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FROM SPARKLES TO SYRAH Regional wines to explore

How to start a wine cellar Tailoring your ideal wine list


(v.) to float (v.) to be elevated (n.) flower of the rewarewa tree, native honeysuckle of Aotearoa



Available at your local fine wine and liquor store or online at



elcome to the first issue of World of Wine magazine, created as a response to the continued growth of New Zealand wine, on both a local and a global scale. With a burgeoning New Zealand viticulture industry and an increasing worldwide attention on our country’s wine product, World of Wine is here to help enlighten and educate on the many intricacies of tasting, cellaring and enjoying some of the best wines available. As well as information on the wines of New Zealand, this issue contains a practical guide to regional specialities, food and wine pairing and much more. Cameron Douglas MS, New Zealand’s only Master Sommelier, is one of the world’s leading wine experts. In this issue he presents a stunning selection of Tasting Notes from many of the country’s leading winemakers to help your wine purchasing decisions just that little bit easier. Please enjoy this inaugural World of Wine magazine, and I encourage you to join us in supporting our New Zealand wine industry and its many talented producers.


Introducing Cameron Douglas: What is a Sommelier?

P34 K  eep it Sweet: How to find the right dessert wine


How to properly taste wine

P35 I n the Pink: This on-trend variety provides many colourful options


 hrough the regions: T North Island’s Auckland and Waiheke make a small, but significant contribution, especially for white wines

P10 T  hrough the regions: Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and the Wairarapa’s diverse soils make for some fruity flavours P12  Southern Stars: The South Island is home to the wine meccas of Marlborough and Central Otago P14 Creating a wow wine list P15 The changing face of white wine

P37 R  ed Red Wine: Northland to Nelson, Auckland to Otago, Kiwi reds are looking promising P38  Dans le Noir: The sultry passions of Pinot Noir P42  Make your match: Pairing red wine with food P44  Berry peppery: Stylish Syrah is surprisingly versatile

P46  Blend it like Bordeaux: Red wine blends create some rich, dark varieties

P16  Sauvignon in style: The Kiwi favourite that’s smashing it internationally

P48  Malbec and Merlot: Enjoy a riot of cherry, blackberry and blueberry flavours

Dale Spencer Publisher

P19  Oak for awesome: Not all Chardonnays are created equal

P50 Organic thinking: Classic farming is producing some brilliant results

Cover image by Billy Nordmeier

P22 G  ris your wheels: Fruity Pinot Gris works well with everything

PUBLISHED BY The Intermedia Group Ltd 505 Rosebank Road, Avondale Auckland, 1026, New Zealand ph: 021 361 136 Managing Director-Publisher Dale Spencer Editor Catherine Milford ph: 021 823 034 Sales Manager Sam Wood

P24 M  ake your match: Pairing white wine with food P26 I t’s all in the name: Aromatics explained

P29 Drinking Stars: New Zealand’s sparkling wines are world class

WINE POINTS SYSTEM All Cameron’s wine and beverage reviews in World of Wine are based on this 100-point scale: 95-100 Classic: a great wine (5 Star) 90-94 Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style (4.5 to 5 Star)

85-89 Very good: a wine with special qualities (3.5 to 4 Star) 80-84 Good: a solid, well-made wine (3 Star) 75-79 Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws 50-74 Not recommended WORLD OF WINE - 2019 3

Introducing Cameron Douglas MS New Zealand’s only Master Sommelier


ameron Douglas has unquestionably impressive wine credentials. The only Kiwi ever to pass the Master Sommelier exam, he took out the trophy for achieving top marks. Only around 250 people worldwide have attained the Masters Exam, deemed the hardest in the world, since its inception in 1969. Douglas is an experienced wine writer, commentator, judge, reviewer, presenter and consultant. As unofficial ambassador for New Zealand wine, he regularly spends time in every wine region in the country. His time is spent teaching, travelling, tasting and talking about wine. He judges and presents wine regularly in the USA, the UK, Australia and Asia. At home in New Zealand, Douglas writes monthly columns for The Shout NZ in Hospitality Business and FMCG Business magazines, and contributes to a number of other publications. He reviews wines and makes his notes available on his website, as a courtesy to the industry. Douglas is very involved in the education sector. He is the academic in charge of the Wine and Beverage programme at Auckland’s AUT, and ‘out in the field’, consulting for the wine, hospitality and tourism sectors as well as the interested public. He is Patron of the New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals Association, and consults for several establishments, curating their wine lists, wine and food pairings, and staff training matters. He is on the Fine Wines of New Zealand team, selecting for Air New Zealand Business Premier class. Douglas serves on the Board of Directors for the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas, and is committed to being an instructor and examiner for the MS programme both in the USA and Oceania.

What Is A Sommelier?

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A Sommelier is the expert in charge of beverage at a hospitality establishment. French in origin, historically the Sommelier’s role was in lofty circles, advising on wine for royalty and exclusive clubs. These days, a Sommelier’s role is much wider and increasingly important to both hospitality and retail establishments, and the drinking public in general. Internationally, wine and beverage service is viewed as a serious profession; training, qualifications and experience are important considerations. In New Zealand, the fastgrowing restaurant and hotel scene, as well as the wine and tourism industries, have increased the need for professional Sommeliers who can represent their organisations with appropriate levels of knowledge, care and attention to detail. While ostensibly a wine expert, a good Sommelier has in-depth knowledge of all beverages. They will also be knowledgeable about beers, ciders, spirits, cocktails, sake, tea and coffee; food and wine pairing is a key tool in their skill base. They will have likely compiled the wine list and stocked the cellar. A good Sommelier has a strong focus on service, working with diners and staff to ensure the best experience for both the guests and the business. The career path often segues into other areas associated with wine, beverage and hospitality – education, wine retail, perhaps controlling the wine programme for hotel or restaurant chains.


In 1971 our father Hermann arrived in New Zealand with a dream of making great wines. He and our mother Agnes, pioneered modern winemaking in the Nelson region, planting the first vines and in 1976 producing their first wines. Now over 40 years later we celebrate their vision, and the arrival of the next generation, our children, who are growing up in the vineyard and winery. Our family, and very dedicated team are proud to craft internationally renowned wines in this very special corner of the world. Wines made for sharing.


If you think your sense of smell needs help, put one hand over the top of the glass when swirling and immediately your hand is taken away smell the wine again – a lot more gently. Try closing your eyes when ‘nosing’ the wine as well, to cut out distractions.

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Tasting wine isn’t just about flavour: it uses all five of your senses, creating a unique experience you will remember


rinking wine is easy. ‘Tasting’ wine is a skill that can be learned, and like most skills, the more you practice, the more accomplished you will become. Great wine experiences are nearly always based on balance, length and complexity. How it makes you feel, a lasting package of flavours and textures can differentiate a ‘fine’ wine from a simple wine. First - and importantly - use a clean, highly polished, stemmed glass with a wide-ish bowl that tapers inward at the top. This allows the taster to tilt the glass, swirl the wine and get the nose deep into the aromas.


Wine aromas are essentially broken down into categories: • • • •

Fruits and their condition - such as fresh, cooked or dried Non-fruits - flowers, spices, teas, vegetables, and abstract smells like leather or meat Earth or mineral suggestions, such as clays, rocks or stone Oak – does the wine smell of baking spices like vanilla or clove, smoky, even the smell of bacon?

The collection of these aromas, and how strong or subtle they are, will lead to your decisions about balance, length and complexity. Remember also that a wine can have a range of power on the nose - be very subtle and floral with no oak to very fruity and toasty with oak. ‘Swirling’ wine is not pretentious. It is necessary to release the package of smells, ‘breaking’ the surface and releasing aromas. It is important to get your nose right inside the glass. The first sniff, to identify the wine’s condition, should be quite firm: you should be able to hear yourself sniff wine. The second sniff is softer and used to start listing categories of fruits - then nonfruits, soils or minerals and use of oak. Next, assess the wine’s taste - take a decent sip and hold it on the palate for about eight seconds then ‘mouthwash’ it - this lets your palate get used to the weight, impact and intensity of the juice and releases the flavours. Always spit the wine out (preferably in a civilised way, into a suitable receptacle!). Higher acid levels can make your palate produce more saliva; higher alcohol can make your exhale breath feel warm or even hot; are the flavours you taste the same as the ones you smelled? Now re-taste – can you sense anything new? The longer the flavour and intensity, the higher the quality and complexity. Five to ten seconds can suggest a lower quality wine; thirty seconds to a minute or more arguably a high-quality wine. Learning how your own palate works is critical to wine tasting success. Practice a lot, and you’ll learn more each time.

A FEW DON’TS BEFORE YOU START TASTING: → D  on’t taste just after cleaning your teeth – this makes wine taste metallic and acidic. → Don’t chew gum before tasting – it gives same result as toothpaste. → Don’t consume foods which have a dramatic effect on wine’s texture and flavour, such as orange or pineapple juice, chilli and truffles. → Coffee and tea beforehand can be okay, as long as there’s a decent gap before tasting.

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New Zealand’s North Island is a mecca for wine lovers, with stunning, ripe Chardonnays and lush, fruity reds


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AUCKLAND After restaurant licensing began in the early 1960s, Auckland-grown wines were among the first to appear on wine lists. Household family names like Babich, Fistonich, Ivicevich, Corban and Brajkovich changed the way we discovered and enjoyed wine. Brands like Cresta Dore and Bakano Red were replaced by Muller Thurgau, Palomino and eventually Chardonnay, Riesling and Merlot. Auckland’s wine sector is small, with only 326 hectares under vine: one percent of the national planted total. It wasn’t always small, but constant pressure from population growth, urbanisation and other New Zealand wine regions has shrunk Auckland’s produce. From Clevedon in the south, to Matakana in the north and Waiheke Island, some fabulous wines are produced from 108 producers. Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the varieties used for mainly blended red wines. Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc lead white wine plantings. Auckland regional soils are over 200 million years old, and dominated by sandstone, mudstone and clays. It rains a lot in Auckland, so the threat of botrytis and unexpected vine disease carries a constant risk. Recent vintages have favoured the Auckland region, with 2013 and 2014 especially showing some incredible wines across many producers. Chardonnay takes the crown for whites; Cabernet Merlot blends for the red. Varieties to watch out for include Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Gris.



NEW ZE AL AND #greystonewines




HAWKE’S BAY New Zealand’s second largest wine region, Hawke’s Bay, is the North Island’s go-to for high-quality red blends, Syrah and a growing number of emerging red varieties like Tempranillo. Superb Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs have been produced here for many years. With 79 registered wineries in the region (12% of the national total) spread across 4694 hectares, Hawkes Bay is small compared with Marlborough, but punches well above its weight for quality over quantity. Hawke’s Bay red blends (sometimes referred to as Bordeaux Blends) feature 10 WORLD OF WINE - 2019

Merlot, Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon, and often Malbec and Petit Verdot. The best blends have a focused core of fruit, are ripe and bold on the palate, and display very expressive and abundant tannins, with plenty of acidity and oak use common. Some of the best examples have come from plantings around Te Awanga, Crownthorpe, Bridge Pa and the Gimblett Gravels sub-regions. With around 27 soils types in the Bay there are many different expressions of red blends to discover. One of the shining stars - and hopefully part of the future of the Hawke’s Bay wine story - is Syrah. In better vintages, Syrah are as good as any you’ll find in France and the New World.



• • •

Ormond to the north, with limestone influenced topsoil; Patutahi – a little further inland with more clay and silt soils; Manutuke - more coastal, with sandy, silty and clay soils.


