Biodynamic Wines for World Earth Day

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If ever there as a style of wine that is at one with the earth - it's biodynamic wine. 

The (complex) concept is that everything in the universe is interconnected & biodynamic farming requires a strict adherence to the rhythms of nature, the earth, the cycles of the moon and our movement in relation to the sun & stars.

The concept of Biodynamics started in the 1920's with Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner (yup, the same guy as the schools) and it is a holistic way of farming and viticulture which is the oldest, anti-chemical agricultural around, it's even older than the creation of organic farming in the 1940s. 

Biodynamics is organic viticulture on steroids but without the steroids as the addition of anything non-natural (including commercial yeasts) is prohibited & the way that the vines are tended to are dependent on the biodynamic calendar which in turn based on the lunar calendar & the four essential elements of Earth, Wind, Fire & Water. For example, on Water days you water the vines, but on Air days you leave the vineyard alone & don't do anything. I know it might sound a bit hippy and celestial and I don't mean for it to come across like that because man oh man do they make some incredible wines

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There are only a handful of certified Biodynamic wineries in New Zealand because if you thought organic certification was hard (and expensive) to achieve you haven't seen anything yet...but a lot of wonderful wineries practice biodynamic principles while working toward their certification. One such winery is my favourites - Te Whare Ra in Marlborough. Their 2015 Sauvignon Blanc has beautiful flavours of peach, stonefruit, and capsicum, an elegantly balanced wine available at good liquor stores for $25

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Domaine-Thomson are on the brink of submitting their application for Biodynamic certification as we speak - exciting times! This central Otago winery only makes Pinot Noir & this is clearly a case of find what you're good and do it well. This Pinot Noir has flavours of blackcurrant & black cherries and a sort of spiciness on the tongue which makes me wonder what this wine will taste like in 5 years time. I always find the mark of a quality wine is when you can enjoy it now, but also wonder where it has yet to go over time. To find a Central Otago Pinot Noir for $29 is becoming a more difficult task day by day, to find one of this quality at that price is near impossible. Buy it by the case & see what it does in 1, 3 & 5 years time. 

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Millton in Gisborne was New Zealand's first biodynamic winery which is something that they are (rightfully) very proud of. Their "Opou Vineyard" Chardonnay made me so very happy. This is everything a great Chardonnay should be, teaming with fresh apple & stonefruit flavours & just the right balance of creamy and nutty that begs for you to pour another glass. Some wines make me happy just because they exist - this is one such wine. $32 and worth every penny. If you can stand having it and not drinking, and I'm pretty sure I can't, this is another one to age for the next few years as I'm pretty sure it will get better and better. 

I really have just brushed over the VERY basics here of biodynamics, to know the full story & to understand it properly I recommend checking out the Demeter website for more information. 

To hear my chat with Wendyl today on the Long Lunch on RadioLIVE check out the link below

 

 

 

 

Beautiful White Blends...

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Firstly, what is a blend? Well, that's easy it's simply a mix of one or more wine varietals

Ok,  so that's pretty straightforward , so why blend? There's a few reasons behind that but the most common one is to add complexity to the wine, whether that's complexity of flavour or texture, essentially to add something into the wine that it doesn't already have to make it better. There's a practical reason for blending too, in locations that suffer from high disease pressure (like Bordeaux, the home of blends) it's a good idea not to rely completely on one varietal as if you don't get the grapes you need, well, you're stuffed! As a blend doesn't have to be uniform every year you can make the better crop, the dominant grape that year. Makes sense, hey?

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Red blends are relatively common so I thought I would focus on white blends this week, because, well because why not. Also two of these blend are aromatics & I we all know how super passionate I am about getting more people drinking amazing New Zealand aromatics.

From the team at Elephant Hill in Hawkes Bay comes Le Phant Blanc 2015, this blend is Pinot Gris (45%) Viognier (30%), Chardonnay (20%) and Gewurztraminer (5%). Hawkes Bay is one of those areas that can have high disease pressure so this blend changes every year with the 2016 being Viognier dominant. This wine has lots of delicious stone fruit and apple flavours yet a creamy texture and dry with 1.3 grams of residual sugar - yum! $22 and available at good liquor stores nationwide and enjoy with Thai or Indian food but be mindful of the fact that this is a 14% wine & let's not forget our standards! 

