning Pinot Gris for $22 is insanely good value, with subtle white peach and pear flavours.