At long last, the chill in the night air has begun to wane. Native paper daisies, tulips and daffodils are sprouting everywhere, dazzling with their colours and another symbol of winter’s end. As to wine, those structured, tannic reds and denser, fleshier whites so warming and comforting in cold weather now give way to lighter reds and more aromatic whites, both perfect for spring drinking.
The Yarra Valley is championing those brighter reds, especially blends, in part led by winemaker Sarah Crowe at Yarra Yering with her gorgeous Light Dry Red 2017. It's also worth checking out the Giant Steps LDR Pinot Noir Syrah 2017 and the Medhurst YRB 2017. These wines shine for their fruit tannins and purity, detail and balance.
Spring also means a host of different flavours on the food front, with the cooler parts of the country offering new season asparagus and if you’re lucky to find some, morels. Steam the greens, sauté the morels in butter with a dash of cream, salt and pepper, and serve them together for a divine dish. What wine to match? Easy. Go for textural, barrel-fermented styles of sauvignon blanc – think Talisman Barrique Sauvignon Blanc Fume 2016 or Crittenden Estate Sauvignon Blanc Fume 2016.
Personally, no other grape welcomes in spring as much as gruner veltliner. It is a variety that has more texture than young riesling, plus it’s savoury and flavoursome as well as refreshing. While it’s hard to go past the source, as in Austrian options, Australia is certainly making inroads with some impressive styles.
Nick Spencer, the former winemaker at Canberra’s Eden Road Wines, who decided to go it alone last year establishing his eponymous label, focuses on fruit grown in Gundagai and Tumbarumba. The latter is where he sources gruner veltliner, and his 2018 release is a ripper. One of the variety’s trailblazers, Hahndorf Hill has several styles, including its GRU Adelaide Hills 2017.