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Cork pops on Champagne bottle

2021 Festive Sparkling Picks

With Christmas fast approaching, here are a few thoughts on some sparkling wines for the festive season. Hopefully these wines will give you interesting new options to consider, but if you are contemplating buying Champagne this year, it's worth casting your net further than the three or four brand leaders that dominate New Zealand sales. There are so many other wonderful Champagne choices out there; many of which undoubtedly offer better value. Chance your arm. You are very likely to find a new favourite.

 

Alpha Domus Cumulus Blanc de Blanc Methode Traditionelle

Alpha Domus Cumulus Blanc de Blanc Methode Traditionelle 2019 – Hawke’s Bay

Available from $27.99
This is excellent buying. Vinted by Alpha Domus using the Methode Traditionelle process (the same labour intensive method used in Champagne production where the wine undergoes a second fermentation inside the bottle), this is crisp and dry sparkling vinted from 100% chardonnay. Malolactic fermentation to the base wine has brought some creamy notes into play but zero dosage (meaning no sugar was added to kick off the second fermentation) has maintained a tight, dry line throughout the palate that keeps the conversation very clean and focused. The flavours fall into the crisp granny smith apple and zesty citrus spectrum and the finish is very long with good fruit / acid balance. That lingering fresh acidity also makes this 2019 vintage release an excellent aperitif sparkling; a perfect first wine before moving onto other fuller bodied offerings.

 

Squawking Magpie SQM Methode Traditionelle Brut

Squawking Magpie SQM Methode Traditionelle Brut NV– Hawke’s Bay

Available from $28.99
This is richly weighted, generous Methode Traditionelle vinted from the classic Champagne blend of chardonnay and pinot noir. (People are often confused when they see pinot noir in sparkling releases, but this is white bubbles. The pinot skins are removed before they impart colour to the base wine). Extended lees contact has brought some yeasty / brioche notes to the bouquet and those bready notes flow through to the palate where citrus, stone fruits and very subtle red berry notes begin to shine. This is bolder Methode than the Cumulus detailed above and a more complex style. It’s a great option for those who like fuller, more flavoursome bubbles and an excellent match with salads, seafoods or lighter white meat dishes.

 

 

Huia Blanc de Blancs Methode Traditionelle

Huia Blanc de Blanc Methode Traditionelle 2017 – Marlborough

Available from $34.99
Huia Blanc de Blanc has long been a personal favourite. Vinted from 100% estate grown chardonnay, this is another fulsome sparkling with notes of sweet citrus and baked bread on the nose. The palate is near perfectly pitched with layers of creamy nectarine and peach, interlaced with some nutty, tea biscuit characters. The finish is long and softly acidic and that closing freshness beautifully offsets those creamy palate characters. Of the three New Zealand Methodes discussed today, this is perhaps the most ‘Champagne-like.’ As with the SQM above, it’s a match made in heaven with shellfish and seafoods but has the power to complement soft white cheeses as well.

 

 

Laurent Perrier La Cuvee Brut NV

Champagne Laurent Perrier La Cuvee Brut NV – France

Available from $69.99
Established in 1812, Laurent Perrier is known throughout the world and remains one of the great family owned Champagne houses. After languishing for some decades, the cellar masters reinvented the house style for their La Cuvee blend and there can be no doubt that recent disgorgements have reengaged buyers and attracted significant critical acclaim. Classic lemon / brioche / lees notes dominate the nose, before a palate laden with zingy citrus takes over proceedings. La Cuvee is always chardonnay dominant (the current release is 55% chardonnay, 35% pinot noir, 10% pinot meunier) and it’s that fresh, intense citrus drive that sets this wine apart. It’s the definition of understated power and the finish is both wonderfully long and completely refreshing. At a recent staff gathering we chose to celebrate with Laurent Perrier La Cuvee and it was a resounding success with our team. If you like your Champagne vibrant and stylish, this would be a very good place to start.

 

H. Lanvin & Fils Champagne

Champagne H. Lanvin & Fils Brut NV – France

Available from $44.99
H. Lanvin is a sub brand of Lombard & Cie, a family owned house that has been making Champagne since 1925. It seems to have found a natural home in Australasia, and H. Lanvin & Fils has long been considered one of the markets best Champagne buys both here in New Zealand and across the Tasman. Lanvin has also enjoyed significant critical acclaim over the years - a fact that is especially remarkable given the price that this Champagne operates at. The current disgorgement (a blend of 40% Pinot Meunier, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay) is looking especially sharp. It is full-bodied by Champagne standards and while clearly dry, it has the softest acidity of the three Champagnes discussed in this column; a fact that may make it the most pleasurable to some buyers. It’s certainly the silkiest Champagne in this list, with real texture in the mouth and a rounded plushness that the others don’t exhibit. It’s quite the bargain and H. Lanvin & Fils is definitely Champagne for those who love plenty of flavour in the glass.

 

Champagne Charles de Cazanove

Champagne Charles de Cazanove Brut NV – France

Available from $46.99
Founded in Reims in 1811, Champagne Charles de Cazanove is one of the oldest Champagne houses and remains 100% family owned by 4th generation winemakers. Though little known in New Zealand, Charles de Cazanove is one of the top 5 selling Champagne brands sold in France and has carved out an enviable reputation in fine dining restaurants and quality cafes throughout Europe. Like Champagne H. Lanvin & Fils, it is tremendous value. It’s not as full on the palate as Lanvin but still boasts plenty of gentle power – from the lemon tinged freshly baked bread notes on the nose, through to a palate the brims with citrus, yeast and semi-ripe peach characters. The finish is fresh and long with good acid drive and the overall impression is very harmonious. It’s a perfect ‘one size fits all’ style that Champagne lovers will instantly feel at home with, and it is so easy to see why this cuvee enjoys such great success in France.

Cork pops on Champagne bottle

2021 Festive Sparkling Picks

With Christmas fast approaching, here are a few thoughts on some sparkling wines for the festive season. Hopefully these wines will give you interesting new options to consider, but if you are contemplating buying Champagne this year, it's worth casting your net further than the three or four brand leaders that dominate New Zealand sales. There are so many other wonderful Champagne choices out there; many of which undoubtedly offer better value. Chance your arm. You are very likely to find a new favourite.

