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Wines for the summer sizzle

DEBORAH WALTON-DERRY AND PETER MORICE
Last updated 15:35 20/12/2012

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Revamp for cafe, cellar starts Region ranks second in global wine poll IRD debt forced contractor's liquidation Growers go slow for less damage Vineyards struggling to find 'strong committed' workers Region toasts return of wine conference Malbec makes for flavoursome blend 'Great future' in low-alcohol wines Eating humble pie with old bottle of mead Quality and quantity in record harvest

Christmas and New Year are nearly here and we still have so many great wine options to share with you - here's a round-up of some to consider.

One of the coolest packaging innovations we've seen for a while is the Brown Brothers Sparkling Moscato Chill and Go Basket. This four-bottle fridge pack is perfect for the days ahead as Moscato simply tastes like summer.

Brown Brothers Chill n Go Moscato ($19.99)

If you want a wine that says "celebrate" but doesn't flatten you early in the day, this is it. Not designed to be anything other than deliciously good fun, it will be great to be greeted by this spritzy, soft, sweet, fruity wine at brunch. This moscato freshens the palate and leaves a delightful aftertaste.

Just 5 per cent alcohol - if you want fun, friendly and frivolous, this is it.

Brown Brothers Patricia Pinot Noir and Chardonnay Brut 2006 ($55.99)

Very attractive in the glass - gold with a fine bead coupled with a stunningly attractive aroma - apple, cognac and berry notes; yeasty, toasty with some nougat.

The toasty, creamy palate delivers rich caramel flavour, but not at the expense of the lovely creamy mousse and stone-fruit flavours. Dry yet rich with a rewarding nutty/chardonnay dominant finish that's incredibly moreish. This wine is worth every cent - it's a fabulous tasting experience.

Villa Maria S-Series Moscato ($19.99)

You may recall us reviewing the S-Series Brut last week; now it's the turn of this soft, fruity and altogether delightful stablemate.

Attractive in a chilled glass, this sparkling wine has a lovely fruit forward muscat aroma, sweetly perfumed and very summery.

The palate has perfumed aromatics on the palate; it's not terrifically sweet, delivering soft muscat fruitiness and gentle minerality. Off-dry at mid-palate and dry at the finish, this is a very stylish wine ideal for summer brunch.

Invivo Belle Rose 2012 ($19.95)

Weighing in at just 9 per cent alcohol and promoted as being lighter in calories, this wine proved surprisingly good for a low alcohol wine.

Pale rose pink in the glass with a crisp green herb, strawberry and citrus aroma.

The palate delivers gentle, sweet, tropical fruitiness with a satiny texture. Off-dry with berry-fruit acidity and a herbal tang to the finish. Light in style but delivering flavour, freshness and texture; great for lunch by the pool.

Te Mania Nelson Pinot Noir Rose 2012 ($19.99)

Deep salmon pink with a confected strawberry aroma laced with some savoury notes.

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Unctuous and fruity with tingly acids, this wine's crisp, slightly herbaceous edge mid-palate is very enjoyable and the dry, fruity and moreish finish makes it very easy to drink.

Equinox Waipara Hills Riesling 2011 ($29)

This wine carries all the aromatic hallmarks of a good riesling; lemon, lime and very soft pineapple notes with some mineral pong and a touch of honey.

Excellent varietal definition here; fine minerality with citrus flavour and perfumed aromatics. The long mineral citrus finish is poised and has the added appeal of some fruit sweetness and a hint of gingery warmth.

Riverby Estate Single Vineyard Marlborough Riesling 2011 ($20)

The floral aroma is overlaid by citrus and stony minerality.

The weighty, broad palate is dry and crisp with plenty of citrus and apple flavour. Stony minerality shines through - the flavours are subtle yet there's good presence.

Tohu Limited Release Raiha Reserve Noble Riesling 2011 ($27.95)

Deep lemon gold with a honeyed marmalade aroma that's rich and sweet.

Dry straw, honeyed citrus and caramel flavours combine with creamy caramel notes in this unctuous, heavy-bodied dessert wine. Perfumed aromatics add interest and there's perfect balance here, this wine is sweet but not cloying - finishes smoothly and leaves a sense of decadence.

Equinox Waipara Valley Late Harvest Riesling ($30)

Deep gold with flashes of green, this attractive wine has a toasty honey and bran biscuit aroma laced with citrus tang.

Generous, full-flavoured and displaying ripe pineapple flavour alongside light kerosene and citrus notes. There's some toffee-apple kick at the finish and the whole package is held together by citrusy acid. A glorious example.

Riverby Estate Marlborough Noble Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2011 ($34)

Spectacular to gaze upon with its deep old gold colour, this wine's powerful aroma is not unexpected. Honey, orange marmalade, kerosene, beeswax and some exciting feral/botrytis notes suggest superb complexity.

A dessert wine with unctuous mouth feel and loads of flavour. Sauvignon blanc acidity and flavour pull back the semillon; there's a lovely raisin note in here - the toast and dried fruit flavour concentration had us using terms like liquid gold.

Dessert in a glass, this 55 per cent sauvignon blanc, 45 per cent semillon blend has a resounding 250 grams of residual sugar and 9 per cent alcohol.

Something special to savour.

- The Marlborough Express

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