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Mac's top 6 wine picks for 22 Jan 2022

Mac's Picks - 1 May 2022

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.

Mount Brown Estates Riesling 2019Mount Brown Estate Riesling 2019 – North Canterbury

Available from $15.99
Let’s kick off this column with a real winner. There is something very special about the Waipara / North Canterbury growing region and few will argue that it has a real affinity for aromatic white wines - especially pinot gris and riesling. Those layers of lush, tropical Waipara fruits are certainly in full effect with this striking 2019 release from Mount Brown Estate. Vinted in the medium-dry style that suits North Canterbury Riesling so well, this is a juicy wine that classically matches fresh acidity in the lemon / lime spectrum, with notes of honeysuckle sweetness that round out the palate. It’s zesty and bright in the mouth, and while those residual sugar notes add depth and immediate approachability, they never take over the conversation and allow those pristine fruits flavours to remain centre stage. It’s just so inviting and, like everyone else in the wine trade, I wish that this distinctive wine style would garner more favour with the New Zealand wine buying public. In my experience, if you ask someone if they would like a glass of medium-dry riesling, they will often say “No”. But if you give them a glass of good medium-dry riesling, they will almost always say “Wow, that’s delicious!” Match this lovely wine with spicy Asian cuisine, and watch everyone jostle for a second glass.

 

Te Awanga Wildsong Sauvignon Blanc

Te Awanga Wildsong Sauvignon Blanc 2021 – Hawke’s Bay

Available from $19.99
Wildsong is a new range from Te Awanga that has been conceived to broaden the winery’s appeal in international markets. The United States has been an important target. Early indications are that the American market has been very receptive to the Wildsong launch, with the sauvignon blanc being especially popular. With the proliferation of Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs in the export channel, it’s good to see a new Hawke’s Bay label doing so well and this 2021 release offers the vibrant flavours of sauvignon blanc with some regional stone fruit nuances entering the mix. It’s crisp and dry with some nice textural elements in the mouth and the finish is long with good fruit weight and acid balance. A subtle hint of ‘tomato stalk’ / capsicum adds a further touch of complexity.

 

Babich Irongate Chardonnay

Babich Irongate Chardonnay 2020 – Hawke’s Bay

Available from $34.99
Irongate is Babich’s flagship chardonnay offering and one of the best-known premium chardonnay labels in the New Zealand market. Produced since the mid 1980s, the Irongate style has evolved over time with recent releases heading down a more refined and elegant path, that nonetheless retain the underlying power and drive that Irongate is synonymous with. Fruit is drawn from Babich’s Gimblett Gravels ‘Irongate’ site, and those stony soils have added a refreshing layer of minerality to a wine that clearly needs to be cellared to be seen at its best. In its youth the 2020 is tight. Spicy oak and stone fruits on the nose flow through to a fresh palate, where grapefruit and nutty complexity add further interest. The finish is vibrant with crisp chardonnay notes enhanced with plenty of acidity. If you’re in the market for a ‘drink now’ premium chardonnay I can think of many more attractive options, but if you lay some of this excellent wine down, your patience will be handsomely rewarded from 2025 onwards.

 

Mills Reef Estate Merlot Cabernet

Mills Reef Estate Merlot Cabernet 2020 – Hawke’s Bay

Available from $17.99
The Mills Reef Estate range has long been a value benchmark offering good, honest wines at very realistic price points. Merlot dominant (72%) and offering plenty of soft flavours in the blackberry and dark plum spectrum, this middleweight red comes from a very good vintage in Hawke’s Bay. On the nose it is immediately inviting and the palate is softly expressed with supple tannins and touches of toasty oak and anise spice. It’s uncomplicated but a very rewarding glass of wine, and in my opinion, that is exactly what you are looking for in Hawke’s Bay red in this price band. Recommended.

 

 

Chateau Jalousie Beaulieu BordeauxChateau Jalousie Beaulieu Bordeaux Superieur 2018 – France

Available from $19.99
One of the great advances I have seen in my time in the wine trade is the availability of good value French reds in our local market. For most of my career, Bordeaux blends in the NZ$20 bracket would almost certainly have been thin and poorly structured, but now retailers’ shelves are full of deserving wines that give curious shoppers an insight into the wonderful world of French red wine. Indeed, there are some great bargains to be had, and this is one of them. Estate grown by Jalousie Beaulieu, this is a very good example of modern Bordeaux Superieur. Merlot dominant (90%) it shows a nose that is redolent with spicy fruits and a quite glossy palate that flows easily with an array of red and black berry flavours. There is enough tannin to firm up the finish, but this wine has been made to be approachable in its youth, and it does that job very well. It’s a great option to bust out a dinner party and will pair beautifully with roasted meats and vegetables. No one will believe that you only paid $20 for it, that’s for sure.

 

Dandelion Pride of the Fleurieu Cabernet Sauvignon

Dandelion Vineyards Pride of the Fleurieu Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 – Australia

Available from $27.99
We end this column with a real bang. Vinted from fruit from the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, this is a richly weighted and firmly structured cabernet from a winery who love to cram their releases with flavour. On the nose it’s classic South Australian Cabernet with a complex array of dried herb and tobacco characters sitting over spicy dark fruits. The palate is dry and fulsome with plenty of tannic grip, while layers of creamy acidity support broody fruit flavours complexed by leather, baking spices and more tobacco notes. This is big, powerful wine that really needs food for it to shine, but hard-core devotees of good Australian Cabernet will still be enamoured with this wine as ‘by itself’ option. It’s not for the faint hearted, but it is very good. Cellar over the coming decade or more to see it reach its full potential.

Mac's top 6 wine picks for 22 Jan 2022

Mac's Picks - 1 May 2022

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.

