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Start Thinking Summer Drinking

By Alex Russell on November 8, 2012 in Food

It’s almost summer – time for barbecues, picnics and general outdoor mayhem. So who’s drinking what?

Beer and cider (I recommend giving Sunshack a try) are always popular choices, as is the perennial wine favourite of Sauvignon Blanc (either the Kiwi stuff, or the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends), but what other options do you have?

Generally you’ll want something with some clean, crisp flavours, something with relatively high acid, lower alcohol, not a lot of oak treatment and perhaps even a bit of sweetness or spritziness.

Dry White Styles

Semillon will always be a winner here. For those on a budget, Peter Lehmann’s Semillon Blanc (about $12) is always a winner, while the sensational Hunter styles from the likes of Thomas Wines, Brokenwood or Tyrrell’s (and many others) will go perfectly with those prawn sangers.

Drier Riesling styles are also good. It’s hard to go past something from the Clare, or perhaps Eden Valley here. Mitchell wines are always seen as sensational by those in the know, but many punters don’t seem to have heard of them. O’Leary Walker, Petaluma and many others will also fit the bill, as will Clonakilla (Canberra). Generally, you’re in the $20-25 bracket here.

I’ve written about Vermentino before, and you can pick up a few around here for a song. They might be a little difficult to find, but if you see one on a wine list or in a bottle shop, definitely try it.

If you’re a Chardonnay fan, try the unwooded styles (Chapel Hill, West Cape Howe, etc.) or give Chablis a go. And if you’ve got a little bit more to spend, try the Ocean Eight ‘Veuve’ Chardonnay (about $38). The grapes here are picked early, meaning higher acidity and very crisp flavours. It’s a belter and it’s getting great reviews everywhere.

There are plenty of options, but stick with the drier styles and drink them young. And don’t serve them too cold or you’ll lose some of the more subtle flavours.


Moscatos generally have a slight spritz, lower alcohol (5-8%) and come in pink or white, so can suit all crowds. You can get Italian styles but there are some pretty good examples from Australia these days, such as Innocent Bystander and Two Hands. Prices range from $12ish (e.g. Yellow Tail) up to $20ish and beyond. Some also come in smaller bottles (500mL or 375mL), which are perfect for those who don’t want to drink a lot.


Still want to drink red? No worries. Go for a lighter style, such as Beaujolais or Pinot Noir. You can put these in the fridge and chill them right down if you like, but remember, you’ll lose flavour this way. You’ll find Georges duBoeuf Beaujolais Villages in most bottle shops but there are plenty of other options around too.


You could always do bubbles, of course! There’s nothing quite like the sound of the cork popping out of a bottle of fizz. France is always an option and there are plenty of sparkling whites coming out of France that aren’t from Champagne and, therefore, won’t break the bank. If you still want to do Champagne, look at ‘grower’ bubbles instead of the big houses for some really interesting styles.

Italy is also an option. A lot of people are drinking Prosecco these days, which you can generally find for about $15-30. It’s great value for a dry sparkling wine. Some Australian producers are doing Prosecco too. For something different, mix it with peach nectar or Aperol.

Catch me on Twitter (@ozwineguy) and let me know what you’re drinking.