 

Alpha Domus Cumulus Blanc de Blanc Methode Traditionelle

Alpha Domus Cumulus Blanc de Blanc Methode Traditionelle 2019 – Hawke’s Bay

Available from $27.99
This is excellent buying. Vinted by Alpha Domus using the Methode Traditionelle process (the same labour intensive method used in Champagne production where the wine undergoes a second fermentation inside the bottle), this is crisp and dry sparkling vinted from 100% chardonnay. Malolactic fermentation to the base wine has brought some creamy notes into play but zero dosage (meaning no sugar was added to kick off the second fermentation) has maintained a tight, dry line throughout the palate that keeps the conversation very clean and focused. The flavours fall into the crisp granny smith apple and zesty citrus spectrum and the finish is very long with good fruit / acid balance. That lingering fresh acidity also makes this 2019 vintage release an excellent aperitif sparkling; a perfect first wine before moving onto other fuller bodied offerings.

 

Squawking Magpie SQM Methode Traditionelle Brut

Squawking Magpie SQM Methode Traditionelle Brut NV– Hawke’s Bay

Available from $28.99
This is richly weighted, generous Methode Traditionelle vinted from the classic Champagne blend of chardonnay and pinot noir. (People are often confused when they see pinot noir in sparkling releases, but this is white bubbles. The pinot skins are removed before they impart colour to the base wine). Extended lees contact has brought some yeasty / brioche notes to the bouquet and those bready notes flow through to the palate where citrus, stone fruits and very subtle red berry notes begin to shine. This is bolder Methode than the Cumulus detailed above and a more complex style. It’s a great option for those who like fuller, more flavoursome bubbles and an excellent match with salads, seafoods or lighter white meat dishes.

 

 

Huia Blanc de Blancs Methode Traditionelle

Huia Blanc de Blanc Methode Traditionelle 2017 – Marlborough

Available from $34.99
Huia Blanc de Blanc has long been a personal favourite. Vinted from 100% estate grown chardonnay, this is another fulsome sparkling with notes of sweet citrus and baked bread on the nose. The palate is near perfectly pitched with layers of creamy nectarine and peach, interlaced with some nutty, tea biscuit characters. The finish is long and softly acidic and that closing freshness beautifully offsets those creamy palate characters. Of the three New Zealand Methodes discussed today, this is perhaps the most ‘Champagne-like.’ As with the SQM above, it’s a match made in heaven with shellfish and seafoods but has the power to complement soft white cheeses as well.

 

 

Laurent Perrier La Cuvee Brut NV

Champagne Laurent Perrier La Cuvee Brut NV – France

Available from $69.99
Established in 1812, Laurent Perrier is known throughout the world and remains one of the great family owned Champagne houses. After languishing for some decades, the cellar masters reinvented the house style for their La Cuvee blend and there can be no doubt that recent disgorgements have reengaged buyers and attracted significant critical acclaim. Classic lemon / brioche / lees notes dominate the nose, before a palate laden with zingy citrus takes over proceedings. La Cuvee is always chardonnay dominant (the current release is 55% chardonnay, 35% pinot noir, 10% pinot meunier) and it’s that fresh, intense citrus drive that sets this wine apart. It’s the definition of understated power and the finish is both wonderfully long and completely refreshing. At a recent staff gathering we chose to celebrate with Laurent Perrier La Cuvee and it was a resounding success with our team. If you like your Champagne vibrant and stylish, this would be a very good place to start.

 

H. Lanvin & Fils Champagne

Champagne H. Lanvin & Fils Brut NV – France

Available from $44.99
H. Lanvin is a sub brand of Lombard & Cie, a family owned house that has been making Champagne since 1925. It seems to have found a natural home in Australasia, and H. Lanvin & Fils has long been considered one of the markets best Champagne buys both here in New Zealand and across the Tasman. Lanvin has also enjoyed significant critical acclaim over the years - a fact that is especially remarkable given the price that this Champagne operates at. The current disgorgement (a blend of 40% Pinot Meunier, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay) is looking especially sharp. It is full-bodied by Champagne standards and while clearly dry, it has the softest acidity of the three Champagnes discussed in this column; a fact that may make it the most pleasurable to some buyers. It’s certainly the silkiest Champagne in this list, with real texture in the mouth and a rounded plushness that the others don’t exhibit. It’s quite the bargain and H. Lanvin & Fils is definitely Champagne for those who love plenty of flavour in the glass.

 

Champagne Charles de Cazanove

Champagne Charles de Cazanove Brut NV – France

Available from $46.99
Founded in Reims in 1811, Champagne Charles de Cazanove is one of the oldest Champagne houses and remains 100% family owned by 4th generation winemakers. Though little known in New Zealand, Charles de Cazanove is one of the top 5 selling Champagne brands sold in France and has carved out an enviable reputation in fine dining restaurants and quality cafes throughout Europe. Like Champagne H. Lanvin & Fils, it is tremendous value. It’s not as full on the palate as Lanvin but still boasts plenty of gentle power – from the lemon tinged freshly baked bread notes on the nose, through to a palate the brims with citrus, yeast and semi-ripe peach characters. The finish is fresh and long with good acid drive and the overall impression is very harmonious. It’s a perfect ‘one size fits all’ style that Champagne lovers will instantly feel at home with, and it is so easy to see why this cuvee enjoys such great success in France.

Mac's top 6 wine picks on 16 October 2021

Mac's Picks - 16 October 2021

Not many New Zealand retailers have sold more wine than Mac and his personal recommendations come from one of the industry's safest sets of hands. Regardless of the price point you like to shop in, Mac's Picks will always be great buying and totally delicious. You have his word on it.

Bond Block Brut NV sparkling wine from new zealand

Bond Block Single Vineyard ‘Bubbles’ Blanc de Blanc Brut NV – Gisborne

Available from $27.99
It’s always a pleasure tasting a quality New Zealand sparkling for the first time and this punchy NV release from Bond Block certainly didn’t disappoint. Crafted from a single Gisborne Chardonnay vineyard using the premium methode traditionelle technique (the same labour intensive, double fermentation process used to make Champagne) this is full-bodied, richly weighted wine with lots of action in the glass. The upfront flavours are in the apple and ripe stone fruit spectrum, before yeasty, brioche characters come into play. The finish is crisp and long with mouth-filling creamy acidity the lasting impression. This is smart wine with depth and real vitality, and a relative bargain given the surging price of good Kiwi Methode these days. There are plenty of Champagne-esque qualities on show and Bond Block Blanc de Blanc will hold great appeal for those who like their bubbles soft and rounded with plenty of weight and presence.