Mount Brown Estates Riesling 2019Mount Brown Estate Riesling 2019 – North Canterbury

Available from $15.99
Let’s kick off this column with a real winner. There is something very special about the Waipara / North Canterbury growing region and few will argue that it has a real affinity for aromatic white wines - especially pinot gris and riesling. Those layers of lush, tropical Waipara fruits are certainly in full effect with this striking 2019 release from Mount Brown Estate. Vinted in the medium-dry style that suits North Canterbury Riesling so well, this is a juicy wine that classically matches fresh acidity in the lemon / lime spectrum, with notes of honeysuckle sweetness that round out the palate. It’s zesty and bright in the mouth, and while those residual sugar notes add depth and immediate approachability, they never take over the conversation and allow those pristine fruits flavours to remain centre stage. It’s just so inviting and, like everyone else in the wine trade, I wish that this distinctive wine style would garner more favour with the New Zealand wine buying public. In my experience, if you ask someone if they would like a glass of medium-dry riesling, they will often say “No”. But if you give them a glass of good medium-dry riesling, they will almost always say “Wow, that’s delicious!” Match this lovely wine with spicy Asian cuisine, and watch everyone jostle for a second glass.

 

Te Awanga Wildsong Sauvignon Blanc

Te Awanga Wildsong Sauvignon Blanc 2021 – Hawke’s Bay

Available from $19.99
Wildsong is a new range from Te Awanga that has been conceived to broaden the winery’s appeal in international markets. The United States has been an important target. Early indications are that the American market has been very receptive to the Wildsong launch, with the sauvignon blanc being especially popular. With the proliferation of Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs in the export channel, it’s good to see a new Hawke’s Bay label doing so well and this 2021 release offers the vibrant flavours of sauvignon blanc with some regional stone fruit nuances entering the mix. It’s crisp and dry with some nice textural elements in the mouth and the finish is long with good fruit weight and acid balance. A subtle hint of ‘tomato stalk’ / capsicum adds a further touch of complexity.

 

Babich Irongate Chardonnay

Babich Irongate Chardonnay 2020 – Hawke’s Bay

Available from $34.99
Irongate is Babich’s flagship chardonnay offering and one of the best-known premium chardonnay labels in the New Zealand market. Produced since the mid 1980s, the Irongate style has evolved over time with recent releases heading down a more refined and elegant path, that nonetheless retain the underlying power and drive that Irongate is synonymous with. Fruit is drawn from Babich’s Gimblett Gravels ‘Irongate’ site, and those stony soils have added a refreshing layer of minerality to a wine that clearly needs to be cellared to be seen at its best. In its youth the 2020 is tight. Spicy oak and stone fruits on the nose flow through to a fresh palate, where grapefruit and nutty complexity add further interest. The finish is vibrant with crisp chardonnay notes enhanced with plenty of acidity. If you’re in the market for a ‘drink now’ premium chardonnay I can think of many more attractive options, but if you lay some of this excellent wine down, your patience will be handsomely rewarded from 2025 onwards.

 

Mills Reef Estate Merlot Cabernet

Mills Reef Estate Merlot Cabernet 2020 – Hawke’s Bay

Available from $17.99
The Mills Reef Estate range has long been a value benchmark offering good, honest wines at very realistic price points. Merlot dominant (72%) and offering plenty of soft flavours in the blackberry and dark plum spectrum, this middleweight red comes from a very good vintage in Hawke’s Bay. On the nose it is immediately inviting and the palate is softly expressed with supple tannins and touches of toasty oak and anise spice. It’s uncomplicated but a very rewarding glass of wine, and in my opinion, that is exactly what you are looking for in Hawke’s Bay red in this price band. Recommended.

 

 

Chateau Jalousie Beaulieu BordeauxChateau Jalousie Beaulieu Bordeaux Superieur 2018 – France

Available from $19.99
One of the great advances I have seen in my time in the wine trade is the availability of good value French reds in our local market. For most of my career, Bordeaux blends in the NZ$20 bracket would almost certainly have been thin and poorly structured, but now retailers’ shelves are full of deserving wines that give curious shoppers an insight into the wonderful world of French red wine. Indeed, there are some great bargains to be had, and this is one of them. Estate grown by Jalousie Beaulieu, this is a very good example of modern Bordeaux Superieur. Merlot dominant (90%) it shows a nose that is redolent with spicy fruits and a quite glossy palate that flows easily with an array of red and black berry flavours. There is enough tannin to firm up the finish, but this wine has been made to be approachable in its youth, and it does that job very well. It’s a great option to bust out a dinner party and will pair beautifully with roasted meats and vegetables. No one will believe that you only paid $20 for it, that’s for sure.

 

Dandelion Pride of the Fleurieu Cabernet Sauvignon

Dandelion Vineyards Pride of the Fleurieu Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 – Australia

Available from $27.99
We end this column with a real bang. Vinted from fruit from the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, this is a richly weighted and firmly structured cabernet from a winery who love to cram their releases with flavour. On the nose it’s classic South Australian Cabernet with a complex array of dried herb and tobacco characters sitting over spicy dark fruits. The palate is dry and fulsome with plenty of tannic grip, while layers of creamy acidity support broody fruit flavours complexed by leather, baking spices and more tobacco notes. This is big, powerful wine that really needs food for it to shine, but hard-core devotees of good Australian Cabernet will still be enamoured with this wine as ‘by itself’ option. It’s not for the faint hearted, but it is very good. Cellar over the coming decade or more to see it reach its full potential.

Riesling Wine

Rediscovering Riesling

Here at Advintage, we are massive Riesling fans however, the Kiwi market doesn’t seem to share our enthusiasm for it. There are so many fantastic riesling options – produced both in NZ and internationally - but public interest is lukewarm at best; a crying shame when a glass of lightly chilled riesling is one of the world’s great wine experiences. As is often said in the wine trade “Offer someone a glass of riesling and they may well decline. Give them a glass of riesling and they will almost certainly say ‘That’s delicious!’”. Chance your arm on a few of our favourite picks below and we bet you’ll enjoy them as much as we do.

Mountford Estate Liaison Riseling 2021

Mountford Estate Liaison Riesling 2021 – North Canterbury

Available from $16.99
In classic style, the 2021 Mountford Liaison has intense notes of honey/lime on the nose. Those characters flow through to a medium dry palate where more citrus, marmalade and honeysuckle flavours come out to play. Those sweeter upfront fruits are countered with lovely fresh acidity and this wine finishes refreshingly dry. Track some down immediately.