GISBORNE Situated on the North Island’s east cape, and the first to be touched by the sun each day, Gisborne is an important and historical wine region. Renowned for Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer & Pinot Gris, Merlot and sparkling wine, Gisborne is also home to the largest vine propagation company, Riversun Nurseries. With 1,274 hectares of vines, Gisborne accounts for just 3 percent of the national total. Most is Chardonnay (664 hectares), aromatics (416 hectares), and Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc accounts for just over 70 hectares each.

Some Chardonnay material is used for sparkling wine production, while the rest produces full-bodied, slightly tropical expressions. A few producers are experimenting with leaner, more expressive textured examples. Aromatic varieties such as Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc and Albarino are well suited to the region, with weighty, spicy, fruity and lush textures. With the rainshow effect from the Wharerata Hills and Raukumara Ranges and moderating effects of the Pacific Ocean, all wines show a natural acidity. The region’s general soil types include alluvial loams over sandy volcanic subsoils and clay. There are three key sub-regions:

Located close to the east coast of the lower North Island, the Wairarapa region is historically known for Chardonnay, Riesling, Syrah and Pinot Noir, with many popular producers. Wairarapa’s wine story began in the late 19th century when the first vines were planted. With animal farming popular in the area, very few producers saw the potential for great wine in the 1880s, making it a very secondary industry. In 2016, New Zealand’s oldest wine - a 1903 Landsowne Claret from Beetham Homestead, inland Wairarapa - was described as ‘superb’ at an international tasting I attended in 2016. There are still a few bottles in the cellar – but not many. The Wairarapa’s wine story changed significantly in the early 1970s, when a few wine pioneers took a chance on the Martinborough and Dry River brands. Today there are 1000 hectares planted across 69 wineries, creating three percent of the national total spread. Long summers, warm days and a decent daily diurnal shift makes the region perfect viticulture territory. Wairarapa wines are generous, fleshy and complex, with reds showing a focused core of fruit and fine tannins, and whites showing concentration, complexity and finesse. The Rimutaka and Tararua ranges give some shelter, diverting enough rain to keep the region generally dry. Organic and biodynamic farming is also becoming popular in the area. Soils are made up of gravelly sub-soils, silty loams and some clays, across several terraced land formations. Martinborough is the better-known of the sub-regions, with Gladstone and Masterton, East Taratahi, Te Muna and the Opaki Plains growing over the past 40 years. Pinot Noir, Syrah, Riesling and Chardonnay form the backbone of the region’s cultivated varieties. Méthode Traditionnelle, Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and blended red wines are emerging as varieties to watch. WORLD OF WINE - 2019 11


SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY The South Island’s reputation for creating worldclass wine is hard-earned, and well deserved. MARLBOROUGH

Marlborough remains New Zealand’s largest wine region, with just over 26,000 hectares of vines - 68 percent of the national total. Sauvignon Blanc makes up the backbone of plantings, and this flagship variety remains the focus, with more than 19,00 hectares. This is followed by Pinot Noir (2,590 hectares), Chardonnay (1047 hectares) and Pinot Gris (1013 hectares). Varieties like Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, Syrah and Tempranillo have much smaller - though no less important - plantings. The growth and significance of sparkling Méthode Traditionnelle production has become a significant component. The Marlborough climate is very consistent, with over 2,400 hours of annual sunshine hours, cool southerly and ocean breezes and relatively disease-free growing conditions. It takes a lot of hard labour in vineyards to keep it that way. Rainfall is relatively low, continuing the need for irrigation across most of the region. Two significant geographical features, Richmond Hills and Wither Hills, – together create a double rain shadow-effect, protecting the land below from harsh extremes and funnelling cool southerly winds. The region sports a mix of soil types, with glacially-formed free-draining stony deposits, and deep sandy loam deposits. Clay soils tend to show more in the southern valleys and hills and silty loams and loess (silty sediment) through the 12 WORLD OF WINE - 2019

Awatere. This means wine that’s produced in the area has high natural acidity, precise flavour profiles and texture. These natural conditions mean some excellent bottle-fermented sparkling wines. Sub-regional flavour profiles are beginning to show, especially when tasting wine from the Wairau alongside wine from the Southern Valleys and Awatere. For example, Sauvignon Blanc from the Wairau Valley typically shows an intense core of fruit with tropical fruits, citrus and sweet herb, framed by a wet stone minerality. Southern Valleys wines are more about minerality, sweet grapefruit, lemon, apple and white peach flavours, still with high acidity, but a little more texture. Awatere examples are vibrant and savoury, with wild herb and saline flavours, plenty of tropical fruit, apple and citrus at the core. A diverse range of the region’s Pinots Noir typically have fresh, crunchy textures, with flavours of red cherry and plum then strawberry and raspberry when young. Oak plays a bigrole in individual producer expressions of Pinot, and with a significant number of producers practicing or using key elements of organics and biodynamics in the vineyard, some incredible and cellar-worthy wines can be discovered. Marlborough might wear big shoes in the New Zealand wine sector, but the dedication to small production fine wines from some unique sites exists alongside some very commercial high volume and export-oriented producers. The New Zealand wine sector most definitely needs Marlborough.



CENTRAL OTAGO “We make wine in Central Otago” is a catchphrase for many wine producers from this region. Central Otago winegrowers have been a collective force for nearly 30 years, with conferences dedicated to Pinot Noir, wine and adventure tourism. A lot of southern soul makes for a region with a big heart. It’s also, in part, why brand Otago is so successful. Otago’s early wine history is well documented, but late 20th and early 21st century producers are now realising the region’s true wine potential. Most of the best land has now been planted, keeping annual production quite low compared to the rest of the country. With only 1,900 hectares of vines, Central Otago claims just 2 percent of the national total. Volumes and availability are hard to come by. Central Otago’s southerly location means a continental climate. Winters can be harsh and cold, with warm, sunny summers. Central Otago is inland and elevated, so many vineyards start at around 120 metres above sea level. Average rainfall is low, so many require irrigation. Frost remains the biggest threat; a significant frost event meant some vineyards dodged a bullet on October 20th 2018; others suffered crop burns of up to 40 percent.

Central Otago’s landscape is dramatic, with the Southern Alps towering above much of Queenstown and Wanaka. Giant shards of schist rock punch through the valley floor around the Gibbston Valley, Bannockburn and Bendigo. Pink and white quartz, pebbles, loams and loose schist litters the landscape. Working the land to grow grapes is tough graft, but the rewards can be incredible. Known for Pinot Noir, Central Otago can produce some deeply-coloured, highly-scented wines with a core of minerality and complexity. Site and soil play a big role in sub-regional differences. Expect flavours of dark cherry and plum, undergrowth, schist and mineral with dried herb. When Chardonnay is available, it can be amazing, but there isn’t enough produced, despite being well suited to the region. Some of New Zealand’s best Riesling is found in Central Otago, with dry to off-dry expressions the best. Pinot Gris is also very successful, with more than 200 hectares planted. That doesn’t sound like much - and it’s not. The demand for land for Pinot Noir and Gris outweighs that for Riesling. Some exciting examples from Gamay and Chenin Blanc will hopefully lead to more plantings of both. This wonderful region continues to deliver quality over quantity; with an emerging focus on organic and bio-dynamic practices, the future looks amazing.

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A truly memorable dining experience can be enhanced by knowing which beverage options to include on your wine list


ne of my favourite roles is creating wine lists. While these suggestions are designed for commercial establishments, many of these ideas can be applied to anyone wanting to create a good wine selection.

they have, to help determine pricing structure. Restaurant charges for a bottle or glass of wine is based on several factors such as fixed costs, customer expectations, competition and what will generate an appropriate level of revenue.

Wine lists have four critical roles to play:

The readability Customers should be able to navigate the wine list without having to borrow spectacles, use the torch on their phone or ask their server to point out the location of a style or variety. It’s a nobrainer that easy-to-read menus speed up navigation and selection. Consistency of presentation is very important. Check spelling, make sure vintages are current, and descriptions are simple, and that the wines are available. ‘Dry style with citrus flavours’ is easier to understand than ‘desert dry with a pH of 3.1, lemon pith and peach stone flavours’.

→ A tool for a licenced establishment to offer information on what is available. → A link to that restaurant’s food programme. The wine list should contain options that pair well with dishes, particularly in the ‘by the glass’ selection. → A marketing tool. From content to presentation, a wine list should showcase the seriousness with which the proprietors regard the beverage programme. → An essential player in the restaurant’s income. The wine list, along with cocktails, beers and non-alcoholic beverages, can often generate 60% or more of cashflow.


Whether you are creating a wine list or inheriting one, content, layout and pricing are critical. Here are some ideas outlining how to build a successful wine and beverage programme: Food Your wine list should take into account the philosophy, sourcing of ingredients and vision of the food programme. Listening to key stakeholders, and food producers and their vision helps you understand influences, flavour, texture combinations, atmosphere and why certain dishes are created. Location and cost Consider the location of the business, target audience, and what competition

The staff Finding talented, experienced staff is difficult in a growing and highly competitive market. There are, however, proven sales advantages to hiring a good Sommelier. Having a sommelier means having an in-house culture of tasting wine and food together, discussing which food and wine combinations work best, then tracking sales and watching profits increase. The knowledge Taste, taste, taste! Every successful wine list is based on tasting before a product is purchased, visualising where and when it will work on a menu, and who is likely to notice and buy. Listing wines based on wine reviews, points scored or the enthusiasm of wine reps will never be as good as your own palate and vision for the business, food and beverage programme and understanding of your customers.


There is an abundance of flavour and variety to be found in today’s New Zealand white wines


n New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and bottle fermented sparkling wine dominate white wine sales in restaurants and retail; rosé gets an honourable mention, with sales on a steep rise. As we head through 2019, these varieties will continue to feature prominently. Wine producers and distributors are already looking at trimming margins to offer some great glass-pour and bottle pricing to get their stock onto wine lists and retail shelves. While these favourites all deserve attention, there is a great selection of other white varieties to note. Some of the more interesting ones to explore and match with fresh summer food include Riesling, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc and Gewürztraminer. Dry and off-dry Riesling are terrific aperitifs, and can be superb with fresh shellfish, especially mussels and oysters. Off-dry Riesling also makes a great aperitif beverage. Chenin Blanc and Pinot Blanc are wines that can deliver great taste experiences, food pairing options and price (I recently enjoyed one with smoked trevally bruschetta at Coco’s Cantina in Auckland). Off-dry Gewürztraminer is an excellent wine with creamy textured seafood, pork belly, smashed avocado on anything and traditional meat and non-meat pâtés. New Zealand winegrowers are producing some fine examples of Albariňo and Grüner Veltliner, traditionally known as European varieties. These classic aromatic wines, signature for their countries of origin (Spain and Austria

Most New Zealand white wine is vegan-friendly and is generally not fined with animal products. Just check the back label if this is important to you.

respectively) provide excellent alternatives to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The quality of New Zealand white wine is generally very good, and it is now possible to find more classic wines with a special point of difference. Sauvignon Blanc is one exciting example – this benchmark wine has literally put New Zealand wine on the world wine map, and now our fine winemakers are looking at different expressions, using more natural ferments, lees and sometimes barrel ageing to add complexity and interest. Try a different region from the one you default to and see what’s out there. Sauvignon Blanc from Otago is a different expression, reflecting the terroir with a more mineral expression of the variety. With Chardonnay, there’s a bit of a swing back towards big, oaky and buttery examples. Some companies are producing this style and it works with more traditional food pairings like salmon and a beurre blanc. Our Chardonnays are becoming more sophisticated, and are starting to create excitement both locally and internationally. Viognier is a rewarding alternative to Chardonnay, although it is noticeably more aromatic. Our Pinot Gris is getting better - attention to detail in the vineyard easily translates to better mouth-feel and flavour through talented winemaking. Champagne? Of course – and please investigate New Zealand’s fine Méthode Traditionnelles.

