Lighten up

David Ridge reviews four lighter style reds of differing weight and intensity. These are part of an increasing trend to a lightness in reds, which Australians are starting to embrace all year round.


King Valley, Vic RRP: $19.50 The Dal Zotto family’s approach to the use of their Italian varietals has been studied and successful. That is, they have also come to use them with Italian stylistic benchmarks in mind. This is important and is obviously at play in this lovely vibrant rose, a blend of the central Italian favourite Sangiovese with the north east’s much-loved Barbera. Both varieties are generally able to make easy drinking or ‘serious’ wines. Each offers its imprint: cherry fruits and a tingling savoury finish from Sangiovese and the generous Barbera contributes lovely plum skin and fleshiness. This wine is bright, fresh and clean, like any well made Australian rose, but it’s also got that ready aptitude for a variety of foods, which happily is becoming the norm with more (most?) wines of this type here. It gave me exactly what I anticipated and I can see more botts of this sitting with a range of dishes this summer: from the raw, cured or carpaccio-ed, to the deep fried or fiery. 2011 ATA RANGI ‘CRIMSON’ PINOT NOIR Martinborough, NZ RRP: $35 Talk about ‘crimson’! Not sure I have got this one right. Well maybe not for the purpose of suggesting a wine for use this summer, but here is surely a Pinot Noir of clear quality and promise. There are only a handful of other Kiwis who rival Clive Paton for experience in the Pinot caper and he’s ensured that this one delivers great quality and authenticity for very reasonable dollars. Although this is not their senior wine, it’s not new vines either, coming from mature plantings of 10 to 20 years of age, in the long-established and proven Pinot super zone of Martinborough on the lower north Island of NZ. It’s all primary crimson fruits, of plum, cranberry and cherry and in lieu of real age, other things, like spices are still shy. The palate is big and vigorous at the moment, but it does have a superb, correct, tight and tingling Pinot finish. This is nice now, but its great days lie ahead – maybe three to five years ideally. It’s also in halves, for that very rare occasion you might find yourself one-out with your Peking duck. 2011 LENOTTI BARDOLINO CLASSICO Veneto, Italy RRP: $18 “Where have you been?” is the frequent reaction to this lovely light-medium red from near Lake Garda in Italy’s north east. Now for the lover of the Australian (or for that matter any) type of brawny red, this might be a bit wussie, and with eyes closed it might seem more like a white that just happens to be red. Lovely plum and cherry skin fruits, with quite a bit of presence emerge with a little breathing and with nice texture and length, supported by gentle but persistent tannins this gradually presents itself with a bit more force than initially. It’s a type of red, which could be a model in this often hot and humid climate and with our food preferences moving to include far more fire, spice and herbs from just north of us, and reminds, if anything of Pinot Noir. It goes with lots of foods, adapts to most situations and even takes a bit of chilling without its tannins getting bitter. Let’s see more of these. 2010 PRUNOTTO DOLCETTO D’ALBA Piedmont, Italy RRP: $25 This is actually quite dark, but not big – if you know what I mean? In the pecking order of Piedmont’s red varieties, Dolcetto sits third, after the generous and adaptable Barbera and the great Nebbiolo, and it’s never meant to ask you for big dollars. When at its top form though, like this wine, it is a red of instant appeal, being juicy and mouthfillng and finishing savoury and lively, yet not big or cumbersome. Unlike Dolcetto’s senior siblings this is very adaptable food wine and is used at origin for the everyday wine which can also step up to provide a little more intrigue and complexity if needed. This famous Piemontese producer now sits in the Antinori stable, where it is allowed to run independently and take advantage of some wonderful vineyard resources. So this is an excellent look at a Piedmont variety and at Piemontese style for very good money. Its ideal partners would be a tuna steak, carpaccio or vitello tonnato, but it ranges easily beyond just Italian fare.

Adelaide In-depth

Get the latest stories, insights and exclusive giveaways delivered straight to your inbox every week.