Wines to enjoy as the days shorten and the leaves change colour.
Quartz Reef Bendigo Pinot Noir 2010 - $40.
Lovely and dark, this wine is already drinking beautifully. The nose is full of blackberry and the palate is juicy, with a hint of spice, finished with fine tannins. This Central Otago pinot noir more than justifies its price tag. 5 stars
Bilancia Hawke's Bay Syrah 2010 - $31.95
Winner of a trophy at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, this is a terrific syrah from a top-quality, boutique winery. It is a deep red, with a floral nose, and the palate is already displaying ripe fruit and gorgeous smooth tannins. 5 stars
Greenhough Nelson Chardonnay 2010 - $24
This is a classy wine from a fine producer. The nose is firm and inviting and the palate is full of flavour. Grapefruit, lemon and nutty tastes combine to create a slightly flinty character that enhances the experience. Great value. 4.5 stars
Chateau de Sours Bordeaux 2009 - $31
This Bordeaux wine is pure merlot and surprisingly "new world". The bouquet is dominated by leather and spice and there are tight flavours of plum and dark cherry. Gripping tannins confirm this delicious French red will be even better in a couple of years. 4.5 stars
Escarpment Pinot Blanc 2009 - $25.99
New Zealand has only about 17 hectares of pinot blanc, but there should be more. Escarpment's first pinot blanc is top stuff - pale yellow and off-dry, with flavours of apple and citrus, the wine is held together by gentle acidity. 4 stars
Mud House Estate Riesling 2010 - $24.99
Pale straw in colour and medium-dry in style, this is an appealing, easy-drinking riesling from Waipara. The nose is floral and fragrant and the flavours are of stone fruit and orange blossom with a hint of lemon. 3.5 stars