Sartori Prosecco D.O.C. NV–sparkling wine from italy

Sartori Prosecco D.O.C. NV – Italy  

Available from $17.99

There is certainly an argument that ‘prosecco is prosecco is prosecco’ and, from a flavour perspective, you can throw a blanket over much of the field in the key $15 - $20 retail category. With tasting profiles so similar, producers use label and unique bottle combinations to drive consumer buying decisions and no one can deny that it’s a strategy that has worked wonders in global markets. The reliability of the prosecco category and visual differentiation of the products on offer has taken the world by storm in the last decade and prosecco sales in our domestic market continue to be very strong. Sartori is one wine that stood out for me from a purely flavour perspective. Fresh, crisp and dry, Sartori Brut takes the classic apple / pear / citrus flavours of high quality D.O.C. Glera fruit and adds in a subtle layer of hazelnut cream complexity that you only see in the better prosecco examples. Try it the next time friends gather and you have a fresh deli-platter on the table. It’s truly delicious.


tohu-chardonnay-2020-from-gisborne

Tohu Chardonnay 2020 – Gisborne

Available from $15.99

If you’re looking for a middle-weight chardonnay that still packs in plenty of creamy mouthfeel, Tohu Chardonnay should be on your list. As you’d expect with Gisborne fruit driving this release, it’s loaded with ripe stonefruit and tangy citrus fruit characters, but malolactic ferment (the process winemakers use to convert harsh fruit acids into softer, lactic acids) and partial barrel-fermentation in French oak barriques has really ramped up the complexity.  Chardonnay fans typically love that creamy peach and wood-spice combination and this is rewarding wine – especially given its humble price point. In my book, it’s a perfect mid-weeker and one of the best middle-weight New Zealand Chardonnays that I have tasted in the $15 bracket for some time.



perrin-luberron-rose-2020-wine-from-france

Famille Perrin Luberon Rosé 2020 – France

Available from $16.99

This lovely wine is always on high rotation in the Macpherson household over summer, and the 2020 is another refreshing release from Perrin – one of the great names in French winemaking. Blended from relatively cool Luberon vineyards (slap bang in the middle of Vix-En-Provence and Avignon), this is crisp, dry aromatic wine that brings flavours of strawberry and exotic red fruits alive in the mouth. Some mineral notes and underlying savoury complexity add further interest, but this is wine to enjoy, not contemplate. Open a bottle whenever the sun comes out and enjoy those bright red fruits and fresh acidity. It’s perfect for al fresco dining or match with summer salads or lightly spiced cuisine.


Chateau Bourdieu No 1 Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux

Chateau Bourdieu No 1 Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux 2019 – France

Available from $26.99
I often write about the sheer value available from Bordeaux these days. When I first started in the wine trade, Bordeaux reds that retailed in New Zealand under $40 were typically thin and uncomplicated – but my how things have changed. The adoption of New World winemaking techniques has helped create a sea change in quality and there are bargains galore for local fans of Bordeaux reds, if you are prepared to seek them out. This charming wine from Chateau Bourdieu is a case in point. Vinted from estate vineyards on the right bank of the Gironde, this merlot dominant blend (89%) shows rounded flavours in the black plum and dark cherry spectrum with the cabernet and malbec components adding structure and supple tannins. A refreshing lick of creamy acidity rounds out the conversation and the overall impression here is truly rewarding. Given the interest and drive on the palate, this dinner party worthy red is quite the bargain. Enjoy over the next decade.


de-bortoli-woodfired-heathcote-shiraz-from-australia

De Bortoli Woodfired Heathcote Shiraz 2019 – Australia

Available from $21.99
After languishing in the shadow of European wines for much of the last decade, bold Aussie reds are on the comeback and New Zealand buyers are once again gobbling up these fulsome offerings with great gusto. Vinted from ripe Heathcote fruits, this is a typically weighty and bold release that shows layers of berry fruits, vanillin oak, black olive, pepper spice and soft, supple tannins. Some savoury flavours steer the 2019 away from the jammy side of the street, but those sweet fruit characters remain an undeniable driving force. As you would expect from good shiraz in this price bracket, it’s an immediately attractive option with a juicy grilled steak - but hold some back over the coming 5 years to see further complexity unfold.

Mac's top 6 wine picks on 16 October 2021

Mac's Picks - 16 October 2021

Not many New Zealand retailers have sold more wine than Mac and his personal recommendations come from one of the industry's safest sets of hands. Regardless of the price point you like to shop in, Mac's Picks will always be great buying and totally delicious. You have his word on it.

Bond Block Brut NV sparkling wine from new zealand

Bond Block Single Vineyard ‘Bubbles’ Blanc de Blanc Brut NV – Gisborne

Available from $27.99
It’s always a pleasure tasting a quality New Zealand sparkling for the first time and this punchy NV release from Bond Block certainly didn’t disappoint. Crafted from a single Gisborne Chardonnay vineyard using the premium methode traditionelle technique (the same labour intensive, double fermentation process used to make Champagne) this is full-bodied, richly weighted wine with lots of action in the glass. The upfront flavours are in the apple and ripe stone fruit spectrum, before yeasty, brioche characters come into play. The finish is crisp and long with mouth-filling creamy acidity the lasting impression. This is smart wine with depth and real vitality, and a relative bargain given the surging price of good Kiwi Methode these days. There are plenty of Champagne-esque qualities on show and Bond Block Blanc de Blanc will hold great appeal for those who like their bubbles soft and rounded with plenty of weight and presence.


Sartori Prosecco D.O.C. NV–sparkling wine from italy

Sartori Prosecco D.O.C. NV – Italy  

Available from $17.99

There is certainly an argument that ‘prosecco is prosecco is prosecco’ and, from a flavour perspective, you can throw a blanket over much of the field in the key $15 - $20 retail category. With tasting profiles so similar, producers use label and unique bottle combinations to drive consumer buying decisions and no one can deny that it’s a strategy that has worked wonders in global markets. The reliability of the prosecco category and visual differentiation of the products on offer has taken the world by storm in the last decade and prosecco sales in our domestic market continue to be very strong. Sartori is one wine that stood out for me from a purely flavour perspective. Fresh, crisp and dry, Sartori Brut takes the classic apple / pear / citrus flavours of high quality D.O.C. Glera fruit and adds in a subtle layer of hazelnut cream complexity that you only see in the better prosecco examples. Try it the next time friends gather and you have a fresh deli-platter on the table. It’s truly delicious.


tohu-chardonnay-2020-from-gisborne

Tohu Chardonnay 2020 – Gisborne

Available from $15.99

If you’re looking for a middle-weight chardonnay that still packs in plenty of creamy mouthfeel, Tohu Chardonnay should be on your list. As you’d expect with Gisborne fruit driving this release, it’s loaded with ripe stonefruit and tangy citrus fruit characters, but malolactic ferment (the process winemakers use to convert harsh fruit acids into softer, lactic acids) and partial barrel-fermentation in French oak barriques has really ramped up the complexity.  Chardonnay fans typically love that creamy peach and wood-spice combination and this is rewarding wine – especially given its humble price point. In my book, it’s a perfect mid-weeker and one of the best middle-weight New Zealand Chardonnays that I have tasted in the $15 bracket for some time.



