Hayley Purbrick from Tahbilk (cellar door pictured here) once remarked that you could always tell it was winter when the number of red wine bottles in the recycling bin exceeded the number of white wine bottles.
As a wine enthusiast who tracks both purchases and consumption (in order to ensure enough is purchased to meet consumption) I know that at my table red wine is consumed with a higher frequency than white, but anecdotally I don know that the bigger reds (Durif especially) seems to be a winter staple and lighter reds such as Pinot Noir come out more in summer months.
But spring is here (downunder anyway – all our Northern Hemisphere readers may well want to stock up on some Australian Durif for the winter coming…) and so perhaps wine enthusiasts are looking for something new to try as the BBQs get cleaned off after the winter break and the picnics start becoming popular again. Here are some of our suggestions:
Marsanne: This is a white wine that can be purchased at major retailers for anywhere between $10 and $50 per bottle depending on the age and quality. Young Marsanne is a very light coloured wine that is really crisp and fresh whereas aged (10 or more years) Marsanne starts to go a very bright gold colour and develops honey flavours. We love both and can really recommend this as something to try. For a discussion about the different options available on the Australian wine market, read here.
Verdelho: This is a really interesting white wine variety and probably the subject of a Diagonal Debate soon. Good Verdelho can be quite tropical, with flavours of passionfruit and pineapple yet can be significantly more complex that Sauvignon Blanc which makes it a wine worth trying if you are yet to do so. Not being a widely planted grape, there are no specific regions that are known for the wine, but Yarrawood (Yarra Valley) and Tahbilk (Nagambie Lakes) both have reasonably priced examples on taste at their cellar doors.
Grenache: This grape is the G in GSM (or similar) blends for which South Australia’s wine regions are almost as famous as the Rhone in France to which this grape is native. For a long time, Grenache was one of the most widely planted grapes in Australia where it predominantly went into the making of fortified wines. Some Grenache can be sweet and almost plum-like whereas other examples (such as Warrabilla) can have dominant cherry flavours. Good Grenache is not difficult to find and many $30 or less per bottle examples are excellent – the Jimmy Watson trophy recently went to a Grenache for the first time ever and for those familiar with the Italian culture that surrounds Jimmy Watson’s Wine Bar in Melbourne, this is quite an achievement and tick of approval that such a wine goes well with many, many different types of cuisine.