Something for the barbecue

We had a barbecue on Christmas evening, a convivial and low-key affair, once I got past my panic at having forgotten to check/refill the gas bottle (a swish indicated there was, thankfully, plenty).

Recent long, warm evenings are crying out for a bit more barbecue action and I do rather like bubbles or rose while I’m cooking, but hanker for something fuller bodied to go with the robust flavours of the food.

On the white front, chardonnay can certainly fit the bill, while generous reds of almost any style will cut the mustard.

Keeping it all Kiwi today!




2018 Brennan
Gibbston chardonnay 
Price: $35
Rating: Very good to excellent
Delightful fragrance, 
grape/musk, subtle oak 
nuances, nothing juts out 
here. Sweetly fruited 
entry, spice and citrus 
notes with a touch of 
sour cream. Adds 
elements, nutty 
nuances with a tangy 
note running through 
to the finish. With 
aeration this 
develops quite 
quickly, so one to 
drink now, rather 
than a keeper, I 
2019 Scout
Southern Valleys
Marlborough chardonnay 
Price: $36
Rating: Excellent to 
Smoke, warm baguette, a 
influence, subtle 
stonefruit and peach 
with a wisp of salinity. 
Delightful freshness 
and crispness to the 
palate marrying 
tropical fruit, 
preserved lemon and 
nutty nuances. Lovely 
integration, there’s a 
completeness to this 
offering drinkability 
now yet with potential 
2016 Lake Chalice
Marlborough chardonnay 
Price: $49.99
Rating: Excellent
Hints of struck match, 
butterscotchy oak, 
creamy malo notes and 
smoke. At first, a 
youthful edginess, hints 
of banana and rough 
sawn timber backed 
by good flavour 
intensity and depth. 
With air this kicks 
into another gear, 
developing creamy 
richness, building 
significantly in depth 
and coming into a 
really lovely place to 
enjoy. A real improver.
2017 Black Cottage
Hawke’s Bay merlot 
Price: $17
Rating: Very good to 
Dusty stones, spices, ripe 
blackberry and mixed 
berries. Vibrant medium-
weight palate with 
berryfruit to the fore, 
juicy, bright, a little 
sour cherry tanginess 
developing with 
aeration. Good tannic 
underpinning this 
would work well with 
food. The fruit hangs 
on the long, dry 
close. Super value for 
2018 Ngatarawa
Glazebrook Black Label 
Hawke’s Bay merlot 
Price: $35
Rating: Excellent
Darker fruited, richer 
nose, liqueur fruits, oak 
spices/cloves, a hint 
of tea leaf later. 
Medium to full-
bodied with excellent 
fruit intensity and 
depth of flavour, 
nicely balanced 
tannins. Aeration 
adds charcuterie/
savoury nuances, 
with a little leaf on 
the finish. Nice 
balance and 
2016 Thyme Hill
Central Otago merlot 
Price: $35
Rating: Very good to excellent
Dusty gravel, mixed wild 
& dried herbs, fruit cake 
and dark fruits, oak 
spices with time. A light 
to medium weight 
style that has a 
crunchy, playful, 
almost Beaujolais-
like quality to it. Plum 
and berries lie at the 
core with dried herbs 
and tea-leaf, flowing 
to a lightly charry 
finish. Some youthful 
sappiness adds to 
the appeal. An 
interesting alternative 
to Central pinot.

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