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Wines of the week

Wines of the week

Wines of the week column by Joelle Thomson, on MiNDFOOD.

Wines of the week

2005 Perle Vintage Yellowglen $24

Meeting old friends can go one of two ways, in this case it’s all good and the old friend is really just a medium term acquaintance that I’m enjoying getting to know again – in a word Perle. This vintage bubbly – “vintage” here meaning it’s made from grapes grown in one year, 2005 – is a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. And while this price firmly puts it in the category of premium for most of us, you won’t be disappointed with a cent spent here.

2008 Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Dry Riesling $32

Operatic names usually leave me feeling inadequately educated but now that I know Bel Canto means beautiful singing, I can only agree how well it fits here. This is the first time Pegasus Bay’s most risqué riesling has been called Bel Canto.

It’s the third time winemakers Matt Donaldson and Lynnette Hudson have made this wine. The grapes were picked later than most of their riesling grapes, then aged in old French oak barrels. So far, pretty much as expected. This wine deviates from their norm because it was fermented with wild yeasts and unclarified. It lives up to its optimistic name.

2008 Pegasus Bay Riesling $28

This North Canterbury riesling is always a star and this year it’s more approachable than most with its very slight spritzy bubble and because of its intensely apricot, honey and peach flavours. A total winner for riesling lovers and others…Try it.

1999 Mumm Vintage $120

A first for New Zealand, this vintage bubbly from Champagne will redefine your idea of the Mumm Champagne house. Made mostly from pinot noir (64 per cent of the wine) with chardonnay making up the balance, it’s a full-bodied bubbly with savoury flavours and a lovely, relatively low alcohol content of just 9.8 per cent.

2008 Sacred Hill Merlot Cabernet $21

This big, full-bodied dry red from Hawke’s Bay is great value for money, offering up savoury spicy flavours that remind me of fennel, aniseed and even a hint of earthiness. A lovely introduction to winter for merlot and cabernet fans.

2008 Moncellier Pinot Noir $35

Moncellier Wines in Central Otago is a new partnership between wine lover Greg Rowdon and former winery owner Bill Spence; Moncellier meaning “my cave”. This new pinot noir was made using wild yeasts to start the fermentation (rather than using a commercial yeast strain to do the work), which in theory lends the wine a more pronounced savoury aroma. It also tastes of lively pinot noir-ish cherry flavours too.

2007 Cypress Chardonnay $20

Cypress Wines is a brand new venture from the Lawson family (formerly of Te Awa Farm winery) and this is the first of their four debut wines. Rounded and full-bodied, it’s made from Hawke’s Bay chardonnay grapes that were partly handpicked and all tank-fermented – giving it a fresh, bright style.

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