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Iconic Waiheke winery Man O War rarely fails to deliver and their “Gravestone” Sauvignon Semillon  2017 is pretty spectacular. 85% Sauvignon Blanc & 15% Sémillon this wine is named after the basalt boulders that surround the vineyards and is fermented together for three months marry the flavours before bottling. This wine is dry with flavours of gooseberry and lychee and is available from bottlestores for $28 - a good NZ expression of a Bordeaux White. Enjoy with seafood or shellfish like salmon, scallops or prawns. 

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Last but definitely not least is Misty Cove's "Waitaria" 2016, this blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris & Chardonnay from Marlborough is both Organic and limited edition. These are the people who brought us wine in a can, but just because they are innovating in that space, doesn't mean that they are not serious wine makers and this is a seriously good wine. Once blended the wine is matured in oak for a year before release which gives this wine even more complexity & additional flavours of vanilla that we associate with oak aging on top of the peach & melon oozing from this multidimensional, bone dry wine. Enjoy with pretty much anything but I would most likely eat with an all the trimmings roast chicken. A real treat!

Click the link below to hear my chat with Wendyl on the Long Lunch on RadioLIVE today about these beautiful white blends. 

Royal Easter Show Wine Winners

The Royal Easter Show is NZ’s oldest national wine competition in existance since 1953 so it holds a huge amount of kudos to wine a medal & even more to win a trophy. 

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This year 1003 wines judged and only 71 a mere (7.1%) won gold medals. In order to be considered for a trophy, you have to win a gold medal - so already you can see that the winning a trophy really isn't easy. In addition, 221 silver medals and a further 389 bronze medals were awarded, Interestingly enough the most gold medals were awarded to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, followed by Sauvignon Blanc which goes to show that the might doesn't always equal right.

As you all know I'm super passionate about aromatics so I was stoked to see Riesling winning 7 medals - though that may not sound like much when you put it into the context of how many Rieslings were entered it actually makes it the most highly awarded varietal - whoop! Hurrah for Riesling! 

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My other great love, Rosé only won 3 golds, which makes me a bit sad but one that did is one of my favs and that the Ned Pinot Rosé 2017 and it is also the Rosé that won a trophy! The Auckland Agricultural & Pastoral Association Trophy for Champion Rosé in fact. You just cannot go wrong with this Rosé from Marisco, it's typical NZ Rosé made from Pinot Noir & I mean that in a good way, a stunning salmon colour, it oozes Strawberries and Cream & it's without question one of my go-to recommend Rosés as it's widely available and a steal at $18.  This Rosé was one of the first to see the desire for great quality Rosé when few other were producing it & though now it seems like everyone is producing the pink stuff this has lost none of its momentum & is consistently one of NZ's best-selling Rosés. 

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The big winner on the night was a Chardonnay (oh be still my beating heart), specifically, the Te Awa Single Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016. This stunner won New World Trophy for Champion Chardonnay, as well as the top award of the night the Guala Closures NZ Champion Wine. Not only (all of) that, but the man who makes this wine, Richard Painter, won the Trophy for winemaker of the year. Not too shabby for a wine you can pick up all over for $27, and you should, this Chardy has flavours of citrus blossom & stone fruit & is deliciously full-bodied with a just the right amount of creaminess we come to expect from a great Chardonnay. Congrats Te Awa! 

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I've talked about Saint Clair a bit, but rarely about a Merlot, however, the Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Merlot 2016 from Hawkes Bay is definitely worth talking about. Winning the Generator Rental Services Trophy for Champion Merlot this wine is dense & dark to look at put teams with flavours of black plums & blackberry, it's silky smooth to drink & super moreish available widely for $38. This is definitely one to treat yourself to and I didn't find it too heavy and I tend to find a lot of Merlot quite heavy and one dimensional. This beauty really surprised me & I shared this with a Pinot Noir disciple who was also suitably impressed. 

For the full list of winners from the 2018 Easter Show click here  or click the link below to hear my chat with Wendyl Nissan on the RadioLIVE Long Lunch

NZ wines in the USA

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It's definitely not news that New Zealand wines hold international appeal, particularly our iconic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with its grassy, gooseberry, passionfruit zing and that is definitely true of our friends in America. New Zealand was recently announced as the third biggest importer of wine into the US after Italy & France, now considering we make 1% of the world's wine & France & Italy each year vie for the top spot of who produces the most - well that's kinda saying something. It is important to note that this 3rd place status is based on value, not volume. Which is even better as it means that customers in the US are prepared to pay more for a New Zealand wine as a result of our reputation for quality, innovation and sustainable winemaking practices. Our clean, green image overseas means that Americans are prepared to pay more for NZ wine. All that and we gave the world Lorde.....why wouldn't they love us?

