Wine

Michael Cooper’s top tip­ples for spring and sum­mer drink­ing.

North & South - - North & South -

In late spring, we look for­ward to the fes­tive sea­son and sum­mer. This se­lec­tion of wines – white, sparkling, rosé and red – will carry you through the rest of this year and be­yond. They all of­fer eye-catch­ing qual­ity or ir­re­sistible value, and some­times both.

Sparkling Bran­cott Es­tate New Zealand Brut Cu­vée NV ★★★★

This is a great buy. A bot­tle-fer­mented blend of pinot noir and chardon­nay, it’s a fra­grant, pale-pink wine with strong, lively, peachy, straw­ber­ry­ish flavours, yeasty notes adding com­plex­ity, and an offdry, smooth fin­ish. $14

Gibb­ston Val­ley Methode Tra­di­tion­nelle NV Ex­tra Brut ★★★★★

The wine now on sale is from grapes hand­picked in Cen­tral Otago, dis­gorged af­ter 26 months’ mat­u­ra­tion on its yeast lees. Pale straw, it’s a hugely drink­able wine, crisp and vi­va­cious, with in­tense, cit­rusy, slightly peachy and ap­p­ley flavours, good yeast- de­rived com­plex­ity, and a smooth, very finely bal­anced, last­ing fin­ish. $45

Quartz Reef Methode Tra­di­tion­nelle Rosé NV ★★★★★

In­stantly ap­peal­ing, this vi­va­cious, pinot noir­based bub­bly was grown at Bendigo, in Cen­tral Otago. Bright pink, with a fra­grant, berry­ish, gen­tly yeasty bou­quet, it is tightly struc­tured, with lively peach, strawberry and apri­cot flavours, show­ing im­pres­sive depth and com­plex­ity, and a finely tex­tured, crisp fin­ish. $39

White Aunts­field Sin­gle Vine­yard South­ern Val­leys Marl­bor­ough Chardon­nay 2016 ★★★★★

This con­sis­tently re­ward­ing wine is grown on the south side of the Wairau Val­ley, hand­picked and fer­mented and matured in French oak bar­rels. Le­mon-scented, it is mouth­fill­ing, with rich, vi­brant, cit­rusy, peachy flavours, hints of toast and but­ter, and a crisp, dry, per­sis­tent fin­ish. $36

Babich Marl­bor­ough Sau­vi­gnon Blanc 2018 ★★★★

Al­ready en­joy­able, this is a ripely scented, full­bod­ied, weighty wine with fresh passionfruit and lime flavours, good in­ten­sity and a dry fin­ish. If you don’t like strongly herba­ceous sau­vi­gnon blancs, try this. $20

Clearview Es­tate Beach­head Hawke’s Bay Chardon­nay 2017 ★★★★

This win­ery has a rep­u­ta­tion for pow­er­ful chardon­nays, and top vin­tages of this good-value la­bel are no ex­cep­tion. Es­tate grown and hand- har­vested on the coast at Te Awanga, this chardon­nay was fer­mented and matured in sea­soned French oak bar­rels. Bright, light le­mon-green, with a fra­grant, com­plex bou­quet, it is mouth­fill­ing and youth­ful, with loads of vi­brant, peachy, slightly toasty flavour, a hint of but­ter­scotch, bal­anced acid­ity and a dry, tight fin­ish. $28

Cloudy Bay Sau­vi­gnon Blanc 2018 ★★★★★

The new re­lease of Marl­bor­ough’s – and New Zealand’s – most fa­mous wine was mostly han­dled in tanks; 7% was oak-fer­mented. Bright, light le­mon-green, it is ripely herba­ceous with con­cen­trated, vi­brant, trop­i­cal fruit flavours to the fore, a dis­tinct touch of com­plex­ity, good acid spine and a dry, per­sis­tent fin­ish. $40

Green­hough Nel­son Sau­vi­gnon Blanc 2018 ★★★★

From one of Nel­son’s top pro­duc­ers, this is a re­fined young wine with strong, vi­brant, ripe-fruit flavours, com­plex­ity from a small per­cent­age of bar­rel fer­men­ta­tion, and a crisp, dry, lengthy fin­ish. Worth dis­cov­er­ing. $22

Grey­stone Waipara Val­ley Pinot Gris 2017 ★★★★★

In top years, this is one of the finest pinot gris in the coun­try. Partly bar­rel-fer­mented, it is ripely scented and fleshy, with highly con­cen­trated stone­fruit and spice flavours, a hint of gin­ger, good com­plex­ity, a creamy tex­ture and a dry fin­ish. Cer­ti­fied or­ganic. $26

