White Grenache might not be everyone’s idea of a summer white wine, but this Catalan example is remarkably refreshing, demonstrating the variety’s ability to maintain acidity in a hot Mediterranean climate. Lees-aged with some skin contact and the addition of 5% Macabeu (Macabeo in Spanish), this is stony, waxy and intense with a combination of coastal-influenced salinity and undertones of pear and lime.
If you want to drink a Barossa red with very little oak but bags of flavour, this unfiltered, co-fermented cuvée of Mataro (Mourvèdre) and 35% Grenache is well worth tracking down. Spicy and peppery, with some stemmy whole bunch flavours, floral top notes, mint, raspberry and bramble fruit and fine-grained tannins.
Sourced from vineyards at 750 metres (which is high for South Africa), this was made by the talented Donovan Rall from the under-rated Piekenierskloof region. Tangy, refreshing and crisp, it’s tauter than some Cape Chenins with apple, pear and herbal notes and a creamy mid palate.
Assyrtiko is one of the most under-rated grapes in the world, especially when it’s grown on the volcanic soils of the island of Santorini. Bone dry, minerally and deliciously austere, this example from Gaia shows the variety at its delicious best with notes of quinine and lemon zest and incredible extract and concentration. A total bargain at £14.95.
A pale coloured Provençal blend of Syrah and Grenache that’s just the thing for summer, this has more weight and concentration than many examples of an increasingly popular style. Raspberry fruit, bright acidity and a whiff of Mediterranean herbs all add to the sense of balance here.
Serious, strapping Shiraz, but with a feminine side, this is a seriously delicious Aussie red, which encapsulates the best of the Barossa, both modern and traditional. It’s ripe, soft and sweet, with succulent blackberry and raspberry fruit, a hint of coconutty oak and appealing bottle maturation. Spicy, rich, yet very well balanced.
Tempranillo ought to be more widely planted than it is in Australia, given its adaptability. Think Somontano and Toro in terms of the diversity of Spanish climates it works well in. This is a very decent, wine bar style red that wouldn’t look out of place in Pamplona, the city to which its name alludes. Brambly and supple, with gentle oak and sweet red fruits.
An Eden Valley Riesling that rarely disappoints, this is as reliable as ever, a dry, aromatic, minerally white with notes of apple and pear and an underlying seam of fresh limes. The wine will get toastier with age, if you can keep your hands off it.
Great name (I had to read it twice, too), a smart package and one hell of a glug for under £12. This is judiciously oaked, with the accent on soft, ripe, red fruits flavours. There’s a touch of sweet vanilla, a whisper of liquorice and supple, textured tannins on the palate. Essence of Barossa; essence of GSM.
Typical (and gratifyingly so) of the top end Chardonnays emerging from Australia’s best cool climate areas at the moment, this is all about structure and acidity rather than easy, up front fruit flavours. Notes of lemongrass, vanilla and citrus fruit are nicely intertwined on the palate, wrapped in a creamy, lees-derived texture.
An unusual Sicilian blend of mostly Grecancio with 30% Chardonnay, and 10% each of Fiano and Viognier, this confirms Planeta’s status as one of the most innovative producers on the island. It’s aromatic and winningly tropical, with hints of pineaapple and guava, zesty, pear and apple acidity and a fresh, dry, unoaked finish. The whole is greater than the sum of the wine’s parts.