 

 

 

Dr Loosen Dr L Riesling

Dr Loosen Dr L Riesling 2020 – Germany

Available from $19.99
This is a classic release from Erni Loosen, a veritable legend of German aromatic wine production. Off-dry and very juicy, this wine opens on the nose with white flower, pear and honeysuckle aromas before the palate kicks into gear with salivating citrus flavours and layers of zesty acidity. Those zesty notes rock on through to a crisp, long finish that stays alive with more tangy acidity and lingering fresh lime nuances. At 8.5% alcohol it’s light and bright in every regard and should be on the shopping list of every wine fan.

 

 

 

Main Divide Riesling

Main Divide Riesling 2018 – Waipara

Available from $17.99
Proudly in the medium spectrum, this opulent wine explodes on the palate with honeyed flavours of spicy citrus while a subtle botrytis influence brings a lushness into play. A couple of years under screwcap has amplified those already generous characters and while some subtle secondary flavour development is showing, this 2018 release is clean and fresh with tangy acidity acting as a perfect foil for that initial sugar hit. Enjoy as an aperitif with a drinks platter and or match with citrus desserts.

 

 

 

Astrolabe Grovetown Riesling 2020

Astrolabe Grovetown Spatlese Riesling 2020 – Marlborough

Available from $22.99
This excellent example from Astrolabe is a perfect option to try if you want to reacquaint yourself with the sweeter style of riesling. Spatlese is a German winemaking term meaning late harvest and rieslings that carry that descriptor typically have higher sugar levels and usually show apple, pear and honeysuckle flavours. They also age very well. Astrolabe’s 2020 release shows juicy flavours in the classic Spatlese spectrum, with layers of fresh citric acidity freshening the palate. It’s quite a rich and opulent wine, but those sweeter lemon/lime characters remain focused and zesty, and very easy to love.

 

 

Mount Ridge by Giesen Riesling

Mount Ridge by Giesen Riesling 2021 - Marlborough and Waipara

Available from $10.99
Giesen have an unrivalled riesling reputation in the key sub$15 bracket and the introduction of their price fighter Mount Ridge label a few years ago has set the pace for everyday New Zealand drinking. This 2021 Riesling is proudly medium dry and laden with tangy flavours of citrus and honeysuckle. It’s a blend of Waipara and Marlborough fruit - Waipara gives it that classic juicy fruit chewing gum flavours while the Marlborough portion brings fresher acidity and zing to the palate. It’s great drinking now but 100% cellar worthy if you wanted to tuck some away for a few years.

Riesling Wine

Rediscovering Riesling

Here at Advintage, we are massive Riesling fans however, the Kiwi market doesn’t seem to share our enthusiasm for it. There are so many fantastic riesling options – produced both in NZ and internationally - but public interest is lukewarm at best; a crying shame when a glass of lightly chilled riesling is one of the world’s great wine experiences. As is often said in the wine trade “Offer someone a glass of riesling and they may well decline. Give them a glass of riesling and they will almost certainly say ‘That’s delicious!’”. Chance your arm on a few of our favourite picks below and we bet you’ll enjoy them as much as we do.

Mountford Estate Liaison Riseling 2021

Mountford Estate Liaison Riesling 2021 – North Canterbury

Available from $16.99
In classic style, the 2021 Mountford Liaison has intense notes of honey/lime on the nose. Those characters flow through to a medium dry palate where more citrus, marmalade and honeysuckle flavours come out to play. Those sweeter upfront fruits are countered with lovely fresh acidity and this wine finishes refreshingly dry. Track some down immediately.

 

 

 

Dr Loosen Dr L Riesling

Dr Loosen Dr L Riesling 2020 – Germany

Available from $19.99
This is a classic release from Erni Loosen, a veritable legend of German aromatic wine production. Off-dry and very juicy, this wine opens on the nose with white flower, pear and honeysuckle aromas before the palate kicks into gear with salivating citrus flavours and layers of zesty acidity. Those zesty notes rock on through to a crisp, long finish that stays alive with more tangy acidity and lingering fresh lime nuances. At 8.5% alcohol it’s light and bright in every regard and should be on the shopping list of every wine fan.

 

 

 

Main Divide Riesling

Main Divide Riesling 2018 – Waipara

Available from $17.99
Proudly in the medium spectrum, this opulent wine explodes on the palate with honeyed flavours of spicy citrus while a subtle botrytis influence brings a lushness into play. A couple of years under screwcap has amplified those already generous characters and while some subtle secondary flavour development is showing, this 2018 release is clean and fresh with tangy acidity acting as a perfect foil for that initial sugar hit. Enjoy as an aperitif with a drinks platter and or match with citrus desserts.

 

 

 

Astrolabe Grovetown Riesling 2020

Astrolabe Grovetown Spatlese Riesling 2020 – Marlborough

Available from $22.99
This excellent example from Astrolabe is a perfect option to try if you want to reacquaint yourself with the sweeter style of riesling. Spatlese is a German winemaking term meaning late harvest and rieslings that carry that descriptor typically have higher sugar levels and usually show apple, pear and honeysuckle flavours. They also age very well. Astrolabe’s 2020 release shows juicy flavours in the classic Spatlese spectrum, with layers of fresh citric acidity freshening the palate. It’s quite a rich and opulent wine, but those sweeter lemon/lime characters remain focused and zesty, and very easy to love.

 

 

Mount Ridge by Giesen Riesling

Mount Ridge by Giesen Riesling 2021 - Marlborough and Waipara

Available from $10.99
Giesen have an unrivalled riesling reputation in the key sub$15 bracket and the introduction of their price fighter Mount Ridge label a few years ago has set the pace for everyday New Zealand drinking. This 2021 Riesling is proudly medium dry and laden with tangy flavours of citrus and honeysuckle. It’s a blend of Waipara and Marlborough fruit - Waipara gives it that classic juicy fruit chewing gum flavours while the Marlborough portion brings fresher acidity and zing to the palate. It’s great drinking now but 100% cellar worthy if you wanted to tuck some away for a few years.

Mac's Picks 2 April 2022

Mac's Picks - 2 April 22

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.

