A bit of variation keeps things interesting

If variety is the spice of life, then hopefully today’s varied selection is the touch of seasoning you’re after.

I enjoy mixing up my tasting lineups, as I enjoy mixing up the wines I drink with dinner: sometimes weather and the mood might suggest bubbles, another day white, or another red, and here we have all three.

There’s a newish addition to the bubbles market with the French house Mumm releasing its first Otago bubbly and chardonnay from Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough, while a trio of Central pinots conclude things.

NV Mumm Cuvee Central Blanc de Noirs

Price RRP $59.99 
Rating Excellent 
Fragrant brioche, 
wisps of lanolin, 
smoke, underlying 
berryfruit. Rich in the 
mouth matched by 
vibrancy and 
crispness. On the one 
hand there’s honey 
on brioche, on the 
other raspberry acid 
drops, apple and a 
long, tingly sherbetty 
citrus finish. The fruit 
notes build, nicely 
balanced by the 
toastiness. Nicely 
done and very 

2022 Riverby Estate Single Vineyard Old Vines Reserve Chardonnay 

Price RRP $35 
Rating Excellent 
Classy, perfumed oak 
leads, bran biscuit, 
caraway seed perhaps, 
tropical fruits, clotted 
cream. A fat and rich 
nose, yet the palate takes 
a cooler path, nectarine 
flesh joins tropical fruits, 
biscuity/nutty notes with 
a rapier thrust of acidity 
keeping this vibrant. The 
nose swells, the palate 
fruit sweet yet tangy, 
flavours hang in the 
mouth. Youthful, would 
like to see this in the 

2022 Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay

Price RRP $39.99 
Rating Excellent 
Smoke and white 
flowers, subtlety, 
adding grilled nuts. 
Lime zest and grapefruit 
start the palate journey, 
a touch of fruit-pithy 
phenolics adding to the 
texture, fruit flavours in 
a riper spectrum. Nice 
tingliness on the long 
carry. Dreaming of this 
with a dish of sole fillet. 
Returning to this, it 
dances in the mouth, 
there’s a sense of 
effortlessness and 
balance. You really 
want another glass. 

2021 McArthur Ridge Southern Tor Alexandra Pinot Noir  

Price RRP $39.99 
Rating Excellent 
A sense of refinement, 
savoury notes, smoke, 
rhubarb, plum, licorice, 
shifting to subtler red 
fruits and fragrance. A 
cool feel, lovely depth 
of flavour yet pinosity 
and lightness of feel ... 
weightlessness. A fine 
elegant frame, 
surprising chewiness 
picking up some oak 
toast notes and wild 
thyme, balance and 
length. A wine to take 
your time over. 

2021 Aces & Arrows Central Otago Pinot Noir  

Price RRP $27 
Rating Very Good to Excellent 
Subtlety to this, 
youthful, hints of char, 
perfume and spice 
developing. The palate 
steps up to the plate, 
there’s richness and 
fruit intensity within a 
medium-weight frame, 
framed by some charry 
oak. With time dried 
fruits come into play 
which accentuate its 
sweetly fruited qualities. 
This is a real crowd 
pleaser that hits the 
button for immediate 

2022 McArthur Ridge Brassknocker Alexandra Pinot Noir  

Price RRP $24.99 
Rating Very Good to Excellent  
Fragrant and refreshing, 
mixed fruits, spice, oak 
nuances, rhubarb 
perhaps, it feels bright 
and open. The palate 
echoes the nose, bright 
and fresh, crisp acidity 
creating a zesty quality 
that’s a nice 
counterpoint to the fruit 
sweetness while a 
touch of tamarillo 
tanginess enlivens the 
finish. Honest, heart on 
its sleeve stuff, plenty 
here to enjoy now.