Wines for Spring sipping

spring wine

Now that it’s officially Spring and the days are getting longer, it’s time to start thinking about all those wonderful wines that are best enjoyed when the sun is shining.

Red Wines

Spring is the perfect time to move away from the big, bold Shiraz and Cabernet that you enjoyed with slow cooked casseroles over winter. If you still like a more full-bodied red, why not try Grenache? With lots of spicy, red berry flavours and floral notes, Grenache is wonderful with pizza, pasta or game meats. (And we’re doing the Willunga 100 Grenache in the September 2014 online wine club. Why not give it a try?)



Not only is Grenache wonderful on its own, it also pairs perfectly with Shiraz and Mouvedre (or Mataro) in a GSM or SGM blend. Often referred to as “Rhone blends” these can still be full bodied and complex, but with a bit more fruitiness and slightly less tannins.

Merlot is another underrated red varietal that can be great on its own. (Often you will find it blended with Cabernet Sauvignon.) Depending on how they are made, Merlots can be big and plummy with strong tannins. But when made in the more subtle style of Bordeaux, they can be lower in alcohol with some acidity and fresh red berry and raspberry characteristics. Perfect when you still want a red wine, but don’t want anything too heavy or overpowering.

Pinot Noir is also a great red wine for drinking in the warmer weather, as it tends to be slightly lighter, but not lacking in flavour. If you like cherries and red berries, or love eating duck and mushrooms, then this is the wine for you! Australia makes so many wonderful Pinots from cool climate areas, such as the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Tasmania. For a French style, look for a Burgundy, which can be more refined and elegant when young, yet in good vintages can age superbly.

Gamay, most commonly found in Beaugolais, is a lighter red that is best drunk when young and fruity. These wines are also nice when chilled, so are perfect to have on hand for the warmer days towards the end of the season.

Rose

Spring is a great time to get stuck into Rose. They can be a bit more full-bodied than a white wine, but not as heavy as a red. As the weather is only starting to warm up, make sure you look for the more savoury versions, rather than those that are too sweet. (Save the sweeter styles for those 40-degree summer days when you need something refreshing to pick you up!)

rose

The best examples of more savoury Roses are made using Tempranillo, Grenache, Sangiovese or Pinot Noir. Not only does the salmon pink look lovely in your glass, but it tastes pretty good too!

White Wines

As with Rose, Spring-time white wines need to have a bit of body but not too much acidity or sweetness. Again, the sweet Rieslings or very crisp, green Sauvignon Blancs are best left for the heat of Summer!

Lightly-oaked Chardonnay is perfect at this time of year. The oak gives a nice complexity and roundness to the wine, but there is still enough stone fruit and light acidity to make it nice and fresh. Chicken and Chardonnay are perfect matches.

If you want to try a French Chardonnay, look for a Chablis. They tend to be less oaky and more flinty or steely.

Marsanne and Rousanne, or blends of the two, are less common white styles that are fabulous drinking as the weather warms up. They tend to be more full-bodied and rich, like a nice Chardy, but characterised by pear and honey notes. Central Victoria makes some wonderful examples of both of these wines. They can also be quite floral, so perfect to drink as the Spring blossoms come out on the trees.

Sparkling Wine and Champagne

Regardless of whether it is white, pink or red, Sparkling wine and Champagne are perfect Spring tipples. In fact, this is the one style that you really should drink all year round!

Don’t save the bubbles only for special occasions. Make any occasion special. Make sure you don’t serve your Sparkling wine or Champagne too cold, and it’s great to have some appetisers or nibbles on hand.