Yvonne Lorkin wine column for week beginning Sat 16 Sept 2017

I have a pretty decent relationship with our family cat. She is collectively ‘owned’, so I’m not allowed to refer to her as ‘my’ cat. Even though it’s me that gets her forearms shredded by her claws every few months when attempting to stuff her into a catbox for a vet visit. It’s me that must find new and inventive ways to get her to ingest the tri-monthly worming tablet. It’s me that picks up the fossilised remains of dismembered birds (fret not Mr Morgan, none of them appear native), rodents, cockroaches and the odd skink from under our beds. And it’s muggins here that inevitably ends up with bits of jellymeat on my sleeve because the stupid cat food pouches always flick bits of icky mince at me when I open them. The cat likes me because I feed her. I call our cat “Cat” or “Catty”, however the cat’s name is actually Ella. We got her as a kitten when Lorde’s ‘Royal’s’ was huge and in case you didn’t know, Lorde’s real name is Ella. Ella (the cat) leaves trails and tufts of black fur everywhere. And as much as I adore Lorde with her glorious mane of black locks, I sure wouldn’t want to be the one that has to de-clog the plug in her shower. Just sayin. The cat also likes me because I give her all the best parts of the bed to sleep on and sometimes I flop her over my shoulder and scratch her spine (she loves that). She, in turn, sheds fur up my nose and sticks her claws into my collarbone. We’re mates, but would we drink together? It’s not something I’d considered until an ad popped up on my facebook feed this week selling “Wine for Cats”. A company called Apollo Peak in Colorado, has created a range of non-alcoholic beverages from ‘all natural ingredients’, boosted them with catnip, packaged them in miniature wine bottles and given them names like ‘Pinot Meow’, ‘MosCATo’ and ‘CATbernet’. There’s even fizzy ‘cat champagne’ made from either salmon or chicken. You can also purchase a large, cut-crystal, goblet-style wine glass from which your furry friend can lap it up. Only in America.

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Hunter’s Unoaked Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 ($18.99) 4 stars
It’s funny how if you put the word “un” in front of something, then people assume it’s going to be lacking. However this heavenly little peachy creature from Hunters hits all the right spots. Juicy nectarine and grapefruity goodness, loaded with lemon and packed with pineapple-powered punch. Great weight and refreshing texture means it’s darn good stuff!
hunters.co.nz

Mills Reef Bespoke Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2015 ($39.99)
After decades of delivering some of New Zealand’s most highly awarded wines, Tim Preston and his team have decided to let loose with the creative juices and put together some wines/blends that differ from their mainstream range. This blend of 63% cabernet sauvignon and 27% cabernet franc has a heft of dried herbs, pepper and boysenberry boldness and a higher-than-normal 33% injection of American oak imparts a smoky, caramelised, vanillin character in the mid-palate.
Parmesan-crusted lamb rack? Heck yes!
millsreef.co.nz

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Rieslings to be cheerful…three grin-inducing examples I’ve tasted this week.

Astrolabe Farm Marlborough Riesling 2016 ($23) 4 stars
This wine smells just like you’ve walked into an orchard growing lemons on one side and apples on the other. So intense yet so delicate and the palate reflects exactly that. But I’d expect nothing less however from Simon Waghorn, winemaker extraordinaire and all-round riesling rockstar. Crafted from his home farm vineyard in Marlborough’s Grovetown district, it has crunchy acidity, a lift of mandarin, nashi and fabulously flinty minerality.
Gorgeous with Nadia Lim’s pulled horopito pork pansotti with watercress pesto.
astrolabewines.co.nz

Erben Bürgermeister Lauer Mosel-Saar-Ruwer 1996 Riesling Spätlese Neumagener Rosengärtchen ($57) 4 stars
Yes it’s on the pricey side, but it’s worth every cent and besides, when was the last time you tasted a 21-yearold riesling? Some assume that the word ‘spatlese’ is going to mean the wine will be really sweet. Yet this incredibly fresh riesling from the famous Neumagener Rosengärtchen vineyard is beautifully balanced. Scented with lemon, mandarin, a tweak of honey, cedar and pineapple all followed by nutty, biscuity notes and a limey, lavender-like finish. So good.
www.centrecity.co.nz

Black Estate Damsteep North Canterbury Riesling 2016 ($27) 4.5 stars
This is a spicy, punchy riesling from their clay and limestone-laden Damsteep vineyard located at the foot of the Omihi Saddle. Grown biodynamically and 2 years into their organic certification, these 17-year-old vines are really hitting their straps – the wine has next-to-nil sulphur present, which is great for sulphur-sensitive types. Matured in 3-10yr old barrels, followed by malolactic fermentation gives gorgeous, creamy complexity to the upfront mandarin, lime and Red Delicious apple elements. I had a second glass a day after opening the bottle and it was even better, so if you have any semblance of self-discipline, I suggest you do the same.
www.blackestate.co.nz

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