Wine match

So the salmon's about to go on the barbie and you discover the wine cupboard is bare.

What's it going to be?

Depending on how it is prepared, salmon can be a bit oily and rich - all those healthy Omega 3 oils.

So you may want a wine that is sharp enough to cut through that, but not so "thin" as to be overpowered by the richness of the fish.

And if it's going on the barbecue then it's probably a warm evening - you'll want "refreshing", too.

For me, it's a choice between a fuller-bodied sauvignon and a sharper chardonnay, probably from Marlborough, although if you could find a reliably tart pinot gris - a Central Otago Rockburn, perhaps?

That might do the trick; and since personal preference always trumps received wisdom, if you prefer a red, perhaps even a lighter pinot noir.

On this occasion I'm going for one of my favourite New Zealand white wines, the Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon 2008.

This cracker of a wine from Waipara, North Canterbury, boasts more depth than most Kiwi savvies, the semillon making it feel more substantial, while not compromising the classic zingyness.

It's getting up there in price, at about $28 - an alternative, something like the Saint Clair Pioneer Block 18 Snap Block Sauvignon Blanc 2009, is about $24 - but if you want something a little more quaffable pick a standard, but usually excellent, Marlborough savvy on special.

You can usually find a reliable label - Oyster Bay, Shingle Peak, Montana Reserve, Sacred Hill - discounted to $12-$15.


- Simon Cunliffe


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