Nick Stock is one of Australia’s most well-known and highly-regarded wine critics. He co-owns McLaren Vale’s favourite beach front bar and restaurant the Silver Sands Beach Club. Read more of Nick Stock’s work over at nickstock.com.au
As this issue goes to print I’m feeling like we haven’t had the summer we were promised, or even warned about. What was said to be hot and dry has been dominated by cooler than expected temperatures, wild weather and plenty of rain.
Ever the optimist, I’ve been making the most of these cooler and more rugged days and nights and delving into the bolder end of my red wine collection and relishing the fact this is an absolutely perfect accompaniment for grilled red meats. I love to bbq.
On the grilled protein front I’ve moved to a less is more approach, eating less red meat and seeking out better quality product that is the end result of better quality farming. Sure it has a price premium but eat less, eat better and it balances out.
This reminds me of a conversation I’ve had with so many wine lovers over many years and that’s the drink less and drink better chat. The idea of a good bbq red was one that often conjured up something big on flavour and small on dollars that you’d buy in volume and pour large.
Now I’m certainly not saying that I’m drinking less but my bbq wine is something I really savour and I’ve taken to choosing bottles to ponder rather than pound. I’ll take the time to decant, I’ll use the right glassware and I’ll really savour each sip. It’s a strict beer at the bbq and wine at the table regime.
So alongside the procession of crisp, fruit-driven summer whites, here are some recommendations for quality reds that deserve to be drunk all year round with a little care and reverence.
The versatility of pinot noir and grenache as lighter red styles is something to really celebrate but don’t dismiss the bolder classics like shiraz and cabernet, particularly if the thermometer is struggling to get much past 20.
Another thing that is glaringly apparent this summer is that everyone is on board the chardonnay train. At the beach club we can barely keep up with demand and it coincides with the fact that Australian chardonnay is just such great value and outstanding quality across a wide range of styles and price points.
I’ve just previewed the 2023 Murdoch Hill Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills and this is a wine that sits in the sweet spot of style and value. It’s an elegant, lower alcohol vintage that has such intense flavour
See you at the beach!
Have a glass of…
Michael Hall Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills 2022
Sourced from the coveted Piccadilly area of the hills this has such vibrant and lively red and dark cherry fruit aromas and flavours. The acidity sits tautly on the palate and holds a tangy freshness through the finish. Really terrific value and depth here. Drink over the next six years.
Ochota Barrels Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills A Forest 2023
This young, zesty and perfumed pinot noir is singing brightly thanks to a cooler vintage that has elevated the strawberry add wild red cherry fruits to new heights. Juicy, tangy and mouth-wateringly fresh on the palate, this can take a little chill no problem. Drink now.
Murdoch Hill Chardonnay Adelaide Hills 2023
Such a juicy and fruit fleshy chardonnay with bold nectarine and citrus fruit aromas and flavours taking centre stage. The oak is dialled right in and delivers layers of textural interest here. Plenty of concentration and power with real poise. Just so drinkable.
Henschke Barossa Keyneton Euphonium 2020
A very consistent red blend from a low-yielding vintage, this has attractively pure boysenberry, red currant, dark cherry and sappy characters with a leafy, herbal edge. The smoothly fleshy texture is alluring, there’s plenty of velvety tannin here and it holds the finish well. Nearly resolved and fluid through the finish. Drink over the next decade or more.
St. Hallett Syrah Eden Valley Higher Earth 2021
A bold expression of cooler climate syrah that has a wealth of ripe black currant and blackberry fruits with plenty of hard brown spice fragrance. Smooth glossy tannins and rich sweet fruit in the mouth that holds the blueberry-laced finish very evenly. Drink over the next decade.
Yangarra Grenache McLaren Vale Ovitelli 2021
This is right at the top of the grenache ladder in Australia and is a special parcel that is fermented in ceramic vessels shaped like giant eggs. It has a sublimely subtle set of characters that are so detailed and delicate yet delivered with such combined power and depth. Little red fruits, some blue tones and mountain herbs as well as blood orange. This will age so beautifully too.