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Wine is a good time. Whether you’re cracking a bottle of bubbly to celebrate something big or sipping a glass of red as you cook a midweek dinner, grape juice is a solid booze option. With so many wineries, grape varieties, styles, vintages, terroirs and tannins, the world of wine is both fascinating and exceedingly overwhelming. At the end of the day, though, you just want a tasty wine that’ll suit your current scenario, which is where we come in.
For the sake of journalism (and our love of wine), we teamed up with Vivino to chat about the wines we’ve been drinking, sipping and sinking this season. From juicy pink-hued pét-nats and stone fruit-forward skin contact vinos to zippy whites and inky Aussie reds that pair exceptionally well with spag bol, these bottles are the ones we reach for time and time again — and we reckon you will, too.
Need to know even more about the drop you’re about to drink? Then take a snap of the bottle in your hand — or simply search for it — in Vivino app. There, you’ll find zero-bullshit reviews, ratings, taste characteristics and prices from more regular wine drinkers. And, if you can’t be bothered to track down a bottle IRL, you can also purchase some of them from Vivino, too, and get it delivered straight to your door.
2020 UNICO ZELO ESOTERICO SKIN CONTACT BLEND
It’s extremely rare that I buy the same wine more than once — I am, after all, an attention span-lacking millennial obsessed with the next shiny new thing. So, for a drop to have a permanent spot in my liquor lineup is a big deal. Enter Esoterico, from Adelaide Hills-based winery Unico Zelo.
This amber-hued drop, made from a blend of fiano, zibbibo, moscato giallo, gewürztraminer and greco, is a real all-rounder. It carried me through some pivotal 2021 moments; its decent level of texture and funkiness made all those lockdown loungeroom parties a little more fun. It has notes of citrus and stone fruits, particularly mandarin and apricot, so it was the perfect drop during the picnic era. And it’s acidic — almost spicy — so it has served me well over summer, too. Want more reviews? Check them out on Vivino, then buy yourself a bottle.
Melanie Colwell, Branded Content Editor
2020 BODEGA ALBAMAR ALBARIŃO
At an early Sunday dinner at recently opened wine bar La Salut, in Sydney’s Redfern, I had a delightful glass of albariño from the Rías Baixas region in Spain (an area famous for that particular grape type). This wine is all bright, vibrant, delicate citrus vibes — extremely non-intimidating — and was the perfect bedfellow to the salty flavour-packed Catalan-inspired bites.
It’s like the white wine equivalent of running through a sprinkler after an innings of cricket on a hot summer day. But with alcohol! You can read more reviews of Albamar Albariño on Vivino.
Suz Tucker, Editorial Director
2021 EXPRESS WINEMAKERS L’ORANGE SKIN CONTACT WHITE
Hailing from a single vineyard in the deep south of WA, the amber-hued L’Orange from Express Winemakers brings sunshine straight to my hand. The skin contact white — mostly riesling, with a dash of semillon — is bright, juicy and sends off the same vit C vibes that its namesake fruit does. Ryan O’Meara, the young and fun gung-ho winemaker, kept those precious skins on for six days to deliver a tart, textured drop that’s everything you’d expect from a skinsy sip.
I’m a pét-nat lover at heart, but this white is the perfect go-between. I’ve got a bottle sitting tight for my upcoming weekender in western NSW, and I’ll be pouring an ice-cold glass for my whole gang before we watch that golden sun set and breathe in the fresh country air. Want to nab yourself a glass too? You can purchase it from Vivino.
Grace MacKenzie, Junior Staff Writer
2020 ARFION FEVER SKIN CONTACT BLEND
Whenever I feel like drinking wine, I like to leave it to the experts. This includes when I’m at my local bottle-o, where most of my interactions with the staff usually go something like this: they see me staring in the skin contact wine section, they sniff out that I’m clueless, they ask me what I like, then they recommend a drop — and they always get it right.
A recent delight was the 2020 Arfion Fever from the Yarra Valley. This bright, refined orange wine is a blend of five varieties — pinot gris, chardonnay, gewürztraminer, pinot noir and savagnin — that are fermented on skins, and the result is criminally delicious.
It’s one of those wines where, after the first sip, my partner and I gave each other an involuntary and knowing nod to say we’d be buying another bottle of this moreish nectar. And that we did — twice. Check out more reviews of Arfion Fever on Vivino.
Courtney Ammenhauser, Branded Content Producer
2021 BRAVE NEW WINE NAT DADDY PÉT-NAT
Brave New Wine’s Nat Daddy pét-nat became my go-to drop for the wave of picnics that hit during that two-week period last year when al fresco hangs were the only way you could see your mates. The fizzy and fruity blend of shiraz and sauvignon blanc basically begs to be drunk on a warm afternoon in the park.
Brave New Wine has been producing vibrant, highly drinkable wines out of Western Australia’s Great Southern wine region for the past five years. Each bottle is created with minimal intervention, is naturally fermented, and comes adorned with a fun eye-catching label that sets the tone for the light and breezy pét-nat.
While variety is the spice of life, I keep coming back to Nat Daddy — and it’s sure to feature heavily in my plans throughout 2022. Want to know more about this bottle of bubbly? You can read more reviews of Brave New Wine Nat Daddy on Vivino.
Ben Hansen, Staff Writer
2019 GRANT BURGE BAROSSA INK SHIRAZ
As the only New Zealand-based team member, I should absolutely be advocating for any of the world-class Kiwi drops. Instead, I’m risking my citizenship and coming in hot with this big, bold South Australian number, which has received cult-like status in recent years (it actually took home the top gong for wines under $25 in Australia’s Vivino Community Awards).
This wine has been named Ink Shiraz as it’s so rich and full-bodied that it almost has a Ribena-like quality, making it the best accompaniment to a giant steak or a table full of Italian food. I know what you’re thinking — a rich red, Sarah? In summer? But hear me out. Book in a night to yourself at home, turn the air-con as low it can go, and enjoy a large glass of this with a giant bowl of spag bol and the latest episode of Succession. Instant happiness. So, buy yourself a bottle of Grant Burge Barossa Ink Shiraz from Vivino, stat.
Sarah Templeton, New Zealand Editor
2020 KERRI GREENS PINOTS DE MORNINGTON ROSÉ
If you’re after a vino primed for catch-ups, this unfiltered drop from the Mornington Peninsula’s Kerri Greens will definitely be your groove. When it comes to pink wine, the Pinots de Mornington rosé is my go-to.
It’s dry and moreish, with good texture and creaminess, and a taste that’s reminiscent of fresh strawberries and cream. The blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier and pinot gris grapes also delivers some fun forest fruit flavours. It’s also the kind of sip that stands up well alongside food — a handy trait if you like to snack your way through a Sunday sesh like me. Hot tip: match it with some fresh prawns and you’ll be one happy chappy.
All up, this drop is essential summer quaffing, and a primo accompaniment to beach picnics, barbecues and park sessions alike — and that’s coming from a diehard beer fiend. Sound good? You can read more reviews of Kerri Greens Pinots de Mornington on Vivino, too.
Libby Curran, Staff Writer
Download the Vivino app and start discovering more ideal summer sips to stock up on — then buy them straight from the app. For more wine inspo, check out this year’s Vivino Community Awards.
Top image: Winona, Kitti Gould.
Published on March 24, 2022 by Concrete Playground