Sherwood Laverique Methode Traditionelle

Sherwood Laverique Methode Traditionelle Reserve 2014 - Waipara Valley

Available from $33.99.
Laverique has long been one of my favourite New Zealand sparkling wines. Produced from Waipara fruit using the time honoured methode traditionelle process, this is a rounded and lightly creamy style that fills every corner of your mouth with flavour. 2014 was a very good growing season in Waipara and the final blend for this vintage release was 55% pinot noir and 45% chardonnay. On the nose, citrus and cashew nut aromas mix with some deeper brioche / baked biscuit notes, while the palate shines with layers of soft citrus and yeasty complexity. This is generous, punchy methode from Sherwood, and those rounder flavours and loaded mid-palate weight sit very well with me. The finish is bright with lingering dryness and well-balanced, refreshing acidity. It’s just so satisfying. For pure sensory enjoyment, I’d open a bottle of Laverique before many of the big brand Champagnes that so many Kiwis seem to fawn over. It comes highly recommended.

 

Dr Loosen Riesling from GermanyDr Loosen Dr L Riesling 2020 - Germany

Available from $19.99
After writing about Villa Wolf Pinot Gris in my last column, I thought it was only fair to look at a classic release from Erni Loosen, the driving force behind the Villa Wolf brand and a veritable legend of German aromatic wine production. Like everyone in the wine trade, I despair about riesling’s lack of popularity with the wider buying public. A good glass of chilled riesling is a truly beautiful thing and DR L is about as ‘user-friendly’ as Mosel Riesling can get. Off-dry and very juicy, this wine opens on the nose with white flower, pear and honeysuckle aromas before the palate kicks into gear with salivating citrus flavours and layers of zesty acidity. Those zesty notes rock on through to a crisp, long finish that stays alive with more tangy acidity and lingering fresh lime nuances. At 8.5% alcohol it’s light and bright in every regard and should be on the shopping list of every wine fan who is reading this column. It’s recognised as one of the world’s great wine bargains with good reason. Track a bottle down immediately.

 

Kahurangi Mt Arthur Reserve ChardonnayKahurangi Estate Mt Arthur Reserve Chardonnay 2019 - Nelson

Available from $24.99
Mount Arthur Reserve Chardonnay is my pick of the wines from Kahurangi, a producer with an extensive portfolio of estate grown wines. This is classic Nelson barrel-fermented Chardonnay in every sense. The nose shows sweet citrus, red apple, tea biscuit and sweet vanillin notes. The palate fills the mouth with ripe peach and sweet lemon flavours with ample wood spice and those hints of buttered toast that chardonnay aficionados adore. A vein of creamy acidity nicely rounds out the conversation. This rewarding wine is already looking very sharp, but cellar over the coming five years to further fatten up that palate and integrate those plush stone fruits and crisp acids.

 

 

Mount Edward Ted Pinot Noir 2019Mount Edward Ted Pinot Noir 2020 - Central Otago

Available from $31.99
Ted is the entry level label for much loved Central Otago producer, Mount Edward. Under the watchful eye of Duncan Forsyth – one of the great characters of the New Zealand winemaking fraternity - Mount Edward has evolved into a very trusted winery with Ted acting as a drink young counterpoint to the more structured and serious Mount Edward range. The 2020 Ted Pinot Noir certainly delivers the goods. Vinted from estate grown fruit, this organic offering brings soft and juicy dark fruits to the party in an approachable package that is detailed with herbal notes, spicy oak and a subtle lick of anise. It’s a fresh and ‘alive’ offering that’s been made to enjoy whenever the mood strikes, but your first glass will reveal an underlying savoury character that remains the calling card for any Mount Edward Pinot release.

 

Paul Jaboulet Aine Syrah 2018 from France

Paul Jaboulet Ainé Syrah 2018 - France

Available from $18.99
Jaboulet is one of the great names in French wine making. Though best known for fine wines from the Rhone Valley, the company sometimes uses fruit from other regions to flesh out their more ‘affordable’ options and this 2018 release is a blend of syrah from the Rhone and the Languedoc appellation, which lies further to the south. Given the price point, this multi-regional blend is quite bold and generous. It’s all spicy plum and licorice on the nose, while the palate brims with an amalgam of savoury red / black fruits, plenty of spice and a delightful medicinal note that is so often the hallmark of good French Syrah. This wine is unoaked but skilful winemaking allows those powerful syrah flavours to shine through, and the lasting result is very satisfying indeed. It remains a mystery to me how wine of this calibre can be shipped halfway around the world to be sold here in New Zealand for less than twenty dollars. Put a cassoulet in the oven immediately.  

 

Sons of Eden Marschall Shiraz from AustraliaSons of Eden Marschall Barossa Shiraz 2020 - Australia

Available from $29.99
This one is a bit of a showstopper. I am a huge fan of winemaker Corey Ryan, who seems to capture the essence of the ‘new Barossa’ with his very successful Sons of Eden label. Marschall epitomises that modern approach, where Barossa’s traditional desire to cram every bottle with powerful flavours has been eschewed for a more refined approach where deliciousness, and outright drinkability top the bill. Make no mistake, this 2020 release is still a big, lavish wine, but those blackcurrant jam characters that the Barossa is synonymous with have been dialed down, and matched with fresher acidity on the finish. Only recently released, this 2020 Shiraz is already a very attractive option. Match with roasted vegetables or your favourite prime cut to hear the angels sing.    

Mac's Picks 2 April 2022

Mac's Picks - 2 April 22

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.

Sherwood Laverique Methode Traditionelle

Sherwood Laverique Methode Traditionelle Reserve 2014 - Waipara Valley

Available from $33.99.
Laverique has long been one of my favourite New Zealand sparkling wines. Produced from Waipara fruit using the time honoured methode traditionelle process, this is a rounded and lightly creamy style that fills every corner of your mouth with flavour. 2014 was a very good growing season in Waipara and the final blend for this vintage release was 55% pinot noir and 45% chardonnay. On the nose, citrus and cashew nut aromas mix with some deeper brioche / baked biscuit notes, while the palate shines with layers of soft citrus and yeasty complexity. This is generous, punchy methode from Sherwood, and those rounder flavours and loaded mid-palate weight sit very well with me. The finish is bright with lingering dryness and well-balanced, refreshing acidity. It’s just so satisfying. For pure sensory enjoyment, I’d open a bottle of Laverique before many of the big brand Champagnes that so many Kiwis seem to fawn over. It comes highly recommended.

