Time to celebrate
Looking for celebratory sparkling wine for Christmas? John Hawkesby recommends six of the best mid-range Kiwi offerings.
Hunters Miru Miru N.V.
Jane Hunter and her team do everything well, and at prices that won’t break the bank. This sparkling wine is a wonderful blend of the traditional champagne grapes, chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. The name Miru Miru comes from Maori, literally translating as “bubbles”. The wine has been bottle fermented using traditional French methods. This is a fresh elegant style with light yeast overtones, bread and cashew nut. A welcome drink for any occasion.
Quartz Reef Methode Traditionelle Rosé Rudi Bauer
Quartz Reef Methode Traditionelle Rosé Rudi Bauer’s reputation for sparkling wines is on a par with his reputation for quality pinot noir. Using 100 per cent pinot noir grapes that have been lightly crushed, resulted in this delicate light pink/cold tea colour. With the sun behind it, it can take on a cherry red hue. Regardless of how attractive it looks it’s the drinking that is really exciting. Strawberries and brioche on the nose, and in the mouth intense, lush vibrant pinot noir loveliness with a lingering, dry finish. A brilliant bargain.
Cloudy Bay Pelorus N.V.
From Marlborough’s illustrious Cloudy Bay, a sparkling wine with a reputation fast approaching their internationally lauded sauvignon blanc. Named after Pelorus Jack, the famous dolphin of Marlborough who guided ships through the waters of Cook Strait from 1888 to 1912, it is a perfect aperitif and also excellent with a wide range of cuisines. Pelorus has a tantalising freshness and oozes character, with flavours of apple, citrus overlaid with honey, brioche and a mouthwatering creamy complexity. A class act.
2007 Johanneshof EMMi Methode Traditionelle
A Marlborough producer who makes one of New Zealand’s finest gewurztraminers makes this rather lovely sparkling wine as well. A blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, made from local hand-harvested grapes. Aged in the bottle for a minimum of five years, 20m deep in a subterranean rock cellar. With finely tuned bubbles and a muscular, lingering, refreshing finish, this is a lovely textured sparkling wine and would be beautiful matched with seafood.
2010 Spy Valley Echelon Methode Traditionelle Brut
A Marlborough heavyweight with a well-established reputation across a wide portfolio of wines. The Echelon sparkling has been produced for more than a decade and is always reliable. The 2010 vintage is 52 per cent pinot noir, 48 per cent chardonnay and has typical pleasant Champagne-like aromas of brioche, honey and mellow stone fruit with a dash of green apple for good measure. A luscious creamy complexity with a dry peachy finish — delicious.
2009 Allan Scott SASA Methode Traditionelle
In 1975 Allan and Catherine Scott planted the first of their family-owned vines and established their Marlborough winery 15 years later. This sparkling wine is from chardonnay grapes and is a rich expression of that varietal. Perfectly formed bubbles playfully bounce around in the glass and it has big aromas of stonefruit with a whiff of meringue and old-fashioned boiled sweets. There’s a lot going on here and reaching for a second glass is all too easy. Finishes dry and divine with chicken liver or foie gras parfait.
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