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aving tasted many Sauvignons Blanc at the 2018 Decanter Wine Awards in London, it was extremely encouraging to see such a wide range of styles recognised and rewarded. Sauvignon Blanc has always been a shining example of cool climate, semiaromatic and benchmark New Zealand wine, with distinctive aromas, pristine acidity and crunchy fruity/vegetal flavours. It’s pretty hard to get Sauvignon Blanc wrong. The variety responds well to a sound winemaking plan, executed with good timing and excellent blending skills. Vine maturity and decent vineyard practices allow winemakers to harness specific flavour profiles and palate textures that were not always previously possible. For example, harvesting fruit at different ripeness - and even different sections of

the same vineyard - means more texture, palate feel and complexity. The subtle use of oak, lees contact, battonage and even blending with a few percent of another variety can add complexity and length to the palate. The price of a Sauvignon Blanc has a connection to style on the shelf. In general, wines under $15.00 are often steely gooseberry and herbaceous styles. In restaurants, however, there will likely only be one wine that fits the ‘old school’ style of Sauvignon Blanc. The rest will be more about highlighting subtlety, minerality, use of wood, floral and natural ferment characters. New Zealand makes a pretty good Sauvignon Blanc; the bell-curve of style and quality is still correct, if not a little skewed to the right.


‘Lees’ are the yeast particles that settle at the bottom of a fermentation barrel. A wine which sits ‘on the lees’ for longer can carry more flavour. ‘Battonage’ is the French term for stirring settled lees back into wine.


Auntsfield Barrel Ferment South Oaks Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Complex and inviting bouquet with a mix of barrel fermented scents and ripe orchard fruits. A voluptuous and rounded texture to the nose with barrel spices, cashew, Brazil nut and some barrel white smoke. On the palate: dry, highly-textured and packed flavours of Marlborough, a salty minerality and Sauvignon Blanc fruits. Abundant acidity and lengthy complex finish. Drink now and through 2026. Points 96 Contact:


Greystone Barrel Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Fabulous nose with a complex mix of barrel ferment spices, honeysuckle and fresh citrus and white-fleshed stonefruit aromas. Equally enticing on the palate, with vibrant fruit and barrel led flavours, satin texture, plenty of acidity and long finish. A great example of where New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is heading. Drink now and through 2024. Points 96 Contact:


Tohu Mugwi Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Very attractive aromas of Sauvignon Blanc, with shape and texture in the bouquet suggesting barrel spices, ripe peach and roasted lemon. The beginnings of some bottle development show off the honey, nutty attributes and leesy ginger notes. Dry on the palate, packed with flavour and texture and length. There is complexity too, with some layers of fruit, bottle-developed flavours and vibrant acid line. Drink now and through 2024. Points 95 Contact:

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Villa Maria Taylors Pass Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Powerfully pure bouquet with integrating aromas of white peach and lemon, sage and basil, some dried pineapple and limeblossom; complex. Fabulous wine on the palate with mouth-watering acidity, silky texture, flavours of orchard fruits described above, decent acid line and long finish with a hint of lees and spice. Drink now and through 2022. Points 94 Contact:


Holly Matahiwi Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Very attractive bouquet with layers of fresh fruit, fresh herbs and lees-derived lifted sweet floral aromas. Dry on the palate with a decent weighty feel,

silky texture and refreshing acidity. Plenty of complexity and length with a lovely mouth feel, length and finish. Enjoy now and through 2023. Points 94 Contact:


Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon 2016 Waipara Valley North Canterbury Very alluring bouquet with a waxy grapefruit, apple and tangerine lemon rind. Crisp and dry with plentiful acidity contrasted by a core of ripe citrus and apple fruit flavours. A moderate complexity with decent length and finish. Drink now and through 2024. Points 93 Contact:

Celebrating 36 Years of Marlborough Vintages

0800 HUNTERS @HuntersWinesNZ Distributed nationwide by EuroVintage 0800 338 776

Open 7 days 9:30pm — 4:30pm WORLD OF WINE - 2019 17








Toi Toi Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2017 Elegant and layered bouquet, with aromas of ripe, whitefleshed fruits and citrus then peach, soft herb, lees and spice. Powerful on the palate with abundant ripe acidity, a silky texture and lengthy finish touching on all the flavours described above. Drink now and through 2022. Points 93 Contact: Aotea by Seifried Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Produced by Seifried wines in Nelson this wine has a distinctive bouquet and palate of Sauvignon Blanc with flavours of grapefruit and tropical fruits, a definitive mineral, fresh herb and sweet hay flavour. Loads of energy too with plenty of acidity, crisp textures and minerality. Dry finish with a flinty, grassy and mineral residue. Well-made, balanced and refreshing. Drink now and through 2022. Points 92 Contact: Jules Taylor Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Marlborough Enticing, distinctive, pungent and precise bouquet of SB with aromas and flavours of crunchy apple and lemon, white peach and pineapple. Loads of acidity adding to a steely freshness and texture. Wet stone and sweet herb, just dry on the finish, balanced, fresh and well made. Drink now and through 2021. Points 92 Contact:

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Mt Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Strong varietal bouquet with fresh citrus, apple and raw tropical fruit scents. A distinctive line of minerality with a chalk-like suggestion. Dry, mineral, fruity and classically herbal with a fresh basil note. High acidity tempered with a core of fruit flavours. Drink now and through 2023. Points 92 Contact: Rockburn Fumé Blanc 2015 Honeyed and developing bouquet with scents of white smoke and toasted fruit messages. Flavours of peach, sweet hay, apple and baked apple. A light, smoky layer and core of minerality. Judge this wine on the third sip or even better the second glass - it’s lovely. Smoke, oak, tasty textures, balanced, fresh and well made. Drink now and through 2022. Points 91 Contact: Toi Toi Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Marlborough A bouquet and palate that ticks all the boxes of classic New World Sauvignon with a fresh and fruity tropical fruit, pink grapefruit and apple. Dry, with high acidity, loads of pineapple and apple flavours, mango and grapefruit on the finish. Simple yet tasty. Drink now and through 2019. Points 88 Contact:


sk anyone what style Chardonnay they drink and you’ll likely get a different answer from each. Quality Chardonnay has many expressions, often a direct reflection of site, soil, climate and winemaking. The use of oak is common in Chardonnay, ranging from not much, to a significant amount. The form the oak takes also has a bearing on overall flavour profile. As a rough guide: a wine selling at retail for over $25.00 per bottle will likely have spent time in an oak barrel. Barrels are expensive, and add flavour layers and complexity when used judiciously. Chardonnays under $25.00 may have been aged in tanks with wooden inserts used to infuse oak flavours. Wines at around $12.00 and under are likely to be soaked in oak chips for a time. These techniques are interchangeable, however – there are no set rules. How the fruit is managed - from hand harvesting to machine-assisted - will have an impact on style. Whether skin contact is used, a natural ferment is induced, and

exposure to oak all have style implications. A modern approach by some producers is to allow some solids to remain in the juice (immediately post-juice extraction) so extra texture and flint-like characters can be drawn into the wine through fermentation. Chardonnay can be grown almost anywhere and in any soil type, so when a winemaker is delivered fruit at perfect ripeness, the real expression of Chardonnay can be discovered. A winemaker’s skill is paramount in harnessing an expression of site and style. In many ways, less interference in the winemaking process often achieves a more interesting result. The technique of Malolactic Fermentation (MLF) is common in many Chardonnays. This method converts acid into a softer, more lactic form, influencing the wine’s texture, making it creamier on the palate (or not). When combined with the oak regime, this can also induce a nutty butter-like flavour.

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Vidal of Hawkes Bay Soler Chardonnay 2017 A great bouquet of Chardonnay with textured & layered aromas, suggesting white peach, sweet grapefruit, quince, lemon and white flowers. A flinty mineral layer adds complexity with a mix of new and older oak flavours adding additional allure. A weighty wine on the palate with a dry finish. A wine for many Chardonnay aficionados to embrace - a wine with finesse and charm. Drink now and through 2028. Points 97 Contact:


Greystone Chardonnay 2016 Complex, familiar and enticing bouquet of Chardonnay with a creamy textured bouquet of yellow fleshed fruits, vanilla, oak spices, yoghurt and wild flowers. Fabulous textures on the palate with lots of energy and freshness; medium+ acidity, minerality, spice and length finish. A wine to enjoy now and through 2024 or cellar. Points 96 Contact:


Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnay 2016 Complex, enticing and distinctive bouquet. Hazelnut and cashew, gunflint and peach, grapefruit and apple, lees and spice. Full-bodied, textured, leesy and fruity. Nut and smoke and gunflint characters are persistent with a core of fruit and flavours for contrast and weight. Medium+ acidity, complex lengthy finish. Drink now and through 2026. Points 96 Contact:

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Auntsfield ‘Cob Cottage’ Chardonnay 2016 Complex and enticing bouquet with wood spices, ripe citrus and stone fruits as well as silty dry-stone mineral message. Equally complex on the palate with layers of flavour woven through textures of acidity, oak and lees complexity. A fine wine - decant for service. Best from 2019 through 2026. Points 95 Contact:


Elephant Hill Reserve Chardonnay 2016 Hawke’s Bay Striking bouquet with loud aromas of fruit, spice and oak. Roasted stone fruits, baked apple, baked citrus and leesy youthful textures. Dry, bold oaky and youthful with plenty of fruit at the core, obvious oak - still at the beginning of its integration phases, spicy toasty layers and all wrapped in a full body blanket. Complexity beginning to show through a long and engaging finish. Drink now and through 2026. Points 95 Contact:


 Elephant Hill Reserve Chardonnay 2017 Hawke’s Bay Smoky, toasty and spicy with a core of fruit. Complex, fruity and dry on the palate with flavours of baking spices layered between white fleshed fruits and citrus. Weight too with a near full-bodied structure, refreshing acidity and lengthy with complex building flavours. Needs some time to develop further. Don’t rush this wine into a glass - no need. Best from 2020 through 2026. Points 94 Contact:








Q Waitaki Valley Chardonnay 2017 Floral, mineral and intriguing Chardonnay. A core of white fruits and lemon, layers of oak spice and flavour add complexity as well as structure. Plenty of acidity adds in a layer of freshness and palate engagement.Youthful, fresh, balanced and well made with a fine and well placed layer of oak. Drink now and through 2028. Points 93 Contact: Tohu ‘Hemi’ Reserve Chardonnay 2016 Marlborough Smoky, fruity, oaky and spicy with baked vanilla and toasty wood attack. Aromas also include baked peach and nectarine, custard and brioche. Full-bodied, fruity, woody and dry. Packed with the flavours described above, fine wood tannins, medium+ acidity, bold, youthful and yummy. Drink now and through 2025. Points 93 Contact: Jules Taylor OTQ 2017 Single Vineyard Chardonnay Marlborough Very distinctive, classic bouquet of Chardonnay with ripe yellow stone-fruit aromas melding into aromas of sweet new oak laced with wood spices and toast, a lees component adds complexity and intrigue, a bold and forward package with obvious complexity. Dry, full-bodied and fruity, a wine that packs a punch as it hits the palate displaying some attractive, classic and bold Chardonnay flavours. Peach and nectarine, vanilla, butterscotch and toasty wood, medium+ acidity and alcohol, rich and lengthy finish. Lots to like about this wine. Drink now and through 2024. Points 92 Contact:

Chard Farm Judge and Jury Chardonnay 2017 A nutty, richer and sweeter smoky oak centric bouquet. Flavours of new oak, and sweet vanilla, peaches, apricots and red apple. Nearly full-bodied with medium+ acidity and a core of fruit. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2024. Points 92 Contact: Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay 2016 Marlborough Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay 2016 Marlborough - Wood spices, ripe white stone fruit and apple, a light layer of stony minerality - a youthful engaging bouquet. Dry, firm, tense and youthful on the palate with flavours of baking spice, newish oak, citrus, stone fruit and spicy butter. Lots to engage in with a firm texture, medium+ acidity and oak. Still intergrating and requiring some time -best from late 2019 through 2025. Points 91 Contact: Holly by Matahiwi Estate Chardonnay 2017 Hawke’s Bay Bold bouquet with an even display of oak, fruit, wood spice and dry-stone soil notes, medium+ complexity and rather inviting. Dry, full-bodied, creamy and lush with plenty of stone fruits and oak flavours, vanilla buttery wood spices powering through the palate.Youthful with plenty of acidity, oak and flavour - just needs some time to relax and settle in. Best from 2019 through 2024. Points 89 Contact:

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he right combination of aromas, flavours and textures are vital in terms of quality, drinkability and cellar-ability of a decent Pinot Gris. In New Zealand, Gris winemakers have, for the most part, discovered that how their vineyards can best grow and mature is the core of quality Gris examples. Winemakers must understand the correct volume of juice to extract from the fruit: whether to have whole-bunch or destemmed fruit (or both); how much skin contact to allow; whether resting the ferment on spent lees is a good idea or not; and if oak is used, how much and for how long. Gone are the days where all Pinot Gris were steel tank fermented, fined and filtered then bottled for immediate sale. Some typical flavours to expect are white-fleshed fruits, especially pears, apples (perhaps quince) and stone fruits like nectarine. Acidity is usually medium or above; firm textures from some skin contact, cushioned by plush fruit concentration and warmish alcohol are collectively the main drivers of aroma and palate feel.