perrin-luberron-rose-2020-wine-from-france

Famille Perrin Luberon Rosé 2020 – France

Available from $16.99

This lovely wine is always on high rotation in the Macpherson household over summer, and the 2020 is another refreshing release from Perrin – one of the great names in French winemaking. Blended from relatively cool Luberon vineyards (slap bang in the middle of Vix-En-Provence and Avignon), this is crisp, dry aromatic wine that brings flavours of strawberry and exotic red fruits alive in the mouth. Some mineral notes and underlying savoury complexity add further interest, but this is wine to enjoy, not contemplate. Open a bottle whenever the sun comes out and enjoy those bright red fruits and fresh acidity. It’s perfect for al fresco dining or match with summer salads or lightly spiced cuisine.


Chateau Bourdieu No 1 Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux

Chateau Bourdieu No 1 Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux 2019 – France

Available from $26.99
I often write about the sheer value available from Bordeaux these days. When I first started in the wine trade, Bordeaux reds that retailed in New Zealand under $40 were typically thin and uncomplicated – but my how things have changed. The adoption of New World winemaking techniques has helped create a sea change in quality and there are bargains galore for local fans of Bordeaux reds, if you are prepared to seek them out. This charming wine from Chateau Bourdieu is a case in point. Vinted from estate vineyards on the right bank of the Gironde, this merlot dominant blend (89%) shows rounded flavours in the black plum and dark cherry spectrum with the cabernet and malbec components adding structure and supple tannins. A refreshing lick of creamy acidity rounds out the conversation and the overall impression here is truly rewarding. Given the interest and drive on the palate, this dinner party worthy red is quite the bargain. Enjoy over the next decade.


de-bortoli-woodfired-heathcote-shiraz-from-australia

De Bortoli Woodfired Heathcote Shiraz 2019 – Australia

Available from $21.99
After languishing in the shadow of European wines for much of the last decade, bold Aussie reds are on the comeback and New Zealand buyers are once again gobbling up these fulsome offerings with great gusto. Vinted from ripe Heathcote fruits, this is a typically weighty and bold release that shows layers of berry fruits, vanillin oak, black olive, pepper spice and soft, supple tannins. Some savoury flavours steer the 2019 away from the jammy side of the street, but those sweet fruit characters remain an undeniable driving force. As you would expect from good shiraz in this price bracket, it’s an immediately attractive option with a juicy grilled steak - but hold some back over the coming 5 years to see further complexity unfold.

Prosecco

The rise and rise of Prosecco

There seems no end to the rise of Prosecco. The famous sparkling wine of Italy has taken the world by storm and our sales are soaring as more and more of our clients discover the gentle charms of this delicate bubbly.

Prosecco is primarily produced from the Glera grape but often has other varieties making up a small component of the blend. Unlike Champagne, which is produced using the Méthode Champenoise process, Prosecco is typically made with the Charmat method. This involves the wines second fermentation taking place in stainless steel tanks. This simple process is very cost effective making Prosecco less expensive than Méthode Champenoise sparkling wines.
Most of the Prosecco DOC sold in new Zealand is either Spumante (fully sparkling) or, Frizzante (semi-sparkling). At Advintage we are fans of the Frizzante style. In our view, the lightly sparkling nature of these wines makes a charming departure from traditional bubblies and makes the experience more Prosecco-like.

Either way our sales are racing. Pour a glass of chilled Prosecco on a summers day and watch your friends enjoy the delicate flavours – especially as an aperitif served with a deli-platter or simple hors d’oeuvres - or try it blended with peach syrup for a classic Bellini. Bellissimo!
Here are a couple of our best sellers for you to consider the next time bubbles are on your mind:

Riondo Prosecco Collezione DOC

One of our top selling Proseccos. It's just off dry and has developed a massice following worldwide due to its legendary drinkability. The perfect accompaniment to alfresco entertaining or whenever the mood takes you. Fantastic value.

Giotti Prosecco NV

A classy prosecco expression that won't break the bank. It's classically dry with a delicate kiss of fruit sweetness and subtle nutty characters.

Prosecco

The rise and rise of Prosecco

There seems no end to the rise of Prosecco. The famous sparkling wine of Italy has taken the world by storm and our sales are soaring as more and more of our clients discover the gentle charms of this delicate bubbly.

Prosecco is primarily produced from the Glera grape but often has other varieties making up a small component of the blend. Unlike Champagne, which is produced using the Méthode Champenoise process, Prosecco is typically made with the Charmat method. This involves the wines second fermentation taking place in stainless steel tanks. This simple process is very cost effective making Prosecco less expensive than Méthode Champenoise sparkling wines.
Most of the Prosecco DOC sold in new Zealand is either Spumante (fully sparkling) or, Frizzante (semi-sparkling). At Advintage we are fans of the Frizzante style. In our view, the lightly sparkling nature of these wines makes a charming departure from traditional bubblies and makes the experience more Prosecco-like.

Either way our sales are racing. Pour a glass of chilled Prosecco on a summers day and watch your friends enjoy the delicate flavours – especially as an aperitif served with a deli-platter or simple hors d’oeuvres - or try it blended with peach syrup for a classic Bellini. Bellissimo!
Here are a couple of our best sellers for you to consider the next time bubbles are on your mind:

Riondo Prosecco Collezione DOC

One of our top selling Proseccos. It's just off dry and has developed a massice following worldwide due to its legendary drinkability. The perfect accompaniment to alfresco entertaining or whenever the mood takes you. Fantastic value.

Giotti Prosecco NV

A classy prosecco expression that won't break the bank. It's classically dry with a delicate kiss of fruit sweetness and subtle nutty characters.

red wines

Hearty Winter Reds

HEARTY RED WINES

Robustly flavoured slow cooked meals and hearty red wines are always an irresistible combination at this time of year. We eat a lot of slow food in our house. I love when the kitchen is filled with the smell of braising meats and vegetables and I know the resulting dishes will have layers of mellow complexity that only comes with extended time in the oven.

I like my wines with layers of complexity too. I want new flavours to reveal themselves as I take each mouthful and I want those flavours to fill my mouth and linger for a while  as good wines should. 

