Here’s to good friends – let’s raise our glasses!

July 12, 2022

The lockdowns made PHIL PARKER realise just how much he values his circle of friends. (And the wine he drank with them).

One thing that two years of dealing with Covid in Auckland has taught me is the value of friendship.

During lockdown, we missed the normality of sharing dinner parties, cafés, barbecues, jazz clubs and movies with our friends. And once restrictions were eased, we all had to make do with stilted, distanced outdoor catchups with no hugs and masks on.

At last, we are back to some sort of normality with vax passes and QR code scanning a thing of the past and can finally catch up with our nearest and dearest. I’m an only child, with both parents long gone so I do regard my tight circle of old friends as my surrogate family, and I did miss them during the restrictions. It has made me appreciate them even more and I’m making a real effort to maintain and nurture those relationships which I had maybe taken for granted in the past. I raise a glass to my best pals with today’s selection. Cheers!

Paul Jaboulet Aîné Côtes du Rhône Parallele 45 Blanc 2019 $27
An intriguing blend of grenache, marsanne, viogner and – wait for it – bourboulenc.  Crisp and elegant. Tastes very much like a French chenin blanc, with clover honey, jasmine, apricot and a hint of pineapple. Clean dry citrus finish. Match with shellfish or other seafood.
Available: Dhall & Nash

Loveblock Organic Pinot Gris Marlborough 2021 $21
Crisp and fruity and just nudging dry in a flavoursome style. Lime, poached pear, a hint of ginger spice and green tea. Both vegan and organic. Great as a slightly chilled aperitif or with seafood, or Thai foods.
Available: Glengarry, Fine O Wines, Pt. Chev Organic Wines

Johner Estate Wairarapa Riesling Light 2020 $23
At only 8.5% alcohol this is a lovely light-bodied and elegant riesling. Flavours of jasmine, lime, mandarin and a hint of beeswax with medium acidity and a clean finish. Fab as a party starter aperitif with appetisers, or with seafood.
Available or Dhall & Nash

De La Terre Barrique Ferment Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2021 $30
Tony Prichard was previously winemaker at Church Road Winery and now he and his wife Kaye have their own winery in the limestone terraces of Hawkes Bay. Crisp, dry and understated. This is a very elegant chardonnay with lime citrus, nectarine, crisp minerality and a yeasty tang. Match with oysters or a creamy pasta dish.
Available: and Dhall & Nash

Mountford Estate North Canterbury Rosé 2020 $30
Crisp, crunchy and elegant. Refreshing palate of strawberries and cream, with cherry and a hint of toffee apple sweetness. Great match for antipasto, or as an aperitif.
Available: Dhall & Nash, Parasol and Swing bar, Fine O Wines, Pt. Chev Organic Wines

Johner Estate Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2020 $30
Earthy and savoury, full-bodied style. Still very youthful at two years, with firm tannins, funky dark cherry, black chocolate, soy and truffle. Great right now but would reward cellaring for 3 to 6 years. Food match: venison or rabbit. Veg option – pasta with truffle and mushroom sauce.
Available or Dhall & Nash

Paul Jaboulet Aîné Côtes du Rhône Syrah 2018 $22
Matured without any oak ageing. Fruity and concentrated with blackcurrant, dark cherry, spicy black pepper, and a lengthy finish. Match with hearty beef dishes or spicy ratatouille.
Available: Liquids Sandringham, Four Candles Food Market (Rosedale)



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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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Witchdoctor's wine guru PHIL PARKER has a selection this month that will take you through the last flush of summer drinking.
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