Wine: New Zealand's Dark Side
New Zealand has many fans in Ireland for its aromatic whites. But increasingly, we are venturing towards the dark side and discovering its savoury and food-friendly reds.
Slightly nearer the Equator, the warmer North Island's Hawkes Bay is home to black grape varietals Merlot and Syrah - while the cool climate-loving Pinot Noir is most comfortable in the South Island's Marlborough region. For food partners, New Zealand reds are as compatible with summer barbecues as with Asian and European cuisine.
1) Pinot Noir 2013, Vicar's Choice, Saint Clair, Marlborough 13.5pc
This outstanding 2013 vintage delivers a very fruity character bursting with juicy red fruits and a satisfying savouriness. Lovely balance of moderate acidity, alcohol and tannin. Sear a salmon finished with a sweet and sour glaze.
€16.99 at Bradley's, Cork. In Dublin: McHugh's, Kilbarrack and Malahide roads; Molloy's citywide and Mitchell & Son, IFSC and Glasthule.
2) Merlot 2014, Oyster Bay, Hawkes Bay 13.5pc
Classic Merlot with rich chocolatey palate, soft black fruits and medium-bodied alcohol with balanced acidity and tannin. Perfect with lamb burgers mixed with a pinch of cocoa and smoked paprika.
€12-€14.99 at Tesco, Carryout Group, Dunnes Stores, Londis, Spar and SuperValu nationwide.
3) Pinot Noir 2014, Old Coach Road, Seifried Estate, Nelson 13.5pc
Subtle woody notes highlighting oak aging. Depth of fruit on the palate of cranberries, a little spice and a long savoury finish. Try with pan-fried chicken livers tossed with garlicky butter in spaghetti.
€19.99 at Ardkeen Quality Food Store, Waterford; Chill In, Ongar Village, Co Dublin and Eldon's, Clonmel.
4) Syrah Reserve 2013, Vidal, Hawkes Bay 13.5pc
Gorgeous aromas of ripe blackberry fruit and a mineral streak. Very flavoursome dark fruits supported by Syrah's firm tannins and excellent balance and length of finish. Pair with beef in a full-flavoured sauce - morels and Marsala does a decadent job.
€17.35 at winesoftheworld.ie.
5) Pinot Noir 2014, Tinpot Hut, Marlborough 13.5pc
Shy aromas of oaky spice but an intense burst of mouth-watering red fruits that relax to a more understated finish. Magic with a confit of duck, cloves and poached figs.
€19.99 at Bradley's, Cork and Florries, Tramore. In Dublin: Red Island Wine, Skerries; Morton's, Ranelagh; Sweeney's, Glasnevin; Clontarf Wines and Mitchell & Son, IFSC and Glasthule.
6) Pinot Noir 2015, Tamara Kelly-Washington, Tesco finest, Marlborough 13.5pc
Pungent fragrance of fresh red berries. Deliciously complex palate of a velvety strawberry coulis contrasted by a savoury meaty and long juicy edge. Enjoy with crispy duck pancakes.
€15 at Tesco nationwide.
7) Pinot Noir 2013, Opawa, Marlborough 13.5pc
A reductive and raw bouquet. A delicious, savoury and meaty palate, the essence of umami with supportive firm tannins. Try it with some gamy venison with roasted beetroots.
€22 at Higgin's, Clonskeagh; Deveney's, Dundrum; The Corkscrew, Chatham Street and independent off-licences.