Without doubt, the US holds great appeal for NZ winemakers, it's a huge market to conquer but it's definitely not without its challenges as each state has different laws when it comes to the distribution and sale of alcohol.

But we're not here to get into all of that, are we? Nah we want to know which NZ wines do Americans love the most and even more important than that again - what wine are American celebs drinking...

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First, the most popular. Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is the number one selling New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in America selling almost 815,000 cases per year. It's also New Zealand's number one selling Sauv as well. It's easy to see why this wine is popular as it ticks all the boxes of a typical Marlborough Sauvignon blanc, citrus, passionfruit & green capsicum, plus in the US you can pick this up for less than $10 and for about $14 here at home. 

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Oyster Bay, owned by Delegat is the second biggest seller in the US and growing selling 560,000 cases per year, in addition, their Chardonnay is seeing growth in sales & they launch their Pinot Gris stateside this year. Sauvignon Blanc was the first wine Oyster Bay ever created & it has lots of citrus & high acidity teaming with delicious tropical fruits & passionfruit that jumps out of the glass to tell you it is Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is widely available for about $16

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So we know Americans are drinking and loving these wines, but what are the A-List drinking? Well as it turns out at this year's Governor's Lunch - which is the lunch where they announce the nominees for the Academy Awards - they were drinking none other than our very Own Loveblock Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc! True Story! You know what's even cooler? Loveblock is the wine that is made by Kim & Erica Crawford formerly of (yup you've guessed it), Kim Crawford wines! After Kim & Erica sold Kim Crawford to Constellation Wines they set up their own boutique, organic, vegan winery called Loveblock which was the white wine chosen for this prestigious event.

The best part is that the team at Loveblock found this out via Instagram - (Dontcha love social media?), so they actually weren't any part of bidding for this wine to be chosen, it was picked on its merits. This wine is not short on merits, while it has the grassy freshness and distinctive passionfruit we love from Marlborough Sauv you are not overcome by its acidity as everything just seems in balance. This is an elegant wine and definitely deserving of its place on a table full of VIPs. Makes the purchase price of $22 seem like quite the bargain when you know you're drinking like Speilberg! 

Click the link below to hear my chat with Wendyl about our NZ Sauvignon Blancs doing great things in the USA

"Irish" Wines

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I'm a pretty proud (new) Kiwi, but I'm also very proud of being Irish. With St Patrick's Day happening tomorrow I thought I would put a focus on some wines that have an Irish connection, as there aren't really any actual Irish wines as despite the fact that Ireland is an EU designated wine growing country, we commercially produce no wine. The main reason I can see is the weather, as a small wet island nation stuck between the Atlantic, the North Sea & the Irish Sea, it was just never going to happen!

However I have managed to find three winemakers, all of whom were born in Ireland who have are living their wine dreams here in New Zealand, much as I am.

I have to admit, not all of these wines are that easy to find, so perhaps this was a vanity project for me or maybe I hope everyone is a romantic like me who will go to the trouble to seek them out.

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My first Irish wine maker is Darragh Hughes originally of Sligo in the West of Ireland. Darragh came to New Zealand & managed bars & wine lists where his passion for wine developed, so he studied winemaking in Gisborne. After doing the flying winemaker thing to France & California Darragh returned to Hawkes Bay where he started making Pig’s Back and Maxim Wines - the reference to “Pig’s Back” made me smile as this is such an Irish-ism

Darragh’s big passion is Chenin Blanc, he thinks we can make great ones here in NZ and would love to see more of it around, so to honour Darragh’s passion I’m recommending the Maxim Chenin Blanc 2016, this wine is so clean, so fresh & bone dry with a tonne of stonefruit and apple aromas, delish & only $29.

Dermot McCollum originally from Derry in Northern Ireland boasts the oldest Syrah vines in New Zealand, I know, I was pretty impressed too! He owns Stonecroft in Hawkes Bay with his wife and is the winemaker and viticulturist of this fully organic winery in Hawke’s Bay. Their Gimblett Gravels Serine Syrah 2015 at $31 is a wine with great potential, it has lovely blackberry and red currant flavours but it’s quite a dense wine, so this is one I would recommend to buy now, but perhaps cellar for a few more years to let the tannins soften & the fruit shine through!

No story about great Irish winemakers & NZ Wine would be complete without the founding father of Central Otago Alan Brady. Alan came to NZ 1959 from Northern Ireland to work in in newspapers as a journalist and bought land in Gibbston, central in 1976 as a haven away from his busy life. Didn’t take long for him to realise that that’s where he wanted to be so he became a freelancer in 1977  so he could move full time to Gibbston.

