Charmian Smith

Orchestra is his instrument

Orchestra is his instrument

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's last concert for the year, ''In the Hall of the Mountain King'', will be conducted by Ben Northey. Charmian Smith talks to the Australian conductor.

Vertical tastings show the worth of cellaring good wine

Vertical tastings show the worth of cellaring good wine

Many small to medium-sized family-owned vineyards make fine wine and two I visited recently - Rippon in Central Otago and Dog Point in Marlborough - were celebrating milestones.

WINE REVIEWS: Pinot Noir

WINE REVIEWS: Pinot Noir

Pinot noir usually needs a year or two to show its best, so it's no wonder many of the 2013s in this tasting tasted better a day or two after they were opened when they'd mellowed and integrated a little.

After 20 years, a favourite returns

After 20 years, a favourite returns

Ladies Night hasn't been seen at the Fortune Theatre for 20 years so it's time for a revisit, says Lara Macgregor, artistic director of the Fortune Theatre. Charmian Smith reports.

A wine like Alex

A wine like Alex

Every Labour weekend for the past six years the Alexandra basin winegrowers have held a new-release tasting in Clyde.

WINE REVIEWS: Sauvignon Blanc

WINE REVIEWS: Sauvignon Blanc

Most of the better 2014 sauvignon blancs will benefit from another few months or a year's bottle age, but some deliciously potent ones turned up in this group.

Cookbooks

Cookbooks

A gorgeously illustrated coffee-table book, Movida Solera (Penguin) explores the food of Andalusia.

Dancing with carols

Dancing with carols

Putting on a full ballet production is always a big job but A Christmas Carol is bigger than most, ballet master Daniel de Andrade tells Charmian Smith.

WINE REVIEWS: Syrah/Shiraz

WINE REVIEWS: Syrah/Shiraz

A friend recently told me he was enjoying Hawkes Bay syrah as a change from pinot noir. It can be exciting to explore other varieties. Here are some syrah/shiraz, merlot and cabernet blends.

Kiwi kitchens forever evolving

Kiwi kitchens forever evolving

Our kitchens have changed remarkably over the past century, from three-room complexes with scullery, pantry and kitchen where a housewife might spend all day cooking, through small single-room kitchens to large modern open-plan ones, which look professional but may seldom be used. Charmian Smith talks to Prof Helen Leach about her new book Kitchens.