When it’s still 25C at 9pm who wants to drink heavy oaky reds? Not me.
So today, let’s look at six red wines that champion drinkability instead of trying to be thick and deadly serious. Emptiable wines, that will taste good even out of a tumbler (not that I’d do that. Unless there were no wine glasses, and then I’d probably just drink beer out of the can).
Oakridge Light Dry Red 2020
A Yarra Valley blend of Pinot Noir and Shiraz in a 50/50 blend. I’m very here for the new generation of LDR styles, and the Yarra is a great place for it. More, please. This Oakridge edition includes whole bunches and whole berries. Bright purple ruby red coloured and a bright fruited wine it is too, the white pepper and late, gentle grip of whole bunches give interest, the purple fruit the generosity. It’s maybe too light to be compelling, but that’s not the point now is it – instead, this is a lovely, lively drink.
Best drinking: nowish. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14%, $30. Would I buy it? Worth a bottle.
Oakridge Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2019
Arguably a little serious for this list and the finish is a bit drying, but it’s also very drinkable. It’s the mezzanine level Pinot for Oakridge, after the Over The Shoulder entry point, but the lines are classic Yarra Valley Pinot. Generous, sappy, and full of red fruit, the mid-palate chugs along with great raspberry plum generosity, then with a firmer-than-expected tannin handshake to finish. That red fruit core is pretty handsome for this price. Definitely recommended.
Best drinking: I like it nowish, before it dries out. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14%, $30. Would I buy it? Also worth a bottle.
Harewood Estate Pinot Noir 2021
Denmark Pinot that is a consistent bargain. No surprises with this release – ripe, raspberried fruit, minimal oak, and more structured than you realise, the key appeal that cosseting flow of raspberries fruit and a real sense of not trying too hard to be serious.
Best drinking: now. 17.5/20, 91/100. 13.5%, $20. Would I buy it? Worth a glass or two.
Hewitson Ned & Henry’s Shiraz 2020
Not all Barossan Shiraz is big and dense. This is just medium-bodied, and a slick, purple fruited thing with easy medium weight fruit, sweet oak as a textural layer, then a jubey plump palate is easily appealing. Has an almost Viognier like jubeyness that is not unappealing. Just a bit warm to finish. Acres of simple Barossan Shiraz appeal that I didn’t see as heavy at all. BBQ red.
Best drinking: over the next five years. 17/20, 90/100. 14%, $30. Would I buy it? A glass.
Little Wine Company Little Gem Barbera 2018
Big, juicy, bombastically ripe Hunter Barbera that surprises in its affability. It’s all fruit, and the finish is warm, but that just adds to the effect, and that luscious berry jam fruit is going to win friends. Typical Barbera acidity holds it together, which is good as the fruit does look ripe. With a bit of a chill, it’s going to be quite the juicy treat, even if its a bit jubey and ripe for me.
Best drinking: now. 17/20, 90/100. 14.7%, $42. Would I buy it? Maybe a glass.
Logan Clementine Blushing Minnie 2021
From Pete Logan’s well-packaged range of Clementine wines (appropriately named after Pete’s daughter). This is apparently a blend of Central Ranges Shiraz, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir and Merlot, according to the notes, except the bottle talks about a white grape which makes sense (Gris?). There’s a floral flourish too which suggests something more fragrant. Anyway, light-bodied, juicy summer red with a carbonic joyousness. I followed the instructions and chilled the bottle and the leafiness then just got amplified. I wouldn’t chill (unless it’s really hot), despite what the back label says. Still, the character is vinous – red berries, ferns, musk, mint with quite a dose of tannins too, all making for lively, if pointed, drink.
Best drinking: now. 16.8/20, 89/100. 13.5%, $25. Would I buy it? A glass, not chilled.
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Do you think any of these could/should have been picked a little earlier? 14% & over is perhaps a little high for a summers day red.