Handy book on Alexandra wines

Journalist, author, beer columnist, and Earnscleugh resident Ric Oram has published a book on the Alexandra wine region.

Latitude 45.15S among the world's southernmost vineyards delves into the 19th-century wine history of the area before tackling the plucky 20th-century pioneers in the region. Students of Central wine will find the round-up of currently producing Alexandra vineyards a valuable resource. Other chapters deal with the derivation of winery names, trials and tribulations of grape growing and where wine is made. Naturally, a chapter is devoted to putting to rest the question, which is the southernmost vineyard in the world? Available via Ric at lojo.rico@gmail.com

Te Mata new releases

Toby Buck was recently in Dunedin holding both trade and public tastings of Te Mata's new releases. While preparing for the trade event, he generously found time for a chat.

Te Mata is one of the old hands in Hawke's Bay and remains family-run. The second generation of the Buck family is now in charge, and the third generation is in the wings. Toby was eager to remind me that in the first instance Te Mata is a grower, and roughly 50% of their fruit is sold. A further chunk of the juice/wine it produces is also sold, allowing it to retain the best material for itself. While New Zealand is Te Mata's core market, it exports 50% of production to roughly 45 countries.

Its flagship Coleraine red blend is arguably one of New Zealand's fine wine icons and the 2016 another very worthy addition to the lineage, though the Awatea, at a third of the price is, for me, the wine insider's pick. My favourite of the range though was the Cape Crest sauvignon blanc blend, which nods to Graves rather than Marlborough.

A very smart collection indeed!


2016 Villa Maria
Braided Gravels
Hawke’s Bay Albarinho

Price: $32
Rating: Very good

Fresh and bracing nose, a whiff of seashell and seashore with a backdrop of citrus and sweat. A spritzy tickle on the tongue, spices and citrus follow, deceptively rich with a crunchy mouthfeel leading to a long finish. Rather than as an aperitif, this really feels like it would lap up a plate of seafood rather nicely.




2016 Villa Maria
Cellar Selection
Gisborne Albarinho

Price: $20
Rating: Very good to excellent

The nose leaps out; more peach and stonefruit at first, a green herb nuance follows. Rich and full palate with peach and citrus flowing through the creamy, supple palate with a zesty saline hint making itself felt on the long, juicy close. Lovely, inviting wine that begs another sip.




2016 Left Field
Harvest Jewel
Gisborne Albarinho

Price: $18
Rating: Excellent

Smoke and seashore, lime citrus and a herby, grassy note. Creamy entry, limes, fresh cucumber and herbs lead with stonefruit notes developing. Nice weight and depth to the fruit, the flavours carrying to a boldly, zesty finish with crisp acidity. Very appealing style; a neat each way bet as an aperitif, or smashing with shellfish.


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