Charmian Smith

Wine reviews: Aromatic wines

Wine reviews: Aromatic wines

These aromatic wines ooze generous fruit, but some have such high alcohol they leave you with a burn in the mouth. However, the best, as always, are well balanced.

WINE REVIEWS: Pinot Noir

WINE REVIEWS: Pinot Noir

I often think some top end pinot noirs are released too young. The best need time to mature. Cellar some of these for another two-five years to develop their full potential.

WINE REVIEW: Chardonnay

WINE REVIEW: Chardonnay

Some very stylish, complex chardonnay is made in New Zealand, often with indigenous yeast and barrel fermentation. These are wines to savour and linger over.

WINE REVIEW: Red wines

WINE REVIEW: Red wines

When a wine has a lot of acidity or grippy tannins, food is called for to mitigate the often harsh or rough finish, but when the wine is in balance, which sometimes comes with maturity, they can be delicious. The best, of course, are harmonious even when young and therefore very drinkable.

WINE REVIEW: Pinot Gris

WINE REVIEW: Pinot Gris

Pinot gris often has lush fruit and a little sweetness which makes it good with some chicken dishes and Asian cuisines, or just to enjoy by itself. They are, however, high in alcohol, and not lunchtime wines unless you plan a nap afterwards.

Renaissance resonates

Renaissance resonates

One of the most powerful monarchs in 16th-century Europe, Catherine de Medici is the subject of a new musical work. Charmian Smith reports on a masque about the French queen whose intriguing mix of charm and menace enabled her, against all odds, to wield power for good and evil.

WINE REVIEWS: Sauvignon Blanc

WINE REVIEWS:  Sauvignon Blanc

Marlborough sauvignon blanc is some of the best in the world and with some of the best from Marlborough in this tasting, it's not surprising I handed out a few rare (for me) 4- and 5-star ratings. Those who can't be bothered with ordinary sauvignon should try these.

Moment in time

Moment in time

A year as University of Otago Frances Hodgkins Fellow has built on Patrick Lundberg's early excitement about his art. Charmian Smith reports.

Getting back to the roots of the process

Getting back to the roots of the process

The 11th Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration late last month was its usual mix of good wine, good food, good company and thoughtful presentations. More than 200 delegates, replete with fine food and wine are wending their way home to the US, Europe, Asia, Australia, and of course elsewhere in New Zealand. Charmian Smith reports on the maturing of the region.

WINE REVIEWS: Rosé

WINE REVIEWS: Rosé

Rosés used to be pink, sweetish and fruity but some are becoming more interesting, especially when matured on lees or fermented in old oak. The variety makes a difference too, with merlot and the cabernets usually giving more structure than pinot noir.