2008 Frizzell Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay $22
Great art and excellent winemaking combine in this collaboration between Hawke’s Bay artist Dick Frizzell and winemaker Rod McDonald. As its label says, this chardonnay is peachy, cool and has flavours of nectarine and apricots. It’s a welcome newcomer to this price range, over delivering in taste.
2007 Brightside Nelson Riesling $15
Made with grapes grown on Kaimira Estate vineyard in Nelson, this light, limey-tasting riesling seems to ooze freshness, delicacy and deliciousness in every sip. At this price, it’s outstanding value, served lightly chilled.
2008 Ara Pathway Marlborough Pinot Noir $20
Named Pathway after the Maori word ‘Ara’ (which means ‘pathway’), this new pinot noir delivers better flavours, more body and riper tastes than most pinot noirs at this price. It’s a great value everyday pinot noir that represents this noble grape well.
2008 Clifford Bay Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc $21
Silver medal? This wine is worthy of at least a gold. Succulent, thirst-quenching and with fresh green plum flavours, this wine lingers on the taste buds long after you’ve taken the last sip. And, yes, it won a silver medal winner at the 2008 New Zealand International Wine Show.
2008 Vavasour Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc $21
First made in 1989 from Awatere Valley grapes grown at Vavasour’s own vineyard, this is one of the star sauvignon blancs made in New Zealand every year. It’s a style deviation in every way from sauvignon blancs made from Marlborough’s Wairau Plains. By contrast, this wine tastes fresher, has less out-there fruitiness and a lingering finish. Love it with seafood of any kind.
2008 Redwood Pass by Vavasour Sauvignon Blanc $12
Sold mostly online, this second tier sauvignon blanc offers great value for money as an everyday fresh white wine. Made with grapes grown in the Awatere Valley, this wine is characterized by clean, bright, grassy flavours.
2008 Goldwater Wairau Valley Sauvignon Blanc $22
It’s easy to see how this succulent Marlborough sauvignon blanc won the New Zealand Champion Sauvignon Blanc Trophy and the trophy for Best Overall White Wine at last year’s Air New Zealand Wine. A year ago, 2008 was the biggest ever harvest of grapes in New Zealand, but for wines that were well-made quantity and quality went hand in hand. This is great drinking now.