I get asked if Pinot Grigio (Italy) is the same variety as Pinot Gris (Alsace). The answer is yes, the main difference being the clone of Gris used, how the fruit responds to the soil, and the effects of climate. Sometimes the use of oak can make a difference, though rarely. Some producers take advantage of being legally allowed to co-ferment or add juice from other varieties, notably Gewürztraminer and Riesling, without having to put this information on the label. Be sure to read back labels or visit the producers’ web pages. Pinot Gris works well with many different cuisines, as long as the weight and intensity of food are similar to the wine. Try Gris with fresh cheeses, plain roast chicken breast with white vegetables and even flaky fish, such as gurnard and dory. Styles of Pinot Gris to watch for are those with some lees contact – adding texture and flavour on the palate; a component of juicesettling solids in the ferment can add texture and mineral flavours, and those with some oak components again add texture, but also enhance the flavour with some subtle spice layers.


Rockburn Pinot Gris 2016 Central Otago Delightful bouquet with white fleshed fruits of nectarine and peach, apples and pears then white spice. Dry, fleshy and fruity on the palate with a firm, youthful texture, medium+ acidity and layers of complexity. A delightful and tasty example. Great on its own and with food. Drink now and through 2022. Points 93 Contact:


Domain Road Central Otago Pinot Gris 2018 Complex and enticing bouquet of Gris with minerals and spices, ripe white-fleshed fruit aromas and spice. Fruity, varietal and fleshy on the palate with a lovely texture, balance and finish. Flavours reflect the nose with medium+ acidity, spice, white fleshed fruit flavours and lengthy persistent finish. A lovely example. Drink now and through 2023. Points 93 Contact:


Elephant Hill Pinot Gris 2017 Distinctive, aromatic and enticing with toasty ripe white fleshed fruits, a leesy, spicy floral aromatics package. Lush, crisp and dry on the palate with a silky texture and flavours that reflect the nose. Weighty, fleshy and memorable. Balance, focused and wellmade. Drink now and through 2022. Points 92 Contact:

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Matahiwi Estate 2018 Pinot Gris Fruity, fleshy, ripe and distinctive with a mineral and ripe fruits bouquet. Flavours of Asian pears, apples and quince, medium+ acidity, a light leesy layer adds a ginger spice moment. Satin and coarse silk textures, lengthy finish. Well made with best drinking from today and through 2021. Points 91 Contact:


Johanneshof Pinot Gris 2017 Immediately engaging aromas of apples and pear with both fresh and baked versions suggested; a core of stony minerality and Alsacelike citrus peel. Just dry on the finish with flavours that

reflect the nose; fine line of acidity and citrus spice to finish. A lovely example. Points 91 Contact:


Toi Toi Brookdale Reserve Pinot Gris 2018 A lovely bouquet with intensity, freshness and varietal concentration showing aromas and flavours of honeysuckle, peach and apple then a leesy, lightly-spiced layer. Medium weight with a firm texture and contrasting core of fruit, dry finish. Drink now and through 2021. Points 90 Contact:


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The right white wine can create a winning match with your favourite dish

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f you have been led to believe a steak tartare and white wine can’t match – think again. Of the many wine and food pairing experiences I have conducted or encountered, one stands out as a ‘How did that work?’ experience. The pairing was steak tartare and Chablis (Chardonnay/ white Burgundy – no oak). Keep reading. Wine and food pairing can be categorised as either ‘complementary’, ‘contrasting’, or ‘matching’. A complementary match means the wine or beverage stand happily side by side, with neither having any particular impact on the other: think shepherd’s pie and a fruity Merlot. Contrasting food and wine is when the food and wine each offer a different set of attributes resulting in new synergies, without compromising the structure or flavour of either the wine or the food. A simple example is the pairing of a high acid white wine with residual sugar (like a German Riesling) harmoniously contrasting with Cajun spiced crab cakes. Matching is what is generally thought of when food and wine pairing is discussed. Both wine and food have structural attributes in common, and the food changes the taster’s perception of the wine (or vice versa) in a positive way. The steak tartare match that I loved worked in a similar way; a dry, high acid white wine contrasting the fatty, richness of the meat, also piercing the richness of the accompanying egg yolk and matching the impact of mustard. “If it’s smoked – bring on the oak” is a classic phrase which highlights how a white wine with barrel fermentation or barrel-aged characters can work well with smoked, charred, seared, burned or caramelised foods. This is because the preparation or cooking techniques makes the wine taster think the oak in the wine has become less assertive, smoother, sweeter and more integrated – think smoked trout and oak-aged Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc; chargrilled pork with a Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay. Many white wines suit appetisers, starters and moderately weighted main courses. A key point to consider is the weight and intensity of the food, and then match a wine that has similar attributes. Caesar salad and Sauvignon Blanc work well together because Sauvignon Blanc is a high-impact wine, and the red wine vinegar, parmesan cheese and lemon juice in a

Caesar Salad are high impact ingredients. A wine with high acidity is needed to balance the acidity in the food. Off-dry Riesling is also an excellent choice. Sweetcorn fritters with crème fraĭche can be great with Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer or Chardonnay. Pinot Gris often has a little residual sugar, making the wine just off-dry in style and medium-weight. Sweetcorn is sweet too and fritters generally medium weight, and the creamy, slightly acidic topping creates a balanced mouthfeel. However, if you change your fritter’s topping - change the wine. Sweetcorn fritters with tomato chutney requires a wine with more weight and sugar, or a fruity core to contrast the spice and acidity of chutney. Gewürztraminer can be the perfect wine for this pairing. Sweetcorn fritters with a rasher of smoked bacon or a creambased sauce will require a wine with a lot more weight and richness. This is where Chardonnay steps in, matching the weight of the cream and the charring of the fritter while providing a fruity contrast in taste. Sweet wine as a pairing for food other than cheeses or dessert can be a fun journey. Hot and sour soups pair beautifully with sweet wine, as do classic Indian and Thai foods, or a rich duck liver pate. To achieve successful wine and food pairings, always consider the weight and intensity of both the food and wine, acidity levels, cooking mediums and seasonings. The key to success is have fun – and don’t forget to taste before you serve. Some theoretically successful pairings can go horribly wrong!



ll wines have aroma, a signature set of smells that define the variety or blend of varieties. The style and winemaking techniques, such as the use of oak or extra time spent on lees post ferment, contribute to the final package of smells referred to as ‘aroma’. The term ‘aromatic’ refers to a specific category of white grape varieties that contain an extra set of naturally occurring compounds called ‘terpenes’. Terpenes enhance, even amplify, the floral scents of wine, making them particularly distinctive. Terpenes emerge in certain varieties to a greater or lesser degree based on growing conditions, such as soil, climate and viticultural practices. The following wines are classified as aromatic or semi-aromatic and are regularly available in New Zealand: Gewürztraminer, Muscat, Torrontes, Albarino, Riesling, Muller Thurgau and Pinot Gris. These wines are floral, fruity and intense on both the nose and palate with moderate acidity. Textures range from soft and creamy, to satin or silky and crisp. 26 WORLD OF WINE - 2019

Gewürztraminer is the most intense and exotic of the aromatic varieties, with aromas and flavours of tropical fruits, roses and spices. Descriptors, such as lavender, talcum powder, pineapple, white pepper and even apple strudel, have been used to describe Gewürztraminer. For readers keen on serving aromatic wines with food, look to dishes that are lush and creamy in texture, like paté, tofu or cream of pumpkin soup. Wet textured proteins, such as pork or sous-vide chicken and turkey, also work well. Asian cuisine is a common pairing with aromatic varieties, but be careful to stick to fragrant flavours rather than spicy. Heat spices in Asian dishes in general inflame the wine’s spice and alcohol, rendering pairings impossible. If you do like spicy dishes with aromatic wine, select examples that have plenty of residual sugar to counterbalance the spice.



Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Dry Riesling 2015 Sophisticated, complex and very enticing bouquet. A mix of white apricot and honeysuckle, kaffir-lime and lemon honey, fermented flowers and ginger-spice. Dry, complex and layered on the palate, high acidity is contrasted by a little residual sweetness, honey tones and a core of fruit. Complex lengthy finish a fantastic wine. Drink now and through 2030. Points 97 Contact:


Greystone Riesling 2017 Waipara Valley, North Canterbury Engaging and alluring bouquet with complex aromas of wild ferment, lees, flowers, honeysuckle, fresh and baked lemon, apricots and apples. On the palate – off-dry in a medium style with immediately contrasting acidity then flavours and textures that reflect the bouquet. Long finish. Drink now and through 2028. Points 95 Contact:


Pegasus Bay Aria Riesling 2016 Pure, fresh, fruity and alluring bouquet of Riesling with flavours of mandarin, lime flower and apple blossom. No mistaking scents of ripeness and late harvest with lemonade and apple tart tartin. Off-dry on the palate, but immediately crisp and refreshing as well with high acidity contrasting the ripe and intense citrus & tree fruit flavours. Long and delicious finish. A lovely wine that will work equally as an aperitif as it will with food, including some sweet courses. Best from today and through 2029. Points 95 Contact:


Forrest The Doctors’ Riesling 2018 Marlborough Fragrant, floral and fruity bouquet with a core of mandarin, lime-flower and green apple. A distinctive wet stone mineral layer some tangerine & honeysuckle. Off-dry, generous in weight and texture with an almost electric sting to the acidity accentuating and balancing the sweetness. Beautifully balanced, lengthy and complex. Drink now and through 2026. Points 94 Contact:


 Johanneshof Gewürztraminer 2017 Marlborough Distinctively aromatic with perfumes of flowers, spice and fruits of the orchard and tropics. Fleshy, juicy and fruity on the palate, off dry and with moderate acidity, spices and herbs. A delicious wine, classic and fine. Best from today and through 2024. Points 94 Contact:


