Wine with Winsor

Wine bottles on brown wooden shelf

Summer is the time for enjoying picnics on the Bay Run, backyard barbecues and seafood feasts. Wine writer Winsor Dobbin has selected some wines that are perfect for seasonal enjoyment.

French rosé
Val Soleu 2022 Organic Rosé
Add a little taste of the south of France to your summer with this pale and savoury rosé  from the remote Drome valley. This is an organic wine that is crisp and lively with a zingy freshness that begs to be enjoyed well chilled with everything from a beach picnic to some Portuguese chicken from Petersham. There is some lovely balance here with citrus and tropical flavours to the fore, along with berry notes and delicious refreshing acid on the finish. Imported by Single Vineyard Sellers. $32.

Savvy savvy
d’Arenberg 2023 Broken Fishplate Sauvignon Blanc
Seafood on the menu? Pan-fried fish or some cold prawns? Here’s the ideal companion, and it comes with a very reasonable price tag. Family-owned d’Arenberg is based in McLaren Vale but sources the fruit for this wine from the cooler Adelaide Hills. Most of the blend is unoaked, although a small portion is partially fermented in aged French oak for two to three weeks to add texture. This is all about zesty fruit intensity with fresh tropical fruit flavours and hints of green herbs. A lovely wine for enjoying in its vibrant youth. Try Dan Murphys or BWS. $22.

Stylish shiraz
Dandelion Vineyards Lioness of McLaren Vale 2022 Shiraz 
Throwing a few snags on the barbecue? A couple of lamb chops or a burger patty or two? You won’t go wrong with this sophisticated and considered shiraz that is made by Australia’s only Bulgarian-born winemaker, the talented Elena Brooks. You’d go a long way to find a wine with such swagger and style at such a reasonable price. This has undergone whole-bunch ferment in open topped fermenters for structure, basket pressing and 18 months in oak before being bottled without filtration or fining. Just a hint of wildness then, but a whole lot of drinking pleasure for just $30.

Sensational chardy
Passing Clouds 2022 Estate Chardonnay
Family owned and operated Passing Clouds, just outside Daylesford in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges, celebrates its 40th birthday in 2024. This is a super stylish cool-climate chardonnay that is ready for immediate enjoyment, matched perhaps with a charcuterie plate, or lively summer salads. The fruit is grown at high altitude in one of the coolest sites in the state, which means a wine with intense varietal fruit characters, Chablis style, and some lively flinty minerality, added to well-integrated oak and subtle creamy malo notes. This has already picked up a wine show trophy. If you are visiting the area, Passing Clouds has a terrific cellar door restaurant. $53. 

Great value
Taylors 2021 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Everyone needs a couple of bottles of a reliably good all-purpose red wine like this on hand for when friends drop round and you want a drink to accompany a takeaway pizza, or a bowl of spaghetti. Although Taylors are based in the Clare Valley, the bulk of the fruit for this comes from cabernet heartland – the Limestone Coast. Think plenty of cassis flavours but also nice balance – and the temperature gauge on the label is a handy touch as you might want to pop this into the fridge for a few minutes on a warm day. The RRP is $22 but keep an eye out for it on special.          

Organic wizardry  
Paxton 2023 Shiraz Grenache Rosé
McLaren Vale producer Paxton is a leading exponent of certified organic and biodynamic wines that are full of vigour thanks to a focus on soil health and biodiversity. Even better, the wines taste great. This is particularly good value for summer drinking, a blend of two red grape varieties that thrive in the warmer climes of South Australia. The result is fresh, crisp, and dry wild berry fruit flavours unadorned with any artifice. Pair this with some Lebanese dips, pita bread and some dolmades for an affordable feast. $22.    See more of Winsor’s wine reviews at