Drinks News

The wines to drink this summer

From crisp and crunchy whites to juicy chilled reds, these wines are made to pair with the long, lazy days ahead. This is the GT summer drinking guide.

From left: 2020 Fleet Pinot Gris, 2018 Sentiō Aligoté, 2017 Loosen Barry Wolta Wolta Riesling, 2018 Jo Landron La Louvetrie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, 2020 Geyer Wine Co Chenin Blanc (bottle lying down).

Will Horner

Summertime wines are all about texture; from classics that use skin contact to build mouth feel and complexity, to chilled reds bursting with juicy red fruit and crunchy acidity. Of course, no summer drinks list is complete without the snap, crackle and pop of a sparkling wine – and there’s never been a more exciting time to explore the flavours of low and no-alcohol beer, spirits and wine, as well as this summer’s hottest trend: seltzer.

Fizz and pop

1. 2017 Best’s Great Western Sparkling Shiraz, Grampians, Vic, $35

No Christmas table in Australia is complete without a sparkling shiraz. While it may go in and out of fashion over the decades, you can rely on Best’s to consistently deliver a version that is both approachable and delicious.


2. 2019 Dal Zotto Col Fondo Prosecco, King Valley, Vic, $30

Think of this as the love child of a pet nat and a prosecco, from the family who planted Australia’s first prosecco grapes in 1999. The Dal Zotto family live and breathe all things prosecco and this traditionally made version is cloudy and moreish.


3. 2009 House of Arras Blanc de Blancs, Tas, $120

Arras has long been synonymous with exceptional sparkling wine, not just here in Australia but globally. A traditional wine to pair with oysters, or if you’re feeling particularly decadent, try baked camembert with fresh honeycomb.



4. 2020 Ngeringa Pétillant Naturel, Adelaide Hills, SA, $33

Overall, 2020 produced some outstanding fruit – but not without its challenges. Made with biodynamically farmed pink semillon and viognier, this pet nat’s cumquat, floral musk and grapefruit pith aromatics would be a welcome addition to any backyard drinks.


5. NV André Clouet Grande Réserve Brut NV, Champagne, France, $85

This exceptional value Champagne is made with 100 per cent pinot noir grapes. The appeal of blanc de noirs is the expressiveness of the style; red cherry meets stone fruits with just a hint of toasty brioche. Perfect for a long lunch paired with swimmer crab and saffron angel hair pasta.


Clockwise from top left: 2017 Best’s Great Western Sparkling Shiraz, NV André Clouet Grande Réserve Brut NV, 2009 House of Arras Blanc de Blancs, 2020 Ngeringa Pétillant Naturel, 2019 Dal Zotto Col Fondo Prosecco.

Light and white

1. 2020 Fleet Pinot Gris, Mornington Peninsula, Vic, $30

From Australia’s spiritual home of pinot gris, comes this delightfully textural wine, loaded with white florals and orchard fruits. Extended skin contact builds texture, making it perfect for curries, sambals and pho.


2. 2017 Loosen Barry Wolta Wolta Riesling, Clare Valley, SA, $120

You can’t have a summer drinks’ selection without a riesling; it’s the lemon sorbet of the wine world. But this is riesling with a twist, a collaboration between two of the most recognised riesling families in the world.



3. 2018 Sentiō Aligoté, Beechworth, Vic, $35

This one is for chardonnay lovers and the ABCs (anything but chardonnay) alike. A paradox, yes, but they don’t call aligoté “poor man’s Burgundy” for nothing. With its magical pear blossom-meets-Granny Smith apple character – this aligoté will be the MVP of the holidays.


4. 2020 Geyer Wine Co Chenin Blanc, Barossa Valley, SA, $33

Made using minimal intervention, this chenin blanc offers balanced acidity and enough texture to keep you interested. Its savoury elements would pair wonderfully with a lavish brunch, featuring smoked salmon bagels, crème fraîche and dill.


5. 2018 Jo Landron La Louvetrie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Loire Valley, France, $40

This biodynamic beauty is the benchmark by which all other muscadet is judged. Reminiscent of riesling but with more floral nuances and a saline minerality, it’s perfect to pair with lobster or an extravagant fresh seafood platter.


From left: 2020 Fleet Pinot Gris, 2018 Sentiō Aligoté, 2017 Loosen Barry Wolta Wolta Riesling, 2018 Jo Landron La Louvetrie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, 2020 Geyer Wine Co Chenin Blanc (bottle lying down).

