Your ultimate guide to summer reds

We used to think that reds are for winter and whites are for summer. Now there are plenty of drops out there that are changing the game. Just because a wine is red, doesn’t mean it’s bold and dark – flavour intensity is the key to summer reds, and there are plenty of options. 

A glass of red wine outside in the shade

The best summer reds

Pinot Noir is an obvious choice. This wine is a great match with salmon, as the rich flavours of the salmon are cleansed by the subtle tannins of the pinot.

Gamay is the mandatory grape of France’s Beaujolais and Loire Valley regions. Relatively rare in Australia, but with a promising future, Gamay’s bright cranberry flavours are perfect with summer menus.

New-wave grenache, made in the pinot style, is another fantastic option. Gentle extraction and little or no oak influence allow its red fruits to shine.

Cabernet franc – the parent of cabernet sauvignon – has fresh flavours of raspberry and red currants, making it the ideal summer red.

Pinot meunier has similar strawberry and cherry flavours to pinot noir, and is worth seeking out.

What about sparkling red?

Sparkling reds are the perfect summer drink – cool, bubbly and flavoursome. They’re made in a distinctive style and are uniquely Australian. Most are made with shiraz but pinot noir works well, too; merlot and cabernet sauvignon are also sometimes used as the base wine. The finished wine often carries a little residual sugar to balance the red’s slight bitter or astringent tannins. Some of Australia’s finest reds come from Victoria’s Grampians region. Chill a sparkling red and serve with ham and turkey.

Keeping it cool 

We like to stay cool in summer and so do our wines. Pop the bottle in an ice bucket for 20 mins or in the fridge for an hour to bring the temperature down to 18-20 degrees.

Try these

Ninth Island Pinot Noir, Tasmania

At first the taste is supple and delicate, but soon bursts with richness and power as trademark pinot noir flavours fill the mouth, with sweet lifted fruit. Chillable.

Le Chat Noir GMS, Rhone, France

A harmonious red blend of grenache, mourvedre and syrah showing beautiful aromas that flow seamlessly to a rich mouth-filling palate.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Village, France

The nose displays youthful aromas of inky cherry and raspberry followed by a touch of spice. Soft, silky and elegant. Chillable.

Tar & Roses Tempranillo, Heathcote

Raspberry, plum and stewed rhubarb fruit, with spicy clove liquorice and leather. Has cherry and vanilla notes without appearing sweet.

The Bolter Grenache, McLaren Vale

Fresh and fragrant, with cranberry, raspberry and hints of savoury spice on the nose. The palate is framed by fine tannins that lead to a soft, juicy finish.

Church Road McDonald Series Syrah, Hawkes Bay, NZ

This syrah exudes dark berry fruit, lifted floral and spice aromas, and a plush, approachable palate structure.

Peregrine Pinot Noir, Otago, NZ

Mocha spice, blood plums and dark cherry characters with a seamless, silky texture and fine tannins that will see this develop for several years yet.

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