Yvonne Lorkin wine column for week beginning August 11 2018

Here in kiwiland for the last 40-something years we’ve been creating a wine signature centred around single varietal purity. Put bluntly, we like our wine to be ‘just’ sauvignon blanc, ‘just’ riesling, ‘just’ chardonnay. It’s means those wines are easy to describe, they’re not complicated, you know what you’re getting in the bottle and there’s no mucking about. In fact that’s what makes us famous internationally, our clean, pure, virtuous vinosity. But it can get a tad yawn-inducing over time, especially in my line of work. I’m turned on by a bit of mongrel, I like the idea of an unconventional blend, white, red or pink I like it all. Don’t get me wrong, I love our ding-ding-ding, winner by a knockout, Marlborough sauvignon blanc with all its capsicum, cats pee and passionfruit punchiness, but give me Pegasus Bay’s Waipara Sauvignon-Semillon or Te Mata Estate’s Cape Crest Hawke’s Bay sauvignon, semillon, sauvignon gris any day. Years ago when Seresin released ‘Chiaroscuro’, a swoon-inducing blend of chardonnay, riesling and pinot gris, I was absolutely hooked, and then Te Whare Ra just next door came out with ‘Toru’ a blend of gewürztraminer, riesling and pinot gris – I was line and sinkered.

I like the whole ‘better than the sum of its parts’ mentality also for blended reds. Trinity Hill have released a ‘Trinity 2015’ which is an unconventional blend of merlot, tempranillo and malbec, and Waiheke Island’s Poderi Crisci have ‘Viburno’ a blend of Merlot Cabernet Franc and Montepulciano which is incredibly delicious. We are so lucky here in New Zealand that we’re not handicapped, like those in old world, European wine nations by old laws dictating what they can and can’t grow or bottle in their region. It goes without saying that while I’m a sucker for shiraz on its own, as soon as I see it blended with a gulp of grenache and mourvedre, then you can’t wipe the grin off my face. Single varietals will always reign supreme for the greater taste of the nation, but if you can head down a side street for fusions of flavour occasionally, you definitely won’t regret it.

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Manincor Réserve della Contessa Terlano 2016 $40 (5 stars)
Imported by Oh So Pretty wines, here’s a beautifully dry and delicious blend of 60% pinot blanc, 30% chardonnay combined with 10% sauvignon blanc sourced mainly from Manincor’s vineyards in Terlan, with a teensy splash of fruit from Kaltern. Both of these areas are in Südtirol, Northern Italy, and it’s like you can taste the mountain air in the wine. White peach, beautifully balanced citrus, floral intensity and quartzy minerality burst from the glass and I love it!
To buy, email: andrew@framingham.co.nz

Massena The Surly Muse Barossa Valley Viognier Marsanne 2017 $41.90 (5 stars)
If your muse is all ‘treat em mean, keep em keen’ then they’d best stay surly because this wine is ridiculously grin-inducing. The winemaking team at Massena are mad as cut snakes when it comes to creating crazy-good blends and this South Australian version of Rhone-style classic just explodes with happiness. Yellow-diamond in the glass, it boasts summer flowers, juicy apricot, lemon blossom, jasmine and buckets of nectarine and banging freshness on the finish. Amazing.
www.kahurangiwine.com

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It’s not often you get to taste three gold medal and trophy winning dessert wines from successive vintages all in a row…

Riverby Estate Marlborough Noble Riesling 2012 (5 stars) $34
This citrus-stacked Trophy winner at the 2013 Air NZ Awards is, six years down the track, still carrying gorgeous acidity, caramelized tropical fruit, hints of honey and succulent textures. It’s an intensely delicious sweet treat that’s aging gracefully and exotically.
Email: kevin@riverbyestate.com to buy.

Riverby Estate Marlborough Noble Riesling 2013 (5 stars) $34
It’s easy to see how this wine scooped a Gold medal at the NZ International Wine Show, (New Zealand’s biggest annual wine show) because it is so irresistibly unctuous and toffee-centric. Carrying concentrated mandarin and caramelized apricot and gorgeous honeyed flavours.
Email: kevin@riverbyestate.com to buy.

Riverby Estate Marlborough Noble Riesling 2014 (5 stars) $34
Fresh, frisky and overflowing with flavour. This Blue Gold and Top 100 winner at the Sydney International Wine Competition is an absolute firecracker of a dessert wine. Sweet and indulgent, yet super-tangy and energizing, it has candyfloss and toffee aromas, alongside caramelised mango and pineapple pluckiness on the palate. Gorgeous.
Email: kevin@riverbyestate.com to buy.

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