Chilled reds and pinks

1. 2019 Mada Syrah Nouveau, Murrumbateman, NSW, $30

There’s nothing more Australian than a glass of shiraz (well, apart from maybe a sausage sizzle…) but Hamish Young has put a modern spin on this classic Aussie variety with his syrah nouveau that’s bright, vibrant and bursting with flavour.


2. 2020 Meadowbank Gamay, Derwent Valley, Tas, $45

The master of Tasmanian fruit, Peter Dredge, takes this variety out for a spin using vines planted in 1987. This gamay is everything you want in a chilled red, irresistibly juicy with a vibrancy that’s electric – perfect for warm summer nights.


3. 2019 Patrick Sullivan Rain Field Blend, Gippsland, Vic, $52

Patrick Sullivan’s wines have always been about precision and purity and his newest range shows a depth and complexity rarely seen in field blends. The bright cherries and raspberries of cabernet franc meet pinot gris, and soft tannins that call for an “I’m too tired to cook tonight” pizza.


4. 2019 Si Vintners Sophie Rosé, Margaret River, WA, $49

Made from organically-farmed pinot noir grapes that remain on their skins during fermentation, this wine delivers serious texture and structure. If you’re tired of watery rosé wines that fade into the background, this is the one for you.



5. 2019 Maison Saint Aix Rosé, Provence, France, $62 for 1.5L

When you want a classic, dry rosé head straight to the specialists in Provence. The large magnum format makes it the perfect entertaining wine – just add a platter of cured meats and your favourite cheeses for lazy afternoon drinks.


Clockwise from left: 2019 Maison Saint Aix Rosé, 2019 Mada Syrah Nouveau, 2019 Si Vintners Sophie Rosé, 2020 Meadowbank Gamay, 2019 Patrick Sullivan Rain Field Blend.

Low and no alcohol

1. 2019 Braida Brachetto d’Acqui, Piedmont, Italy, 5.5% ABV, $24 for 375ml

Braida has been a hidden secret for decades; it’s low in alcohol and has a light fizz similar to a Moscato but with more complex flavours. Intensely floral with just the right amount of raspberries and strawberries to make it the essential brunch wine.


2. NON 3 Toasted Cinnamon & Yuzu, Melbourne, Vic, 0% ABV, $30 for 750ml

Yuzu – an aromatic Japanese citrus – has taken the world by storm this year and NON has elevated this non-alcoholic offering with the addition of Sri Lankan cinnamon and Murray River salt to draw out floral characters, to create the perfect poolside aperitif.


3. Sobah Finger Lime Cerveza, Burleigh Heads, Qld, 0.05% ABV, $18 for 4 x 330ml

Sobah is an Aboriginal-owned company delivering quality non-alcoholic craft beer made with native Australian fruits and botanicals. The finger lime cerveza is its take on Mexican beer – but better. The finger lime adds a floral citrus note to the crisp and hoppy flavours.


4. Vacay Kakadu Plum Alcoholic Seltzer, Sydney, NSW, 4% ABV, $22 for 4 x 330ml

Move over White Claw – there’s a new alcoholic seltzer in town and it’s 100 per cent Australian-owned and made. Equal parts refreshing and flavoursome, the Kakadu Plum delivers a cranberry-like tartness that’s the perfect alternative to soft drink mixers (while also being low carb and only 61 calories).



5. Lyres Spiced Cane Spirit, Sydney, NSW, 0% ABV, $45 for 700ml

There’s a good reason why Lyre’s is the most awarded non-alcoholic spirit company in the world, celebrated for its accurate and concentrated flavours. The Spiced Cane (a take on spiced rum) is perfect for an Espresso Martini nightcap or a refreshing Dark and Stormy without the hangxiety.



Disclosure: This article contains some affiliate links. Gourmet Traveller may receive a small commission from purchases made through select links on this page.

From left: Vacay Kakadu Plum Alcoholic Seltzer, Sobah Finger Lime Cerveza (crushed can), 2019 Braida Brachetto d’Acqui, NON 3 Toasted Cinnamon & Yuzu, Lyres Spiced Cane Spirit.

Related stories

How to mix a drink

How to mix a drink

Cocktail king Michael Madrusan, of The Everleigh in Melbourne, prides himself on precision and principles, which also form the foundation of a great drink. Here are his golden rules.