SEA AIR, AFTERNOON SWIMS AND SUMMER DAY WINE

When cracking the screwcap off of a new release, it can sometimes be difficult for weary winemakers to remember exactly what happened the year they plucked, picked and pumped their wines into the barrel. But for Dalrymple Vineyards’ vigneron Peter Caldwell, it’s as simple as recalling an afternoon swim.

“In Tassy we remember the seasons by whether or not we went swimming,” he laughs.

“I distinctly remember 2014 being a good swimming year, getting up to 30 degrees in January – it was one of those years where you felt like you were actually having a real summer.

“The warm dry sea air would float through the vineyards and by the end of the day we were all so hot and bothered we’d strip off and run down to the beach for a dip.

“We’d swim and snorkel and fish, while scrubbing the sticky grape juice off of our hands from whatever picking or blending we were doing that day – it was a good summer.”

That sticky grape juice has since turned into Dalrymple’s newly released 2014 Pinot Noir, the perfect summer day wine, born from the perfect summer.

“It’s a great wine this one,” Pete says as he swirls his glass. “It has immediate mouth appeal with sweet rich red fruits, balanced with a tight tannin structure and a long savoury finish.

“But it is the aroma of dried Italian herbs which makes it the perfect summer match – for a potato and rosemary pizza, or spaghetti tossed in garlic and basil pesto after a long day at the beach.”

The 2013 Dalrymple Cottage Block Pinot Noir and Cave Block Chardonnay were also released this month, with southern summer rays again creating depth of flavour. “We definitely went swimming that year too,” Pete smiles. “It was a corker, reaching 32 degrees in March, which is pretty well unheard of in Tassy.

“The Cottage Block is in a great spot for soaking up the end of season sunshine, as it sits just under the brow of the hill running toward the east.

“If I had to pick my perfect summer day wine, it would have to be the Cottage Block Pinot Noir, and this year it was right on the money with spice, sour cherries and an elegant perfume.

“It’s so good you could just drink it by itself, but I’d also serve it with lamb cutlets and a tomato and feta salad – pink meat and some fresh acidity for a warm summer day barby.”

The Cave Block Chardonnay is another of Pete’s favourites, with the warm 2013 climate giving it a flavour punch of apple blossom and white peach.

“I love this Chardy, it’s not just a summer day wine, it’s a wine that tastes like summer,” he says. “With fresh quince and hints of crushed caper you can almost smell the sea air.”

“It’s remarkably robust – a complex full-mouth feel, great texture and subtle flavours that really give it a huge amount of power on the palate,” he says.

“I’d crack this one open an hour or so before serving to give the flavours a chance to release. It’s perfect for a balmy summer night at the beach, with fresh scallops or squid and a zesty lemon and fennel salad.”

Among Pete’s other favourite releases this year, you’ll also find Dalrymple’s fresh summery 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, perfect for barbecues with friends; the 2013 Dalrymple Single Site Pinot Noir – Bicheno, with brooding black plums and fruitcake spice, ideal for Christmas Day; and one to whip out at your next dinner party, the Single Site 2013 CV90 Coal River Pinot Noir with a flavour profile of Asian spices and rose petals.