You can tell a lot about people from their tipple. Our Master of Wine interprets.
2018 Te Mata Estate Coleraine, Hawke’s Bay
You’ve bought most of the vintages since the first in 1982 and you’ve polished off nearly all of them. Wine is made from drinking, after all. Coleraine’s not cheap but “it takes money to make money”. You own a Colin McCahon. Cost a fortune. Damn near didn’t buy it. Look what it’s worth now. Not that you’d ever sell it. If you put it to auction, everyone would think you were in trouble. Got a reputation to consider. Everyone knows you got out of the market before the GFC. Few know that you got back in the market too early. Didn’t make as much as people think. At least you didn’t lose your shirt.
Tasting notes: This is classic Coleraine with cassis, cedar, floral, blueberry, a suggestion of wood smoke, anise and spicy oak flavours. Terrific depth and an exquisite balance between fruit sweetness and acid/tannin structure. It will be a long-distance runner. A true Kiwi icon. Great with lamb shanks. Around $125.
2019 Terra Sancta Estate Bannockburn Rosé, Central Otago
You had a serious relationship with chardonnay. Then a fling with pinot gris. Now it’s Central Otago rosé. Everyone’s drinking it. You are a leader, not a follower. No one in your book club, coffee club or investment club drank rosé until you introduced them to Terra Sancta. Now they can’t get enough of it. HE says it’s mouthwash. HE only drinks wine that makes your mouth hurt. It’s nearly time to introduce a new wine. Must keep ahead of the game. Perhaps albariño?
Tasting notes: Pale, pretty rosé with delicate crushed strawberry and raspberry flavours. Pure, pristine wine with an ethereal texture and gentle, mouth-watering acidity. Dry, but not austere. Try it with smoked salmon. Around $29.
2019 Framingham Select Riesling, Marlborough
You were christened “Edward” but everyone calls you “Ted”. You’d rather they called you “Edward”. You share a flat in Takapuna with three others. Riesling is your desert-island grape variety. You attend Wednesday-night tastings at First Glass Wines. Haven’t missed one for years. Most of the regulars like riesling. You once met the UK wine author Hugh Johnson. He signed a copy of his book. You told him “Edward”. He signed it “Ted”.
Tasting notes: Spätlese-style riesling made from two picks but with no botrytis in a warm, dry vintage. Lovely, nervy wine with exquisite tension between residual sugar and knife-edged acidity. Apple, lime, floral and saline/mineral flavours. Will age magnificently. Great with Thai curry. Around $35.
2015 Destiny Bay Destinae, Waiheke Island
You are a member of the Destiny Bay Patrons Club. You joined to get a discount and will probably accept their offer of a private tour and tasting. You considered buying their top-of-the-line Magna Praemia, the most expensive wine in the country, but $550 is a bit steep. A wine-wise friend said the smart money would buy Destinae, which is almost as good. He also said you need a temperature-controlled wine cellar. A decent cellar costs about as much as a hip replacement.
Tasting notes: Elegant red with cedar and cassis cabernet characters dominating an array of more subtle fruit, spice and savoury characters. The wine carries its generous 14.5 percent alcohol with ease, balancing alcohol sweetness with fine, ripe tannins to give a dry, but not austere, finish. Very stylish wine indeed. Ideal with beef cheeks. Around $170.
2018 Millton Te Arai Vineyard Chenin Blanc, Gisborne
You live in West Auckland. Your children go to a Rudolf Steiner school. You buy only biodynamically produced wine. Better still if it’s vegan-friendly. Some of your friends drink ‘natural’ wines. You’ve tried a couple but didn’t like the taste. You have a worm farm. You tell all your friends you vote for the Green Party but you actually vote Labour because your husband votes National and you want to cancel him out.
Tasting notes: Biodynamic, organic, vegan-friendly and very tasty. Rich, weighty wine with appealing varietal flavours of apple, peach, floral and subtle spice, supported by fine, tangy acidity. Deliciously approachable now, but no rush. Savour it with organic roast chicken. Around $35.
2016 Bell Hill Chardonnay, North Canterbury
You like the taste but you love the fact that it’s hard to find. If you want half a dozen you might have to settle for just two bottles. You reserve it for dinner guests who know about Bell Hill and appreciate the rarity of their wines. When it’s your turn to be entertained, they’ll have to try to match you. Not easy.
Tasting notes: Intense, powerful chardonnay with toast, wildflower, tree fruits, ginger, chalk/mineral and spicy oak flavours. Delicious wine with real depth, surprising accessibility and impressive length. Great now, but with the potential to gain even more depth and stature. A perfect match for Bluff oysters with a squeeze of lime. Around $125
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