Sunday, 7 September 2014

New Zealand wine

My husband and I were in Los Angeles earlier this year. My previous trips to the States had left me somewhat lacklustre over their acclaimed Napa Valley wines. They seemed too new, too tart, too much like metho. 

So I was hesitant when I picked up the wine list at the bar in our hotel, the Loews. And blow me down if NZ's Brancott Estate Sav Blanc wasn't up there as #1 on the list. A bottle of this fine wine please sir, I heralded to the barman, who quite rightly did his best to sway me towards Napa. He didn't succeed. 

I can't really remember what I used to drink before I discovered the easy delights of NZ Sav Blanc. Perhaps it was chardonnay, maybe it was scotch? All I know is that the NZ one rarely fails in delivery and joy. And there's so many to choose from! 

So being in NZ again is a chance to try the wines that are not as easy to get at home. Although with an iPad and wi-fi you can get anything. Let me rephrase and say that here are a few I've tried and really enjoyed. Because I've tried more than a few... 

Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc

I'm not a wine connoisseur, I'm not trained to identify notes and palettes and lingering something or the other.

But what I can tell you is that this one is a cracker with some cheese and toasted rye bread, or some deep-fried calamari with home-made tartare sauce.

Perfect for that late afternoon sitting around having a chat and a snack. While you overlook Wellington Harbour.

Lake Challice Sauvignon Blanc

Had this at lunch time, with a seafood penne and caprese salad.

It was delightful. Had to have a second glass. Without wanting to sound like an all-out wanker, it matched the food perfectly. Almost too good to be true.

It was pouring with rain, some gale force wind was howling about the place. We were ensconced in an Italian cucina right on the bay, watching the water being whipped about while we commiserated with those outside and sipped our fabulous wine.

Could possibly go back there tomorrow for another glass.

Nevis Bluff Pinot Noir

Stumbled on this one on our way to dinner on Friday night. We were booked somewhere down in fabulous Courtenay Place but saw this adorable bar, no bigger than a hallway, crammed with tiny tables overflowing with candles. We grabbed the last remaining seats and asked for a recommendation. This cheeky pinot was what we got. Mind you, it came at $16 a glass but it was so good we stayed for a second.

I'm trying to remember if we got to dinner...??

So there's my top three. Not sure if any of them have been tried and tested on anyone but me. Not sure if they get any gongs in any parts of the world. Wine is totally subjective. It is also about diversifying and developing your tastes.

Because never forget, I asked for Asti Riccadonna to be served at my first wedding in 1986. I'd like to think I've come a fair way since then...