One thing I always do is decant my red wines – even the everyday ones. This simple one minute process gives the wine plenty of contact to the air and it is virtually guaranteed to improve the wine - rounding out the palate and making it softer and more fulsome in the mouth. You don’t need an expensive decanter; any glass or ceramic jug will do and you can pour the wine back into the bottle before your serve the wine if you wish. Special or older bottles of wine should be decanted just before you are ready to serve them. Young wines seem to benefit from being decanted an hour or so earlier.  

Here is a selection of some great value red wines – each with a slow food suggestion.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Merlot Cabernet 2019 – Hawkes' Bay
Available from 15.99
This is a perfectly pitched example of middleweight Hawke's Bay merlot dominant red from Villa Maria's Cellar Selection range. Look for plush, upfront fruit weight before the cabernet component kicks in - adding savoury depth and presence. It is begging to be enjoyed with chicken braised with tomatoes, olives and lemon.

Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone 2019 – Rhone Valley, France
Available from $17.99 
I always say that Rhone reds are the perfect French reds for Kiwi palates, combining the weighty ‘Pinot Noir–esque’ flavours of grenache with the more savoury and drier flavours of syrah. The 2019 Chapoutier is grenache dominant, velvet smooth and simply loaded with soft, spicy dark fruits. It’s juicy and moreish and a perfect partner for slow cooked lamb with star anise.

Montidori Sangiovese DOC 2019 – Italy
Available from $19.99
This is a lovely example of generous sangiovese. It’s quite plush and mouthfilling with velvet smooth flavours in the spicy red fruit spectrum - and those flavours go on and on. A portion of the grapes have been dried in small baskets in order to concentrate the flavours and the result is a rich, dark, intense wine with soft spicy notes. I’d match this with braised beef cheeks with a hint of chilli.

red wines

Hearty Winter Reds

HEARTY RED WINES

Robustly flavoured slow cooked meals and hearty red wines are always an irresistible combination at this time of year. We eat a lot of slow food in our house. I love when the kitchen is filled with the smell of braising meats and vegetables and I know the resulting dishes will have layers of mellow complexity that only comes with extended time in the oven.

I like my wines with layers of complexity too. I want new flavours to reveal themselves as I take each mouthful and I want those flavours to fill my mouth and linger for a while  as good wines should. 

One thing I always do is decant my red wines – even the everyday ones. This simple one minute process gives the wine plenty of contact to the air and it is virtually guaranteed to improve the wine - rounding out the palate and making it softer and more fulsome in the mouth. You don’t need an expensive decanter; any glass or ceramic jug will do and you can pour the wine back into the bottle before your serve the wine if you wish. Special or older bottles of wine should be decanted just before you are ready to serve them. Young wines seem to benefit from being decanted an hour or so earlier.  

Here is a selection of some great value red wines – each with a slow food suggestion.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Merlot Cabernet 2019 – Hawkes' Bay
Available from 15.99
This is a perfectly pitched example of middleweight Hawke's Bay merlot dominant red from Villa Maria's Cellar Selection range. Look for plush, upfront fruit weight before the cabernet component kicks in - adding savoury depth and presence. It is begging to be enjoyed with chicken braised with tomatoes, olives and lemon.

Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone 2019 – Rhone Valley, France
Available from $17.99 
I always say that Rhone reds are the perfect French reds for Kiwi palates, combining the weighty ‘Pinot Noir–esque’ flavours of grenache with the more savoury and drier flavours of syrah. The 2019 Chapoutier is grenache dominant, velvet smooth and simply loaded with soft, spicy dark fruits. It’s juicy and moreish and a perfect partner for slow cooked lamb with star anise.

Montidori Sangiovese DOC 2019 – Italy
Available from $19.99
This is a lovely example of generous sangiovese. It’s quite plush and mouthfilling with velvet smooth flavours in the spicy red fruit spectrum - and those flavours go on and on. A portion of the grapes have been dried in small baskets in order to concentrate the flavours and the result is a rich, dark, intense wine with soft spicy notes. I’d match this with braised beef cheeks with a hint of chilli.

Organically good wine

Organically Good

Organically Good

After quietly simmering away in the background, organic winemaking in New Zealand is now on the move. Approximately ten percent of New Zealand wineries are now organically certified and all indicators point to that number rising sharply in the next few years as more and more producers undertake the organic conversion process.

It’s pleasing to see and, slowly, the public is coming along for the ride. Personally, I am excited to witness this change in perception but it has to be said that organic winemaking has been a mixed bag over the years. While many long term organic producers have done a superb job with their organic portfolios, there have also been plenty of wine crimes released under the organic masthead.

Thankfully those days are now largely behind us but there will still be consumers who feel that by buying organic wine they will be sacrificing flavour in the interests of ecological good. The sooner that mind set dies away the better.

Organic New Zealand producers are a proud lot and tend to reference their organic status whenever the opportunity arises. Interestingly, many old world wineries who produce  their wines organically do not mention their organic practises on their labels or in their marketing drives. I look forward to the day where organic winemaking is so common place here that our domestic producers no longer feel the need to push the ecological message.

Here are a few of our top organic picks or check out our whole range of organic wines here.

Millton Crazy by Nature Sirius White 2019 - Gisborne
Available from $19.99
Funky blended white wine from one of New Zealand’s preeminent organic wineries.  The 2019 is driven predominantly by Chardonnay with smaller percentages of Viognier and Marsanne adding slippery, textural mouthfeel and an array of tropical fruits. This is delightful wine; supple and immediately attractive. A great match with seafood or simply brilliant with the clean flavours of Japanese cuisine. 

TED by Mount Edward Pinot Noir 2019
Available from $31.99
Ted is the funky entry-level label from the famous Mount Edward wines in Central Otago. They are Bio grow organic certified and focus on producing small batch, high-quality wines. This 2019 Pinot is soft and supple with delicious savoury, dark fruit flavours. A great option when you're looking for something special and a bit different.

El Picoteo Organic Monastrell Syrah 2018 – Spain
Available from $17.99
A very attractive, silky smooth blend from the Piqueras winery in Almansa, in south-east Spain. Monastrell brings an array of dark, juicy choco-berry flavours to the party while the Syrah component adds some  mid palate drive and more serious, drier notes to the finish. This is the consummate ‘pleasure wine ‘ – a softly seductive release with very wide appeal.  

 

Organically good wine

Organically Good

Organically Good

After quietly simmering away in the background, organic winemaking in New Zealand is now on the move. Approximately ten percent of New Zealand wineries are now organically certified and all indicators point to that number rising sharply in the next few years as more and more producers undertake the organic conversion process.