Marc Bredif Vouvray Classic 2017 Chenin Blanc Aromatic, varietal, floral and mineral laden bouquet. Flavours of fresh apple and baked apple, a little pear, some residual sweetness, chalky mineral core and fine silky texture. Quietly high acidity leads to more flavours of chalk and flowers, minerals and apple skin. A lovely wine destined to age for some time yet. Best from 2020 through 2030+. Points 93 Contact:

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Giesen Gemstone 2018 Riesling Totally enticing aromas of Riesling with mandarin and lime-flower, apple and lemon. Off-dry with a noticeable residual sweetness, refreshing acidity, a light creamy texture and flavours that reflect the nose. Drink now and through 2025. Points 92 Contact: Mud House Single Vineyard The Mound Riesling 2015 Waipara Fragrant and enticing bouquet with mandarin and lime flower, green apple and lemon fragrances. A medium style, but with crisp and contrasting acidity. Lovely lengthy finish. Well-made drinking best from today and through 2024. Points 92 Contact: Seifried Gruner Veltliner 2017 Nelson Gently aromatic with fragrances of sweet grass, citrus, apple, green pear and sweet radish. On the palate – the flavours persist with an addition of intense white pepper, plenty of acidity and sweet green pea. Completely in character and true to the variety – a natural and great example. Drink now and through 2021. Points 92 Contact:

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Yalumba Virgilius Viognier 2016 Immediately fragrant, floral and packed with apricot, peach and quince scents. Enticing and voluptuous. Just dry with a lick of sweetness, then a core of apricot and white peach, raw quince and fresh acidity. Lengthy somewhat delicate finish. Balanced, fresh, packed with summer - a lovely wine. Drink now and through 2021. Points 92 Contact:

Forrest Wines Albariño 2017 Marlborough Lovely aromatics with stone fruits and citrus, apple and spice. Dry on the palate with ripe fruit flavours that transition into citrus with peach then lemon and more spice. Crisp, crunchy and refreshing acidity, medium+ length with some stony mineral flavours on the finish. Drink now and through 2020. Points 91 Contact: Askerne 2016 Gewürztraminer Floral, fruity, spicy varietal; roses, peaches, nougat and white apricot. Dry with creamy textures, fleshy and spicy; flavours of exotic white fleshed fruits, moderate acidity and plump white flowers. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2022. Points 89 Contact:



ew Zealand produces some incredible sparkling wine, the best of which is made using the Méthode Traditionnelle process. ‘Méthode Traditionnelle’ means that the cuvée (blended base wine) is fermented for a second time in the same bottle in which it is eventually sold. This second ferment creates the bubble we find when a bottle is opened. This traditional process is also a carbon copy of the Méthode Champenoise (Champagne) process perfected by the French. A number of customers may refer to any sparkling wine as Champagne; however this is inaccurate. Like many French wines, Champagne is named after its region of origin. Even outside the Champagne region, yet still within the borders of France, it cannot be called Champagne - it must be referred to as Crémant d’ ‘placename’ for example: Crémant d’ Bourgogne - a bottle fermented sparkling wine from Bourgogne (Burgundy). Sparkling wine can be produced using several different methods: Méthode Champenoise/Traditionnelle; tank fermented then transferred to bottle; and basic carbonation. The best New Zealand examples are made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fruit, though some also use Pinot Meunier. Tank fermented examples use the finished blend of base wines and ferment for a second time in bulk, no ageing, filtered then bottled. Restaurants list these wines, as well as traditionally-made sparkling. Restaurants do not generally list carbonated wine due to its easy availability off-premise.

Label terms will advise the buyer of style based on how much sweetness (Residual Sugar or RS) and Cuvée (the blend) the producer adds to the bottle before wiring down a cork prior to labelling. The Cuvée can include aged or barrel-aged wine. Common label terms include: → Brut Naturelle – Bone Dry → Brut – Very Dry – less than 15 grams per litre RS → E  xtra Sec – Dry to Medium – 12 – 20 grams per litre RS → Sec – Medium – 17 – 35 grams per litre RS → D  emi-Sec – Medium to Sweet – 33 – 50 grams per litre RS → Demi Doux – Sweet - 10% RS (rare) → Doux, Rich – Very Sweet – Over 10% RS (very rare)

Sparkling wine can be made from any grape variety. From Auckland to Central Otago, there are a growing number of sparkling wine producers, with quality ranging from average to very high, with some examples that could rival Champagne in a blind tasting. The key aromas to look out for when tasting sparkling wine are as much emotional as they are specific. Beguiling and complex scents of brioche and baked goods, alongside white-fleshed stone fruits and citrus, a lush and fine mousse, then a long and detailed finish. New Zealand is spoiled for choice when it comes to sparkling wine.

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No.1 Family Estate Reserve NV Immediately beguiling with layers of complexity from autolysis, fruit and bottle development. Finely woven scents of baked yellow stone fruits, citrus, baked apple, yeast derived spice layers, honeysuckle and flowers. Dry, equally complex and layered with a very fine mousse texture. High acidity, rich in character and a long detailed finish. Drinkable now, yet still developing, best from 2020 through 2035. Points 96 Contact:


No.1 Family Estate Rosé NV Soft, ripe and enticing light red fruits, layers of autolysis and a sophisticated refreshing complexity. Bing cherry, a little strawberry and red melon with a biscuit, creamy autolysis, a whisper of rose. Dry, crunchy and fresh with red fruit flavours, a fine mousse and lengthy moreish finish. Drink now and through 2028. Points 96 Contact:


Nautilus Cuvee Marlborough NV Brut Complex and enticing bouquet with a light savoury core, surrounded by aromas and flavours of white peach, and an array of citrus and strawberry. Dry, silky, fleshy, fruity, savoury and complex.Very fine mousse with high acidity, a soft brioche and yeasty layer, balanced lengthy finish. Drink now and through 2026. Points 95 Contact:

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Nautilus Vintage Rosé 2015 A fine fruity bouquet with a developing autolysis complexity, light red fruits of cherry and red apple and bright crunchy texture. Dry, layered, fruity and complex, fine to moderate mousse, yeasty and fine, balanced and lengthy. Enjoy from today and through 2028. Points 95 Contact:


No.1 family Estate Cuvee Adele 2013 Complex, enticing and a little mysterious with aromas and flavours of white peach, grapefruit, lemon, mineral, crushed flowers and green pear. Layers of autolysis emerge, a fine elegant mousse, abundant acidity and lengthy dry finish. A little nervous still - a wine still developing so cellar time will reward. Best from 2020 through 2030+. Points 95 Contact:


No.1 Family Estate Cuvée NV Complex and fresh, a core of autolysis and ripe fruit, a synergy only possible through precise winemaking and blending. Crisp, dry, refreshingly youthful, lengthy and energised. A fine mousse layered between flavours of peach, apple, grapefruit and brioche all highlighted through abundant acidity and an even very lengthy finish. Delicious! Drink now and through 2028. Points 95 Contact:



Johanneshof Cellars ‘Emmi’ 2009 Methode Traditionnelle Brut Complex, developing bouquet with a mark of individuality - distinctive autolysis leading aromas of baked apple, peach and gingernut. Dry on the palate with a crisp and complex texture; flavours reflect lemon peel, peach and red apple. A fine coarse silk mousse, lengthy and intriguing finish. Drink now and through 2026. Points 94 Contact:


No.1 Family Estate Assemblé Brut NV Full rich and complex bouquet with a core of ripe fruit centring on white peach and apple, floral moments and a full autolysis bready layer. Dry, full, rich and mousy, with a fine

to moderate bubble, layers of fruit and autolysis highlights, balanced and lengthy with an obvious complexity. Drink now and through 2026. Points 94 Contact: www.


Tohu Rewa Rosé 2015 An enticing perfumed bouquet of rosé, with aromas and flavours of Christmas cherries and tart strawberry; a definitive leesy complexity adds weight and power. Strawberry and Chantilly cream flavours with some white peach and citrus. Balanced and well-made. Drink now and through 2024. Points 93 Contact:

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Akarua Central Otago Brut NV Sophisticated bouquet with a distinctive leesy, toasty brioche-like attack. Dry with an explosive mousse showing off flavours of white peach and citrus, apple and grapefruit with a leesy brioche and floral layer. Clean and refreshing with abundant acidity and lengthy finish. Well-made. Drink now and through 2025. Points 92 Contact:


Hunter’s Jane Hunter Miru Miru NV Attractive, with a just-baked bread and yellow stone fruits bouquet, quite elegant and noticeable complexity. Dry, quite fleshy and fresh with flavours of white stone fruits and peach; a balanced fine mousse with medium+ to high acid levels, lemon and white peach with a soft bready finish. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2024. Points 91 Contact:

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Aotea by Seifried Methode Traditionelle NV Totally charming and attractive bouquet, with a fine balance between fruit, yeast autoylsis and complexity; aromas of lemon, apple, grapefruit and white peach; warm bready, yeasty feel and decent complexity. On the palate: crisp, fresh and dry; flavours of apple and lemon, then a light biscuit note, decent mousse attack and a dry finish. Points 90 Contact:


Clark Estate Méthode Tradionelle Riesling 2017 A classic bouquet Riesling laced with leesy bready aromas, brioche, apple, rose and pears. Dry on the palate, packed with citrus, apple, quince, white

rose and yeasty flavours. A nice point of difference with Riesling at the core. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2022. Points 89 Contact:


Saint Clair Family Estate ‘Dawn’ 2013 Methode Traditionnelle Vibrant, crisp and crunchy bouquet with apple, green pear and citrus scents; a mild autolysis and gentle complexity. Just dry, with a whisper of sweetness, fruity and lush texture, easy mousse, plenty of acidity and soft autolysis yeasty layer. Balanced and well-made. Drink now and through 2020. Points 89 Contact:

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What defines a dessert wine?


he human palate can detect sugar in wine from around three grams per litre and upwards. Three grams does not make a wine sweet, in fact, it will still be dry. A wine with up to seven grams can also be considered dry and, in some places, a wine as high as 15 grams will still be labelled or considered dry. A ‘dry’ wine is considered dry if the wine causes the palate to dry out after swallowing. How high the alcohol by volume is will also affect this outcome. The structure of wine and the role acidity plays in balance can often lead the taster into thinking a wine is dry when, in fact, it is not. Some German wines are adept at teasing the palate in this way. New Zealand Riesling can do the same. The threshold for what defines a sweet wine is debatable. Suffice to say, if you taste a wine and describe it as sweet, it is. However, one person’s measure or scale of sweetness will be different from the next. An actual sweet wine will carry enough information on the label, and the

palate, to guide the taster in how sweet the wine will be. Medium-dry, medium and medium-sweet are good indicators; ‘Noble’, ‘Botrytised’, ‘Aszu’, ‘Kabinett’ and ‘Spatlese’ are definitive terms for sweet wine. Flavours of honey, beeswax, marmalade and even apricot juice can often be part of an actual sweet wine flavour profile. Dessert wines are a category of sweet wine. They should not to be confused with wines that are very fruity. Some sweet wines can have both attributes. Your palate won’t lie, so there’s no rocket science to consider. Sweet wines can be fantastic with starters that contain natural sweetness or sugar, such as Thai food or many Pacific Island dishes. Sweet wines that have very high acidity, making them finish dry, make excellent aperitifs. Dessert wines with a noticeable concentration of sugar are best with cheese or dessert courses, but not always. A hot blue cheese soufflé entrée is excellent with a sweet wine at the beginning of a meal, or at the end. You decide!


