Wine column week commencing 29th April, 2017

It’s that time again.  Menfolk of all ages and stages have been fervently cleaning their weaponry, dusting the spiderwebs and cockroach carcasses out of their favourite SwanDri’s and oilskin coats, queuing up to renew their hunting licenses, buying new decoys, camo netting and carting trailer loads of ‘supplies’ to out to rickety maimais in the middle of nowhere.  They’ve been practicing their duck calls out in the shed so as not to annoy the family and there will be many reassurances given to said family that of course there will be enough room in the freezer for all the bloodied, shot-pocked carcasses that’ll be bought home, and yes, they will absolutely be able to eat them all. Duck shooting season is about to kick off scare the bejeezus out of our little quacky friends and that does not please me.  However, because ducks happen to be delicious, I am uncontrollably addicted to eating them in any way, shape or form – so I’m in no position to get all weepy-eyed about the practice.   It’s also a happy coincidence that wineries across the land are filled with the exotically heady scent of pinot noir ferments right at the same time as their previous vintage is hitting the market.  Pinot Noir is exceptionally gorgeous to drink with duck dishes of any description – that’s a fact – but it’s not the be all and end all.

If you fancy going to foreign climes to find a red wine to make your duck dinner really rock, then try out an Italian job like a good Chianti or Valpolicella.  Nero d’Avola is darn nice, especially with pulled duck ragout and pappardelle and a good Dolcetto injects superb lightness and fruitiness to Asian-style duck pancakes.

Montepulciano is magical with duck dishes also and never say no to a Nebbiolo either.  So while you’re going to hear a lot about pinot and duck combo’s over the coming weeks, just know that there are always other options…

  

Villa Pisoni Chianti Riserva 2013 $25.99 (4 stars)

Long gone are the days of your Chianti coming complete with a wicker basket wrapped around the bottle (they’re called ‘fiascoe’s’ btw) Thankfully today Chianti is much classier. Crafted from 100% sangiovese fruit, this light, supple, cherry and berry bang of a wine has powdery, clinging tannins and an earthy undercurrent that I really like.  This Tuscan taste sensation is light, lithe and less in-your-face than many Chianti, therefore it’s gorgeous with duck breasts slathered in plum salsa.

www.sapori.co.nz

Cantine Riondo Castelforte Veneto Valpolicella Superiore 2013 $19 (3.5 stars)

The Valpolicella Blend is based on three indigenous red-wine grape varieties grown in the Veneto region in Italy’s northeast. Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara are the trio primarily involved in the Valpolicella DOC, Corvina plays the starring role in Valpolicella (up to 75 percent) and is regarded as the blend’s lynchpin. Known more for its acidity and sour-cherry flavors than its depth, Corvina makes for lightly coloured wine, the Rondinella adds colour and body, while the Molinara injects some extra tannin and acidity to the blend. I like it’s smooth, velvety texture and earthy elements. Enjoy with Duck and Caramelised Onion Fettucine

For info on stockists email info@artigianoimports.co.nz

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Here are three awesome, Autumnal indulgences that’ll set you up to ace it in the taste stakes this week…

Sottano Reserva de Familia Malbec 2012 $43 (4 stars)

Dense inky, muscular and shows a strong core of dark boysenberry, blackcurrant leaf, charred capsicum, and sensational smoky, meaty layers.  The texture of the tannins is chewy and deliciously drying, while a strong current of pepper and cocoa carry through to a long, persistent finish.  Enjoy with blackened lamb shoulder and pomegranate glaze.

For info on stockists email martin@sanzglobal.co.nz

Unison Gimblett Gravels Reserve Merlot 2012 $30 (4stars)

I used to work on a raspberry farm when I was in high school (loved it btw) and every time I sniff this wine it takes me back to those days of repeatedly sticking my face inside a leafy, fruit-scented canopy to harvest those plump, juicy berries. Fresh, spicy, with layers of plum-rubbed leather and cocoa characters, Unison’s owners, Philip Horn and his wife Terry, are understandably proud of how this 5 year old merlot is maturing. Enjoy with lasagna.

www.unisonvineyard.co.nz

Hunter’s Marlborough Riesling 2016 $18.90 (4.5 stars)

If you’re looking for a bouncy, vivacious riesling that zings with flavour, you’ve come to the right spot because this new release from Hunter’s is so incredibly clean, fresh and limey.  With its snappy citrus and crushed shell notes, crunchy green apple and hints of honeysuckle, it’ll make any recipe featuring ginger, chilli, garlic and coriander absolutely rock.

www.hunters.co.nz

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