 

Dr Loosen Riesling from GermanyDr Loosen Dr L Riesling 2020 - Germany

Available from $19.99
After writing about Villa Wolf Pinot Gris in my last column, I thought it was only fair to look at a classic release from Erni Loosen, the driving force behind the Villa Wolf brand and a veritable legend of German aromatic wine production. Like everyone in the wine trade, I despair about riesling’s lack of popularity with the wider buying public. A good glass of chilled riesling is a truly beautiful thing and DR L is about as ‘user-friendly’ as Mosel Riesling can get. Off-dry and very juicy, this wine opens on the nose with white flower, pear and honeysuckle aromas before the palate kicks into gear with salivating citrus flavours and layers of zesty acidity. Those zesty notes rock on through to a crisp, long finish that stays alive with more tangy acidity and lingering fresh lime nuances. At 8.5% alcohol it’s light and bright in every regard and should be on the shopping list of every wine fan who is reading this column. It’s recognised as one of the world’s great wine bargains with good reason. Track a bottle down immediately.

 

Kahurangi Mt Arthur Reserve ChardonnayKahurangi Estate Mt Arthur Reserve Chardonnay 2019 - Nelson

Available from $24.99
Mount Arthur Reserve Chardonnay is my pick of the wines from Kahurangi, a producer with an extensive portfolio of estate grown wines. This is classic Nelson barrel-fermented Chardonnay in every sense. The nose shows sweet citrus, red apple, tea biscuit and sweet vanillin notes. The palate fills the mouth with ripe peach and sweet lemon flavours with ample wood spice and those hints of buttered toast that chardonnay aficionados adore. A vein of creamy acidity nicely rounds out the conversation. This rewarding wine is already looking very sharp, but cellar over the coming five years to further fatten up that palate and integrate those plush stone fruits and crisp acids.

 

 

Mount Edward Ted Pinot Noir 2019Mount Edward Ted Pinot Noir 2020 - Central Otago

Available from $31.99
Ted is the entry level label for much loved Central Otago producer, Mount Edward. Under the watchful eye of Duncan Forsyth – one of the great characters of the New Zealand winemaking fraternity - Mount Edward has evolved into a very trusted winery with Ted acting as a drink young counterpoint to the more structured and serious Mount Edward range. The 2020 Ted Pinot Noir certainly delivers the goods. Vinted from estate grown fruit, this organic offering brings soft and juicy dark fruits to the party in an approachable package that is detailed with herbal notes, spicy oak and a subtle lick of anise. It’s a fresh and ‘alive’ offering that’s been made to enjoy whenever the mood strikes, but your first glass will reveal an underlying savoury character that remains the calling card for any Mount Edward Pinot release.

 

Paul Jaboulet Aine Syrah 2018 from France

Paul Jaboulet Ainé Syrah 2018 - France

Available from $18.99
Jaboulet is one of the great names in French wine making. Though best known for fine wines from the Rhone Valley, the company sometimes uses fruit from other regions to flesh out their more ‘affordable’ options and this 2018 release is a blend of syrah from the Rhone and the Languedoc appellation, which lies further to the south. Given the price point, this multi-regional blend is quite bold and generous. It’s all spicy plum and licorice on the nose, while the palate brims with an amalgam of savoury red / black fruits, plenty of spice and a delightful medicinal note that is so often the hallmark of good French Syrah. This wine is unoaked but skilful winemaking allows those powerful syrah flavours to shine through, and the lasting result is very satisfying indeed. It remains a mystery to me how wine of this calibre can be shipped halfway around the world to be sold here in New Zealand for less than twenty dollars. Put a cassoulet in the oven immediately.  

 

Sons of Eden Marschall Shiraz from AustraliaSons of Eden Marschall Barossa Shiraz 2020 - Australia

Available from $29.99
This one is a bit of a showstopper. I am a huge fan of winemaker Corey Ryan, who seems to capture the essence of the ‘new Barossa’ with his very successful Sons of Eden label. Marschall epitomises that modern approach, where Barossa’s traditional desire to cram every bottle with powerful flavours has been eschewed for a more refined approach where deliciousness, and outright drinkability top the bill. Make no mistake, this 2020 release is still a big, lavish wine, but those blackcurrant jam characters that the Barossa is synonymous with have been dialed down, and matched with fresher acidity on the finish. Only recently released, this 2020 Shiraz is already a very attractive option. Match with roasted vegetables or your favourite prime cut to hear the angels sing.    

BBQ Red Wine

BBQ Reds

BBQ Reds

We might be heading into Autumn but BBQ season is still in full swing. We’ve pulled together a few of our favourite, budget-friendly reds that pair perfectly with grilled food and are sure to be a hit the next time you have a get-together.

Cognoscente Hawkes Bay Syrah

 

Cognoscente Syrah 2019- Hawke's Bay

Available from $19.99
Cognoscente is a new label, brought to life by celebrated winemaker Ant Mackenzie and well known wine distributor Jeannine McCallum. Medium-weight and vibrant, it is a good example of juicy, modern Hawke’s Bay Syrah that flows easily in the mouth. For wines in this price point, it’s always good to see winemakers clearly putting satisfying drinkability before firmness or palate structure, and this is a pretty wine that shines with flavours in the dark fruit and cranberry spectrum. I noted some exotic spice on the finish that was brightened with creamy acidity. The tannins were supple and soft, melding nicely with the fruit component and that lick of fresh acid.

Te Awa Single Estate Merlot Cabernet 2018Te Awa Single Estate Merlot Cabernet 2018 – Hawke’s Bay

Available from $19.99
This is good wine. Te Awa, which falls under the troubled Villa Maria umbrella, is undergoing some portfolio changes and the highly regarded Single Vineyard series is being discontinued – with the 2018 the last of the single estate merlot cabernet line. It is a classic expression of the modern Hawke’s Bay style; a generous and quite fulsome release that fills the palate with an amalgam of spicy dark fruits, with supple tannins and notes of French oak underpinning the conversation. The finish has enough tannin to suggest good cellar potential and those silky tannins partner well with a lovely seam of creamy acidity. 2018 was a good vintage in Hawke’s Bay and this wine is only now entering its ideal drinking window. If you enjoy New Zealand Merlot / Cabernet blends and have $20 in your pocket, this would be an excellent choice.

