What to drink ... dining outdoors
Summer is the perfect time for a glass of chilled wine. Photo: Erin Jonasson
Henry's Drive Vignerons Pillar Box Rose 2012 $21
FRIENDS. A warm day. Lunch under the trees. Wine on ice. That all adds up to rosé time. And this Pillar Box, from Henry's Drive Vignerons in Padthaway, is a ripper. A blend of sangiovese and cabernet franc, it has the perfect pale-salmon hue. It's a nifty blend with the heady perfume of cabernet franc complementing sangiovese's tang and acidity. Spicy, bitey almost, with a lovely strawberries-and-cream sensation on the palate before a dry, crisp finish. A moreish, fantastic rosé that's perfect with antipasti. From Nick's Wine Merchants.
UP TO $40
Malvira Roero Arneis 2011 $35
ARNEIS is a wonderful white grape from Piedmont that is subtle on the nose yet has oomph and slickness on the palate without being mawkish. Malvira has long been a champion of this variety. It's a favourite wine of mine during summer, and this shows pristine fruit, delicate aromatics of honeysuckle, sage and candied peel, and is ultra-fresh with fine acidity on the finish. Chill this arneis to allow the aromatics to open up. This is a gorgeous drink on its own but better with lightly grilled garfish. Try Randall the Wine Merchant, Newton.
UP TO $40
Hoddles Creek 1er Yarra Valley Pinot Blanc 2012 $39
WHEN it comes to pinot blanc, there are too few producers in Australia. Hoddles Creek invests much time and energy into producing a very stylish drink. While extra time in the bottle will benefit this 2012, decant and let it breathe now because it's a bit stinky when first poured. It opens up to reveal a complex wine with lots of smoky, match-strike-like characters, so it's definitely in the savoury spectrum, although there's a hint of citrus and florals, too. It's zingy and juicy on the palate and has a long, persistent finish, thanks to its snappy acidity. From Cloud Wine.
Pol Roger Brut Cuvee de Reserve 2002 $115
I'VE mentioned that 2002 is a cracking vintage in champagne, and again its precision and beauty is revealed in this Pol Roger. A great way to kick-start an evening dining under the stars, this vintage has an appealing decadent style, rich and luscious yet perfectly poised. There's plenty of fine bead - toasty brioche and creamy honeysuckle notes with ripe stone fruit and pears, yet citrus nuanced with a fine line of acidity driving it to a long finish. This is superb stuff. From Vintage Cellars.