Seifried Sweet Agnes Riesling 2016 Nelson Bold, ripe, fruity and alluring aromas of a late harvest wine: baked pineapple and honey, poached peaches and quince; concentration, focus and appeal. Full-bodied, creamy and sweet; no mistaking the level of sweetness with loads of contrasting and refreshing acidity. Flavours reflect the nose with precision and intensity. Long finish. A lovely example, a classic, a wine to be proud of. Drink now and through 2026. Points 96 Contact:


The King’s A Sticky End Noble Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Fragrant, fruity and appealing bouquet with honeycomb lacquered stone fruits, sweet bell-pepper and tropical fruit aromas. Creamy texture with a lusciously sweet core; flavours of pineapple, mango, lemon and sweet grapefruit. A layer of sweet herb returns. High acidity underpins the balance on the palate. Lengthy and very enjoyable finish. Drink now and through 2024. Points 92 Contact:


Loveblock Marlborough Sweet Moscato 2014 Fragrant, floral, fruity and very appealing bouquet. Blossoms, spun sugar, citrus and orange peel aromas. Sweet as it hits the palate, but immediately contrasted by acidity, texture and flavour. Flavours from the nose and palate persist with some warmth and freshness adding to the length and finish. Drink now and through 2024. Points 91 Contact:

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This varietal shows off with diversity and colour 1 R Astrolabe Vineyards Rosé 2018 Vibrant, fragrant, fruity and enticing bouquet with a floral and rose petal aroma. Dry on the palate with a great texture and fruit concentration, plenty of acidity and fine textures. Balanced and well made, focused, fruity and tense with a lengthy finish. Drink now and through 2022. Points 93 Contact:


Johanneshof Cellars Maybern Single Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 An intriguing attractive bouquet with a mix of minerality, light red fruits and complexity. Dry, fine and fruity on the palate with a mix of flavours and textures from red pear and red apple, some old strawberry, red tea, medium+ acidity and mineral notes. Lengthy finish, balanced and well made. Points 93 Contact:


Esk Valley Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2018 Alluring core of fruit with a mix of flower and lees-like aromas of spice then sweet raspberry and cherry. Just dry on the palate with a great core of fruit, vibrant acidity and velvet textures from ultra-fine tannins. Great core of fruit with a lengthy and balanced finish. Drink now and through 2021. Points 92 Contact:

osé is an extremely popular wine, with significant amounts consumed through 2018. There are plenty of Rosé options available in New Zealand, especially in the warmer months. A current trend in this category has been the expansion and variation of style, structure and expression. This means there is a much wider range of Rosé wines to explore. Rosé and sparkling pink wines nowadays are likely to hold an entire section on wine lists. Producers of pink Méthode Traditionnelle, in particular, are making some fantastic examples. Extended skin contact Rosé is also emerging as a style or expression to watch out for. The colour of Rosé has become an important consideration for consumers. From barely any colour at all, pale peach to salmon, to light pink, through raspberry red – Rosé has many colour variants. Which one is correct? All of them, although the current trend leans towards salmon/pale apricot hues. Rosé can be made very dry, dry, and, most often, just-dry in style. What was once the medium-to-sweet option has all but

gone. Rosé’s in-vogue status has ushered in a selection of more serious options as well, in terms of bouquet complexity and palate textures. This in turn has grown the selections on wine lists and food pairing options. Winemakers have been paying more attention to Rosé’s aromatics and structure. For example, the use of wild fermentation for some, or all, of the juice; the use of older barrels to add structure; extended skin contact for more tannin and grip (the tradeoff is more red pigment, but remember all Rosé colour is valid); and finally - capturing some minerality aromas and flavours. All Rosé should have a floral scent. Rosé can be produced from any red grape variety; in New Zealand, Pinot Noir seems the most common. Merlot, Tempranillo, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are also used, adding more choices for listings. Some producers will also add Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc to the blend, so it’s a good idea to read the back label for an indication of sweetness, dryness and alcohol, or to research each producer first.


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Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Noir Rosé 2018 Great bouquet of Rosé with aromas of silty stony minerals, soft red fleshed fruits and sweet rose.Vibrant, fresh and fruity on the palate with abundant acidity, a soft core of fruit and fine silky textures. Lengthy balanced and tasty finish. Drink now and through 2021. Points 92 Contact: Elephant Hill Rosé Syrah 2018 Very floral and fruit intense bouquet. A light red peppercorn note adds texture and depth to a bold red fruited profile. Dry on the palate with flavours of red peach, yellow plum and wild strawberry. No mistaking a little texture from the Syrah skins and with plenty of acidity this is a textured and flavourful wine. Drink now and through 2022. Likely best with the appetiser course. Points 91 Contact: BabyDoll Marlborough Rosé 2018 Bright, fresh, fruity, crisp and refreshing bouquet. Equally fruity on the palate with plush light red fruit flavours - red apple, red cherry and plum. A floral note and fine crisp texture. Balanced, fresh and well made. Drink now and through 2020. Points 90 Contact:

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Waimea Nelson Pinot Rosé 2017 Lovely fruit-centric bouquet with aromas of red apple and raspberry, red zinger tea and spice. Just dry on the palate with plenty of crisp and refreshing acidity, fine textures and fruitcentric finish. Balanced and well made with a crisp fruity core. Drink now and through 2021. Points 90 Contact: Wairau River Marlborough Rosé 2018 Light red fruit and floral fragrances, enticing and engaging bouquet. Crisp, fresh and dry on the palate with perhaps a little residual sweetness to off-set the acidity. Flavours of apples and plums, strawberries and cherry. Refreshing, light, crisp and ready to enjoy. Drink now and through 2019. Points 90 Contact: Saint Clair 2017 Pinot Gris Rosé Peach, salmon and Auckland rose hues. Aromas and flavours of apple, peach and pear with a delicate layer of heirloom peach. Refreshing and crisp with plenty acidity, a coarse silk texture and balanced finish. Drink now and through the rest of 2019. Points 88 Contact:


Unlike local white wines, reds may be fined with egg white, milk or casein, gelatin or isinglass (fish bladder). Always check the labels.

The abundance of red grape plantings in New Zealand has created some exciting wine options


inot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet or Merlot-based blends remain the most popular red wine purchases in New Zealand restaurants. Pinot Noir is arguably the most ordered red wine by the glass. There are several expected flavour and texture highlights to Pinot, with light red fruits and red apple skin; fine tannins, with refreshing acidity and medium weight. Pinot Noir also has many friends in food. New Zealand Syrah is a wine to taste, test with food and definitely invest in. Syrah typically has more weight, intensity, acidity and tannin than Pinot Noir, so it is a good wine to suggest for red wine drinkers looking for a change – it is a variety with some enthusiastic followers. Hawke’s Bay leads the charge when it comes to Syrah quality, and number of producers. Digging a little deeper into other regions, there are some excellent examples from the Bay of Islands, Auckland, Gisborne, the Wairarapa, Nelson and Marlborough. Syrah has also recently been cultivated in Central Otago.

There have been many red varieties tested on New Zealand soils, and some are beginning to show great promise. Tempranillo, Gamay, Sangiovese, St Laurent and Tannat are varieties to explore and support. As with Marlborough and Sauvignon Blanc, some regions and subregions are synonymous with ‘their’ red – Gimblett Gravels in the Hawke’s Bay and Waiheke Island in Auckland for Bordeaux varieties and Syrah; Nelson, Martinborough and Central Otago for Pinot Noir. Single variety red wines such as Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are commonly available in restaurants and wine stores. Less available but worthy of tasting if you get the chance, is wine made solely with Cabernet Franc. While this variety is often used as a blending component with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, it can be an exciting discovery as a single variety expression, with violets and blackberry, plum, leather and green herb flavours. With firm tannins and plenty of acidity, this variety will easily meet the requirements when a medium+ weighted wine is required.

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inot Noir has been referred to as ‘Romance in a Glass’. An interesting concept; yet when the exotic scents of sweet earth, mushroom, truffle, ripe red berry fruits and baking spices form a synergy that becomes enticing, demands more attention and more of your time, then Pinot Noir can be very captivating and, indeed, romantic. Pinot Noir takes time to get used to, with some examples (sometimes the best ones) led by stubborn tannins and such finely-tuned acidity that the core of pure fruit can be missed. Pinot Noir is often not drinkable upon release, because the tannins and acidity overpower the finer textures that come from bottle age and integration. To find Pinots Noir that are drinkable sooner, versus those requiring cellar time, you either need a sizeable budget to taste through the range available, or to take time to study the wine notes and reviews of a trusted wine commentator. Although it is widely accepted that Pinot Noir’s first home is Burgundy, France, its DNA has been cloned and planted in all corners of the globe. Fine Pinots Noir can be discovered in Germany, Italy, the Americas, Australia and throughout New Zealand.

There are many influences on the smell, taste and textures of Pinot Noir, including farming options (minimal intervention, dry farming, organic, bio-dynamic or modern interventionist), soil type, access to moisture and cropping levels. In the winery there are important considerations, for example: the ratio of whole bunch versus de-stemmed; cold soak, natural or inoculated ferments (or both); racking from tank to barrel or barrel to barrel; and the type, size and age of oak used. Choosing the correct glassware from which to taste and drink Pinot Noir is an important consideration. The best glass shape to use is one that looks like a brandy balloon with a long stem. Look for a large, pendulous bowl, which creates a lot of surface area to swirl, then tapers inwards at the top to refocus the aromas. This shape captures the full range of floral and delicate scents as well as the ripe, meaty, savoury and fruit aromas. A very thin glass rim can deliver wine onto the palate in a slow, micro-thin stream that cascades across the tongue, engaging 100 percent of the palate sensors all at once.


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Villa Maria Taylor’s Pass Pinot Noir 2013 Fantastic, complex and engaging bouquet of Pinot Noir with flavours of wild red berries of the forest, savoury, baking and wood spices and a deep engaging complexity. Dry, savoury and delicious with a core of fruit and appealing texture from fine abundant tannins and plenty of acidity. Long complex finish. Best from 2019 through 2029. Points 96 Contact: Clos Marguerite Pinot Noir 2014 Integrated, complex and Burgundian -like bouquet with aromas of cherry and strawberry, fallen leaves and old rose perfumes. Fine and integrated on the palate with dusty, chalky tannins, medium acidity then cashew nut fine oak flavours. Lengthy, balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2024. Points 95 Contact: Rockburn Seven Barrels Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago Smoke, toast, sweet barrel and brown spices. A core of dark cherry and dried raspberry fruit. Fine tannins and medium+ (ish) acidity. A core of fine oak flavours offset by ripe red berry fruit flavours and a little red apple skin. Lovely calmness adding to the complexity, as well as potential for cellar ageing. Drinkable now - best from 2020 through 2030. Points 95 Contact:

Wooing Tree Pinot Noir 2015 Fantastic red fruited bouquet with ripe sweet raspberry and cherry combinations, red apple and rose parfum, spices of oak and a touch of wood-smoke. Dry on the palate with firm ripe fruit tannins, plenty of acidity and texture with distinctive raspberry and cherry fruit flavours. Lengthy finish, well-made and memorable. Best from 2020 through 2028. Points 95 Contact: Auntsfield 2017 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir There’s no mistaking the rich and vibrant colour this wine displays. Aromas and flavours of plums, dark cherries and oak match the power the appearance suggests. Dry with abundant core of fruit and fruit & oak tannins, plenty of acidity and long finish. A powerful, rich and complex example. Best from 2020 through 2030. Points 94 Contact: Chard Farm River Run Pinot Noir 2017 Distinctive bouquet with a dried herb, mineral, toasty barrel spices then light red fruit core. Dry, toasty, spicy and fruity on the palate. Flavours of raspberry and red cherry, dark cherry and opaque red apple skin.Vanilla and clove flavours reflect the oak use. Satin to chalk-textured tannins and medium+ acidity. Youthful with some cellar potential as well as drinkable today. Best from late 2019 through 2026. Points 94 Contact:

