Wines for these lengthening days

September 5, 2022

PHIL PARKER selects a tasty half-dozen wines to sample that are specially matched to the burst of spring energy.

As I write, our white magnolia tree is in full hearty bloom and my wife has bunch of miniature daffodils sitting on the coffee table – wafting sweet fragrant promises of longer days and warmer temperatures.

I was an August baby. A tail-end boomer hatched in 1956 in the heart of the Manawatu in Palmerston North. Don’t judge me. But it is true that John Cleese once described Palmy as a twin city with Chernobyl. So, anyway, spring has always been a significant time of year for me.

Anyway, here are some great wines for imbibing as the days lengthen and mornings become more bearable.

Loveblock Marlborough Gewürztraminer 2020 (vegan) $22
A very elegant, yet complex example of one of my favourite wine varieties. Not at all your big and bold oily, sweet and perfumed OTT gewürztraminer. This wine has subtle aromas of pear juice and a hint of jasmine. A musky off-dry palate with lychee, rock melon and a bit of preserved ginger. Finishes yeasty, crisp and tangy. Great with Vietnamese or Malaysian cuisine.
Available: Glengarry

Margalleux Vouvray Loire Valley France 2020 $35
Dry and elegant chenin blanc from the home of Vouvray. Shy on the nose, but opens up with integrated flavours of apple sauce, spiced nectarine, ripe grapefruit and a hint of pineapple – all bound up in crisp minerality.
Available: Sabato  vineonline.co.nz

Dark Horse California Chardonnay 2020 $20
Definitely in the oaky Californian style, but not the sweet oak and fruit bomb Californian style. Crisp and creamy with nectarine, nougat and a mineral clean finish. Great value. Match with oysters or a creamy pasta dish.
Available: Glengarry

Westbrook Single Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2018 $30
Light-bodied but full of flavour and character. Savoury, with soft tannins and a hint of florals. Cranberry, cherry and spiced plum with an elegant dry finish. Match with duck dishes or pasta with truffle and mushroom sauce.
Available: www.westbrook.co.nz

Pegasus Bay North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2020 $55
Assertive, funky and muscular. If Grace Jones was a pinot noir, she’d be this wine. Pull up to my wine glass, baby! Lots of truffle and umami soy flavours laced together with cherry, cassis, liquorice and spice. Very lengthy finish.
Food match: venison or rabbit. Veg option – pasta with truffle and mushroom sauce.
Available: Caros,  pegasusbay.com

Matawhero Church House Gisborne Malbec 2019 $27
Sumptuous, soft and drinking very well for a three-year-old. Just goes to show that there’s more to Gisborne than chardonnay. Flavours of plum, cherry, blackberry, fruitcake and hint of herbs, backed up with medium tannins. Lengthy finish. Vegan friendly. Match with spicy ratatouille on rice.
Available: Glengarry

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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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