 

Yalumba Y Series Tempranillo Yalumba Y Series Tempranillo 2020 - South Australia

Available from 11.99
Yalumba’s Y Series range of well-priced quaffers has long been a favourite at Advintage and the tempranillo has always been a star performer that punches well above its weight. This Aussie take on the ubiquitous red wine of Spain shows an amalgam of red and black fruits with some mocha complexity and a satisfying finish with supple tannins and enough acidity to keep the conversation fresh. Often called ‘the blue jeans of wine’, tempranillo goes with anything and is suitable for almost any occasion. It’s the perfect ‘one size fits all’ red wine when you want to try something a little bit different, but don’t want to ostracise those friends who are traditional Aussie red drinkers.

 

De Martino Carmenere 2018

De Martino Carmenere 2019 - Chile

Available from $17.99
This spicy red wine hails from Chile’s famed Maipo Valley, a million miles away from its spiritual home in Bordeaux, where carménère was once widely used to add depth and interest to cabernet sauvignon and merlot dominant blends. Now firmly recognised as Chile’s signature varietal, carménère is a full bodied red wine that shares some similarities with merlot, but typically brings funky herbal / tobacco elements to the party, along with a distinct cocoa or mocha notes. De Martino shows all those quirky characters, and this organic wine shows layers of red and black fruits on a silky palate and soft tannins. It’s a very appealing, food-friendly glass of wine that will suit a wide range of cuisine. The 2019 is good to go now, and will stay in optimum health over the coming 5-6 years.

 

Montidori Sangiovese 2020

Montidori Sangiovese DOC Romagna 2020 – Italy

Available from $19.99
Sangiovese is the spicy, middle-weight red wine that is most famous as the main varietal in Chianti.  Montidori is produced further north-east from Chianti, in the hills of Emilia-Romagna, and it is a lovely glass of wine. Vinted in a bold and fulsome style by sangiovese standards, the 2020 uses parcels of sun-dried fruit in the fermentation to bring added concentration and depth to the palate. Notes of caramel from those sun-dried fruits sit nicely alongside the dark sangiovese fruits and this wine fills the mouth with flavour. Chianti can be dry and quite tight on the finish but this DOC Romagna release is very smooth and those spicy red fruits and supple tannins just go on and on. It’s hard not to love this wine. It’s generous and fulfilling without being pushy or overblown, and it is very much an Advintage favourite.

Farm Hand Shiraz Squealers 2020

Farm Hand Organic Shiraz 2020 (975ml) – South Australia

Available from $19.99
The funky 975ml ‘squealers’ are obviously the first thing to catch your eye here, but the jug-like bottles are backed up with a very solid representation of full-bodied South Australian red. Vinted from organic Monash Valley fruit, this is soft and approachable wine that has been vinted in a generous fashion that celebrates the fleshier side of shiraz. This release is all about fruit forward drinkability, where structure and robust tannins are eschewed in favour of slurpy drinkability. Expect to see some subtle wood spice, flavours of dark blackberry, some mocha hints and soft tannins. Good value at $19.99 for 975ml.

 

BBQ Red Wine

BBQ Reds

BBQ Reds

We might be heading into Autumn but BBQ season is still in full swing. We’ve pulled together a few of our favourite, budget-friendly reds that pair perfectly with grilled food and are sure to be a hit the next time you have a get-together.

Cognoscente Hawkes Bay Syrah

 

Cognoscente Syrah 2019- Hawke's Bay

Available from $19.99
Cognoscente is a new label, brought to life by celebrated winemaker Ant Mackenzie and well known wine distributor Jeannine McCallum. Medium-weight and vibrant, it is a good example of juicy, modern Hawke’s Bay Syrah that flows easily in the mouth. For wines in this price point, it’s always good to see winemakers clearly putting satisfying drinkability before firmness or palate structure, and this is a pretty wine that shines with flavours in the dark fruit and cranberry spectrum. I noted some exotic spice on the finish that was brightened with creamy acidity. The tannins were supple and soft, melding nicely with the fruit component and that lick of fresh acid.

Te Awa Single Estate Merlot Cabernet 2018Te Awa Single Estate Merlot Cabernet 2018 – Hawke’s Bay

Available from $19.99
This is good wine. Te Awa, which falls under the troubled Villa Maria umbrella, is undergoing some portfolio changes and the highly regarded Single Vineyard series is being discontinued – with the 2018 the last of the single estate merlot cabernet line. It is a classic expression of the modern Hawke’s Bay style; a generous and quite fulsome release that fills the palate with an amalgam of spicy dark fruits, with supple tannins and notes of French oak underpinning the conversation. The finish has enough tannin to suggest good cellar potential and those silky tannins partner well with a lovely seam of creamy acidity. 2018 was a good vintage in Hawke’s Bay and this wine is only now entering its ideal drinking window. If you enjoy New Zealand Merlot / Cabernet blends and have $20 in your pocket, this would be an excellent choice.

 

Yalumba Y Series Tempranillo Yalumba Y Series Tempranillo 2020 - South Australia

Available from 11.99
Yalumba’s Y Series range of well-priced quaffers has long been a favourite at Advintage and the tempranillo has always been a star performer that punches well above its weight. This Aussie take on the ubiquitous red wine of Spain shows an amalgam of red and black fruits with some mocha complexity and a satisfying finish with supple tannins and enough acidity to keep the conversation fresh. Often called ‘the blue jeans of wine’, tempranillo goes with anything and is suitable for almost any occasion. It’s the perfect ‘one size fits all’ red wine when you want to try something a little bit different, but don’t want to ostracise those friends who are traditional Aussie red drinkers.

 

De Martino Carmenere 2018

De Martino Carmenere 2019 - Chile

Available from $17.99
This spicy red wine hails from Chile’s famed Maipo Valley, a million miles away from its spiritual home in Bordeaux, where carménère was once widely used to add depth and interest to cabernet sauvignon and merlot dominant blends. Now firmly recognised as Chile’s signature varietal, carménère is a full bodied red wine that shares some similarities with merlot, but typically brings funky herbal / tobacco elements to the party, along with a distinct cocoa or mocha notes. De Martino shows all those quirky characters, and this organic wine shows layers of red and black fruits on a silky palate and soft tannins. It’s a very appealing, food-friendly glass of wine that will suit a wide range of cuisine. The 2019 is good to go now, and will stay in optimum health over the coming 5-6 years.