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Greystone Thomas Brothers Pinot Noir 2016 Complex, fruity and enticing bouquet with a core of red fruits contrasted by a dried herb and a savoury layer suggesting both whole bunch and a lengthy pre and post ferment program. Dry on the palate with layers of minerality, ripe red fruits, oak and fruit tannins, medium+ acidity and complexity. Drinkable now, but best from 2021 through 2029. Points 94 Contact: Pegasus Bay 2015 Pinot Noir North Canterbury A bouquet filled with raw energy, Pinosity and an abundance of individuality. Aromas and flavours of light red fruits, mushroom and soft dried herb. The signature of clay, gravel and limestone is central to the flavour alongside the fruit. No mistaking the use of oak and its meaningful measure. Long finish.Very Pegasus Bay. Drink now and through 2025. Points 94 Contact:


Tatty Bogler Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2015 Central Otago Immediately alluring and recognisable bouquet of Pinot Noir and Central Otago with ripe red berry fruit aromas. Dark Cherry and wild raspberry, red flowers and whispers of wild thyme then oak. Dry on the palate with a firm youthful texture - fruit and wood tannins are abundant and chalky adding texture and complexity. Plenty of cool climate acidity then even more red berry fruit and plum flavours.Youthful, still developing, well made and worth more time in the cellar. Best drinking from 2021 through 2029. Points 94 Contact:

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Ceres Composition Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago Very appealing bouquet, with a gentle savoury earthy beginning followed by ripe red berry and cherry aromas, baking spices and softer smoky wood tones. Dry, youthful, balanced and fruity with plenty of Pinot Noir fruit messages. Fine tannins and balanced acid line, lengthy finish with just the right level of complexity. Enjoy from today and through 2022. Points 93 Contact: Jules Taylor OTQ 2017 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir Marlborough Distinctive, fruity and bold Pinot bouquet. Dark raspberry and even darker cherry aromas, plenty of toasty baking spice and wood aromas; a natural complexity envelopes the nose. Dry on the palate with flavours of brown spices and dark red berry fruits. Oaky with medium+ acidity, firm youthful tannins and light dried herb notes. Fleshy, fruity and dry. A youthful wine with firm textures that need time. Well made with medium + length. Drink from 2019 through 2024. Points 93 Contact:


Rockburn Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago Classic, ripe light red fruit aromas of red cherry and fresh raspberry with layers of fine dried herbs, some wild thyme moments and moderately spiced oak. On the palate: dry with fine tannins, youthful bite of acidity then some sweet red fruit flavours and oak. Well made with decent length. Drinkable now and through 2025. Points 93 Contact:



Jules Taylor Wines 2017 Pinot Noir Marlborough Great bouquet with a wood spice and dark red berry fruitsled beginning - baked raspberry, dark cherry, wild plum and some darker red currants. Dry, fleshy and very engaging on the palate with fine savoury tannins, dried herb, abundant acidity and long fruit-filled finish. Baking spices of vanilla and dusty clove add emphasis to the oak. A lovely, complete wine on the palate with a lengthy and engaging finish. Points 93 Contact:


Tohu Rore Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 Marlborough Complex, youthful, fruity, spicy and enticing. The bouquet shows off a mix of red berry fruits, darker, riper, generous and forward. No mistaking the layers of spice and toasty wood notes of moderate+ intensity. Dry on the palate, with a core of fruit and oak flavours, fine to medium textures from some chalky tannins. A wine with potential for the cellar as well as fine food. Best from 2020 through 2030. Points 93 Contact:


Wooing Tree Blondie 2018, Central Otago Made from 100% Pinot Noir with a gentle pink/apricot hue, with aromas and flavours of bing cherry and peach, bosc pear and apple, rose and spice. Dry with medium+ acidity, a soft fine tannin line, medium weight, fresh, fleshy, youthful and very easy to drink. Another classic ‘blondie’ from Wooing Tree. Drink now and through 2022. Points 92 Contact:


Chard Farm Mata-Au Pinot Noir 2017 Bright, ripe, fruity and varietal bouquet. Flavours of ripe and tart cherry, red apple and plum. A mix of sweet and gently spiced oak, mild toasty layer and fine dried herb moments. Fine tannins, abundant acidity and lengthy. Drink now and through 2024. Points 90 Contact:


Opawa Pinot Noir 2016 Marlborough Varietal with a distinctive red and dark cherry, raspberry and light brown spices centred bouquet. Dry on the palate with fine tannins, medium+ acidity and finely-balanced finish. Immediately drinkable and will be great with food. Drink now and through 2022. Points 90 Contact:


Toi Toi Reserve Pinot Noir 2014 Central Otago Classic bouquet of an Otago Pinot Noir with dark cherry and undergrowth, dried raspberry and toasty wood-spices. Dry, with firm textures from acidity and youthful tannins off-set by red fruit flavours and brown spices of oak and toasted wood flavours. Well made, still youthful and coming together; drink from late 2019 through 2026. Points 90 Contact:

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COLOUR MATCHING Red wine food pairing can be a tricky business, but it’s worth persevering to get the right result


To get a match correct, start by classifying the protein in terms of intensity and availability protein molecules. Texture and intensity of the protein needs to be classified as well; a sirloin steak has a dense texture, doesn’t carry much fat and is best served rare to medium, so a Merlot Cabernet or young Syrah is nice. Chicken breast has less available protein to react with tannin, so a softer textured, complex and aged red wine is often a better match – an aged Merlot or vibrant younger Pinot works well. Red wine can work with fish; the trick is to match with fish that has a low oil content. Oily fish can make a red wine taste like sucking on a copper coin – a metallic taste. A white fish with olive tapenade or fresh herbs is good bet with a lighter weight red wine.

airing red wine with food appears to be a simple equation, but can be quite the challenge. Yet, when a few basic principles are applied, the results are often fantastic. Yes, red meat and red wine do go together, but texture, sweetness and degree of cooking all have an impact on the match. Protein molecules in red meat lowers tannin impact in red wine, so the more available raw protein, the bigger and bolder the red wine can be. For example, a Cabernet Sauvignon will likely pair better with a T-bone steak, whereas a Merlot will pair better with veal. Tannins in red wine are locked into the colour – the darker the colour the more tannins there’ll be. Oak carries tannins too, so a new release red wine could easily have more oak tannin (reading the back label helps). If you know a wine is particularly tannic, then aim to put something bitter on the plate alongside the protein, like kale, broccoli or spinach. Weight and intensity of flavour in red wine must also be considered when pairing. A Pinot Noir is typically medium weight, so is best paired with food of similar weight. Pinot Noir is often delicate, subtle, complex and fine, so your food should be less complex. A Bordeaux blend (Cabernets, Merlot and Malbec) is often full-bodied, richer in flavour, oaky and with bigger tannins, so the food can also be bigger, weightier and richer. Preparation and seasoning of food will have an impact on red wine. Salty food can make a young red wine seem more tannic, but an older red wine will feel a little fruitier and enhance the tannins. A fruity red wine is best served with food known to be salty. Even a sweet red wine can work salty food – some cheeses are salty which is why red Port works so well with them. Heat spices are often the enemy of red wine. They can make the wine seem over-tannic and accentuate alcohol as well as destroy any complexity and subtlety. Fragrant spices such as cardamom, cumin or coriander and fresh herbs are often better friends with red wine. Don’t forget the sauce! Sauces also have a big impact on red wine - usually very positive. With a creamy sauce, the red wine can be bigger - remembering cream has protein to soften the tannins. Jus or gravy-type sauces carry earthy flavours and silky texture, working well with oak and earthy themed wine. Understanding seasoning, sauces, resting and cooking mediums will lead to better red wine and food pairings.

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YOU SAY SHIRAZ, I SAY SYRAH: the grape with two names S

yrah is the French title for the variety originating in the Rhone Valley. Shiraz is named after a town of the same name in South-West Iran. Syrah is older, Shiraz is the same variety. Syrah is an incredibly popular wine with connoisseurs, as well as a great wine to consider when taking a rest from Pinot Noir, St Laurent and even Grenache. Syrah combines the best of all the fruit, tannin and flavour attributes of Pinot Noir and amplifies them, at the same time showing off its own version of charm and sophistication. Genetic mapping (fingerprinting of plant material) has proven the origins of Syrah lie in France. Its popularity there among visiting winemakers has led to much of its spread around the globe. A legion of winemakers from Italy to Washington, the Northern Rhone to New Zealand, discovered Syrah’s adaptability and versatility. Like Pinot, Laurent and Grenache, Syrah has its own tannin and acid signature that identifies it as distinctive. Syrah also has an uncanny ability to pair well with the same foods as other red wines.

All Syrah have a pepperiness about them, as part of the aromas and palate package. This can range from freshly ground black or white ground peppercorn, to olive and a brambly dried herb quality. Climate and soil can have a significant impact on Syrah, such as the galets (pudding stones) of the southern Rhone in France, the red soils of Australia’s Barossa, and the gravels of Hawke’s Bay. Each of these brings a layer of earth or mineral flavours, as well as richness and ripeness of fruit. Oak and Syrah are great friends, though Syrah doesn’t require or need new oak, or even any oak at all, and can still be tasty and delicious. New Zealand Syrah continues to show its potential across nearly all wine regions. Where the climate allows for drier, warmer and free-draining soil conditions, the resulting wine will show a better fruit concentration with raspberry and blackcurrant, black cherry and more focused spice flavours. The key to finding your perfect Syrah is to try before you buy. Try different styles with food, or look to wine reviews first if you’re considering Syrah seriously.


Vidal of Hawkes Bay Legacy Syrah 2016 Gimblett Gravels Fantastic bouquet of Syrah with softly spoken white pepper, baked raspberry, crushed black cherry, rose and a quiet yet powerful charm. No mistaking the complexity with a beguiling seductive core.Velvet & silk tannins, a backbone of acidity, vanilla, clove and a soft filé powder note. Long and complex finish. Drink now and through 2028. Points 96 Contact:


KariKari Estate Syrah 2015 Sweet, ripe and fruity bouquet with vanilla oak aromas, dark berries of plum, black currant blueberry. A freshly ground pepper note adds lift and freshness. Dry, toasty and oaky on the palate with flavours that reflect the nose. Loads of tannins and acidity, loads of pepper spice and sweet oak flavours. Earth qualities emerge as the wine opens up.Very youthful, so no rush on drinking. If you must, a rare piece of meat or very cream-laden pasta dish is suggested. Best from 2021 through 2030. Points 94 Contact:


Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2016 Bold, rich, fruity, complex and appealing attractive bouquet. No mistaking the dark berries and peppery spices with black currant and raspberry, wild red flowers and black pepper. Dry, and fruity with flavours that match the nose, medium+ acidity and vibrant youthful tannins. Great textures and length. Drink now and through 2024. Points 93 Contact:

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Established in 1849, Yalumba is Australia’s most historic family owned winery. A fiercely independent fine wine producer, Yalumba is driven by the preservation of provenance, progressive thinking, sustainability and excellence.


