Wine notes

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

Sud­denly, it seems, the gar­den is groan­ing un­der the weight of blos­som and my morn­ing dog walks are once again con­ducted en­tirely in day­light – spring has sprung! This time of year also her­alds the ar­rival of the first of the 2017 wine re­leases, which are in turn the most spring-like of wines: fresh and zesty, burst­ing with fruit that was still on vines only a few short months ago. Redo­lent of the warmer days to come and meals once again en­joyed in the sun, they are also per­fect for en­joy­ing along­side new-sea­son pro­duce.

The new vin­tage wines mak­ing their ap­pear­ance are those re­quir­ing only the briefest at­ten­tion in the win­ery, es­sen­tially just squeezed, fer­mented, set­tled down in a stain­less steel tank for a few months, then bot­tled and out the door. Typ­i­cally, the first to emerge from the cel­lars are white wines such as sauvi­gnon blanc, ries­ling, pinot gris and gewürz­traminer (the so-called “aro­matic” va­ri­eties), as well as un­oaked chardon­nay and rosé. This light­est of wine­mak­ing touches helps pre­serve the pure, vi­brant fruit for which New Zealand wine is renowned, faith­fully cap­tur­ing the in­tense va­ri­etal char­ac­ter­is­tics.

The typ­i­cally lighter-bod­ied style of these wines suits the fresh greens and lighter fare we tend to seek as the days grow longer. Keep­ing the wine/ Mas­ter of Wine Emma Jenk­ins wel­comes the fresh new vin­tages now be­ing re­leased – they’re the per­fect part­ners for the sea­son’s lighter fare. food flavour bases in line works best. Sauvi­gnon blanc has a natural affin­ity with as­para­gus as the flavours echo one an­other – add a lit­tle goat’s cheese, per­haps in a tart or pasta, to cre­ate a di­vinely de­li­cious com­bi­na­tion. Ries­ling gives a zesty lift to seafood or Mid­dle Eastern foods, as well as cit­rus-based puds – just take care to marry its sweet­ness level to your dish. Gewürz­traminer is a bit of a mouth­ful to pro­nounce but is also sat­is­fy­ingly mouth-fill­ing in style – try it with a rus­tic ter­rine and good bread.

Oc­to­ber is also a great time to spring-clean your usual wine choices and try some­thing dif­fer­ent. The va­ri­eties al­barino and gruner velt­liner (of Span­ish and Aus­trian ori­gins) are now quite com­mon on wine lists and even su­per­mar­ket shelves, of­fer­ing zippy, slightly her­bal whites with strong, fruity bases – think sauvi­gnon blanc with an ex­otic twist. French va­ri­ety viog­nier has been es­tab­lished in New Zealand a while longer, of­fer­ing a fuller-bod­ied, rich stone­fruit char­ac­ter that is won­der­ful with roast chicken or pork. And let’s not for­get to add a glass or two of sparkling wine on a warm week­end evening... Ital­ian pros­ecco is spring’s per­fect light, fruity fizz.

The bright, lively wines be­low will have you em­brac­ing new vi­nous ad­ven­tures in no time.

Oc­to­ber is a great time to spring­clean your wine choices.

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