REGULAR readers will know that we've long advocated the enjoyment of lighter and softer reds off the ice on warmer days and balmy summer's evenings.
Quite a few of makers suggest on their back-labels popping some of these reds in the fridge or in the ice-box an hour or so before opening, and Joe Grilli at Primo Estate in McLaren Vale has now gone one step further.
He and fellow maker at Primo, Daniel Zuzolo have created a light 2009 red they call 'Merlesco' (Little Merlot) that's got loads of fresh blackberry, blueberry and cherry fruit flavours – and it's unoaked.
This soft and fruity wine is designed to be enjoyed young, fresh and chilled, and goes especially well with pizza or pasta; and at just $15 a bottle set aside some room in the beer fridge now for a few for summer, and take Joe's advice and don't drink it from traditional wine glasses – he says it will taste even better chucked down from a glass tumbler.
ONE FOR LUNCH: THIRTY years ago you could count the number of vineyards in the NSW Orange region on the fingers of one hand.
Today there are 30-something wineries and cellar doors in the region that at 600m is our highest-altitude wine-growing region, and amazingly now attracts around 5000 visitors a year for its annual Orange Wine Week in October – showing they've got to be doing something right.
One winery earning a particularly enviable reputation for its Chardonnay is Climbing Wines. Its just-released 2008 is full-bodied with lovely citrus notes and typical Orange elegance and refinement – the reason the region is often referred to as "Australia's answer to Burgundy," with its food-friendly Chardonnays (that go particularly well with seafoods and platters of fish paté, quality cheddars and crackers,) driving much of this reputation.
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 SUMMERY enjoyment with this red to quaff off the ice
 CLIMBING in reputation: one for a platter of fish paté, quality cheddars and crackers