Wine match

I've said it before and I'll say it again: riesling is the unsung champion in waiting of New Zealand wines.

In particular South Island riesling, from Nelson, Marlborough, Waipara and Central Otago - have the potential to challenge some of the best.

I suspect some people are confused by the grape, because it is made in a number of different styles.

One of my favourites is the off-dry lower alcohol, "spatlese" version and for those who find dessert wines a little cloying, this is an excellent alternative.

The Pegasus Bay Aria Late Picked Riesling 2008 is a wine that won't fail to impress your European friends as they tuck into the summer pud or pavlova you're serving.

"Spatlese" literally means late-picked so when you see this on a label, or in the gumpf, it usually means a wine with a little residual sugar and lower than usual alcohol.

At Pegasus Bay they fashion this wine so that it has a touch of residual natural carbon dioxide from fermentation that give its an alluring spritzig tickle on the tongue.

Limey, and honeyed with hints of peaches and mandarins, its residual sweetness is undercut by a fresh acidity and minerality.

Hopefully your European friends don't visit too often because this wine will blow the budget at close to $37.

Try the much-decorated Forrest Doctors' Riesling 2009 (RRP, $22) which comes in at a mere 8.5% alcohol and is a lovely wine, again the sweetness and acid nicely counterbalanced; or try any of the Villa Maria rieslings.

There's certainly nothing wrong with their private bin Marlborough wine, which you may find on special for under $15.

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