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Red wines for summer

Publish Date: 09 Dec 2016

Authored by: Casey Warrener

When the weather warms up, red wine lovers can feel a little stuck. That rich, full-bodied wine that made you feel cosy and content in winter now makes you feel flustered at the very thought. The solution? There are so many light, bright reds that taste great when slightly chilled. Mediterranean varieties are a good place to start: sangiovese, tempranillo, grenache, gamay and nero d’Avola are nice summer wines. You could also look to classics such as pinot noir, or go halfway with rosé. And finally, synonymous with the festive season in Australia, you can’t go past a beautiful bottle of sparkling shiraz. Think outside the square with the selection ahead.

2015 Ravensworth Charlie-Foxtrot Gamay Noir
96 points

Hand-picked, whole bunch carbonic maceration in sealed tank, then opened for continuation of fermentation, 21 days on skins. Bright, light crimson-purple; the bouquet is intensely perfumed, and the flavours are carbon copy images, if anything, even more intense and exotic. No gamay has previously been made equal to this in Australia. Tumbarumba delivers the gladioli.

RRP $32 | 2020 | Ravensworth

2014 Pizzini Pietra Rossa King Valley Sangiovese
93 points

Estate-grown, machine-harvested, cultured brunello yeast for hot fermentation, lightly pressed to French oak (20% new) for 14 months maturation. Has the penetrating flavour in the wake of light colour that easily confuses the uninitiated, but is the birthmark of most sangiovese. While relatively low in tannins, the flavours stick to the mouth well into the aftertaste. Whether you will enjoy the experience is another matter; drinking lots of sangiovese is the best way to sort things out if you don't immediately enjoy it.

RRP $28 | 2024 | Pizzini Wines

2015 DogRock Pyrenees Grenache
94 points

A junior brother to Degraves Road, simply built on a lighter frame, lighter in colour and body, but with delicious red fruits and an appealing twist of savoury spice on the finish.

RRP $25 | 2023 | DogRock Winery

2015 Landhaus Estate Siren Grenache Mourvedre Rosé
95 points

49% grenache, 51% mourvedre from old, low-yielding vineyards in the Ebenezer district, gently pressed, settled overnight and wild-fermented in used oak, with fortnightly lees stirring and 3 months maturation. Bright salmon-pink; a highly expressive bouquet, with flowery red fruits, musk and spice, the palate taking a promising start onto another level with the intensity of the fruit flavours offset to perfection by the faintly savoury, bone dry finish. Exceptional value.

RRP $20 | 2017 | Landhaus Estate

2015 Foster e Rocco Nuovo Heathcote Sangiovese
94 points

Light mid-red; sour cherry, spice and floral notes frame this purely fruited sangiovese. The palate is fine and juicy with a hint of savoury tannin at the finish. A lovely balanced wine that should be engaged in its youth.

RRP $25 | 2020 | Foster e Rocco

2015 Pfeiffer Gamay
95 points

Estate 'young' (15+yo) and old (40+yo) vines, hand-picked bunches placed in airtight bins with cultured yeast and CO2, fermentation takes place within the berries of the whole bunches for 14 days, foot-crushed (pigeage) over 3 days, pressed to stainless steel for completion of fermentation, bottled mid-May. Beaujolais gamay the model. Singularly well made, full of red cherry fruits, yet remains so light on its feet, the acidity sweet (!) and tantalising. Something quite special.

RRP $18 | 2020 | Pfeiffer Wines

2015 Mac Forbes Wesburn Pinot Noir
95 points

MV6 planted ‘81, hand picked, 10% whole bunch, part foot-stomped; matured for 12 months in used oak, 170 dozen made. Clear, bright crimson-purple; fragrant red and black cherry fruit on the bouquet, changing gears on the complex, savoury sour cherry palate with some echoes of stemmy whole bunch. Works very well, almost in spite of itself.

RRP $75 | 2025 | Mac Forbes

2015 Pepper Tree Limited Release Wrattonbully Tempranillo
95 points

Marches to the tune of the tempranillo drum we have come to expect from this variety in cooler climates in Australia. It is bracingly fresh and crisp, medium-bodied (as all good tempranillos are) with a crosscurrent of dark cherry fruit, spices and gently savoury tannins. The length and balance are admirable.

RRP $25 | 2025 | Pepper Tree Wines

2015 Brash Higgins NDV Amphora Project McLaren Vale Nero d'Avola

92 points

Light on its feet through the palate, but the back-palate strikes at you; just when you think you can look away it draws you in. It's sweet, sour and spicy and pings various sensations and flavours in your direction. It's impossible to deny the appeal. CM

RRP $42 | 2025 | Brash Higgins

2014 Taltarni Sparkling Shiraz
92 points

With a full, vibrant purple hue, this is a sparkling shiraz that holds nothing back in black plum and black cherry depth, pepper and spice complexity, a finely crafted yet confidently structured tannin profile and a long, dark chocolate-accented finish. Value.

RRP $25 | 2024 | Taltarni

2015 Tulloch Cellar Door Release Hilltops Sangiovese
92 points

Light, clear and bright red; a light-bodied sangiovese humming with life, the red fruit and spicy/savoury components seamlessly welded together on the expressive palate.

RRP $25 | 2019 | Tulloch

NV Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards 125th Anniversary Sparkling Shiraz
94 points

Packed with all the depth and intrigue of Kay's still reds, this first release sparkling is built primarily around '08 shiraz aged in old oak for more than 5 years and tweaked with touches of merlot, cabernet and grenache, subtly dosed with Kay's Old Tawny. It's packed with wonderful layers of black fruits, liquorice and dark chocolate, framed in well-handled, finely structured tannins that bring great promise in the cellar. A grand entry into the world of sparkling shiraz for this historic estate. TS

RRP $45 | 2031 | Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards

Next article: browse these great-value white and rosé wines

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