 

Montidori Sangiovese 2020

Montidori Sangiovese DOC Romagna 2020 – Italy

Available from $19.99
Sangiovese is the spicy, middle-weight red wine that is most famous as the main varietal in Chianti.  Montidori is produced further north-east from Chianti, in the hills of Emilia-Romagna, and it is a lovely glass of wine. Vinted in a bold and fulsome style by sangiovese standards, the 2020 uses parcels of sun-dried fruit in the fermentation to bring added concentration and depth to the palate. Notes of caramel from those sun-dried fruits sit nicely alongside the dark sangiovese fruits and this wine fills the mouth with flavour. Chianti can be dry and quite tight on the finish but this DOC Romagna release is very smooth and those spicy red fruits and supple tannins just go on and on. It’s hard not to love this wine. It’s generous and fulfilling without being pushy or overblown, and it is very much an Advintage favourite.

Farm Hand Shiraz Squealers 2020

Farm Hand Organic Shiraz 2020 (975ml) – South Australia

Available from $19.99
The funky 975ml ‘squealers’ are obviously the first thing to catch your eye here, but the jug-like bottles are backed up with a very solid representation of full-bodied South Australian red. Vinted from organic Monash Valley fruit, this is soft and approachable wine that has been vinted in a generous fashion that celebrates the fleshier side of shiraz. This release is all about fruit forward drinkability, where structure and robust tannins are eschewed in favour of slurpy drinkability. Expect to see some subtle wood spice, flavours of dark blackberry, some mocha hints and soft tannins. Good value at $19.99 for 975ml.

 

Mac's top 6 wine picks for 22 Jan 2022

Mac's Picks - 22 Jan 2022

Welcome to this first column for 2022. I hope you opened some delicious wines with your friends and family over the summer break and are looking forward to widening your wine horizons in this new year. As always, these notes focus on wines I have tried over recent weeks. Most aren’t too expensive, and I encourage you to seek them out and see if you enjoy them as much as I did.        

 

Two Rivers Convergence Sauvignon Blanc 2021  –  Marlborough

Two Rivers Convergence Sauvignon Blanc 2021 – Marlborough 

Available from $19.99
Let’s start with something exceptional. Winemaker David Clouston has stated that the 2021 vintage of Convergence is his finest to date - a big call from a label that has been sitting at the top table of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for the last few years – but I wholeheartedly agree with his assessment. This is tour de force sauvignon; a powerful medley of tropical notes that explode from the glass and flood the palate with the flavours of citrus and exotic summer fruits. Some saline, mineral nuances add subtle complexity before layers of softly creamy acids refresh the mouth and make another glass almost mandatory. As always with great sauvignon blanc, the harmony between those exuberant, tangy fruits and the varietal’s natural acidity is key, and this 2021 release absolutely nails that balance. This is spectacular sauvignon blanc and one of the best wines I have tasted from the 2021 vintage. Bravo.

 

 

Mountford Estate Liaison Riesling 2021

Mountford Liaison Riesling 2021 – North Canterbury 

Available from $16.99
Here’s a bargain from one of the South’s great small producers. Riesling fans should already know the joy that a glass of Liaison can offer, and I remain ever hopeful that this often overlooked label will find the wider audience it so richly deserves. Certainly, riesling in general needs a serious leg up in the New Zealand market. We produce so many fantastic options but public interest is luke warm at best; a crying shame when a glass of lightly chilled riesling is one of the world’s great wine experiences. As is often said in the wine trade “Offer someone a glass of riesling and they may well decline. Give them a glass of riesling and they will almost certainly say ‘That’s delicious!’”. In classic style the 2021 Mountford Liaison has intense notes of honey/lime on the nose. Those characters flow through to a medium dry palate where more citrus, marmalade and honeysuckle flavours come out to play. Those sweeter upfront fruits are countered with lovely fresh acidity and this wine finished refreshingly dry. Track some down immediately.

 

 

Nga Waka Chardonnay 2020

Nga Waka Chardonnay 2020 – Martinborough

Available from $24.99
A recent wander around the cafes, bars and restaurants of Martinborough made it obvious that there was something special going on with the 2020 release of Nga Waka Chardonnay. It was on almost every blackboard and wine list I visited and, after buying a glass, it’s so easy to see why. This is such user-friendly wine; a 100% barrel fermented chardonnay with good weight and presence, that nonetheless retains that all important sense of sheer drinkability. The oak component melds beautifully with those creamy malo-fermented fruit characters and the nectarine / citrus flavours have just the right amount of concentration. It’s packed with flavour but not over the top, while some toasty, wood spice elements and mineral inflections add further detail and complexity to the palate. Delicious stuff!

 

 

Lobetia Tempranillo 2019

Lobetia Tempranillo 2019 – Spain

Available from $14.99
If you’ve been wondering how to get into that vast ocean of Spanish red wines that are sold around the globe, a simple glass of decent tempranillo is always a good place to start. Tempranillo is a perfect example of ‘one size fits all’ red wine. Typically medium weight and juicy, it should be both easy drinking and effortlessly rewarding and the beautifully presented 2019 Lobetia clearly fits that bill.  With organic fruit sourced from Cuenca in the heart of Spain, you can expect soft fruit flavours in the cherry / plum spectrum and plenty of spice on the palate. It’s a perfect option at your next BBQ or gathering if you want to try something fun and funky, that is sure to have wide appeal.

 

 

Yalumba Galway Shiraz 2019

Yalumba Galway Shiraz 2019 – Australia

Available from $14.99
Here’s another proven crowd pleaser from a label that’s been delivering the goods since 1943. Vinted from regional parcels of Barossa fruit, Galway has made its name by offering buyers a good, honest shiraz option that doesn’t cost the earth, but nonetheless brings some obvious quality cues to the party. Approachability and drink young charm are the Galway cornerstones, as are the flavours of mocha, vanilla and spiced plum that flow through the palate. It’s another solid BBQ option if you like plenty of punchy Aussie fruits in your glass and, thankfully, Galway 2019 deftly sidesteps those nasty, overtly sweet fruit flavours that dominate that shiraz category in the fifteen dollar price point. Obvious value.

