Wine: New Zealand's aromatic whites
Isolated 2,000km from its nearest neighbour, Australia, and exposed to the full brunt of the cooling trade winds, New Zealand's white wines have an added aromatic intensity. It is hard to believe that most of New Zealand's popular white wines were only planted a few decades ago.
Sauvignon Blanc, first planted in Marlborough in 1972 has become a benchmark and recognisable style globally for its pungent lime, peapod and passion fruit character. It covers 50pc of the country's vineyards. Chardonnay retains its diversity of styles from oaked vanilla to steely fresh. Pinot Gris has overtaken Riesling and is made in the richer Alsace style. There are exciting experiments with less familiar Sauvignon Gris, Austria's Grüner Veltliner and Alsace's Gewürztraminer, each adding to the exciting quality choices New Zealand increasingly offers.
Wine of the week: 1) Grüner Veltliner 2012, Seifried, Nelson 13pc
Attractive spearmint bouquet. Delicious ripe lemon curd character, silky smooth and mellow. Enjoy with pork in a creamy mustard sauce.
€19.99 at Ardkeen Foodstore, Waterford; No.21, Charleville; Matson's, Bandon and Grange; Parting Glass, Wicklow and Mitchell's Wine Merchants, Sandycove
2) Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Estate Selection, Cimarosa Marlborough 12.5pc
Fragrant with bruised basil and blackcurrant leaves. Pretty palate of elderflower cordial mixed with peach and apple juice. Serve with sushi.
€8.79 at Lidl nationwide
3) Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Tesco Finest, Tamara Kelly-Washington, Marlborough 12.5pc
Freshly cut grass aromas. A French accent of intense salty minerality and green apple skins in the Sancerre style. Snack with lightly grilled goat's cheese on baguette toasts.
€12 at Tesco nationwide
4) Gewürztraminer 2012, Private Bin, Villa Maria, East Coast 13pc
Pungent Turkish Delight ginger jelly is echoed on the palate with freshly grated ginger spice and plenty of acidity to match a spicy Indian creamy spinach-sauced Chicken Saag.
€14.99 online at winesoftheworld.ie
5) Sauvignon Gris 2014, Brancott Estate, Marlborough, 14.5pc
From a more uncommon cousin of Sauvignon Blanc showing a full-bodied palate of peach kernel and a little exotic mango. Cool with cold ham and chutney.
€14.99 at Tesco nationwide
6) Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Kaituna Hills, Marlborough 13.5pc
Aromas of passionfruit sorbet with candied lime peel. Deliciously vigorous lime and grapefruit juicy flavours. Tingling and zesty and happy with a Thai green curry.
€15.49 at Marks & Spencer nationwide
7) Chardonnay 2014, The Limeworks, Hawkes Bay 13.5pc
Chardonnay at its most perfumed with peach and talcum powder scents. Intense flavours highlighted by peach pulp and skins. Go retro with Chicken Maryland.
€17.99 at SuperValu nationwide
8) Dry Riesling 2014, Kim Crawford, Marlborough 11pc
Floral with some herbal notes of mint and slate. Light-bodied and focused flavours of lime and lemon zest with a slate minerality. The lighter alcohol makes a good match with chilli-hot chicken jalfrezi.
€19.99 in Dublin at Clontarf Wines; Blackrock Cellar and Thomas's, Foxrock
Wine Producers' Weekend at Knockranny House Hotel & Spa, Westport
A dinner, B&B and wine tasting event costs €135pp sharing or for non-residents who would like to attend this informative event, the rate is €69 per person sharing, including dinner, wine tasting & masterclasses. From January 29-30,
T: (098) 28600 E: email@example.com knockrannyhousehotel.ie