It’s pleasing to see and, slowly, the public is coming along for the ride. Personally, I am excited to witness this change in perception but it has to be said that organic winemaking has been a mixed bag over the years. While many long term organic producers have done a superb job with their organic portfolios, there have also been plenty of wine crimes released under the organic masthead.

Thankfully those days are now largely behind us but there will still be consumers who feel that by buying organic wine they will be sacrificing flavour in the interests of ecological good. The sooner that mind set dies away the better.

Organic New Zealand producers are a proud lot and tend to reference their organic status whenever the opportunity arises. Interestingly, many old world wineries who produce  their wines organically do not mention their organic practises on their labels or in their marketing drives. I look forward to the day where organic winemaking is so common place here that our domestic producers no longer feel the need to push the ecological message.

Here are a few of our top organic picks or check out our whole range of organic wines here.

Millton Crazy by Nature Sirius White 2019 - Gisborne
Available from $19.99
Funky blended white wine from one of New Zealand’s preeminent organic wineries.  The 2019 is driven predominantly by Chardonnay with smaller percentages of Viognier and Marsanne adding slippery, textural mouthfeel and an array of tropical fruits. This is delightful wine; supple and immediately attractive. A great match with seafood or simply brilliant with the clean flavours of Japanese cuisine. 

TED by Mount Edward Pinot Noir 2019
Available from $31.99
Ted is the funky entry-level label from the famous Mount Edward wines in Central Otago. They are Bio grow organic certified and focus on producing small batch, high-quality wines. This 2019 Pinot is soft and supple with delicious savoury, dark fruit flavours. A great option when you're looking for something special and a bit different.

El Picoteo Organic Monastrell Syrah 2018 – Spain
Available from $17.99
A very attractive, silky smooth blend from the Piqueras winery in Almansa, in south-east Spain. Monastrell brings an array of dark, juicy choco-berry flavours to the party while the Syrah component adds some  mid palate drive and more serious, drier notes to the finish. This is the consummate ‘pleasure wine ‘ – a softly seductive release with very wide appeal.  

 

Viognier grape

For the love of Viognier

FOR THE LOVE OF VIOGNIER

I fell in love with Viognier in the late 90’s when a bottle from Millton Vineyards in Gisborne came my way. The flower shop nose; the plush tropical fruits on the palate and the slippery, lightly oily mouthfeel was unforgettable  and ,twenty years later, Viognier still regularly  features in my year round play list.

Viognier initially made its mark in the Condrieu appellation in France’s northern Rhone Valley but it was an Australian, Robert Hill-Smith from Yalumba, who is credited with saving  Viognier from becoming an oddity and taking  the variety to a wider global audience.  We have a lot to thank him for.  Viognier (pron. vee-YOHN-yay) is a versatile grape that makes excellent wine in its own right but has quite magical properties when blended with other varieties – both red and white.

Most of our domestic production is centred here in Hawke’s Bay and we are blessed with many producers doing great things with Viognier - Elephant Hill, Te Mata Estate and Decibel spring to mind. A number of local producers also blend small percentages of Viognier into their Syrah releases; a tiny 2-3% Viognier addition can give Syrah a floral lift on the nose and a lovely unctuous texture on the palate.

Viognier also adds both tropical fruit flavours and a silky roundness when blended or co-fermented with white wines. I’ll be surprised if we don’t start seeing more Chardonnay Viognier blends in our local market. It seems like a match made in heaven to me.

Yalumba Y Series Viognier  2020 - South Australia
Available from $11.99
This is easily the best value Viognier in the world, and gets my vote as the best quaffing white wine available in the New Zealand market. On the nose it’s all orange blossom and citrus and the palate shows perfectly pitched mouthfeel and tangy dry apricot flavours. It’s a year round constant in our family fridge.

Te Mata Estate Zara Viognier 2019 - Hawke's Bay
Available from $27.99
Zara sits in Te Mata Estate's premium range and this 2019 release is a powerful, opulent rendition. The 2019 vintage in Hawke's Bay was spectacular and it has produces etheral layers of tropical fruits that are expertly balanced by tropical fruits on the finish. Another stunning release from Te Mata Estate's expert winemaking team.

Quarisa Johnny Q Shiraz Viognier 2016 – South Australia
Available from $15.99
A delicious blend of 95% Shiraz with 5% Viognier. This is a glowing example of how Viognier can add lifted florals on the nose and a lovely glycerol aspect to the palate without undermining the strength and robust nature of Aussie Shiraz. Immediately attractive wine with good mid-term cellaring ability.
 

Viognier grape

For the love of Viognier

FOR THE LOVE OF VIOGNIER

I fell in love with Viognier in the late 90’s when a bottle from Millton Vineyards in Gisborne came my way. The flower shop nose; the plush tropical fruits on the palate and the slippery, lightly oily mouthfeel was unforgettable  and ,twenty years later, Viognier still regularly  features in my year round play list.

Viognier initially made its mark in the Condrieu appellation in France’s northern Rhone Valley but it was an Australian, Robert Hill-Smith from Yalumba, who is credited with saving  Viognier from becoming an oddity and taking  the variety to a wider global audience.  We have a lot to thank him for.  Viognier (pron. vee-YOHN-yay) is a versatile grape that makes excellent wine in its own right but has quite magical properties when blended with other varieties – both red and white.

Most of our domestic production is centred here in Hawke’s Bay and we are blessed with many producers doing great things with Viognier - Elephant Hill, Te Mata Estate and Decibel spring to mind. A number of local producers also blend small percentages of Viognier into their Syrah releases; a tiny 2-3% Viognier addition can give Syrah a floral lift on the nose and a lovely unctuous texture on the palate.

Viognier also adds both tropical fruit flavours and a silky roundness when blended or co-fermented with white wines. I’ll be surprised if we don’t start seeing more Chardonnay Viognier blends in our local market. It seems like a match made in heaven to me.

Yalumba Y Series Viognier  2020 - South Australia
Available from $11.99
This is easily the best value Viognier in the world, and gets my vote as the best quaffing white wine available in the New Zealand market. On the nose it’s all orange blossom and citrus and the palate shows perfectly pitched mouthfeel and tangy dry apricot flavours. It’s a year round constant in our family fridge.

Te Mata Estate Zara Viognier 2019 - Hawke's Bay
Available from $27.99
Zara sits in Te Mata Estate's premium range and this 2019 release is a powerful, opulent rendition. The 2019 vintage in Hawke's Bay was spectacular and it has produces etheral layers of tropical fruits that are expertly balanced by tropical fruits on the finish. Another stunning release from Te Mata Estate's expert winemaking team.

