Summer specials for all occasions

DEBORAH WALTON-DERRY & PETER MORICE
Last updated 07:23 07/02/2013

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Wine

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

Wines for lazy lunches, relaxed barbecues, the odd special occasion - here's a summer wine selection that covers most occasions:

Te Mania Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($19)

The dusty straw and tomato leaf aroma is savoury, lively and intense.

There's zesty punch to the palate; crisp acids, lively citrus, prickly herbaceousness combine with tropical notes to deliver a weighty, fleshy mid-palate. Juicy but finishing dry, this is a moreish and enjoyable wine.

Saint Clair Marlborough Premium Pinot Gris 2011 ($21.50)

The tight, crisp apple and pear aroma is softened by light caramel notes and the palate is soft, gentle and perfumed. There isn't much fruit weight here but this soft, ripe, slightly sweet wine is easy drinking with its gentle touch of apricot on the finish.

Sacred Hill Central Otago Prospector Pinot Noir 2010 ($60)

A youthful crimson red in the glass, showing some depth - very attractive.

Rich dark cherry and plum notes are coupled with appealing spiciness, leather and earth in the aroma.

The silky palate is seamless. Fine-grained tannins deliver a hint of green stalkiness that adds to the structure nicely. The firm acids and some leafy crispness support the fruitiness. There's a dash of cocoa towards the finish which is fruity and spicy but no fruit bomb. A very satisfying wine that's still young - you can cellar for a few years with confidence.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke's Bay Arneis 2011 ($23.99)

We recently reviewed Villa Maria's Private Bin Hawke's Bay Arneis. Now it's time to look at this slightly more expensive label.

Mineral, chalk, pear and citrus notes combine to deliver a subtle aroma that has a green apple/phenolic edge.

The palate is generous, well-rounded and spicy. The zesty acidity is complemented by toffee apple and gentle stonefruit flavours with a warming ginger spike. Finishes dry, delicate yet rewarding. A great example, you can taste the terroir in this wine.

Brancott Estate Special Reserve Marlborough/Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011 ($28.99)

This new range from Brancott Estate was launched last year. We were interested in the blending of Central and Marlborough pinots - this wine didn't disappoint.

The coffee, spice and dark cherry aroma is rich and concentrated.

Slightly grainy across the palate, this wine's flavour profile mirrors the aroma, warming and rich with plenty of cherry and chocolate. There's good acid spine, lively spiciness, and a hint of mushroom in the mix. Concentrated with superb balance and excellent length, this wine delivers an excellent blend of the best from two regions.

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Te Mania Reserve Nelson Pinot Noir 2011 ($34.99)

Dark crimson, clear and brilliant in the glass with an aroma that's gently plummy and earthy. The palate has a sweet, bright plum flavour, and a generous serving of drying tannins at the finish. An easy drinker, lacks complexity but still enjoyable.

Ara Single Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($19.95)

One of the most impressive wines we've tried from Ara, this sauvignon blanc has a punchy tomato leaf, capsicum and grass aroma that's lifted and intense. The lip-smacking palate is full of grassy, gooseberry flavour. There's plenty of fruit power and the palate weight is impressive. Here's a wonderful balance between classic Marlborough flavours and optimum ripeness. New chief winemaker Jeff Clarke is signalling some changes here.

Dashwood Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($19)

The aroma is prickly, laced with tomato leaf, mineral, dry straw and lime notes. There are tingly acids on the palate and plenty of sweet lime flavour bursting out. Melon and grassiness round out this refresher; just the thing to crack open with friends.

- The Marlborough Express

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