Handpicked Guide to Summer Wines
2019 Collection Pinot Noir, Tasmania
It is a fine thing to see a winemaker of many years’ experience get a little giddy with excitement when he tastes a new wine. That was Pete Dillon, Handpicked Chief Winemaker, when crafting the final blends of the 2019 wines from Tasmania. He’s nurtured these babies for more than a year, watching nervously as the first buds burst, coaxing gently as the season sent its challenges, marshalling troops at harvest, hovering over ferments, tasting, tasting, tasting. When they come together so beautifully, Pete’s entitled to be proud.
Our 2018 Collection Pinot Noir from Tasmania sold out in a flash after winning three trophies at Royal Hobart Wine Show, including Best Tasmania Wine and Best Pinot Noir. Don’t miss out now; the 2019 is even better.
This wine will enrich so many meals and occasions, including the Christmas ham and turkey, but right now I am dreaming of a sunlit park with cicadas singing in shady trees and a picnic of smoked trout, salad and summer berries. If it’s a hot day I might pop the Pinot in the esky for a few minutes before serving.
Chardonnay is never off the menu at my place, I enjoy it straight from the wine rack in winter and fresh out of the fridge in summer, and each time it offers something different. I love a glass all on its lonesome and I adore it with food. A well-crafted Chardonnay like this one has everything in perfect balance – fruit, creamy texture, fresh acidity, subtle oak – and can handle a surprising range of foods. In spring and summer, I like it with a creamy pasta dish and side salad, or flavoursome seafood – prawns, bugs, crayfish, freshly-shucked oysters. I am still dreaming up what food will be on my table for Christmas lunch, but I know this wine will be there.
Gorman and Handpicked were always a good match: we love the irreverent Aussie fashion icon and her sense of fun and quirky style. When we came together to make a Yarra Valley Rosé we were instantly onboard with Gorman’s Mediterranean summer themed label. It seems even more relevant now that the real Mediterranean is temporarily out of reach. Luckily for us, Australia has welcomed generations of immigrants from the shores of the Mediterranean and we have access to many of the culinary specialties of those lands. Dream up a basket of Mediterranean-inspired goodies (I’m thinking San Daniele, Gorgonzola dolce, olives, crunchy bread), a cold bottle of Gorman x Handpicked Yarra Valley Rosé and a bright brolly, and head for the nearest beach for some La Dolce Vita.
Clare Valley Riesling
With its zesty citrus fruit flavours and zingy freshness Clare Valley Riesling is an instant pick-me-up. It’s like spring in a glass - when I close my eyes, I imagine the bright green of new growth and fresh white blossom. Riesling is the perfect accompaniment to summer salads and light seafood such as pan-fried whiting. Or try this dream for uncomplicated happiness: take two friends, one kilogram of cold cooked prawns, a chilled bottle of Handpicked Clare Valley Riesling, one car, one rug and one mountain or good-sized hill. Drive up the mountain/hill, stop at an attractive shady spot, spread rug, eat freshly peeled prawns, drink wine, snooze, drive home.
Collection Mornington Pinot
The Mornington Peninsula is recognised as one of the world’s great Pinot Noir regions, which makes Handpicked proud to be frequently cited as among the best producers in this great region. You know we love Pinot Noir and we make it in five regions across three countries; what is always special about our Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir is a gorgeous perfume, as if borne on the steady sea breeze. That is why, for this dream, I am sitting on the deck at my local pizzeria in Mornington. I can smell the ocean on the wind and hear seagulls squawking in the distance. My pizza arrives – prosciutto, fior di latte, fresh basil – and a bottle of Handpicked Collection Mornington Pinot Noir. Everything is going to be alright.
Coming Soon: Tassie Sparkling
Let’s face it, 2020 is not going to make it on many ‘best of’ lists. It has been a tough ride and it ain’t over yet, but I am here to tell you the best is yet to come: Handpicked is releasing our first-ever sparkling wine in time for Christmas 2020. This is not just any sparkling wine. Handpicked NV Cuvée is from our own vineyards in the Tamar Valley, Tasmania, one of the world’s premier sparkling regions. It is aged on lees for 18 months for all the extra trimmings we love in great sparkling – bready notes, complexity, texture, depth and a super fine, long-lasting mousse. Watch this space for the release date!
In the meantime, let me leave you with one final dream: You wake up on Christmas morning and realise you have survived 2020. For the first time in months you will be in the same room/backyard/park with people who for so long have been sketchy avatars in a dodgy computer game called ‘Zoom’. Today you will occupy the same space in heart, mind and body. Today you will be humans together. Open the Handpicked NV Cuvée and keep it coming!
Head to the wine shop to take your pick here.