Top 10 NZ wines for festive drinking

LUCY CORRY
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2012
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The start of the holiday season isn't the only reason to replenish your wine stocks right now. Wine expert MichaelCooper says the end of the global wine glut means price-slashing will soon be a distant memory.

Cooper, who has just published the 21st edition of his annual Buyer's Guide To New Zealand Wines, says New Zealand wine production fell by 18 per cent in 2012 and that means prices are going to rise.

But it's not all bad news - there are plenty of well-priced wines to be had this Christmas. Cooper shares his top 10 buys for Christmas drinking and beyond.

WHITE WINES

Spy Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2011, around $20: "This is my best white wine buy of the year," Cooper says. "It's refined and elegant, a very classy chardonnay for $20."

Waimea Nelson Pinot Gris, around $23: "The 2010 vintage is mouth-filling and peachy. This is very good value for money."

Haha Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, around $16: "The 2011 vintage is great drinking and this is great value," Cooper says.

RED WINES

Bannock Brae Estate Goldfields Pinot Noir 2010, $29.95: Cooper says this wine proves you don't have to pay upwards of $40 for good quality Otago pinot noir."This would be a great wine for Christmas from a label with a good pedigree. I'd recommend this with a money-back guarantee."

Coopers Creek Hawkes Bay Merlot 2010, around $20 (often on special for less): "This is a great red wine for a barbecue this summer." If you don't get through all of it, Cooper says the 2010 vintage will be good drinking in mid-2013.

Church Road Hawke's Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon, around $37 but often on special: If you see this on special (often around $14), grab it, Cooper says.

BUBBLES

Lindauer Brut, priced from $8.95 on special: Given the fact it has collected armfuls of wine awards and trophies this year, Cooper says you'd be mad to bypass New Zealand's favourite sparkling wine."It's easy to look down on Lindauer, but the current batch is great value. I think it's unbeatable."

Nautilus Cuvee Marlborough, around $38: "If you want to push the boat out or are looking for a present, this is a a very elegant, yeasty, champagne-like wine. It's very classy for the price."

Quartz Reef Methode Traditionelle Brut NV, around $32: Cooper says this is another good option for a special occasion sparkling wine. "It's always very classy."

ROSE

Neudorf Moutere Rose 2012: If you're planning to have salmon as part of your festive feast, Cooper says this rose is what you should drink with it. "A lot of people dismiss rose as lolly water and there are a lot of very average ones out there. But this one is made from pinot noir grapes and it's full-flavoured, dry and satisfying. It also goes very well with food and it's perfect with salmon."

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For more of Michael Cooper's wine recommendations, check out the online version of hisBuyer's Guide To New Zealand Wines.

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