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FOOD & DRINK

Eight Standout Wines to Try Before the End of Summer

Light, electric and refreshing — here's what to drink when it's scorching this summer.
By Francois Finlay
February 11, 2019
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Eight Standout Wines to Try Before the End of Summer

Light, electric and refreshing — here's what to drink when it's scorching this summer.
By Francois Finlay
February 11, 2019
  shares

When the mercury soars there's nothing like reaching for a refreshing bottle of fermented grapes. Read on to discover eight delicious varietals worth chucking in the cooler this sunny season, including a grunty French-style drop from Hawke's Bay, a rosé perfect for guzzling in the warmer months, a mysterious pinot gris from Auckland and a honey-infused drop from Wellington that probably shouldn't even be considered wine.

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CHATEAU LA CLAPIERE CRU CLASSE ROSE, PROVENCE

This Provence-born rosé is from one of only 18 internationally recognised Cru Classé estates. This particular pink drop is a blend of cinsault, grenache and syrah, making a refreshing wine with notes of tropical fruits, sage and rocky minerals. It finishes peachy, plummy and watermelony with a crisp citrus crunch. Pair with Mediterranean-style dishes.

#BEESBEESBEES SPARKLING RE-FERMENTED HONEY 'WINE', TE ARO WINE, WELLINGTON

Central Wellington is probably the last place you'd expect to find a winery. Te Aro Wines is the capital's only dedicated urban winery. Rather than hosting vines on the roof, the company outsources grapes from surrounding vineyards. Experimenting with different winemaking techniques in their first year, the team has come up with a sparkling "wine" which undergoes secondary fermentation with the addition of Hawkes Bay Rewarewa honey. The base wine used was a skin-fermented Sauvignon Blanc that had been aging in barrel for nine months. Only 180 bottles were made and it is labeled by hand.

PINOT NOIR ROSE, RABBIT RANCH, CENTRAL OTAGO

Once again, Central Otago winery Rabbit Ranch releases one of the most anticipated drops of the season. The heavenly pink 2018 Pinot Noir rosé is perfect for guzzling in the heat. It's made entirely from Central Otago fruit, lightly pressed to extract just enough colour to deliver a Provençal-esque pale pink rosé. It's fresh, floral and gives off sweet candy and strawberry notes across the palate.

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BLANC DE BLANC, BISOU BISOU, YARRA VALLEY

Meaning 'kiss kiss' in French, Bisou Bisou is a sparkling blanc de blanc from the Yarra Valley. It was made in collaboration with Steven Webber from a blend of four vintages. It's balanced, creamy, moussy and sparkles with zesty lemon and apple. Pop a bottle and experience a bubbly mouth kiss.

BLACK REEF BLUSH, CLEARVIEW ESTATE, HAWKE'S BAY

Black Reef Blush is the single biggest production wine of Hawke's Bay's Clearview Estate. The drop is made from the estate's Chambourcin plantings — a French hybrid grape variety which produces pink juice rather than clear like most red wine variety cousins. The blush is refreshing, grunty and best drunk cold. You may also pick up on whiffs of raspberry, clove and anise.

PINOT GRIS, PROVIDORE WINES, CENTRAL OTAGO

Central Otago's Providore is a collaboration of local wine enthusiasts with ex-Penegrine winemaker Pete Bartle at the helm. As a way to stand out from the crowd, for its latest range the brand used augmented reality accessed via its labels to share the story of wine. But what about the stuff in the bottle? More than just a marketing stunt, the pinot gris — harvested from a single vineyard in Gibbston Valley — gives off notes of stone fruit and nuts. This one pairs best with Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines.

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PINOT GRIS, MAKERS ANONYMOUS, AUCKLAND

A graffiti bottle design featuring words like 'sexy' and 'risqué', slick online branding, and no information available about the makers — this one has got to be from Auckland. New wine brand Makers Anonymous launched in 2018 with three varietals: rosé, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris. The latter is the pick of the bunch, and while the bottle spares the tasting notes so drinkers are forced to make up their own mind, our scribbles reveal: an incredibly crisp and drinkable drop with notes of ripe, refrigerated nectarine.

THE MOUNTAINEER PINOT NOIR, MOUNT MICHAEL, CENTRAL OTAGO

There's nothing wrong with drinking red in summer. After more than two decades of making pinot noir, Central Otago's Mount Michael Wines has launched a new collection with a supermarket price point (we're talking $29). Crafted by head winemaker Jody Pagey, each wine in The Mountaineer range is sourced from a single vineyard. The debut vintage is pinot noir that is balanced, perky and light on the mouth feels.

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Published on February 11, 2019 by Francois Finlay

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