A couple of years' bottle age makes a difference to the pleasure many reds afford, as age allows the acids and tannins to mellow and soften, eliminating the rough, raw edge some young wines show.
The evolution of Central Otago pinot noir over the past two and a-half decades has been a rapid journey from grudging recognition from Northerners that wine could actually be grown and made here, through developing a reputation for distinctive pinot noir, to international recognition as one of the country's major wine regions.
At the other end of the scale from many of the single-vineyard wines at the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration are the Central pinots of varying quality made outside the region by multinational and other big producers, such as Matua Valley, Kim Crawford, Cloudy Bay, Yealands, Villa Maria, Brancott and Allan Scott, Mud House and Rock Ferry, as well a overseas dealers, including buyers' own brands for supermarkets, which can be as far flung as Germany, Hong Kong and South Africa.
Late last year, New Zealand Wine Growers announced a research programme into high quality, lower calorie and lower alcohol ''lifestyle'' wines facilitated by a new Primary Growth Partnership between the wine industry and the Ministry for Primary Industries.
A fascination with growing unusual things has led Kate Wendelgelst to growing mushrooms. Charmian Smith reports.
There's no point in having healthy food if it's not delicious, according to Nicola Brown. Charmian Smith talks to her about her raw ''cooking'' classes.
Sometimes you come across wines that are quite different from the run of the mill and this line-up includes an unusual variety, an unusual treatment for gewurztraminer and an unusual but delicious and versatile late harvest sauvignon blanc.
It is often difficult to match wine with Asian foods, but recently a few wines have appeared, such as Spice Trail, which are blended specially to complement these cuisines that are often not wine-friendly.
Pinot gris comes in several styles, from lush, oily wines with firm structure to new, lighter, lower-alcohol, crisp versions ideal for summer lunches. An extra year's bottle age has benefited some of these wines.
The Fortune Theatre opens its 40th anniversary season on Saturday with a new play by Roger Hall. Charmian Smith talks to New Zealand's best-known playwright about his new play and his long association with the theatre.
Five courses of beef or lamb make for a long lunch, but when they are cooked by Beef and Lamb ambassadors, they are intricate, innovative and interesting.
Pasta, noodles, dumplings, wontons, ravioli, whatever you call them, dough strips filled or plain, boiled, steamed or fried and often served with a sauce, are eaten from China and Japan to Turkey and Italy.
While passing through Central over the Christmas and New Year break, I retreated to a few cellar doors to escape the wet and windy weather.
Next year will again be busy in the Dunedin art scene, with at least three arts festivals as well as local companies and visiting groups performing in the city. Charmian Smith looks ahead to what's in store for 2014.
Ideal summer drinking, the best Marlborough sauvignon blanc is intensely flavoured, but even styles lighter in flavour or alcohol can be attractive refreshers if well balanced and not too aggressively acidic.
You may notice a number of ''light'' wines appearing on shelves and in cafes.
A new gallery, a collaboration between a father and son, has opened in Dowling St, Dunedin which is fast becoming an arts precinct. Charmian Smith reports.