Drinks News

The top drinks wine experts are sipping this holiday season

From unexpected new releases to familiar favourites, and something extra special that’s worth the splurge.

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There’s a lot to love about the holiday season. Case in point: the incentive to crack open a celebratory bottle of wine whenever the desire hits.

Be it a citrus-driven fiano or a bright chenin, or perhaps a luxurious Champagne rosé, there’s an array of drops to take you from end-of-year festivities to laidback summer barbecues. So, what are Australia’s best sommeliers, winemakers, and wine experts reaching for this summer?

Here, get into an ‘out of office’ state of mind and indulge in these expert wine picks for the holidays.

The cask winemaker: Marcus Radny

The ex-sommelier and Gonzo Vino founder is calling it: this is the “summer of being easy” with laidback whites and light-bodied reds.

“Easy whites, like fiano by Heterodox and vermentino by Get a Grip are my absolute go-to. Think about wines with the vibrations of a Meyer lemon, but with greater depth, like a nectarine running down your face or an orange splice poolside,” he says.

In terms of red, Radny suggests: “Why not put a light-bodied mataro by Soul Control in the Kelvinator and enjoy it sub-zero in the park or on a balcony? It’s a summer winner with raspberry cordial ripeness, papery-fine tannin but an oh-so-drinkable beverage that won’t weigh you down.”

Radny says: “Gonzo Vino has just released a variety of wines, ready for the 2023 and 2024 summer of cask”.

(Image: Supplied)

The Master of Wine: Ned Goodwin

“Provençale rosé is often party juice,” says the Master of Wine. And Goodwin’s top pick for party season is none other than a bottle of Langtons’ 2021 Rimauresq Cru Classé Rosé, Provence.

It’s “a conduit for the aspirational to pretend, for just a moment, that they are on the Côte d’Azur. As a result, it doesn’t really need to be much chop. Yet there is good stuff out there. Here, a leading example laden with dried thyme, musk and peony,” he says.

The winemaker: Katherine Brown

Fiano is the perfect new and exciting wine,” says the fourth-generation Brown Brothers winemaker (and first female winemaker in the family).

“Reminiscent of a salty sea breeze with notes of zesty pineapple, passionfruit and lime, Fiano is the perfect mix between being light and fresh, while simultaneously bursting with flavour, which is why it could be one of Australia’s new favourite wines,” she adds.

For the non-white drinkers, Brown says “there are plenty of delicious niche red varietals that can also be used as an exciting alternative to share with friends. Tarrango is one of my favourite summer wines, because it’s an excellent chilled red that is light, juicy and inherently drinkable – no matter the occasion.”

“Not only is it incredibly versatile, pairing well with or without food, fiano gives the popular drops of chardonnay and sauvignon blanc a run for their money,” Brown says.

(Image: Supplied)

The wine critic: Tyson Stelzer

As an esteemed Champagne and wine communicator, Stelzer has tried and tested an abundance of premium drops this year. As for the clear winner he’s imbibing on the festive break? The Fleur de Miraval Exclusive Rosé 3 (ER3), which he awarded 96 points — putting it in gold medal class.

“Conjuring a prestige rosé from the ground up is no trivial undertaking, but there’s an integrity to Fleur de Miraval that sets it apart from the usual set of overhyped celebrity prestige cuvées. It’s elegantly packaged, too, laudably shunning the celebrity penchant for superfluous bling,” says Stelzer.

For something less bubbly, he recommends riesling. Specifically, the Pooley Margaret Pooley Tribute Riesling 2023: “Tucked into a bend of the meandering Coal River, there is a deep spirit about the Pooley family’s quaint Cooinda Vale vineyard. This is their finest riesling, a vintage of purity, grace and distinction,” he says.

Fleur de Miraval Champagne might be famous for its celebrity ties with Brad Pitt, but the superb bottle holds its own.

(Credit: Supplied)

The sommelier: Samantha Payne

The GT wine writer, sommelier, and wine consultant suggests something complex and fruity for your summer celebrations, like the 2019 Maritime chenin by Metzer Wines.

“For those unfamiliar with chenin: the palate radiates pear, white peach and lemon verbena characters, and has the weight of a chardonnay without any overwhelming vanilla oak presence,” she explains.

As for serving suggestions? Payne says the wine is “perfectly suited for lighter fare – think pickled octopus salad or salt-baked white fleshed fish.”

Top Tip: Whether you’re feeling inspired to try these summer wines or need a last-minute gift, turn to Uber Eats for convenient delivery from thousands of local bottle shops. They now partner with an assortment of local produce and wine merchants, providores, and boutique gin distilleries. Use the app to order alcohol for same-day delivery from nearby stores.

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