Having written recently about wine festivals, wine tourism, the Summer of Riesling and the Pinot Celebration, it’s about time I recommended some wines.
Of the hundreds I’ve tasted so far this year, there are many which stand out – but only some of them for the right reason.
I won’t mention the ones I don’t like or which don’t offer good value. Why not? Because unlike music, restaurant, art, book and concert reviews, wine writers generally shy away from being negative about a producer’s wine. Instead, we tend only to recommend those we favour.
What do you think? Do you want to hear about wines that aren’t so good? It would be great to hear readers’ opinions.
Anyhow, having explored the Waitaki Valley recently, I’m very excited about two wines which perfectly show off that region’s fantastic quality.
The first is one of the finest drops of pinot gris I’ve tasted from New Zealand – full stop.
Ostler Audrey’s Pinot Gris 2009 ($34) is full-bodied, textural and creamy. But this isn’t taken too far, the acidity and phenols – from the skins – provide vibrancy and drive.
It has waves of flavour and, unlike so many tutti-frutti pinot gris from NZ, fruit definition with white peach and nashi pear.
Pasquale Waitaki Pinot Noir 2010 ($49) is a delicious inclusion to the broad range of pinot noir styles now available on our shelves. It has delicate fresh raspberry and cherry flavours, satin-like texture and a sweet spice that persists through the palate. I drank a glass of this at the winery for lunch and it’s great with their rib-eye beef.
I must also mention two very impressive whites from elsewhere, one from North Canterbury and the other much closer to home.
Pegasus Bay Riesling 2009 ($28) from Waipara stands out from the crowd of rieslings I’ve tried this summer, because of its real depth and clarity. It has excellent richness and balance and will age well.
Lochaburn Sauvignon Blanc 2011 ($25) from Central Otago is a nod to Sancerre, the top appellation for this variety in France, offering clean freshness and candied fruit.
Finally to another pinot noir, this time from Bendigo in Central Otago.
Folding Hill Pinot Noir 2010 ($38) is from a tiny vineyard I visited in February. The wine is hand-made in small quantities and I was amazed by the fruit quality.
The tastes are of dark cherry, balsamic, spice and game, with an underlying structure topped by an amazing cherry fruit drive. Delicious.
Paul Tudgay is the Queenstown Resort College business hospitality manager and a wine appreciation lecturer
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