Our wine guru has spring drinking and storm water damage on his mind

August 31, 2023
Great spring wine review with out wine guru. 10 bottles lined up

PHIL PARKER is getting a spring in his step and a tingle in his tongue in anticipation of the drinking of more top vino.

It’s definitely getting springy in Auckland. From my window, our magnolia tree has a few remaining pink and cream blossoms, and the tree is vigorously sprouting leaves. And on a recent trip to the Kumeu wine region with clients, there were spring lambs snuggling up to their mums in the verdant pastures. Meanwhile, we’re haemorrhaging cash by remediating storm damage and getting new drainage installed. Is it any wonder I drink?

Whyte Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2022  $17
A softer take on the mainstream Marlborough savvie style. Upfront gooseberry, blackcurrant and herbaceous grassiness. Bone dry and elegant.
Available: Dhall & Nash  blackmarket.co.nz

Whyte Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2022  $17
Crisp, clean and elegant. Subtle floral citrus aromas. Almond brioche, apricot, quince, lemon and nectarine.  Bargain price for a classy chardonnay.
Available: Dhall & Nash

De La Terre Hawkes Bay Gracie White Blend 2016 $26
A viognier/chardonnay blend named after their wine dog, Gracie. Dry, crisp and mineral. Mandarin, grapefruit, raw almond and crisp saline acidity.
Available: Dhall & Nash  delaterre.co.nz

Pegasus Bay Aged Release North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2013 $70
Still fresh and vibrant. Lots of savoury flavours of soy and truffle. But also, black cherry, black pepper, stewed plum, liquorice, and mocha..
Available: Fine O Wine, Pt Chev Organic Wines pegasusbay.com

Pegasus Bay Aged Release ‘Prima Donna’ North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2013 $130
Absolutely superb wine with 10 years of ageing. Peg Bay nails it again with their iconic pinot noir. Layer upon layer of glorious flavours of ripe black fruit, bound up in umami savoury with floral hints. Plum, boysenberry, prune, cassis, mocha, Lapsang Souchong, violets, cigar… I could go on. Buy now, before I do.
Available: Caro’s, Fine O Wine, Pt Chev Organic Wines,  pegasusbay.com

Heron’s Flight Volare Matakana Sangiovese 2016
Ageing gracefully and still full of flavour. A testament to Heron’s Flight’s Matakana terroir and winemaking. Medium to soft tannins. A seamless palate of savoury soy, potpourri, plum pudding, cigar, liquorice and dark summer berry fruits.
Available: heronsflight.co.nz

Pegasus Bay North Canterbury Aged Release Riesling 2013  $45
Just nudging off-dry with a tad of sweetness. Flavours of beeswax, canned peach, dried apricot, fresh mandarin with a crisp tangy, lengthy finish.
Available: Caro’s, Fine O Wine, Pt Chev Organic Wines,  pegasusbay.com

De La Terre Hawkes Bay Montepulciano 2019 $49
A lovely aged Italian style red. Rounded tannins, ripe and generous, black cherry, baking spice, liquorice, black pepper, cigar and a hint of ruby port.
Available: Dhall & Nash  finewinedelivery.co.nz

Knappstein Clare Valley Sparkling Shiraz NV $19
Sparkling reds have always been a bit of a novelty item – harking back to ‘Cold Duck’ in the ’70s. This is a fruity, easy drinking medium sweet fun fizzy red, with tinned plum, cassis and mild tannins. Great with hearty mid-winter fare.
Available: Dhall & Nash  blackmarket.co.nz

No 1 Family Estate Assemblé Non-Vintage $34.00
Mouth-filling and rich flavours of stone fruit, nougat, Mum’s apple pie and stone fruit, with a dry mineral tangy finish. 60% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 5% Pinot Meunier
Available: Widely, Fine O Wine, Pt Chev Organic wines, 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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