Law­son’s Dry Hills The Pi­o­neer Marl­bor­ough Gewürz­traminer 2016 ★★★★★

This stun­ner is a weighty, fleshy, Al­saces­tyle wine, es­tate-grown in the Home Block and bar­rel-fer­mented. From ma­ture, 35-yearold vines “with trunks as thick as thighs”, it is a pow­er­ful wine, over­flow­ing with peachy, spicy flavours, gen­tly sweet, finely poised and last­ing. Well worth track­ing down. $30

Main Di­vide North Can­ter­bury Ries­ling 2015 ★★★★

Of­fer­ing great value, this wine (from Waipara’s Pe­ga­sus Bay) is full of per­son­al­ity. De­li­cious now, it is a fra­grant, finely poised wine, gen­tly sweet, with strong, cit­rusy flavours, show­ing a dis­tinct touch of com­plex­ity, bal­anced acid­ity and a very har­mo­nious fin­ish. $21

Nau­tilus Al­bar­iño Marl­bor­ough 2017 ★★★★★

This very classy, youth­ful, sin­gle-vine­yard wine is full-bod­ied with pen­e­trat­ing, cit­rusy, peachy flavours, fresh and well-ripened, a slightly salty streak, and a tight, dry, pow­er­ful fin­ish. It is a top ex­am­ple of this coun­try’s fastes­t­ex­pand­ing white wine va­ri­ety. $29

Sileni Es­tate Se­lec­tion Pri­est­ess Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2017 ★★★★

Al­ready de­li­cious, this youth­ful, dry­ish wine was hand-picked and fer­mented in tanks and old bar­rels. Mouth­fill­ing and vi­brantly fruity, it has strong, fresh, peac­hand pear-like flavours, show­ing a dis­tinct touch of com­plex­ity, and a finely poised, lin­ger­ing fin­ish. $25

Sum­mer­house Marl­bor­ough Pinot Gris 2018 ★★★★ Of­fer­ing good value, this is a freshly aro­matic, full­bod­ied wine, with good in­ten­sity of vi­brant, ripe pear, ly­chee and spice flavours, and a dry­ish, lengthy fin­ish. $19 Ter­race Edge Liq­uid Geog­ra­phy North Can­ter­bury Ries­ling 2018 ★★★★

As a drink-young style of ries­ling, this is hard to beat, es­pe­cially at the price. Hand-har­vested at Waipara, it is medi­um­bod­ied with a slightly hon­eyed fra­grance, con­cen­trated, peachy flavours, gen­tle sweet­ness, finely bal­anced acid­ity and a rich, long fin­ish. Cer­ti­fied or­ganic. $20

Thorn­bury Waipara Pinot Gris 2018 ★★★★

A rare ex­am­ple of a low­priced pinot gris with per­son­al­ity, this North Can­ter­bury wine is full­bod­ied and vi­brantly fruity, with gen­er­ous stone­fruit and pear flavours, gen­tle spicy notes, fresh acid­ity and an off- dry fin­ish. De­li­cious young. $15

Vi­dal Re­serve Hawke’s Bay Chardon­nay 2017 ★★★★

This mid­dle-tier la­bel con­sis­tently of­fers value. Fer­mented and matured in French oak bar­riques, it is a youth­ful wine, sweet-fruited, with fresh, ripe stone-fruit flavours, oak com­plex­ity and very good depth. $20

Villa Maria Cel­lar Se­lec­tion Marl­bor­ough Sau­vi­gnon Blanc 2018 ★★★★

Good value at its nor­mal price, this is a steal when on “spe­cial”. Highly aro­matic, it is punchy, with ripely herba­ceous flavours, show­ing good vi­brancy and in­ten­sity, and a crisp, dry fin­ish. $18

Rosé Am­is­field Cen­tral Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2018 ★★★★

Es­tate-grown and hand-har­vested in the Cromwell Basin, and mostly han­dled in tanks (4% bar­rel-fer­mented), this de­li­cious wine has an invit­ing, bright-pink hue. Made in a slightly off- dry style, it has fresh, lively, strawberry, wa­ter­melon, plum and spice flavours, show­ing a dis­tinct touch of com­plex­ity, bal­anced acid­ity, and ex­cel­lent depth and har­mony. $30

