Super (Liquor) Superannuitant

September 2, 2021

Witchdoctor wine guy PHIL PARKER is now an old-age pensioner, which means free buses and plentiful drinking.


August was an auspicious month for me. It was my 65th birthday. That is 780 months on Planet Earth, folks. And now I am officially the same age as old people. How did that happen? I demand to see the manager.

As a newly minted superannuitant, I have already discovered my secret powers of constantly losing my reading glasses, forgetting why I went into the kitchen, and not being able to hear my friends in noisy cafés. Not to mention going “Errghhh” when I bend down to ground level to pick something up from the floor, or feeling no connection with contemporary popular music, or waking up with a new selection of aches in my body.


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A month ahead of my birthday, I received a Gold Card from the NZ government, along with a handy, jolly booklet all about the benefits of not falling over, getting regular exercise, and eating well. I think I have those bases covered. And I have also acquired an Auckland Transport Super Gold card that entitles me to free off-peak travel on buses, trains and most ferries. I can now catch a couple of buses from Pt Chev after 9am, and then leap on the Waiheke ferry and pester some of my favourite wineries. For free! I’ll drink to that.

Pegasus Bay North Canterbury Aged Release Riesling 2010 $42
Amazingly youthful for an 11-year-old wine. A wee hit of CO2 spritz plays on the tongue with broader flavours of orange marmalade, canned peach, and quince. Off-dry, with a tangy and lengthy citrus finish. Match with cheese board, rich seafood dishes, or vege Pad Thai.
Available:, Fine Wine Delivery Co.

Pegasus Bay North Canterbury Aged Release Riesling 2011 $40
Just nudging off-dry. Again, still a youthful wine at 10 years. Rich and unctuous with flavours of dried apricot, orange peel and lime marmalade. Tangy and predominantly citrussy with a lengthy finish. Match with cheese or – how about good old duck a l‘orange? Remember that?
Available:, Cahn’s Wines and Spirits

Pegasus Bay North Canterbury Aria Late Harvest Riesling 2018 $42
Pegasus Bay Aria is made from grapes affected by ‘noble rot’ late in the picking season i.e., a very naughty fungus named botrytis that sucks out water in the grapes, leaving concentrated sweet juice. If it hits your chardonnay early in the season you will be rightly ticked off. But if you are praying to Bacchus for it to hit the trophy riesling weeks after harvest… and it does, then you will be a happy winemaker. Sweet and luscious at 11 percent alcohol. Flavours of grapefruit, clover honey, honeysuckle, beeswax and a crisp, clean finish. Wow. Match with mildly spicy pork, Thai or your fave Vietnamese.
Available:, Cahn’s Wines and Spirits, Blackmarket, Vino Fino

Villa Maria Taylors Pass Marlborough Pinot Noir 2018 $59
A classic light-bodied Burgundian style and packed with character. Smoky and savoury with ripe cherry and plum fruit flavours. Soft tannins and a hint of vegemite umami. Great with rare roast beef or mushroom dishes.
Available: widely

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2019 $50
Young and fabulous. Weren’t we all? My, how time flies, but I digress. Tamarillo and plum palate, with a hint of clove spice. Similar style to the Taylors Pass, but would reward 2-to-3 years cellaring. Definitely a match with Italian tomato-based dishes.
Available: widely

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Originally a physiotherapist, Phil's fascination with the fermented grape juice led to the launch of his wine tour company Auckland Fine Wine & Food Tours at the turn of the century. A seasoned and well-respected wine writer, Phil's oenophilia led to the publication of his wine region guide to New Zealand, The Mad Keen Wine Buff's Road Trip (Random House).

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