Quarisa Johnny Q Shiraz Viognier 2016 – South Australia
Available from $15.99
A delicious blend of 95% Shiraz with 5% Viognier. This is a glowing example of how Viognier can add lifted florals on the nose and a lovely glycerol aspect to the palate without undermining the strength and robust nature of Aussie Shiraz. Immediately attractive wine with good mid-term cellaring ability.
 

grapes in the winery

Autumn Reds

AUTUMN REDS

As another glorious Hawke's Bay summer fades away and we enter the cooler autumn months, a whole new world of flavour awaits.

In our household this means we enter the season of slow cooked foods. Soothing risottos; tender braised meats and slow roasted vegetables move centre stage and it's time for comforting red wines to warm us as winter approaches.

I like to drink widely as a rule and try as many new wines as I can, but every year at this time I buy case lots of some of the favourite reds I have tried in recent months. Typically these wines are not expensive and they form the basis of our mid week drinking. They are what I call 'pleasure wines' - uncomplicated but nonetheless delicious releases that I can open with confidence whenever friends come around but a special occasion wine isn't called for. Here is a selection of the wines that made the cut this year.

Quarisa Q Malbec 2020 - South Australia
Available from $15.99
This is a luxuriously full bodied release produced by Johnny Quarisa - a man who knows more than most about packing flavour into a glass of red wine. It showcases the meaty characters that Malbec is so famous for, but frames those flavours in a silken palate that can only be South Australian. It's rich and opulent but the supple tannins make it a great any occasion red. Habitual Shiraz buyers will love it.

 

Guigal Cotes du Rhone 2017 - Rhone, France
Available from $27.99
This remarkable wine always features in my winter playlist and the 2017 is another class act from this iconic Rhone producer. Syrah dominant with beautifully ripe Grenache in support, this savoury wine is loaded with dark fruits on a medium bodied palate. It's an affordable option when you want to open a truly classic French red but don't want to push the boat out too far.

 

Elefante el Valiente Tempranillo 2019 - Spain
Available from $16.99
We drink a lot of Tempranillo in our house. It's the 'blue jeans' of wine - a comfortable, friendly varietal that pretty much goes with everything. This one from the lauded Fourth Wave portfolio is a typically medium bodied release with juicy red Tempranillo fruits sitting over a darker and quite concentrated palate. There's some spicy oak and creamy acidity on the finish but this wine is all about simple, easy pleasure.

 

grapes in the winery

Autumn Reds

AUTUMN REDS

As another glorious Hawke's Bay summer fades away and we enter the cooler autumn months, a whole new world of flavour awaits.

In our household this means we enter the season of slow cooked foods. Soothing risottos; tender braised meats and slow roasted vegetables move centre stage and it's time for comforting red wines to warm us as winter approaches.

I like to drink widely as a rule and try as many new wines as I can, but every year at this time I buy case lots of some of the favourite reds I have tried in recent months. Typically these wines are not expensive and they form the basis of our mid week drinking. They are what I call 'pleasure wines' - uncomplicated but nonetheless delicious releases that I can open with confidence whenever friends come around but a special occasion wine isn't called for. Here is a selection of the wines that made the cut this year.

Quarisa Q Malbec 2020 - South Australia
Available from $15.99
This is a luxuriously full bodied release produced by Johnny Quarisa - a man who knows more than most about packing flavour into a glass of red wine. It showcases the meaty characters that Malbec is so famous for, but frames those flavours in a silken palate that can only be South Australian. It's rich and opulent but the supple tannins make it a great any occasion red. Habitual Shiraz buyers will love it.

 

Guigal Cotes du Rhone 2017 - Rhone, France
Available from $27.99
This remarkable wine always features in my winter playlist and the 2017 is another class act from this iconic Rhone producer. Syrah dominant with beautifully ripe Grenache in support, this savoury wine is loaded with dark fruits on a medium bodied palate. It's an affordable option when you want to open a truly classic French red but don't want to push the boat out too far.

 

Elefante el Valiente Tempranillo 2019 - Spain
Available from $16.99
We drink a lot of Tempranillo in our house. It's the 'blue jeans' of wine - a comfortable, friendly varietal that pretty much goes with everything. This one from the lauded Fourth Wave portfolio is a typically medium bodied release with juicy red Tempranillo fruits sitting over a darker and quite concentrated palate. There's some spicy oak and creamy acidity on the finish but this wine is all about simple, easy pleasure.

 

chardonnay

Chardonnay: you be the judge.

CHARDONNAY: YOU BE THE JUDGE

There has always been a fashion element to the wine industry and, like fashion, wine styles come and go. Our annual wine award rounds are always an important indicator of the varietal styles that are in vogue and the judging panels who select the trophy winners are effectively steering the direction and future trends that consumers will see on shelves. As soon as trophies are announced in a major New Zealand show, winemakers all over the country will head to their favourite retailer to buy the category winners. They need to understand what impressed the judges and ask themselves if their own releases should move in a new direction and be in contention for future medal rounds.

At the 2019 Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, Giesen The Brothers 2017 Chardonnay took out the Trophy for Champion Chardonnay and went on to take the coveted Trophy for Champion Wine of Show. It’s a thoroughly modern wine and another clear statement from a senior judging panel that Chardonnay fruit characters should be enhanced but not overly influenced by oak fermentation.

And while the judges have their current criteria, there is no doubt that old fashioned robustly oaked Chardonnay still has a significant fan base. As a retailer, it is the wine style that more of our clients request than any other. Some things obviously never go out of fashion.

Giesen The Brothers Chardonnay 2017 – Marlborough
Available from $24.99
Three time New Zealand Winemaker of the Year, Nikolai St George is taking  Giesen to new heights. This exciting wine showcases pristine Marlborough fruits with spicy oak adding an important but secondary role. It’s got a hint of flinty aromatics and a succulently creamy palate. The finish is freshly acidic and perfectly pitched.

Matchbook Old Head Chardonnay 2016 – California
Available from $21.99
Californian Chardonnay has become increasingly popular in our local market offering fans of richly weighted, oak aged Chardonnay a reliable  alternative at an affordable price point. This release from the Dunnigan Hills sub-region overflows with ripe stonefruit, lemon crème brûlée, and toasty oak flavours.

Mission Estate Vineyard Selection Chardonnay 2017– Hawkes Bay
Available from $14.99
This is a fresh and vibrant, medium-bodied wine. Some partial barrel fermentation has added weight and texture but the focus remains on the punchy stonefruit characters of Hawkes Bay Chardonnay. A perfect anytime option for those who find more heavily oaked examples too fulsome or overpowering.  

chardonnay

Chardonnay: you be the judge.