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In 1981 Alan started experimenting with plots of grapes, it’s probably really important to realise that Central Otago wasn’t the mecca of wine that it is now, then, no one waw growing wine there and at that time Marlborough was just starting to take off. Alan discovered pretty quickly that Pinot Noir grew pretty beautifully there and he sold Central Otago’s first commercial Pinot Noir in 1987 under the name “Gibbston Valley Wines”. The brand is still hugely successful but Alan has since retired to….well, to keep making wine… Alan makes his own small release wines under the name Wild Irishman.

Seeing an Irish term of endearment on the front of a bottle of wine made my heart soar. “Macushla” is a term of endearment in Ireland back in Ireland which essentially means darling or love (from a chroi mo chusla - the beat of my heart)

‘Macushla” is as beautiful inside as she is out and has silky tannins, and an earthiness balanced with the fruit that is my favourite style of Pinot Noir. A wine that you could drink now or drink in a few years. I know this one is a little pricer at $60 but imagine lighting up the face of your favourite Irish person with a bottle of “Macushla"

Click the link below to hear my chat with Wendyl on the eve of the most Irish day of all :)

A celebration of wines made by women for International Women's Day

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There is no doubt about it, the women's movement is in the middle of a shift that is so powerful, so profound that I can actually feel it in my day to day life.  #MeToo, Time's Up, the Women's Marches....all of it is creating a new reality for women. It's a genuinely exciting time to be alive but this International Women's Day has caused me to reflect once again on the role we have to play as women when it comes to supporting over women. I actually believe that the biggest change will come when women put more thought and effort into supporting other women.

It's unavoidable to see that women are competitive with other women and one opinion theorises that this competition is hardwired into our DNA as a result of being programmed to procreate, essentially, it says, we're still competing with other women just in case sperm becomes a limited commodity.

Sadly this "Mean Girl" behaviour is not limited to high school, As a professional woman I have most certainly experienced cattiness, back stabbing, bitching & even being blocked from advancement by other women. I used to respond in kind...."She said that? Well wait until I tell you about her..... "but in recent years I have called "Time's Up" on my own behaviour by refusing to play the game anymore, by holding myself to a higher standard & by using my energy to support and uplift the amazing women I know deserve it & distancing myself from the people who don't. This change in my energy has made me happier, opened more opportunities for me and brought even more amazing women who want to support & uplift me into my life. Perfect.

So, after that long introduction this week Wendyl & I this week celebrate just some of the amazing women making wine in New Zealand. There are so many of them out there so I have picked three, all of whom are quite different from each other, but the one thing they have in common is that they make pretty amazing wines.

Renee Dale is a funky young surfer gal who describes herself as the "wannabe love child of Amelia Earhart and Jamie Oliver". After she got her Bachelor of Wine Science she moved to Napa to work but luckily for us back her in NZ she was unable to secure a US Visa to stay, so home she came & now makes Moi (Moment Of Impact) wines in Auckland.

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The Moi wine I have chosen is their Rose which is a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot based Rose teaming with flavours of wild berries & red fruits. At 8 grams at residual sugar it is just off dry and this delish drop was my personal choice to drink on NZ Rose day this year. Renee is also very environmentally conscious and as a result her wines don't have labels, but are screen-printed with a beautiful design on the front & a cheeky poem on that back and costs a mere $22. Renee believes every bottle should be a piece of artwork & no doubt she has hit the nail on the head with her wines that are gorgeous inside and out.

It is my absolutely privilege to consider the next Women In Wine my friend, Anna Flowerday is one half of the husband and wife team that makes up Te Whare Ra in Marlborough, one of my favourite NZ wineries. Anna is unbelievably knowledgeable & a remarkably talented winemaker, with a quick wit & an awesome sense of humour. Annas is also mother to not one, but two sets of twin girls. She is a powerhouse.

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Te Whare Ra wines are all organic, vegan, biodynamic and handpicked. Anna once said to me "I don't know if I'm a good mother, but I'm a good winemaker". I am happy to reassure her that she is kick-ass at both!

Anna's favourite wine is the Te Whare Ra "D" Riesling which is their dry Riesling with flavours of apple, lime & citrus. I had to admit to this also being one of my favourite Rieslings & it's widely available for $28.

