Vinopalooza dream team selection

November 2, 2023
2 mins read

Witchdoctor’s wine expert PHIL PARKER pours some more vino goodness from New Zealand and elsewhere down our throats.

Here we go, folks. Another vinopalooza of fabulous wines from Aotearoa, California and Australia.

Pegasus Bay North Canterbury Sauvignon Blanc 2021 $28
Crisp, lean and elegant. Flavours of passionfruit, honeysuckle, and guava with a hint of funky yeast. Available:

Loveblock Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (vegan/organic) 2022 $27
Flavours of super ripe passionfruit, green tomato, cape gooseberry and gentle grassy herbs. From Kim & Erica Crawford’s biodynamic certified Awatere estates. Partly oak fermented. Available: Herne Bay Cellars, Fine O Wines

Loveblock Marlborough Pinot Gris (vegan/organic) 2022 $27
Quince, lime citrus, spiced poached pear and honeysuckle flavours with soft acids and a hint of passionfruit. Elegant dry finish. Also, partially oak fermented. Available: Glengarry, Fine O Wines

Duckhorn Napa Valley California Chardonnay 2021 $74
A softer style than expected from Napa. Yet at a deceptive 14.5% alcohol. Smooth, lean and seductive – with stone fruit, poached apple, and subtle hints of American vanilla and coconut oak.
Available: Dhall & Nash, Caro’s


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Pegasus Bay North Canterbury Vergence Mk2 White blend $21
Made from semillon, sauvignon blanc and a blend of aromatic varieties. Mouth-filling and creamy from time in oak. Flavours of passionfruit, rock melon, roasted red capsicum with a lime citrus finish. Available:

Rockburn 12 Barrels Gibbston Central Otago Pinot Noir 2022 $90
Medium-bodied, soft, ripe and generous, with red summer berries, cassis, boysenberry, mocha, umami soy and a hint of earthy canned beetroot. Fab.
Available:  Glengarry

Rockburn 11 Barrels Gibbston Central Otago Pinot Noir 2022 $99
Another winner from Rockburn.  Again, medium-bodied. Medium tannins, and gently smoky, with cassis, dark chocolate, ripe black cherry, raspberry liquorice, plum jam, and a soft finish.
Available: Glengarry

Te Kairanga Runholder Pinot Noir 2022 $35
Light bodied. Savoury and elegant. With predominantly earthy and umami flavours. But also cassis, black cherry, plum, liquorice, dark chocolate and medium acids, with a dry finish.
Available: New World

Duckhorn Napa Valley California Merlot 2019 $87
Full-bodied, complex, and intense, with assertive tannins. Black currant, blackberry, leather, spiced plum, liquorice, a hint of Cuban cigar. Drinking well now but will age for another 5 years. Available: Dhall & Nash, Caro’s

Collaboration Wines Hawke’s Bay ‘Impression’ 2022  $36
Soft, ripe and fantastic. Drink now. A blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon blanc and cabernet franc. Spicy plum, raspberry, sandalwood, black cherry, fruitcake and a hint of bubble gum.  Available: Dhall & Nash

Zema Estate Coonawarra Shiraz 2016 $35
From the cooler south Australian Limestone Coast. Amazingly youthful for a 7-year-old.
Cassis, black cherry, spiced plum black pepper and a hint of anise. Medium tannins.
Available: Dhall & Nash,

Zema Estate Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 $35
From the same vintage as the Shiraz. Typical minty cabernet flavours, plus spicy fruit cake, dark chocolate, Cuban cigar, and prune. Lengthy dry finish.
Available: Dhall & Nash,

Pegasus Bay North Canterbury Aria Late Picked Riesling 2022 $45
Opulently sweet at 107 grams per litre of sugar. Intense flavours of beeswax, honeysuckle, grapefruit marmalade, canned apricot, with lemon curd citrus and crisp acidity.
Available:  Glengarry, Caro’s

Chambers Rutherglen Muscat 375ml $53
A simply gorgeous, fortified Aussie dessert-style muscat. Seamless palate of crème brulée, honeysuckle, toffee, dried muscatel raisins, and caramel with a hint of citrus marmalade. Highly recommended.
Available: Dhall & Nash,

Phil Parker runs wine tours in Auckland


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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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