Yvonne Lorkin wine column for week beginning Sat 14 October 2017

When it comes to glassware, to bring out the best in my wine I’m a bit of a nut.  It’s got to be a good glass, and by good, I don’t mean expensive. It just has to have a decent bowl at the bottom so I can swirl the wine properly, I should be able to stick my nose down deep to get a good sniff and when I take a sip and it shouldn’t spill down my chin.  But wine nearly always spills down my chin (or chins) these days so I’m beginning to think it’s not the glassware, rather my flaccid bone structure.

Glassware didn’t mean much to me until I did a Riedel workshop about 12 years ago.  I then truly discovered the way the truth and the life through having the right glass to bring out the best in every sip. I’m a freelance writer, meaning I’m pretty much on the border of bankruptcy every month so I don’t have the means to splash out on huge sets of fancy glassware. My husband and I are huge fans of chardonnay and pinot noir – so we invested in a couple of good glasses for those styles and we have a cheaper set of good all-purpose glasses for everything else.  I have great mates who adore sauvignon blanc, but it’s been tricky finding the perfect sauvignon glass.  Until now.  Recognising how successful they were at creating the very first Central Otago pinot noir glass, the team at Riedel have enlisted the noses and palates of sauvignon experts from around New Zealand and designed the world’s first Marlborough sauvignon blanc glass.  They’re absolutely gorgeous and are a treat to drink from.  Priced at $129 for two, they’re available from www.riedelglass.co.nz.
Sauvignon Blanc is famous for its grassy, herbaceous, tomato stalk, capsicum, cats pee and passionfruit characters. Those aroma compounds are ‘methoxypyrezines’ and ‘terpenes’ which give citrus and herbaceous notes.  They’re quite light, so if you have a shallow glass with a wide opening, then they tend to disperse quickly into the air and we lose them.  Same with cabernet sauvignon (which is actually the child of sauvignon blanc and cabernet franc) – hence why a glass with longer, tapered sides and a narrow-ish opening is best.

 

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Cicada Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2015 $25 (4 stars)
Crafted by Kevin Courtney and his team at Riverby Estate in Marlborough, this is a hot blooded, power gewürztraminer.  There’s nothing blousy here, just a magic melange of lychee, ginger, grain spirit and a flinty, dry-as-dry texture. If you’ve been hesitant to venture back to gewürztraminer because of sickly sweet memories from decades ago then brave it up because this is a wine that stands out on its own, on a street corner, hollering for hot, spicy Mexian fish tacos…
www.caros.co.nz

Taylors St Andrews Clare Valley Chardonnay 2014 $44.99 (5 stars)
The Clare Valley in South Australia is considered a cool-climate area and that’s why the folks at Taylors were quick to snap up the historic St Andrews vineyard and revitalised the old chardonnay vines. Luscious grapefruit and poached apricot add to its peachy complexity. Succulent and even a teensy bit spicy with a slick of creaminess on the finish, it’s a sophisticated, classy sip.
For stockists email: tlbyrne@taylorbrown.co.nz

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Capsicum and Cats Pee?  Yes please!

Mud House Rapaura Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017 $19.99 (4.5 stars)
Wow!  The second you pour this wine, people on the other side of the room will start sniffing the air and rising like the undead to follow where the scent is coming from.  Powerful passionfruit, lemongrass, lime juice and bruised basil characters abound on the nose and palate, stitched together by solid acidity and extend into a lengthy, almost spritzy finish.  Crafted by Cleighton Cornelius, this is one of Mud House’s ‘sub-regional’ series wines.
www.glengarrywines.co.nz

Tohu Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017 $14.99 (4 stars)
Sourced from Tohu’s Awatere Valley vineyard, this bright young thing goes large on the lemon verbena, lime leaf, red capsicum and crunchy citrus characters.  Bursting with sweet, cut-grass and fresh herbs, this is a terrifically textural, perfectly perky sauvignon blanc.           www.glengarrywines.co.nz

Amisfield Central Otago Sauvignon Blanc 2017 $25 (4 stars)
Most people don’t realise that some of New Zealands best sauvignon blanc can be found the further south you go.  Dr Stephanie Lambert and her team at Amisfield, near Lake Hayes have created a classic example oozing green bean, green capsicum, green herbs, sweet pea and serious amounts of citrus.  Full, fat and firing on all cylinders, it’s a complex, mineral-heavy example that’ll have you smacking your lips lickety-split.
www.amisfield.co.nz

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