CHARDONNAY: YOU BE THE JUDGE

There has always been a fashion element to the wine industry and, like fashion, wine styles come and go. Our annual wine award rounds are always an important indicator of the varietal styles that are in vogue and the judging panels who select the trophy winners are effectively steering the direction and future trends that consumers will see on shelves. As soon as trophies are announced in a major New Zealand show, winemakers all over the country will head to their favourite retailer to buy the category winners. They need to understand what impressed the judges and ask themselves if their own releases should move in a new direction and be in contention for future medal rounds.

At the 2019 Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, Giesen The Brothers 2017 Chardonnay took out the Trophy for Champion Chardonnay and went on to take the coveted Trophy for Champion Wine of Show. It’s a thoroughly modern wine and another clear statement from a senior judging panel that Chardonnay fruit characters should be enhanced but not overly influenced by oak fermentation.

And while the judges have their current criteria, there is no doubt that old fashioned robustly oaked Chardonnay still has a significant fan base. As a retailer, it is the wine style that more of our clients request than any other. Some things obviously never go out of fashion.

Giesen The Brothers Chardonnay 2017 – Marlborough
Available from $24.99
Three time New Zealand Winemaker of the Year, Nikolai St George is taking  Giesen to new heights. This exciting wine showcases pristine Marlborough fruits with spicy oak adding an important but secondary role. It’s got a hint of flinty aromatics and a succulently creamy palate. The finish is freshly acidic and perfectly pitched.

Matchbook Old Head Chardonnay 2016 – California
Available from $21.99
Californian Chardonnay has become increasingly popular in our local market offering fans of richly weighted, oak aged Chardonnay a reliable  alternative at an affordable price point. This release from the Dunnigan Hills sub-region overflows with ripe stonefruit, lemon crème brûlée, and toasty oak flavours.

Mission Estate Vineyard Selection Chardonnay 2017– Hawkes Bay
Available from $14.99
This is a fresh and vibrant, medium-bodied wine. Some partial barrel fermentation has added weight and texture but the focus remains on the punchy stonefruit characters of Hawkes Bay Chardonnay. A perfect anytime option for those who find more heavily oaked examples too fulsome or overpowering.  

rose wine in wine glasses

The Never Ending Summer of Rosé

THE NEVER ENDING SUMMER OF ROSÉ

The rise and rise of rosé in our domestic market shows no sign of letting up. The last few years has seen rosé sales explode worldwide and, here in New Zealand, retailers are reporting year on year growth of over 60% for this once insignificant category. 

A few things are apparent. Rosé is no longer just a summer drink and as our season shifts into autumn, rosé sales nationwide  continue to be very strong. Stylistically the market is moving to lighter coloured and drier examples. It is also clear that more and more men are enjoying a glass of pink wine that anyone would have guessed 10 years ago. The ‘bro-sé’ phenomenon is real.

 The reasons behind this growth are many fold. Few would argue that Rosé is the most visually attractive wine to sit on retailer shelves and it is a consummate ‘pleasure wine’ style  - uncomplicated, easy drinking  and fresh.  As rosé usually tastes like white wine and typically has less alcohol that red wine, it has the ability to match the most delicate foods but don’t be fooled into thinking that is where the food match potential ends. Try a glass of lightly chilled rosé with rare roast beef. You’ll soon see what I mean.  

Durvillea Rosé 2021 – Marlborough
Available from $13.99
Vinted by the highly regarded Astrolabe winemaker Simon Waghorne in the crisp and light Provençal style , this is an excellent example of modern, bone dry rosé. In the glass it is the classic  colour of onion skin and shows subtle flavours of tangy strawberry and red berries on the palate. 

Beach House Rosé 2020 – Hawkes Bay
Available from $16.99
A just off dry style that has been produced from merlot and syrah grown in Hawkes Bay’s famed Gimblett Gravels. With a more savoury palate profile than the Durvillea, this 2020 release is loaded with tangy dark red fruits and lingering fresh acidity.

Rockburn Stolen Kiss Rosé 2021 – Central Otago
Available from $25.99
The annuall release of Rockburn's Stolen Kiss Rosé is always a highlight and, for many years, ‘Stolen Kiss’ is the wine that my family buys more of each year than any other. It's usually vinted in a  luxurious and quite opulent style but the 2021 release is a more crisp, drier take on the classic with upfront fruit sweetness expertly balanced by a refreshing lick of acidity on the finish.
 

rose wine in wine glasses

The Never Ending Summer of Rosé

THE NEVER ENDING SUMMER OF ROSÉ

The rise and rise of rosé in our domestic market shows no sign of letting up. The last few years has seen rosé sales explode worldwide and, here in New Zealand, retailers are reporting year on year growth of over 60% for this once insignificant category. 

A few things are apparent. Rosé is no longer just a summer drink and as our season shifts into autumn, rosé sales nationwide  continue to be very strong. Stylistically the market is moving to lighter coloured and drier examples. It is also clear that more and more men are enjoying a glass of pink wine that anyone would have guessed 10 years ago. The ‘bro-sé’ phenomenon is real.

 The reasons behind this growth are many fold. Few would argue that Rosé is the most visually attractive wine to sit on retailer shelves and it is a consummate ‘pleasure wine’ style  - uncomplicated, easy drinking  and fresh.  As rosé usually tastes like white wine and typically has less alcohol that red wine, it has the ability to match the most delicate foods but don’t be fooled into thinking that is where the food match potential ends. Try a glass of lightly chilled rosé with rare roast beef. You’ll soon see what I mean.  

Durvillea Rosé 2021 – Marlborough
Available from $13.99
Vinted by the highly regarded Astrolabe winemaker Simon Waghorne in the crisp and light Provençal style , this is an excellent example of modern, bone dry rosé. In the glass it is the classic  colour of onion skin and shows subtle flavours of tangy strawberry and red berries on the palate. 

Beach House Rosé 2020 – Hawkes Bay
Available from $16.99
A just off dry style that has been produced from merlot and syrah grown in Hawkes Bay’s famed Gimblett Gravels. With a more savoury palate profile than the Durvillea, this 2020 release is loaded with tangy dark red fruits and lingering fresh acidity.

Rockburn Stolen Kiss Rosé 2021 – Central Otago
Available from $25.99
The annuall release of Rockburn's Stolen Kiss Rosé is always a highlight and, for many years, ‘Stolen Kiss’ is the wine that my family buys more of each year than any other. It's usually vinted in a  luxurious and quite opulent style but the 2021 release is a more crisp, drier take on the classic with upfront fruit sweetness expertly balanced by a refreshing lick of acidity on the finish.