Bright­wa­ter Vine­yards So­phie’s Kiss Nel­son Rosé 2018 ★★★★

De­li­cious from the start, this is a flo­ral, bright-pink, mouth­fill­ing wine. Slightly off- dry, it is very finely

bal­anced, with ex­cel­lent weight and depth of wa­ter­melon, strawberry and spice flavours, sub­tle and lin­ger­ing. $22

Dash­wood New Zealand Rosé 2018 ★★★★

This vi­va­cious wine makes no claims about re­gional ori­gin or va­ri­eties, but of­fers great value. Bright, light pink, it is a smooth, medium-bod­ied wine, with fresh, del­i­cate plum, cherry and strawberry flavours, very finely bal­anced for wide ap­peal. Ready to roll. $16

Mon­tana Re­serve Marl­bor­ough Rosé 2018 ★★★★

De­li­cious drink­ing for this sum­mer, this fra­grant, lively wine is bright, light pink, with fresh strawberry, spice and slight apri­cot flavours, a sliver of sweet­ness and a se­duc­tively smooth fin­ish. Fine value. $17

Red Alexan­der Dusty Road Mart­in­bor­ough Pinot Noir 2017 ★★★★

De­signed for early drink­ing, but age-wor­thy, this is a “steal”. Hand­picked and matured in French oak bar­riques, it is deeply coloured, full­bod­ied and very vi­brant, with strong, youth­ful plum, cherry and spice flavours, wo­ven with fresh acid­ity, savoury notes adding com­plex­ity, and ex­cel­lent den­sity. $27

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Caber­net Franc 2016 ★★★★

Priced sharply, this char­ac­ter­ful red was matured for 18 months in oak bar­rels. Promis­ingly deep in colour, it is mouth­fill­ing and vi­brantly fruity, with strong, ripe berry, plum and spice flavours, finely in­te­grated oak, gen­tle tan­nins and good com­plex­ity. $23

Church Road Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2017 ★★★★

A great buy. Deeply coloured, with a spicy fra­grance, this medi­umto full-bod­ied red has good con­cen­tra­tion of plum and black pep­per flavours, show­ing some savoury com­plex­ity, gen­tle tan­nins and lots of drink-young ap­peal. $19

Esk Val­ley Gim­blett Grav­els Hawke’s Bay Mer­lot/mal­bec/ Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon 2017 ★★★★

This is fully a match for many Hawke's Bay reds in the over-$30 cat­e­gory. Sturdy and fleshy, with a strong surge of ripe, plummy, spicy, slightly nutty flavours, good com­plex­ity, and the back­bone to age well, it's a stand­out buy. $20

Im­promptu Cen­tral Otago Pinot Noir 2016 ★★★★

From Misha's Vine­yard, this Bendigo red is more com­plex than most $30 pinot noirs. Matured in French oak hogsheads, it is deep ruby, fra­grant and savoury, with plum, spice and nut flavours, show­ing ex­cel­lent depth and har­mony. En­joy­able now, it also has the struc­ture to age well. $30

Roar­ing Meg Cen­tral Otago Pinot Noir 2017 ★★★★

From Mt Dif­fi­culty, the lat­est re­lease of this highly pop­u­lar red was hand-picked and matured for nine months in French oak casks. Full, bright ruby, it is fra­grant, fresh and sweet-fruited, with strong cherry, plum and spice flavours, savoury notes adding com­plex­ity, and gen­tle tan­nins. Show­ing good con­cen­tra­tion, it is a top vin­tage of this la­bel. $28

Te Mata Es­tate Vine­yards Mer­lot/ Caber­nets 2016 ★★★★

Al­ready drink­ing well, this Hawke's Bay red is fra­grant and mouth­fill­ing, with very good depth of fresh plum and red berry flavours, hints of herbs and spices, a gen­tle sea­son­ing of oak and a well-rounded fin­ish. $20

Woo­ing Tree Bee­tle Juice Cen­tral Otago Pinot Noir 2017 ★★★★

De­signed for early en­joy­ment, this sin­glevine­yard Cromwell red is hand-picked and bar­relaged. Deeply coloured, with plummy, slightly spicy aro­mas, it is full­bod­ied and fruit-packed, sweet-fruited and sup­ple, in a “full-on” style with con­cen­trated cherry, plum and spice flavours. Of­fer­ing good value, it's al­ready de­li­cious. $28

The lat­est re­lease of this highly pop­u­lar red was hand­picked and matured for nine months in French oak casks.

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