Crikey, I worked up quite a sweat putting this one together. But you know me, always the team player. After selflessly draining dozens of bottles on your behalf, I finally cracked it with this bumper Antipodean selection showcasing two countries, seven regions/producers and ten different varieties/blends. Don’t say I don’t try.
We in the UK drink more Aussie wine than we do wine from anywhere else and we spend more on average per bottle on New Zealand wine than on anyone else’s. In short, we Brits love the wines from Down Under and the following bottles give the perfect illustration of why.
The Kiwis have grown Sauvignon Blanc only since 1974 and the SBs of Marlborough in particular are celebrated the world over. The variety thrives elsewhere, though, and the 2019 C.J. Pask Sauvignon Blanc (1) from the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay is faultless. Crisp, clean and citrusy, it has typical gooseberry and cut grass notes but is a touch more restrained and less tropical than one might expect. As a result it’s deliciously refreshing and makes a cracking 6 p.m. pipe-opener. £10.50 down from £12.49.
The 2018 Mitchell Watervale Riesling (2) from the Clare Valley in South Australia is beautifully judged. Made from the hand-harvested, slow-fermented fruit of low-yielding, 60-year-old vines free from any artificial fertilisers and pesticides, it’s a complete joy. Bone dry and with typical petrol and fresh limes on the nose, it’s both complex and elegant with a keen, refreshing, mineral acidity. £12.95 down from £14.95.
The 2019 Domain Road ‘Defiance’ Pinot Gris (3), from Bannockburn, Central Otago in NZ’s South Island, is a gorgeous, single vineyard expression of one of my favourite grapes. Crammed with ripe, creamy, succulent peaches and pears with just a whisper of toast, it finishes dry to off-dry and is decadently satisfying.