While it has been too moist and humid to feel ‘hot’ here in Sydney town in recent weeks, that doesn’t mean we need an excuse to drink refreshing beverages. For my house, that means beer, an outbreak of gin, and more fresh white wines (with comparatively little red).
If your house is anything like mine, then consider this list of 10 drink-me-now summer wines as a worthy shopping list for drinking immediacy. Oh and if you’re looking for more summer reds to add to this list, best head here.
Heggies Vineyard Riesling 2021
For mine, every year it’s a toss up about whether the Heggies or the Pewsey Vale is the pick of the Hill-Smith family’s Eden Valley Riesling releases. And this year, Heggies comes out on top. It’s a very expressive and wonderfully open and delicious wine this, all concentrated lime juice and grapefruit, with a flourish of musk. Super palate intensity is what is the real appeal – so dense and compact. Gee it’s long and with this thumping acidity to frame it. Top tier Riesling, in every way.
Best drinking: it’s so good now. 18.5/20, 94/100. 11.5%, $26. Heggies website. Would I buy it? Yes.
Fowles Stone Dwellers Riesling 2020
This is easily my pick of the recent Fowles wines – a taut and tangy Riesling from up in the stony Strathbogie Ranges. I do wonder how this would have looked last year, as it is still very fresh almost two years after harvest. Acidity and purity are not lacking – it’s like spring water tinged with lemon lime. More citrus than anything floral, with an excellent concentration of lemony grapefruit through the middle, then a long, grapefruit finish. Power, well delivered.
Best drinking: I like it now. 18/20, 93/100. 12.9%, $30. Fowles website. Would I buy it? Yes.
Longview Macclesfield Riesling 2021
Another successful Longview Riesling (after the 2020 I was talking about on Monday). This Adelaide Hills white is a bit more lean and crunchy this year, but still another standout wine. Celery, anise and grapefruit nose, with a palate that I almost expected to be hard, but there is this core of grapefruit that is very appealing. I want just a bit more generosity for seduction, but this is such a nice, linear, dry Riesling.
Best drinking: now, for the freshness. 18/20, 93/100. 12%, $30. Longview website. Would I buy it? Yes.
Logan Clementine Pinot Gris 2021
All of the new Logan Clementine wines have been good, but this is the best. A skin contact Orange Pinot Gris that just gets is all right. Drawn from a portion of the Logan Weemala Pinot Gris, this is full coppery orange, although not at Fanta levels of cloudiness. Actually, it’s darker than most rosé in a ramato sort of fashion. Well packaged too. There’s this core of chunky, phenolic pink grapefruit, tangy ruby red grapefruit flavour here that wines you over. It’s a clean, clean and crisp white Iwhite underneath, but the layers of phenolics and skin contact give this a lovely bit, offset by some mandarin fruit generosity. A good drink.
Best drinking: now. 17.7/20, 92/100. 12.5%, $25. Logan website. Would I buy it? Yes.
St Hallett Higher Earth Syrah 2019
What is this Andrew? A full-bodied Barossa Shiraz, for summer? Hear me out. Sourced from the Eden Valley, and matured in just 25% new oak, this plump, purple and black-fruited red is so polished and affable that it feels like a summer drink. Sure, there’s a bitter, concentrated core to it too, but it’s so smooth, ripe fruited and purple that there is a summer steaks-on-the-BBQ sort of vibe. I found some of these most recent St Hallett reds come across as a bit ‘made’ as they’re just so seamless, rich and glossy, but no doubting the quality. Just make sure this isn’t served too warm (as the alcohol will poke out) and buy decent steaks.
Best drinking: good now, good in ten years. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14.5%, $60. St Hallett website. Would I buy it? Two glasses.
Vino Intrepido The Sharpest Thorn Sangiovese Rosé 2021
A successful Heathcote pink from James Scarcebrook’s burgeoning range. It’s a generous, coppery, soft edged rosé that manages to be both dry and yet creamy edged and red fruited and vinous. Well done.
Best drinking: now. 17.7/20, 92/100. 12.5%, $27.99. Vino Intrepido website. Would I buy it? A glass or two for sure.
Logan Clementine de la Mer 2021
This Logan release is a skin contact Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling & Sauvignon Blanc from Central Ranges fruit. It’s another smart release, it a bit tart compared to the Gris. It’s a light, fresh, early picked white wine given an injection of flavour and character thanks to the skin contact. Lemon barley sugar, green melon, something buzzy and honeyed, yet still quintessential citrus juice with a phenolic handshake to finish. Buzzy acidity makes it just a bit drying too. A good intro to skin contact whites, and the style is both fresh and attractive.
Best drinking: now. 17.5/20, 91/100. 11%, $25. Logan website. Would I buy it? Worth a glass or so.
Ross Hill Pinnacle Series Sauvignon Blanc 2021
Snappy, grassy and carefully delineated Orange Sauvignon Blanc with serious intentions. Plenty of passionfruit and some celery on the nose, the palate lean and frisky and still concentrated. Crunchy sort of Adelaide Hills contender this. Good carry through the finish, the acidity isn’t unripe, though it’s a smidgen simple and sour for this pricepoint. Solid though.
Best drinking: now. 17.5/20, 91/100. 12.5%, $35. Ross Hill website. Would I buy it? A glass.
Varney Wines Entrada Rosé of Grenache 2021
McLaren Vale bush vine Grenache turned into rosé. Some wild ferment in older oak. Just 261 dozen. Provence via McLaren Vale in style, almost sparkling base in its neutrality, softened by solidsy wooly edges to give weight. Taut, fresh and crisp though. Vinous as well. It’s just a little bit twangy, but I can appreciate the style and vitality here – it still works.
Best drinking: now. 17.5/20, 91/100. 13%, $25. Varney Wines website. Would I buy it? A glass.
Hewitson Baby Bush Mourvedre 2020
It’s not my favourite edition of this wine, but the appeal is there. Great to see a lightweight bottle (#saynotoheavybottles) and a ripe fleshy, blackberry stained wine. The blackberries are a bit cooked, the palate starts primary but then dips into leather and horsehair and then a drying furry finish. It’s not a pristine wine, but it does capture the substantial dark berry fruit width of Barossan Mourvedre which drives the summer drinking appeal.
Best drinking: good now. 17/20, 90/100. 14%, $28. Hewitson website. Would I buy it? A glass.