Yvonne Lorkin wine column for week beginning Sat 23 June 2018

Hand’s up if you’ve ever poured yourself a nice big goblet of cabernet sauvignon, taken a nice big sip and then thought to yourself “Hold the phone caller. This wine smells and tastes green and herby and not at all like I expected”. It happens on occasion with cabernet sauvignon, that deliciously dense, dark red that we rely upon to shiver our timbers and warm our gizzards. It’s not its fault, it’s just its genetics.

You see way back in the mists of time, a charismatic cabernet franc vine was looking for that loving feeling and stumbled upon a sassy sauvignon blanc strumpet who was also up for a romp around, and lo. The wild thing they did do, unprotected of course, and the result was a baby called cabernet sauvignon. Most of the time cabernet sauvignon will show all the good parts of its parents, dark berries, lifted florals and buckets of spice, pepper and cocoa from the cabernet franc, alongside racy acidity and blackcurrant leaf characters from the sauvignon blanc.

Sauvignon Blanc is also famous for its cut grass, sweaty armpit, cats pee and green capsicum characters and occasionally, occasionally that capsicum aroma and flavour can sneak its way into your cabernet. It’s not pleasant, but thanks to Researchers at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, it’s not permanent. They’ve developed a polymer for soaking up methoxypyrazines in Cabernet Sauvignon, the compound which produces that undesirable green capsicum aroma. They attached magnetic nanoparticles to the polymers and used magnets to remove the polymers from the wine once the methoxypyrazines had been extracted. University of Adelaide Associate Professor in Wine Science David Jeffery said magnetic polymers could be potentially used to target and remove other wine faults such as smoke taint and ladybug taint. He said previous solutions were non-selective and relied on the tainted compounds being masked or forced to settle at the bottom of tanks. As the unwanted compound is in the fruit and not caused by the winemaking process, Associate Professor Jeffery said the magnetic polymers would likely be best used at the juice stage but could theoretically be used at any point of the winemaking process. And the excellent thing is, it will only have a positive effect on the taste of the wine at the end of the process.

However, he said much more research, such as techno-economic analysis, would be required before the findings could be commercialised.

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William Murdoch Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2010 $45 (4 stars)
Certified organic from WAY back, this 8 year old cabernet blend is heaving with deliciously dusty, leather and tobacco-rubbed robustness. Bay leaf, dark cocoa and the darkest of dark fruits, this Bordeaux-style blend from deep in the heart of the Gimblett Gravels has bold, muscular, sinewy tannins and cries out for a large piece of protein to bring it all in. Unfined and unfiltered, expect to see some harmless ‘wine diamond’ crystals attached to the cork. www.williammurdoch.co.nz

Ostler Caroline’s Waitaki Pinot Noir 2016 $65 (5 stars)
Located on the cusp of South Canterbury and North Otago, Waitaki is an extreme place, like the last frontier for winegrowing, because it’s such a harsh environment. Jim Jerram however, is like the Gandalf of grape growing down there, and occasionally, when the weather gods shine on him, he’s able to eke out enough precious bunches of pinot noir to create a ‘Caroline’. This is his flagship wine, a stunning, super-concentrated example that sings fresh cherry, rosehip and black tea, gorgeous plum plushness and has an exotically-spiced, yet slippery, silky texture. It’s absolutely stunning.
www.glengarrywine.co.nz

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Il Villaggio delle Venezie IGT Pinot Grigio 2016 $19 (3.5 stars)
Dry and drenched in lemony, limey, white peach and pear – it’s a perky, pick-me-up for flaccid tastebuds. Green apple and crushed quartz flavours rip across the palate and leave a chalky trail of texture on the finish. www.blackmarket.co.nz

Domaine de Pennautier Cité de Carcassonne Rosé 2016 $24.50 (4 stars)
So pale and pretty, like the colour of a ballet shoe, this rosé is made from cinsault, grenache, syrah and merlot. Pink peppercorn and vanilla and smoke make this an incredibly complex, super-dry, provençal-style rosé that shows a hint of dried herbs and crushed quartz. Racy and robust.
www.poshslosh.co.nz

Terras Gauda Rías Baixas O Rosal 2016 $34.95 (4.5 stars)
Made from a blend of albariño, caino and loureiro grapes, this kick-in-the-chops Spanish white made in the Rías Baixas (ree-ass bye-sass) tradition put me firmly in my happy place. I love the crash of lemon blossom, lime zest and white peach across the palate, the smash of rain-on-hot-rocks minerality and the gentle, tastebud exfoliating character it has on the finish. It’s so dry it’s practically skeletal, yet seriously stylish.
www.stvincentscave.com

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