Babich Black Label Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2017 Rich, toasty oak and dark spices bouquet laced with spicy raspberry and dark cherry aromas, blackcurrant, dark rose and leather. Dry with fine fruit tannins and toasty oak flavours. Plenty of fruit at the core, with an abundance of acidity and texture. Pretty lengthy finish, balanced and very well made. Drink from 2019 and through 2024. Points 93 Contact:


Askerne Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2015 Dark and ripe red berry fruits, quite toasty and smoky, with clove and vanilla, dark cherry, redcurrant, raspberry and plum. Dry, dusty chalky tannins, medium+ acidity then flavours of red berries, currants and toasty oak.Youthful, needing some cellar time. Decant for service, best from 2019 through 2024. Points 90 Contact:

@yalumbawine |

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ed wine drinkers can be very particular about the variety or style they prefer. Those who like Pinot Noir, for example, have a passion for the subtle and sometimes mysterious scents of minerality, light red fruits and deep core of complexity. Others prefer wines from a particular place, like Italy, France, Chile or Australia. There is also the group who prefer full-bodied or oaky wines, dark red fruit flavours or peppery wines. The list can be extensive. Red wines are either single variety or blends. The blended red wine category contains a significant number of options. Classic red blends include the wine style made famous by the Bordelais of France – referred to as the ‘Bordeaux Blend’. These are wines based around a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, or one that uses all these varieties. This classic Bordeaux Blend combination has been emulated around the world, where growing conditions allow for the same varieties and wine styles to be produced. New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the Americas are well 46 WORLD OF WINE - 2019

known for their red blends, although a growing number of producers do not use the phrase ‘Bordeaux Blend’ to describe their wines, preferring the term ‘red blend’ or just branding. In New Zealand, for example, Te Mata Estate’s ‘Coleraine’ and ‘Awatea’ wines are well known red blends. Craggy Range’s ‘Sophia’ and Ata Rangi’s ‘Celebre’ are also red blends. Italy’s red wines are nearly always blended with Chianti, Valpollicella, Amarone and the Super Tuscan (wines from Tuscany that can include non-indigenous grapes). Australia and the USA too are well known for their highly sought-after red blend wines. The key characteristics of red blends often centre around a full-bodied texture, with rich, dark red fruit flavours, abundant textured tannins and vibrant acidity and often noticeable oak. These attributes make the wine ideal for pairing with foods rich in flavour and protein; green veges, like spinach and even olives and cream-based sauces pair well too.








Vidal of Hawkes Bay Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2016 Gimblett Gravels Youthful, fruity and alluring bouquet with an intriguing textured complexity. A core of red and dark berry fruit flavours layered between finely tuned flavours of oak, firm chalky tannins and abundant acidity. There is a dry-stone mineral layer alongside toasty wood spices adding in further complexity. A very appealing wine that will age well into the late 2020s. A great food wine option with decanting is highly recommended. Points 95 Contact: Yalumba The Cigar Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 South Australia Quite intense, smoky, oaky and loaded with dark berries, tobacco oak and dark spices. Dry, full, rich and intense on the palate. Dark berry flavours do punch through, bold tannins with contrasting fruit, intense acidity. Power and presence. Drink from 2020 through 2030+. Points 95 Contact: Yalumba The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 South Australia Distinctive bouquet with layers of plum, dark cherry and blackberry then toasty woody oak and complexity. Dry+ on the palate with a tannin rich attack, medium+ acidity then a core dark berries, plums and black cherry. Finishing with a tobacco spice and back to toasty wood notes. Drink now though best from 2020 through 2030+. Points 93 Contact:

Mission Estate Hawkes Bay Jewelstone Antoine 2015 Lovely bouquet with strong messages of fruit, oak and complexity. Darker fruit flavours with blackberry, dark plum and wild forest berries, then violets and dark oak spices. Dry with fine dusty and chalky tannins, plenty of acidity and a long, complex and tasty finish. Decant for service with best drinking from 2021 through 2028. Points 93

E. Guigal Cotes Du Rhone 2015 Lovely scented bouquet of cherry, red apple, plum and peppered raspberry. No mistaking the layer of oak, reminding me of the youthful core of energy and potential to age a wine of this calibre every now and again. Firm, dry, youthful and quite intense. Great core of fruit with flavours that reflect the palate. Tannin, oak and acidity relationships are armonious. Decent length - a lovely surprise. Drink now and through 2022. Points 92 Contact: Askerne 2016 Merlot/Cab Sauv/Cabernet Franc Ripe, fruity and engaging bouquet with dark berries, baking spices and toasty oak; a layer of herb and savoury complexity adding depth and distinctiveness. Dry with layers of fruit, chalky tannins and complexity. Flavours of dark berries, baked plums and cinnamon vanilla spices; weighty and complex finish. Decant for service if drinking soon. Best from 2022 through 2030. Points 92 Contact:

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albec is well suited to New Zealand’s climate, and can be a particularly tasty wine at the hands of a great winemaker. Thick-skinned and early-ripening, it is commonly used as a blending partner with other red grapes, but is equally happy on its own as a single expression. Malbec is not a particularly well-known red grape, in part because Pinot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines command the lion’s share of attention. It is, however, grown here and can be a component of a blended red wine. Malbec has an interesting history. The variety originated near the Lot River Valley 48 WORLD OF WINE - 2019

(Cahors) in southwestern France. The name is attributed to a 19th century doctor named ‘Malbeck’, who introduced the vine to Bordeaux. Recent DNA profiling has identified the parentage of Malbec as Prunelard crossed with Magdeleine Noire des Charentes. Malbec’s usefulness in Bordeaux red blends has led to other countries discovering its versatility. Argentina and New Zealand have both captured the essence of Malbec as a single variety expression or a major component of a blend. Because of its skin, Malbec can look very dark, even opaque, often showing

a distinctive pink rim (in the glass) when young. Flavours can include lush black fruit (black raspberry, black cherry, blackberry), blue fruit (blueberry and plum) and even red fruits like raspberry. In some more mature wines, fig, raisin and prune can be suggested. Some more complex wines can show red florals, a hint of greenness (a good component) and even some clay soil tones. Malbec is a very happy partner with oak, so aromas and flavours of vanilla, baking spices and even chocolate can be discovered. Malbec is a wine best partnered with rich, meaty dishes high in protein. Decanting is recommended, and a large glass is often the best vessel.




erlot is back! The variety suffered for a time from the release of the movie Sideways, which suggested Merlot was no longer the California ‘in’ wine - seemingly having a dramatic effect on sales. It is a smart choice for wine by-theglass, and suits a wide range of food. Merlot is one of the heroes of the grape world, although it lives somewhat in the shadow of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc (though both varieties ironically don’t do as well without it). The variety underpins some of the great red wines of Bordeaux, which have inspired producers worldwide to include Merlot in their plantings, and make wine that is fragrant and fruity, delivering a soft,

plush and round textured wine with easy, yet abundant tannins. New Zealand has historically favoured Merlot over Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc – at 1,256 hectares, it is the second most widelyplanted red grape after Pinot Noir, far outweighing Cabernets. New Zealand has several internationallyrecognised producers of Merlot-based wine. It is commonly used in blends, with Cabernets, Malbec and Petit Verdot, often seen as the glue holding these varieties together on the palate. Merlot grows successfully in New Zealand in Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Auckland, and Canterbury. Merlot aromas and flavours can include plum and blueberry; raspberry and red

cherry; blackberry and black cherry; and sometimes fig or fruitcake. Elegant examples can also show scents of purple flowers, especially violets; and sometimes a little mint, bay leaf, fern or tobacco. The use of oak can show hints of toast, chocolate, coffee, cinnamon and vanilla. Its structure is most often dry, moderate to moderate plus body, moderate to elevated tannin and moderate acidity. It typically ripens a little ahead of Cabernets so is often less exposed to disease. Dishes that suit this versatile variety include rare-to-medium lean lamb cuts, casseroles with borlotti beans, and most protein, including chicken, salmon and densely-textured fish.


Peacock Sky Waiheke Island Merlot Malbec 2014 Moderate to dark ruby hues with aromas and flavours of plum and dark cherry, some milk chocolate and blueberry; moderate+ tannins with plenty of texture and mouthfeel, plenty of acidity, moderate to firm tannins and a dry finish. Balanced and well made with a decent finish. Drink now if decanted and through 2026. Points 91


Coopers Creek Gisborne Malbec 2015 Fabulous colour of bright red cherry, leading to an equally delightful bouquet of fleshy, lush and bright red fruits; plum and dark cherry with some blackberry then baking spices and toasty oak. On the palate - tense, youthful, very fruity and dry; plenty of tannins and acidity; raspberry and plum then darker berry fruit flavours. Wellmade and lengthy finish. Decant for service through 2018 then straight to glass from 2019 through 2026. Points 90


Tribute Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Malbec 2016 Bright, fresh and youthful bouquet with red and dark cherry, plums and floral aroma moments. Dry, fresh, lush and fruity with flavours of plums and red berries, fine tannins and abundant acidity with a light herb and dry stone layer. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2022. Points 87 WORLD OF WINE - 2019 49


FORCE OF NATURE Organic wines are becoming increasingly prominent in the New Zealand wine landscape


he growth of New Zealand organic viticulture is significant. Over ten percent of our wine producers hold Organic Certification for their vineyards, with more coming through. Some of this growth stems from successful sustainability practices; however much comes from the philosophy that a vineyard works best in harmony with nature’s rhythms and processes. Wine has long been associated with organic practices. However in recent times, interventionist practices have been used, and still are - often to speed up vineyard production and crop size. While the interventionist approach is common, it can include use of heavy machinery, herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers: practices that don’t protect soil’s natural balance. The Sustainable Wine philosophy, created by NZ Winegrowers in 2007, has seen a larger number of vineyards incorporate a more holistic approach, with many benefits. Research on organic viticulture practices confirms these farming philosophies are classic, intelligent and intuitive. Organic farming is a way of thinking translated into a usable system that sustains a vineyard’s ecosystems, below and above ground, and the people who maintain the land. Organic viticulture relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted

to local conditions, rather than the use of outside inputs. The Maori term ‘toitu’ explains it well – its meaning suggests land should be eternally sustainable. An example is the use of compost, made on and from the land, being laid below each vine; a layer of straw on top. This creates a moist and protected environment, promoting good bacteria and microbial life, with lots of worms and the added benefit of not needing to weed. Weed control using man-made substances applied with machines will compact, perhaps even poison the soil, release fumes into the atmosphere and require repeat tasks over a four-season year. Organics makes use of cover crops like peas between vines to build soil life. Buckwheat is also commonly planted to attract pest-eating insects. Biodynamics takes the ideas of organics even further, with a deeper focus on holistically understanding and managing the vineyard. Biodynamic methods include the use of special plant, animal and mineral preparations which are used for various reasons, from preventing disease to adding soil nourishment. Many of these applications coincide with the cycle of the moon and seasons. Does organically produced wine smell and taste different from other wine? Yes, emphatically.


Gisborne is home to New Zealand’s premier biodynamic producer Millton Vineyards. Bio-dynamism is a specific way of farming the land using the natural rhythm of the land, understanding and developing life forces below and above ground, and using natural preparations to protect and enhance vine health.


Millton Vineyard Opou Vineyard Chardonnay 2017 Gisborne Distinctive bouquet full of aromas of wild flowers and grapefruit, honeysuckle and white peach. On the palate - dry, spicy, leesy and varietal. Flavours of orchard fruits, citrus, some vanilla, minerals and wild flowers; great texture and length - a wine that punches well above its weight for the category. Drink now and through 2022+. Points 92 Contact:


Carrick Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2015 Central Otago Some classic aromas of Otago Pinot Noir showing a mx of wild thyme and dried herb, red berry fruits and spices of toasty wood, vanilla and sweet clove. On the palate - dry, textured and fine with flavours of red berries and oak, wild thyme and barrel spices.Tannins have firmness and texture, medium+ acidity and moderate+ finish. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2024. Points 91 Contact:


Loveblock Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Complex, elegant and calm SB bouquet with soft fresh herbs, ripe citrus and apple fruit aromas. Crunchy, fruity and just-dry on the palate, with a light savoury herb edge, then flavours that match the nose. Some wild flower moments and gentle lees derived texture. Fairly lengthy finish and well suited to summer fare. Drink now and through 2020. Points 90 Contact:

50 WORLD OF WINE - 2019

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