No list of female winemakers would be complete without mentioning Jane Hunter, the indomitable "First Lady" of New Zealand wine. Born in South Australia, Jane came to NZ to be a viticulturist for Montana Wines. She then met her husband Ernie Hunter who at the time owner Hunter Wines. After Ernie was tragically killed in a car crash in 1987, Jane took the reins & turned Hunter Wines into the iconic New Zealand brand that it is today.

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Jane has been the recipient of an OBE for Service to Viticulture. the Wine & Spirits Women in Wine Award, the Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit, was the first woman to be inducted into the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame and most recently won Wine Marlborough Lifetime Achievement Award. She is quite frankly a legend of wine.

Jane's favourite wine is the Hunter Gewurtztraminer, and boy oh boy this is everything a great gewurtz should be...flavours of lychee, cinnamon, turkish delight (and happiness).

Click the link below to hear my chat with Wendyl on RadioLIVE about these amazing women in wine

Viognier (Pronounced Vee-Own-Yay)

Viognier is a white aromatic grape which originates from the Rhone in France. It's a aromatic varietal which is sometimes added to Syrah in small quantities to give it perfume. Just some of the aromas you will get if you stick your nose in a glass of Viognier include roses, tangerine, stonefruits, honeysuckle and an array of spices.

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Viognier is full bodied and usually aged in oak, so it's a good alternative for Chardonnay drinkers but it has a distinctive oiliness in the middle of the tongue, I know that sounds weird, but trust me, it's a good thing.

We don't see a lot of Viognier in NZ as it's not that easy a varietal to grow, it can be prone to mildew and needs long warm days for growth, hence why we mostly see it in warm Hawkes Bay.

For the most part Viognier is a early drinking wine and not intended for aging. Serve it cool but not too cold or you will deaden the multitude of amazing flavours that flood out of each glass of this gorgeous wine. Once chilled serve with grilled white meats or spicy foods.

As mentioned there aren't a huge amount of Viognier here at home in NZ but it's no surprise that all of my picks are from amazing Hawke's Bay, including this one from Saint Clair, which even though the family's home base winery is in Marlborough they have a vineyard site in the renowned Gimblett Graves region of Hawke's Bay. Their 2015 Viognier has lush flavours of peach, apricot and lavender with the slightest hint of cinnamon spice and available for $22.

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The team at Elephant Hill in the Te Awanga region of Hawke's Bay have the most remarkable winery you could imagine; modern, stylish & state of the art with a solid commitment to sustainability (including a system that recycles winery waste water).

Their wines are pretty spectacular too. This 2016 Viognier is bone dry with a residual sugar of only 1.1 grams and once again has flavours of peach and nectarine and hints of spice and ginger. Their vintages regularly sell out so waste no time in picking up this beauty for $29

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I love guys at Element so much & upon my last visit to Hawkes Bay they gave me such a warm welcome (& filled me with so much wine...), I genuinely now consider them friends. For such a tiny winery (2.2 hectares) they put so much love and passion into what they do and make some amazing wines. This 2015 Viognier smells of apricots and citrus blossom with a rich, full body. Delish! This wine is $25 a bottle but only available online, however the awesome Dom has, once again, provided a discount code for anyone who would like to purchase these wines can get a 20% discount for the next week by using the code "Mermaid" (well what else!) at www.elementwines.co.nz

To hear my chat about Viognier with Trudi Nelson on RadioLIVE click the link below.

Wines from the USA

After a recent conversation with a friend where we bemoaned the state of affairs in the United States after (yet another) school shooting and unnecessary loss of innocent lives, I reflected on the fact that although things are definitely not ideal in the US - they do make a bloody good wine or two! 

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The US, in fact, is the fourth largest wine producing country in the world (after France, Italy & Spain) with over 800 million gallons of the good stuff produced. So why don't we see more of it then? Well simply put, because, with a population of 150 million people, they have such a strong domestic market, they don't have to export to survive (unlike us here in lil' ol' NZ)

When we think of US wine the area most commonly known for wine is California, with Napa and Sonoma being synonymous with American wine. But what if I told you that almost every American state made wine in some shape or form - yup it's true. Every. Single. State. However the breakdown is  85% comes from California, the next 10% comes from Washington State, New York State & Oregon & the final 5% comes from - well, everywhere else. 

Wines from Washington, New York & Oregon are really growing in popularity and in renown as these more northerly and cooler states have the ability to provide wines in contrast to the ripe styles that come from warm California. 

As a result of the fact that so much of US wine comes from California, it should come as no surprise that the top drops Americans love are Cab Sauv, Chardonnay and Zinfandel (mostly white "Zin"). 

