Wine match: Riesling in the summertime

Whatever else you include, don't forget to stock a bottle or two of riesling - any self-respecting summer wine list shouldn't be without one or two.

This most under-rated of Kiwi wines is also one of the most versatile.

It comes in a range of styles from bone dry through medium full-bodied to luscious botrytised stickies.

It can be enjoyed as an aperitif, accompany a main meal, morph easily into a dessert companion, or even sipped into the small hours under a starry, moonlit sky.

Examples abound: Rippon vineyards in Wanaka make excellent rieslings, the schist in the ground seeming to lend an attractive, clean flinty feel.

The Rippon Jeunesse Young Vines Riesling (RRP about $24) is a crisp, uncomplicated apple-and-limey wine well worth seeking out.

Add some class to that waters' edge fish and chip picnic with this wine, although it will go well with a frittata (left) as well.

You'll get perfectly respectable rieslings from the larger producers for considerably less - Montana, Villa Maria sometimes discounted at under $15 - but it's some of the smaller winemakers who make something of a fetish of the variety.

Mud House 2008 Riesling ($15-$20) is good value, John Forrest in Marlborough is a multi-award winning riesling expert: you'll be on solid ground with any of the Forrest range.

And Nelson turns up a few expressive, minerally ones as well: look out for Te Mania, Woollaston, or the biodynamic Richmond Plains labels.

After pinot noir it is also my favourite Central Otago variety, so something like the Peregrine Riesling 2007 ($22) is worth more than a sniff.

- Simon Cunliffe


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