Yvonne Lorkin Wine Column for week beginning Sat Feb 3 2018

Cast your minds back if you will to the mid 1980s. Apple Computers released the first Macintosh, John McEnroe was tantrumming his butt off on the tennis court, Michael Jackson did a commercial for Pepsi and his hair caught fire, thought-provoking tunes such as Wake Me Up Before You Go Go were rocketing up the charts and Mr Miyagi first uttered those profound and truly inspiring words “Wax on – Wax off”. It was a time when we still stuck cubes of Colby onto toothpicks and stabbed them into upside down orange halves. It was a time of fingerless gloves, knickerbockers and backcombed fringes. It was also a time of fortified fabulousness. Liqueurs, Port’s and sherries were still very popular, no doubt because they were easy to make, they didn’t go ‘off’ and if the base product was a bit bung, no worries, you just added more sugar and alcohol and Bob’s your aunty. New Zealand wasn’t quite the sophisticated winescape that it is today by any stretch. My early experiences with fruit wines, liqueurs, port’s and the like were not fond. They were limited to a sip or seven from a flagon of Old Masters or Ormond Rich Cream and we had a neighbor who used to make booze out of every type of fruit and vegetable he could find which he tested out on my parents. Inevitably as a teenager I decided to partake. I can safely say that all it was evil stuff which mostly ended up regurgitated onto the laundry floor lino because I couldn’t make it to toilet fast enough.

But those were the bad old days and thankfully we now have a small-but-highly-refined fortified wine scene. Today some of my favourite things to sip are the Lothlorien Apple Feijoa and Manuka Honey Liqueur NV ($25), the incredibly stylish Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Touriga NV ($65) and the darn gorgeous Ripponvale Central Otago ‘Lapins’ Cherry Wine 2015 ($24.95). Hunt them down if you’re looking for deliciousness.

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Torlesse Reserve Tawny Port 375ml $20 (3.5 stars)
Kym Rayner at Torlesse in North Canterbury began a port solera system in 1992 meaning that today, his non-vintage tawny port releases contain wine components from barrels that are up to 25 years old! Think rich, dried sultanas and currants, sweet leather and buckets of spice that lead to a long, caramelized finish.
www.torlesse.co.nz

Torlesse Cassis Liqueur 375ml $20 (4 stars)
Oh wow! Blackcurrant alert! This 18% alc liqueur is super-fresh, incredibly precise, pure fruit and a lovely, grippy, tangy texture to finish. Delicious on its own as a sexy little tipple, or mix it with lemonade or soda water, enormous ice cubes and a sprig of mint or basil to boost it. Gorgeous stuff indeed.
www.torlessse.co.nz

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I’ve run into a couple of sticky situations this week and here they are…

Palliser Estate Martinborough Noble Riesling 2016 $29 375ml (4.5 stars)
I was completely seduced by the sexy, orange-gold liquid that slinks into the glass, so to then be met by gorgeous, citrus-toffee notes, caramelized stonefruit and peach compote characters – just sent me into swoon territory. Fresh, zesty acidity perks up a hefty 70g/l of natural residual sugar and makes this a beautifully balanced sweet treat. www.palliser.co.nz

Misha’s Vineyard The Cadenza Late Harvest Gewurztraminer 2016 $31 375ml (3.5 stars)
If you’re partial to a bit of musky magic then this luscious little lovely from Central Otago will be right up your cul-de-sac. A lick of lychee combined with a hint of ginger, mango and spiced peaches make this a lighter-styled dessert wine that’ll rock with a chunck of aged cheddar.
www.mishasvineyard.com

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Dessert Cabernet 2015 $22.90 375ml (3.5 stars)
Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in the sandy soils of their lower terrace, and fortified to 16.5%alc, this is a whopper of a wine. Scented with blackberry, bay leaf, pepper and dark cocoa, then chock full of spice and sweet, dried herb and nutty notes on the palate, it’s a wine with grip and chew on the finish. Sip with a slice of black forest gateaux. Yum.
www.askerne.co.nz

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