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I've talked about Robert Mondavi before and I have very little doubt that I will at some stage talk about him again. The Godfather of New World Wines, Robert Mondavi took on the snobbery of the old world wines and set about making wines that would make the world sit up and take notice. And boy did he! We as a new world wine nation owe Mr. Mondavi a debt of gratitude for his pioneering spirit. How best to honor the great man? Drink his wine - and you can start with this Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay available widely for $19 (seriously). Typical of warm climate Chardy this delish drop has flavours of baked apples and poached pears with a nice toasty oak that isn't overwhelming and oh so drinkable.

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Remember I said American's love Zinfandel (or as the cool kids call it "Zin") well they do but they mostly drink White Zin. Personally, I avoid White Zin as it's much too sweet for my palette. I am told dry examples of White Zin exist but I've never encountered one so I stick to the red. The Sebastiani Zinfandel 2014 is a good example of a Red Zin. It's a big wine with lots of ripe raspberry flavours and pepper spiciness. Traditionally speaking these wines are medium bodied but the spiciness & flavours & alcohol makes it appear bigger than it actually is, this one is no exception with a large 14.8% ABV, so beware if you are having more than a glass as that higher alcohol can creep up on you! If you are looking to up your wine to the next level of gruntiness but are not quite at Cab Sauv just yet - try this Red Zinfandel for $20. 

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I'm pretty excited about this final wine the Charles Smith Boom Boom Syrah 2015 from Washington State for a number of reasons. Firstly the winemaker has the coolest story to tell ever. Originally from California, Charles Smith spend the 90's managing a Danish thrash metal group & toured Europe trying amazing wines as he went, when it came time to return home to the US, he opted on Washington state to start making one of his favourite varietals - Syrah.

Charles Smith makes some SERIOUS wine and under 6 different labels, but this wine is from the Charles Smith range which is a range of accessible wines to drink now. This "Boom Boom" is delicious - full of blueberry & hallmark Syrah spice with a "meatiness" to it that you would associate with Syrah's of the Rhone, the influence of Smith's time in Europe is definitely coming through. The other thing I love about this wine and the others in the range (Kung Fu Riesling & Eve Chardonnay) is the artwork. It's fun, funky, simple & eye-catching - this is most definitely my type of wine. 

Click the link below to hear my chat on RadioLIVE and why I'm reccomending these amazing American wines.

Gris because we love our Green Goddess

So as you may recall we covered off some Pinot Gris' before Christmas, but this was when our lovely Green Goddess Wendyl was away and as it's her fav style of wine, we thought we should cover it off again. Also, it is a varietal that EVERYONE seems to be making these days and it's definitely the wine I get sent the most. Unsurprisingly it is NZ's third most popular white. 

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Our easy-drinking friend Pinot Gris is a white wine made from red grapes, which is why sometimes you will see a tinge of pink every now and then in some Pinot Gris. This just means that in the winery the winemaker has left the skins on the grapes just a touch longer to get some of that gorgeous colour. 

As an aromatic, you can expect there to be a bit going on in the nose of a Gris with pear, apple, honeysuckle, and spice being frequent descriptors and unlike its light & quaffable European cousin Pinot Grigio NZ Pinot Gris is fuller in texture and tends to richer & more fruit forward. 

This wine is one that I just tried last weekend in Hawkes Bay & it's a 2017, so a brand new release!  The Brookfields Robertson Pinot Gris 2017 (named after winemaker - Peter Robertson) is fresh and teaming with aromas and flavours of pear and honey with just a hint of spice and off-dry at 7 grams of residual sugar. The team at Brookfields also reckon this beauty will cellar for up to 6 years. A pretty sweet drop for only $17

Organic winery Darling Wines in Marlborough have created a full-flavoured 2016 Pinot Gris will all the hallmark flavours of a Gris - apples & pears. It's also off-dry but only just at 5 grams of residual sugar. This wine is available for only $23 which especially considering it is organic is amazing value. 

To date, I haven't featured very many Auckland wines, but I am definitely looking to change that as the humid north has some stunners - case in point Kumeu River 2016 Pinot Gris is delicious in the extreme, apples, pears, spice, with a wonderful texture and weight in the mouth. This wine is a typically Gris in the best possible way with just enough sweetness at 6 grams of residual sugar all for $25. 

No doubt about it Gris is becoming more and more popular and I feel it's a great introduction to other aromatics, who knows Gris today, Gewurtz tomorrow! 

Click the link below to hear my chat with Wendyl about great Gris'