Eight Kiwi wines to try

GORGEOUS DROPS: The perfect present idea for the wine-lover in your life.
GORGEOUS DROPS: The perfect present idea for the wine-lover in your life.

People forget things - useful information, interesting but otherwise useless information, it's the way we are.

So when we were asked if we could spend some time going over some of the terms we used in our wine column as a "refresher", it seemed a good idea.

Wine has a wonderful language all its own so there's no better place to start than with the terms used in today's reviews. Here goes:

Malo: Short for malolactic fermentation. A scary one to start with because it can take some explaining. Actually the word fermentation is a misnomer. What occurs is a conversion of malic acid (apples) to lactic acid (milk). This is why, when we review chardonnay, for example, we often refer to buttery and creamy aromas and flavours.

Fruit weight: The dense fruitiness of the wine - other terms that could be used are "fruit forward" or "fruit-driven". Fruitiness can also indicate ripeness and often we mention that we taste ripe flavours and as any winemaker will tell you grapes picked at optimum ripeness will make better wine.

Balance: The essential feature of quality wines. Refers to the alcoholic strength, tannins, residual sugar and acidity complementing each other. No one element is particularly obvious on the palate. Balance is not related to flavour.

Complexity: The range of flavours within the wine - the nuanced nature of the palate. Varietals have specific primary flavours, such as plums and oak in a pinot noir. Secondary flavours can vary from label to label, season to season and can include tobacco, thyme, chocolate and violets. The greater the range of complementary primary and secondary flavours in a wine, the greater the complexity. This is considered essential in a good quality wine.


Gladstone 12,000 Miles Pinot Noir 2012 ($27) Very clear, garnet in the glass.

The soft sweet berry-fruit and cherry aroma has mild spice, gentle oak and soft green herb notes.

The silky palate encapsulates autumn with its soft tannins, gentle plum and smoke flavours. There's also a floral note in the aromatics. Supple and ripe, this is a gentle, easy drinking wine that will easily find favour.

Bald Hills 3 Acres Pinot Noir Bannockburn 2012 ($30) Clear, ruby with flashes of purple.

The perfumed aroma has plum and early cherry fruitiness, smoky oak and soft violet notes.

Plums and dark berry-fruit sit well with gentle chocolate, warm earth, violet and crisp herbal flavours. Firm tannins sit well with the lashings of dark fruit balanced perfectly by those crisper flavours.

Tohu Rore Reserve Pinot Noir Marlborough 2012 ($39) Garnet in the glass with a deep smoky plum aroma. Leafy, perfumed with soft oak notes. This pinot displays classic Central Otago characters - supple, generous, complex and delicious.

The silky, supple palate delivers sweet fruitiness, spicy with plums and sweet oak to the fore. Crisp green notes and some savouriness assert themselves toward the finish. Rich and ripe with excellent fruit weight - a wine with finesse. We loved the perfumed aromatics at the finish; a very feminine wine, delightful.

Aronui Single Vineyard Nelson Chardonnay 2012 ($25) The aroma delivers everything a classic chardonnay fan desires - fragrant with rich malo notes, creaminess, ripe stone fruit and butterscotch.

The full-bodied, nicely rounded palate is full of ripe stone fruit, golden grape fruit, cream and toffee flavours supported by lovely toasty notes.

Spicy oak and nutty flavour towards the finish add to the weight and texture of this well-crafted wine. This is the complete package, absolutely marvellous.

The Ned Southern Valleys Pinot Noir 2012 ($20) Looks young in the glass - ruby with flashes of purple.

The aroma is fresh, bright and very fruity with some lovely smoky bacon notes hovering in the background.

The palate is punchy with plenty of fruit weight. Rich with ripe cherry and plum notes, a hint of smoke with mocha and some chewy herbal flavour for good measure.

A really enjoyable fruit forward style, excellent value and made to be enjoyed young.

Te Mania Nelson Pinot Gris 2012 ($21.99) Gentle and rich with vanilla marshmallow in the aroma.

The palate is a delightful blend of gingery spice, really ripe stone fruit, fig, and pear skin. Warming, rich and textural, perfumed with gentle aniseed notes. Finishes crisply - a lovely easy drinking wine from this reliable Nelson label.

Jackson Estate Marlborough Homestead Dry Riesling 2012 ($18) The lemon/lime aroma is supported by light kerosene and dry sack notes, a whiff of furniture polish and complementary savouriness.

A wine to spend time with, this Riesling is stunning - the ripe fruitiness delivers sweetness but the finish is very dry. Quince, lemon/lime and kerosene are partnered by some intense aromatics. Bright and crisp with a lean mineral line to keep perfect balance, this taut wine deserves cellaring but if you drink now, team it with fish - magic.

Domain Road Duffers Creek Riesling Bannockburn 2012 ($25) Lemon, ripe apple, flint, spice and floral notes on the aroma.

The sweet, fruity palate delivers a lick of kerosene. A lovely wine with crisp lemon and sweet apple fruitiness delivering great balance. Juicy with depth of flavour and excellent length - finishes delightfully crisp with that apple/lemon flavour lingering pleasantly.