From the tasting team

The tasting team's summer selections

By The Tasting Team

6 Dec, 2021

Which drinks will the Halliday tasting team have on high rotation this summer? Here, they share their favourite warm-weather favourites.

James Halliday 
At the age of 83, I’m far too old to change my habits. So, summer celebrations have to involve Champagne, and my ‘desert island’ choice is Krug. Next, it’s hard to go past German kabinett rieslings from the Mosel with an alcohol level as low as 7.5 per cent. They are so blindingly beautiful, and shine with Asian cuisines. Rosés go from strength to strength – those made from the ground up with single-use grapes grown for a rosé, not just an assembly of bits and bobs, and are fruity but dry. Finally, a Christmas red wine motto: grenache is great, but pinot is perfect.

Jeni Port 
I love the vibrancy and diversity of prosecco, and I look to the grape’s Australian birthplace, the King Valley. In whites, it has to be riesling, preferably classic Clare styles, and Rhône whites led by marsanne from Nagambie Lakes. This year, I’ll mix it up with emerging textural superstars grüner veltliner and fiano from the Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale, respectively. Summer reds trend towards fine-edged pinots from Geelong, and I enjoy medium-bodied beauties such as gamay (Eldridge Estate), sangiovese (Fighting Gully Road) and barbera (Coriole).

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This year, I’ll mix it up with emerging textural superstars grüner veltliner and fiano from the Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale, respectively.

Tyson Stelzer
I love cooler growing seasons, and I adore vintages like 2021. For most of Victoria and all of South Australia and Tasmania, this year’s wines flourished under mild conditions reminiscent of those wonderfully cool, classic seasons of the late 1980s and 1990s. Some makers are even declaring it the best odd-year vintage since 1991. I’m loving the elegant, pristine, acid-driven 2021 rieslings and rosés, and I cannot wait until the chardonnays and pinots are ultimately unleashed.

Erin Larkin
I have pretty much accepted that the perpetual question of ‘what to drink when the weather warms up’ has no right answer. I rarely can make up my mind. Champagne is a mainstay all year round for me – rain, hail, or shine. But when the sun comes out, there is always room in my hands for a pint of frosty lager, some dry sherry (with white anchovy snacks as the sun sets) and, of course, chardonnay. I’m not above a white wine spritzer when it gets super-hot, as it can here in Perth. Think unoaked dry white (a savvy, perhaps) and San Pellegrino.

Erin Larkin with winesIt's all about Champagne for Erin Larkin, who also isn't opposed to the odd white wine spritzer.   

Jane Faulkner 
Restrictions on travel mean this is the longest time I’ve spent away from Italy – a couple of years now. To stay vinously connected, I’m immersing myself in a range of whites, starting with carricante, the variety from Mt Etna. It’s crisp with saline-acidity and a depth of flavour: check out Graci Acurìa Etna Bianco, or Buscemi Il Bianco. Timorasso makes an appearance, as does Saracco moscato d’Asti, a leader of the style. But my go-to chiller is Campari and soda with a slice of blood orange.

Dave Brookes
What am I drinking this summer? Australian riesling, chilled Manzanilla, nutty white wines from Jerez and the Jura and chilled, airy light reds. I also have a growing infatuation with rum. In fact, I hereby declare this to be The Summer of Rum and am willing to get into heated conversations about whether the classic daiquiri is the perfect delivery vehicle for my spirit of choice. I’m currently looking at tiki bar layouts on Pinterest. I might have a problem.

Seafood and white winePhilip Rich loves to pair off-dry rieslings with seafood dishes over summer. 

Philip Rich 
I eat lots of seafood in summer, so I’ll be drinking plenty of dry to off-dry rieslings from mainly Australia and Germany, plus Chablis, which is still relatively affordable. When the food calls for a richer wine, I’ll grab a chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills, Tassie or Victoria. For barbecued lamb, we are spoilt for choice with dry, crisp rosés in Australia. Light to medium-bodied, perfumed and gently structured pinots and cru Beaujolais also fit the bill perfectly. Whatever your red is, the key is to drink them around 16 degrees on hot days. The difference is staggering! Gin and tonics, Negronis and Martinis are always good to kick things off and there’s always ice-cold Peroni red cans in the fridge too! 

Ned Goodwin MW
I like to drink wines from cultures I appreciate and places where I could live. Reds include cru Beaujolais, Loire Valley cabernet, Sicilian frappato, and grenache from Spain, the Southern Rhône and McLaren Vale. Some can be intense, but their natural acidity and carapace of tannins imbue a lightness of feel, producer dependent. I also like some of the pulpy, fresh nero coming out of the Vale and NSW zones on my Halliday tasting map. My whites include a slew of Italians – verdicchio, vermentino, fiano and greco. 

This article appears in issue #61 of Halliday magazine. Become a member to receive six editions a year, access more than 150,000 tasting notes and other exclusive wine insights.