Wine...

Ski & Snow - - Competition -

As an­other win­ter set­tles in, here at Scenic Cel­lars we con­tinue cater­ing to peo­ple head­ing to the slopes of Mt Ruapehu. Over the 25 years we’ve been as­sist­ing skiers and board­ers with their après ski we’ve seen New Zealand wine tastes de­velop due to the vast im­prove­ment in wine pro­duc­tion, and the im­proved avail­abil­ity and qual­ity of im­ported wines. The days of head­ing for the slopes with a cask or three of du­bi­ous ‘plonk’ and some mulling spices, has been re­placed with a mix­ture of bench­mark Cen­tral Otago Pinot Noir, Hawkes Bay Syrah, South Aus­tralian Shi­raz, and maybe a few tasty Tus­can or Span­ish wines thrown in. Ok, and per­haps a few mulling spices for old times sake. .

Af­ter a long day on the slopes, pri­or­ity num­ber one is get­ting warm and com­fort­able, and al­though a Rosé or Ries­ling is great on a warm sum­mers evening, it’s not go­ing to cut it by the fire with aching mus­cles. Think ripe and fuller bod­ied, whether the wine is white or red, and don’t for­get some of those more ‘con­tem­pla­tive’ tip­ples for later in the night like for­ti­fied wines, whisky and brandy.

De­spite the pop­u­lar A.B.C. (Any­thing But Chardon­nay) phrase, win­ter sees many white wine drinkers put aside their glasses of Ries­ling or Pinot Gris to re­turn to the sat­is­fy­ing, fuller fruited and oakier Chardon­nays. Ap­prox­i­mately 50% of our New Zealand white wine sales are Chardon­nay over the win­ter months, take the Cape Camp­bell Re­serve Chardon­nay 2005 for ex­am­ple, re­leased at the end of sum­mer this beauty has al­ready scooped up sev­eral awards in­clud­ing Gold at the In­ter­na­tional Wine Chal­lenge in Lon­don. It’s worth keep­ing in mind though, that chill­ing white wine will make the wine seem more re­fresh­ing, but it does also make the wine seem leaner and less fruity. The sim­ple an­swer for white wine drink­ing in win­ter, is drink them closer to room tem­per­a­ture to get the most out of the wine’s fruit char­ac­ters and tex­ture. Those low acid, oily tex­tured Pinot Gris or Gewurz­traminer could still be per­fect on a win­ters evening, try one from Caves de Ribeauville, a highly re­garded pro­ducer in Al­sace.

Win­ter is of­ten a time red wine lovers en­joy and as tes­ta­ment to this Pinot Noir is now eas­ily our big­gest sell­ing red wine style. While many are light and el­e­gant enough to en­joy in sum­mer, Pinot Noir is also a wine that can be drunk ca­su­ally, by its self or paired with a wide range of foods. Win­ter weather and heav­ier foods suit this red wine per­fectly. Heav­ier, tan­nic red wine styles such as pre­mium Hawkes Bay Mer­lot, Aus­tralian Shi­raz, French Bour­gogne, Ital­ian Barolo and Span­ish Tem­pranillo, come to the fore when en­joyed with heartier meals. Bleas­dale’s Bre­merview Shi­raz from South Aus­tralia or Valle de Sali­nas from Ye­cla, South­ern Spain be­come a per­fect match to the flavour in­ten­sity, fat and pro­tein of red meat dishes served on a snowy night.

So next time you’re pass­ing through Taupo, head­ing to cut some pow­der on the slopes or re­turn­ing back home af­ter a week­end of moun­tain mad­ness, drop by and see us at Scenic Cel­lars on the Lake front, our staff can help you ex­pand your drink­ing hori­zons with some great win­ter warm­ers, stock up for those bliz­zard-bound evenings by the fire or help pick your party tip­ples to cel­e­brate your best run of the sea­son!

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