 

 

 

Paritua Stone Paddock Scarlet Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Paritua Stone Paddock Scarlet Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 – Hawke’s Bay

Available from $19.99
Despite a stellar range of exciting releases, this premium winery (situated on the Kereru side of the Bridge Pa settlement on Maraeakakaho Road) continues to fly under the radar of the wider wine buying public – a crying shame given the quality and value their catalogue offers. 2018 Scarlet is a case in point. The current release from Paritua’s excellent Stone Paddock range, is a blend of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and malbec. Given such an affordable asking price, it’s such an attractive style – loaded with plummy, blackcurrant richness that’s skilfully complemented by herbal tinges, hints of anise and soft supple tannins. Now entering its ideal drinking window, Scarlet 2018 is looking nicely integrated. It offers real value to those who love good Hawke’s Bay reds but don’t want to push the boat out too far and comes highly recommended.

Mac's top 6 wine picks for 22 Jan 2022

Mac's Picks - 22 Jan 2022

Welcome to this first column for 2022. I hope you opened some delicious wines with your friends and family over the summer break and are looking forward to widening your wine horizons in this new year. As always, these notes focus on wines I have tried over recent weeks. Most aren’t too expensive, and I encourage you to seek them out and see if you enjoy them as much as I did.        

 

Two Rivers Convergence Sauvignon Blanc 2021  –  Marlborough

Two Rivers Convergence Sauvignon Blanc 2021 – Marlborough 

Available from $19.99
Let’s start with something exceptional. Winemaker David Clouston has stated that the 2021 vintage of Convergence is his finest to date - a big call from a label that has been sitting at the top table of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for the last few years – but I wholeheartedly agree with his assessment. This is tour de force sauvignon; a powerful medley of tropical notes that explode from the glass and flood the palate with the flavours of citrus and exotic summer fruits. Some saline, mineral nuances add subtle complexity before layers of softly creamy acids refresh the mouth and make another glass almost mandatory. As always with great sauvignon blanc, the harmony between those exuberant, tangy fruits and the varietal’s natural acidity is key, and this 2021 release absolutely nails that balance. This is spectacular sauvignon blanc and one of the best wines I have tasted from the 2021 vintage. Bravo.

 

 

Mountford Estate Liaison Riesling 2021

Mountford Liaison Riesling 2021 – North Canterbury 

Available from $16.99
Here’s a bargain from one of the South’s great small producers. Riesling fans should already know the joy that a glass of Liaison can offer, and I remain ever hopeful that this often overlooked label will find the wider audience it so richly deserves. Certainly, riesling in general needs a serious leg up in the New Zealand market. We produce so many fantastic options but public interest is luke warm at best; a crying shame when a glass of lightly chilled riesling is one of the world’s great wine experiences. As is often said in the wine trade “Offer someone a glass of riesling and they may well decline. Give them a glass of riesling and they will almost certainly say ‘That’s delicious!’”. In classic style the 2021 Mountford Liaison has intense notes of honey/lime on the nose. Those characters flow through to a medium dry palate where more citrus, marmalade and honeysuckle flavours come out to play. Those sweeter upfront fruits are countered with lovely fresh acidity and this wine finished refreshingly dry. Track some down immediately.

 

 

Nga Waka Chardonnay 2020

Nga Waka Chardonnay 2020 – Martinborough

Available from $24.99
A recent wander around the cafes, bars and restaurants of Martinborough made it obvious that there was something special going on with the 2020 release of Nga Waka Chardonnay. It was on almost every blackboard and wine list I visited and, after buying a glass, it’s so easy to see why. This is such user-friendly wine; a 100% barrel fermented chardonnay with good weight and presence, that nonetheless retains that all important sense of sheer drinkability. The oak component melds beautifully with those creamy malo-fermented fruit characters and the nectarine / citrus flavours have just the right amount of concentration. It’s packed with flavour but not over the top, while some toasty, wood spice elements and mineral inflections add further detail and complexity to the palate. Delicious stuff!

 

 

Lobetia Tempranillo 2019

Lobetia Tempranillo 2019 – Spain

Available from $14.99
If you’ve been wondering how to get into that vast ocean of Spanish red wines that are sold around the globe, a simple glass of decent tempranillo is always a good place to start. Tempranillo is a perfect example of ‘one size fits all’ red wine. Typically medium weight and juicy, it should be both easy drinking and effortlessly rewarding and the beautifully presented 2019 Lobetia clearly fits that bill.  With organic fruit sourced from Cuenca in the heart of Spain, you can expect soft fruit flavours in the cherry / plum spectrum and plenty of spice on the palate. It’s a perfect option at your next BBQ or gathering if you want to try something fun and funky, that is sure to have wide appeal.

 

 

Yalumba Galway Shiraz 2019

Yalumba Galway Shiraz 2019 – Australia

Available from $14.99
Here’s another proven crowd pleaser from a label that’s been delivering the goods since 1943. Vinted from regional parcels of Barossa fruit, Galway has made its name by offering buyers a good, honest shiraz option that doesn’t cost the earth, but nonetheless brings some obvious quality cues to the party. Approachability and drink young charm are the Galway cornerstones, as are the flavours of mocha, vanilla and spiced plum that flow through the palate. It’s another solid BBQ option if you like plenty of punchy Aussie fruits in your glass and, thankfully, Galway 2019 deftly sidesteps those nasty, overtly sweet fruit flavours that dominate that shiraz category in the fifteen dollar price point. Obvious value.

 

 

 

Paritua Stone Paddock Scarlet Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Paritua Stone Paddock Scarlet Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 – Hawke’s Bay

Available from $19.99
Despite a stellar range of exciting releases, this premium winery (situated on the Kereru side of the Bridge Pa settlement on Maraeakakaho Road) continues to fly under the radar of the wider wine buying public – a crying shame given the quality and value their catalogue offers. 2018 Scarlet is a case in point. The current release from Paritua’s excellent Stone Paddock range, is a blend of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and malbec. Given such an affordable asking price, it’s such an attractive style – loaded with plummy, blackcurrant richness that’s skilfully complemented by herbal tinges, hints of anise and soft supple tannins. Now entering its ideal drinking window, Scarlet 2018 is looking nicely integrated. It offers real value to those who love good Hawke’s Bay reds but don’t want to push the boat out too far and comes highly recommended.

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.