It’s officially spring and with summer on the way, it is the perfect timing for the release of some spectacular new season wines. From Rosés to Aromatics to Chardonnays, we bring you some of the best we have tried over the last three weeks. Think long hot days and balmy summer evenings sipping your favourite drop – here is what we recommend…
Mount Michael 2016 Pinot Rosé (Bendigo, Central Otago)
Mount Michael winery only came onto my radar a few months ago even though they have been producing wine for more than 20 years. Their wine has been a closely guarded secret, only shared among a select few. And until now, I wasn’t overly familiar with the wine and I have been missing out.
The winery is now owned and operated by Anna Robbie and at 28 years of age, Robbie is one of New Zealand’s youngest winery owners. In her short time at the helm, she has attracted a semi-cult following with the high-quality wines they produce.
Situated in the heart of one of the best Pinot Noir growing regions in the country in Bendigo, Central Otago, they have produced an outstanding Pinot Rosé. Perfect cherry pink in colour with a beautiful and aromatic balance of fresh strawberries, cherries, peaches and cream, with refreshing elements of watermelon.
Now the secret is out you can buy it directly from the vineyard.
Waipara Hills Equinox 2015 Pinot Gris (Waipara Hills).
The Equinox is of importance to winemakers. The Spring Equinox marking the time that the vines finally start to bud after the cold winter months have passed. The Autumn Equinox marks the time that grapes are getting ready for harvest after the long hot summer months. So, it is appropriate this wine from the Waipara Hills winery is called Equinox.
The Waipara Valley is a leading wine region in New Zealand for aromatic wines like Riesling and Pinot Gris. As one of the largest producers in the area, Waipara Hills winery is responsible for producing some of the best aromatic wines around. The vines exceeding 22 years of age, which is quite rare for Pinot Gris, are grown on the home block in Waipara Valley.
The cool, dry climate and a long growing season deliver intense flavour and complexity. The wine is pale yellow, with aromas of fresh cut pears, red apple and a touch of nutty oak. The palate is weighty and oily, balanced with a fresh clean finish and flavours of ripe pear, nougat and quince.
Peter Yealand’s 2017 Pinot Rosé (Marlborough)
This wine comes from New Zealand’s most sustainable winery, so you can feel even better when you drink it knowing that you are doing your part for the environment!
The Yealands Estate is a stunning piece of land in the Southern Marlborough district, that in little over a decade has received over 1,000 awards for their wines and winemaking. This wine has just won Gold in the New World wine awards, so it will be widely available in your local supermarket.
The highly aromatic flavours for which Marlborough is so highly reputed come through boldly in this wine. If you are looking for a fresh alternative to the usual Marlborough Sav, then this is a perfect choice.
A light peach coloured Rosé with an enticing bouquet of pomegranate, fresh strawberries and honeysuckle. The wine has a juicy rich palate with warming flavours of strawberry shortcake.
Mills Reef Reserve 2017 Merlot Rosé (Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay)
You’ll regularly hear me talking about Mills Reef wines and it is little wonder considering this winery has so many awards for such a small winery. This Merlot Rosé is from their reserve range, produced from low yield Merlot grapes to provide a superior wine with intense fruit flavours, structure and texture.
This delicious Rosé is unusual in style since the market for New Zealand Rosés is dominated by Pinot Rosés. The grapes used to produce this outstanding single-vineyard Rosé were sourced from the Gimblett Gravels wine growing district of Hawkes Bay.
I must congratulate the team at Mills Reef for this new release. The colour is the perfect candy floss pink and the dry style exudes lovely strawberry and raspberry, complemented with subtle spicy aniseed notes. The palate is smooth and satisfying, with a fine soft finish. I think this is another Mills Reef Wine destined for awards.
Mills Reef Reserve 2016 Pinot Gris (Maraekakaho, Hawkes Bay)
Another lovely wine we selected from Mills Reef, this time their reserve Pinot Gris. Again, produced from low-yielding fruit, sourced from a single vineyard in the Maraekakaho sub-region of Hawkes Bay. My wife’s family are from just up the valley in Kereru, so I am very familiar with this sub-region and always intrigued by the wines that come out of here. The Pinot Gris grapes prefer the cooler climates and, being inland, the temperate climates here seem to suit the grapes very well.
This highly appealing single-vineyard Pinot Gris brims with pear, lychee and lemon citrus notes and ginger spice hints. The palate is luscious, yet refined, with a smooth satisfyingly long finish. A beautifully balanced wine, for enjoyment on its own or paired with food.
Opawa 2017 Pinot Rosé (Marlborough)
This winery is situated on the old river bed of the Opawa River. Produced from grapes grown in the classic Rapaura gravels that absorb the sun’s warmth during the day, radiating back onto the grapes by moonlight, to create the highly aromatic flavours for which Marlborough is so highly reputed. They pick their grapes by moonlight to ensure pristine flavour is captured in grapes.
The result is a stunning wine that is distinctly Marlborough, an area that is gaining a huge reputation for producing not just great Sav Blancs but also great Pinot Noirs too – and this wine is no exception.
Bright light salmon in colour it has a charming and vivacious nose of raspberries, floral notes and spices, leading into a mouth filling, smooth palate. The finish is fresh, clean and refreshing. Opawa Rosé is a dry wine that is a perfect aperitif or an accompaniment to fresh summer cuisine.
Trinity Hill 2016 Chardonnay (Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay)
One of the early pioneers of wine produced from the Gimblett Gravels region is Trinity Hill, who are renowned for producing outstanding wines. Not only from the traditional Hawkes Bay grape varieties like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrahs and Merlot but also less familiar varietals like Viognier Tempranillo, Arneis and Montepulciano
With 2016 being an exceptionally warm season in Hawkes Bay, Trinity Hill has produced another hallmark Chardonnay. Being the only Chardonnay in this selection might make this wine ‘the odd one out’, but being a selection of summer wines we couldn’t forget the Chardonnay drinkers among us. This is a stunning wine made from grapes grown in the Gimblett Gravel region by a winery we adore here at M2woman.
Fruit flavours of citrus, melon and white grapefruit come through with lingering finish of cashews and roasted almond.
Mud House Sub Region Series 2017 Pinot Rosé (Burleigh, Central Otago)
The Mud House sub region series came into form because their winemakers wanted to create a series of wines that expressed the nuances of the wines produced in the various sub regions around the country. We all easily recognise a Marlborough Sav or a Central Otago Pinot Noir, but the sub regions within these wine growing regions produce some very distinct flavours too.
The Northern Wairau Valley of Marlborough, for example, produces more citrus flavours, while the Southern side of the valley often produces the big tropical passionfruit flavours.
The Burleigh sub region of Marlborough, being traditionally cool, is more suited to producing light fragrant Pinot Rosé, with a lovely salmon pink colour – closer in flavour to the French Rosé of the Provence region.
This mouth-watering Pinot Rosé is one of my favourites. It has a bouquet of freshly picked strawberries and wild flowers, the palate of juicy cherries and a dry and crisp in the finish.
This article was originally published in our September/October issue of M2Woman to subscribe check out our shop or look for M2Woman in your local newsagent.