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Best wines for summer

Best Summer Wines

Want to know what wine varieties you should be drinking this summer? With the help of our Wine Selectors Tasting Panel Co-Chair, Adam Walls, we’ve put together a fresh and fabulous list of the best summer wines that are guaranteed to have you refreshed, relaxed and entertaining in style.

From crowd-pleasing Chenin Blanc and fabulous Fiano to deliciously lighter-bodied reds like Pinot Noir and Gamy, your summer will be filled with glass after glass of top-quality Australian wines.

Whatever your tastes, there’s sure to be something you’ll love among these picks – read on for our best summer wines for 2023-2024.

Best Summer Wine #1 FIANO 


Fiano is one of the native grapes of the southern Italian region of Campania and thrives in the foothills inland from Naples. Taking its name from Vitis apiana, "the vine beloved of bees", Fiano wines can range in style from light and fresh to full bodied and rich. Stone fruit and citrus flavours and almond are common throughout the spectrum of styles, while honey notes appear in the richer expressions.

Its love of hot and dry climates has seen it thrive in Australia with regions including McLaren Vale, the Hunter Valley and the Riverland making superb examples. Not to be outdone, there are also some top-class examples coming from the cooler climates of the Adelaide Hills.

It is the high natural acidity in Fiano that it makes it the perfect foil to warm weather. That acidity provides immediate refreshment. Add to this a flavour profile that includes stone fruit and a touch of honey. 

- Adam Walls


Best Summer Wine #2 Verdelho

Best Summer Wines - Verdhelo

With its fresh, tropical fruit characters, un-oaked style, and sheer drinkability, Australian Verdelho is very much the crowd-pleaser.  Perfect served with a host of spicy Asian cuisines including Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian, or simply enjoyed kicking back by the pool.

While it is widely grown, Western Australia and New South Wales consistently produce the best examples. Both states produce wines that offer pristine aromas and flavours, which are made for early consumption. Generally, the cooler grown or early picked examples are leaner and finer, showing citrus fruit, grassy and herb flavours. Warmer grown, riper Verdelho is generally richer, fuller with ripe tropical fruit salad flavours. Regardless of style, or region, Australian Verdelho also represents great value, with most being under the $20 mark.

Similar weight to unoaked Chardonnay and Roussanne, it pairs beautifully with seafood and chicken.

Part of Verdelho’s DNA is a bright and refreshing natural acidity with ensures refreshment. Add to this a flavour profile that is reminiscent of the summer fruits we love to eat. It’s as if it is made for summer sipping.

- Adam Walls



Best Summer Wines - Chenin Blanc

The spiritual home of Chenin Blanc is the Loire Valley in France. Much like Riesling, it’s one of the most versatile grape varieties in world making, dry, off dry, sweet and even sparkling wines.

Chenin Blanc has a backbone of high acidity which is its key to its versatility. It makes bright and fresh wines that most commonly shows notes of green apple and pineapple.

In Australia it has traditionally been used in blends, most famously the classic dry white blends from WA. More recently, a new generation is producing single varietal wines with great results. 

Watch out for examples from Margaret River and Geographe in Western Australia, South Australia’s McLaren Vale region.

Chenin Blanc is one of the most in vogue white varieties now, and rightly so. It’s naturally high acidity makes it a refreshing choice as a glass of wine on its own, and it also pairs deliciously well with the lighter foods that adorn summer tables around the country.

- Adam Walls



Best Summer Wines - Semillon

Semillon is renowned for its incredible ageing ability. When young, it’s lovely and crisp with plenty of citrus aromas, while age brings complex toast, vanilla and honey flavours creating depth and richness.

The best regions for Semillon in Australia are without a doubt the Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley and Margaret River where the vines thrive in the warm climates. 

Semillon has naturally lower alcohols, which means it is brilliant as an aperitif. Its citrussy nature of makes it a no-brainer with light seafood dishes – and especially fresh fish, prawns, crabs and oysters. Richer, more textural aged Semillon pairs beautifully with marron, and other shellfish, fresh seafood dishes including butter-based sauces, poultry or pork, and creamy curries.

With the onset of warmer weather, we naturally look for lighter and fresher beverages. Semillon is a lower alcohol variety that makes light and zesty wines. They’re the wine equivalent of a G&T which is one of summer’s favourite drinks.

- Adam Walls



Best Summer Wines - Barbera

Barbera (along with Nebbiolo and Dolcetto) is one of the three famed red varieties that hail from Piedmont in the northwest corner of Italy. The two villages of Asti and Alba make the most prized examples of Barbera in the world.

Barbera has a higher level of natural acidity and lower tannins than most Italian varieties, which coupled with its black cherry flavours, delivers wines packed with juicy black fruits and a silken texture.

Its natural acidity makes it perfectly suited to any dish containing tomato.

In Australia, Barbera thrives in cooler climates including Adelaide Hills and King Valley, however, because of its high acidity it can make balanced wines in warmer climates like McLaren Vale and the Hunter Valley.

Barbera can come in all shapes and sizes but most in Australia are made it a light to medium-bodied style and all have a high natural acidity which is a varietal signature. The lighter-bodied nature and refreshing acidity make it a great option to chill in the warmer months.

- Adam Walls



Best Summer Wines - Pinot Noir

Australian Pinot Noir is typically low in colour pigmentation, has a perfumed nose and shows red fruit such as cherry, red berry and blood plum flavours.

Great Aussie Pinot Noir should age well and develop complex truffle, game and earthy characters, hinting at its origins or the soil it came from. Its fruit flavours are balanced by tannins that are typically fine and soft, expanding at the back of the palate – referred to as a peacock’s tail finish.

Australia’s cool climate regions are powerhouse Pinot Noir producers – including Tasmania, Macedon Ranges, Geelong, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills, Pemberton, Great Southern, and Tumbarumba.

Pinot Noir is the most popular of all lighter-bodied red varieties in Australia. It’s a  variety that can deliver wines with flavour, persistence, and complexity without overpowering you. It’s this lighter-bodied bodied nature that is the key to Pinot Noir being a great summer red. And, if it’s really hot weather, Pinot can be chilled.

- Adam Walls



Best Summer Wines - Gamay

Gamay is the red grape behind the famed wines of Beaujolais which sits to the south of Burgundy and to the north of the Rhone Valley. In France, it is also grown in the Loire Valley where it is also used to make Rosé.

Gamay makes light bodied, fresh and crunchy red wines with very similar flavours to that of Pinot Noir. It’s also similar to Pinot in the fact that it thrives in Australia’s cooler climate regions such as the Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills and Victoria’s Great Western.

Gamay is really on trend here in Australia. Very similar to Pinot Noir, its light-bodied nature and light, fine tannins make it easy to sip, and it perfectly suits a light chill in the warmest weather.

- Adam Walls


When you’re entertaining over the holiday season, make sure to try some of these delicious summer wine recommendations. Plus, take the pain out of planning with our guide to easy entertaining recipes, full of top food and wine pairing suggestions as well as tips for entertaining in relaxed style.

Here’s cheers to a summer filled with fun times and wonderful Aussie wines!

Published on
14 Dec 2023


We love summer!

Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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