Piquette, blends, ambers next trends


Once just a light, lunchtime quaffer for French farm workers, piquette is undergoing a resurgence.

Perhaps it’s the growing trend to re-use/reduce waste, possibly the attraction of low alcohol (often in the 5%-7% range), or a simple desire for a younger market to embrace and explore new flavours, but could piquette become the next big trend?

Pomace (the leftover grape skins from winemaking) still contains grape sugars, acids and flavour after pressing.

Winemakers add water and a little sugar, which restarts fermentation creating a lighter, crisper, sometimes tangy wine that can be a crossover drink between beer and wine drinkers.

Some utilise a combo of different grape skins or even fruit, like apples, to create a new palette of flavours.

The low ingredient cost from what is basically a waste product can also make these inexpensive. Alex Craighead Kindeli and Garage Project are local advocates.


Not a sudden new trend, but one that is quietly gathering momentum.

We have become so used to wines labelled varietally, that consumers happily buy their bottle of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir or shiraz, being pretty confident about the flavours within.

We already recognise blends such as cabernet merlot or merlot malbec as valid interpretations of the art of blending, but many winemakers like playing around with less conventional blends in the belief that the sum is greater than the parts.

Combos of riesling, pinot gris and gewurztraminer (Te Whare Ra Toru a standout) have led the way, but there is much more to explore.

Orange (or Amber) Wines

Quite simply, an ancient winemaking process common in the Russian republic of Georgia where white grapes are treated like reds, the skins (and possibly seeds and stalks) are left in contact with the fermenting wine for periods of weeks or even several months.

The wine picks up colour from the skins, along with flavour compounds, phenolics and tannins creating totally different textures and mouthfeel in the finished wine. Often a restaurant favourite as these really do embrace food.

Here are three local examples.

2020 Carrick The Death of Von Tempsky

Price RRP $36
Rating  Excellent 

Florality, chamomile,
citrus, roasted
pineapple, orange skin.
The acidity runs
through this like an
electric current, jolting
the senses awake with
powerful chewiness
and a perception of
spritz, yet a sense of
delicacy under the
frame. Time sees this
fatten up, becoming
rounder with
pineapple, sherbet and
preserved lemon
getting the juices


2019 Aurum Amber

Price RRP $45
Rating Excellent 

Hints of fresh yeast,
spices, smoke, soft
toffees and quince.
Chewy entry, the
tannins and phenolics
driving this along with
real grip on the palate.
A little earth, fresh
herb and sweet fruit lift
evolves to lemon, just
ripe apricot and kernel
on the lip-smacking
close. Shows its
credentials as a style
that will shine with
food. The ’18, tasted
alongside, had evolved


2020 Zephyr Agent Field Blend

Price RRP $39.99
Rating Excellent to Outstanding

Incredible pungency to
this with notes of cut
grass, preserved lemon,
orange, fresh herbs, fruit
sherbet and a wild,
slightly funky element. In
the mouth it’s home-
made lemonade, herbs,
feijoa and spices and
while crispness is to the
fore, there’s an
underlying textural
richness. Suppleness
with a delightfully long
and fresh finish.



Add a Comment