With warming weather, the season for outdoor entertaining is upon us. Fresh white wines immediately come to mind, but don't forget the reds. Certain dishes and certain people simply have to sit next to red wines, and less formidable reds are the solution. Wines that are elegant and savoury with quenching balance, rather than jammy styles. Ambient temperature can be pretty warm at the moment, so on a hot day it's OK to give reds a light chill. "Cool, not cold" is a good rule – cool enough to enhance freshness, but not so cold that aroma and flavour are frozen out.
Babo Chianti DOCG 2017, $25-$27
Fruit-driven Tuscan sangiovese made by Australians. Plum, cherry and sweet spice aromas show varietal purity. Lightish to medium-bodied, it has a juicy balance of ripe and savoury flavours, gentle but definite tannins. Very gluggable. Screw cap; 13 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink over the next year or so.
Stockists include Kent St Cellars, Sydney (NSW); Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne (Vic).
Giant Steps Yarra Valley Syrah 2018, $35-$38
Easy-sipping, aromatic Yarra shiraz with gentle spice, game and berry aromas, and a herbal whole bunch note. Medium-bodied, it has fine texture, ripe berry and herbal flavours and soft tannins. Screw cap; 14 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink over four years.
Stockists include Rathdowne Cellars, Carlton North (Vic); Five Way Cellars, Paddington (NSW).
S.C. Pannell Nebbiolo 2016, $57-$60
Typically pale in colour, this Adelaide Hills nebbiolo is fragrant with tar, cherry, almond and old leather aromas. It's middleweight, succulent and savoury, with a moreish grainy texture and layered tannins framing a long finish. Screw cap; 14 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink over six years.
Stockists include Rose Bay Liquor, Rose Bay (NSW); Blackheart & Sparrows stores (Vic).