New Zealand Wine Reviews

WINE REVIEWS: Merlot

WINE REVIEWS: Merlot

Even in good vintages like 2013 in Hawkes Bay, most merlots and blends benefit from extra bottle age to allow the sometimes rough edges of youth to mellow. When the premium 2013 reds are released, expect some fine wines.

WINE REVIEWS: Sauvignon Blanc

WINE REVIEWS: Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc can bring a fresh breath of summer into the dark and cold of winter, but the richer, oaked versions, sometimes called fumé (smoky) blanc, have more complexity and interest and can be worth lingering over.

WINE REVIEWS: Chardonnay

WINE REVIEWS: Chardonnay

2013 was a good vintage in Hawkes Bay. Craggy Range winemaker Matt Stafford describes it as the ''vintage of a generation''. A tasting of his whites a few weeks ago revealed elegant wines already harmonious, with charming but restrained fruit and nicely balanced acidity, that will no doubt be long-lived.

WINE REVIEWS: Pinot Noir

WINE REVIEWS: Pinot Noir

Simple young pinot noir can be fresh, lively and charming, but most benefit from time in bottle for the components to integrate and develop complexity.

Wine review: Sauvignon Blanc

Wine review: Sauvignon Blanc

I enjoy sauvignon blanc at this time of year, just before the new vintage is released. A year's bottle age softens and integrates the flavours so they are less assertive, although still fresh and crisp as sauvignon should be.

WINE REVIEWS: Pinot Noir

WINE REVIEWS: Pinot Noir

Pinot noir often needs some bottle age to mellow and harmonise; no more than two to three years for some, while the best will continue to develop interest and complexity for five to 10 years or even longer.

WINE REVIEWS: European wines

WINE REVIEWS: European wines

Sometimes modern versions of traditional European wines like Spanish tempranillo-based red from the Rioja region can be good value despite coming halfway around the world. They offer a different flavour and structure from the New Zealand and Australian wines we are used to.

WINE REVIEWS: Pinot Gris

WINE REVIEWS: Pinot Gris

Pinot gris is diversifying from the sweet, fruity high alcohol wines of recent years. Now more savoury, textural versions are appearing as winemakers age the wine on lees or even do some barrel fermentation.

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