Friday, 16 July 2010

Heartbroken for Wine

I might be a happily married woman now, but back in the day I somehow managed to work my way through enough commitment-phobic artists, actors, musicians and bad boy bartenders to get my heart broken on a regular basis. Each time a relationship soured I turned to Crunchie bars and cabernet – usually simultaneously, but why? It seemed like such a cliché, so very Bridget Jones to turn to booze and chocolate in times of sorrow and woe. Thankfully research just out says that there is actually a very real reason why women turn to wine and chocolate in times of heartbreak; we simply can’t help it. According to an article in the UK’s Daily Mail last week, scientists have found that jilted women have a higher tendency to turn to these things because their bodies are trying to compensate for an addiction to love. New research has linked rejection in romance to brain activity associated with addiction and that romantic love, under both happy and unhappy circumstances may be a ‘natural’ addiction – just like food, wine, scrapbooking or cigarettes. So we’re not just looking for an excuse to ditch Weight Watchers and fall off the wagon, and we’re not just copying those silly, soppy women on telly and in films when we hit the pick ‘n’ mix section at the supermarket. We are in fact following a very primal, basic instinct and that is to love someone and be loved because we are all afflicted with a serious case of the Robert Palmers. When we suffer the pain of breaking up with someone it’s natural that women attempt to immediately fill the void with something that resembles a love fix, like a glass of good vino or a Luxury Flake.

Getting Fizzicle

Lindauer might have made the style the smash hit of summer 2010 by introducing it to the masses, but sparkling sauvignon blanc has actually been around for quite some time. Mount Riley wines of Marlborough were pioneers of the style with Savée ($20), their deliciously spritzy, lime-laden sparkling sauvignon. When I first tried it about 5 years ago it was eye-opening stuff, “why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?” It was elegant, sensuous and delicately flavoured with white peach and herbaceous notes and I’ve been a big fan since. A packaging makeover means it also now looks sensational on the table (shouldn’t be important, but it is) so it’s a must-have for your next dinner party. Last year Lindauer released their overt, grassy, passionfruity sparkling sauvignon ($12) and it was decidedly sweeter, but a real crowd pleaser nonetheless. Chilled down it’s a superb sip for those sun-kissed summer days (they can’t come soon enough) and as a bonus it’s super-affordable. Now a third sparkling Marlborough sauvignon has crossed by my desk and it’s by Goldridge Estate ($18). Oozing crisp capsicum, lemon and green herb characters, it’s clean and refreshingly dry and lengthy on the finish. Clearly sparkling sav is here to stay and that makes me a happy camper.

Four of the Best This Week
Lake Chalice Raptor Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 $27 (4 stars)

A fantastic chardonnay that’s worth every penny because it has punchy grapefruit, japonica and yellow plum flavours fleshed out with some juicy nectarine notes. Elegantly balanced oak and a creamy, textural finish makes for a satisfying chardonnay that works well with scallops wrapped in bacon and sizzled on the grill. The ‘raptor’ refers to the Karearea or NZ falcon, a rare, endemic raptor. Lake Chalice sponsors the Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust, dedicated to preserving these amazing birds.

Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 $10 (3½ stars)

Super-dry, limey and mineral-driven, this is a crisp, clean and classic example of a style we know and love. Vibrant passionfruit, lime and lemon with a hint of sugar-snap pea character makes this a super-sippable, spritzy sauvignon that'll perk up even the most jaded palate. Widely available.

Waimea Estate Nelson Gewurztraminer 2008 $15 (5 stars)

Again, the price of this wine floored me as this wine actually won an Elite Gold at last years Air New Zealand Wine Awards, which makes it one of the highest scoring Gewurztraminers in the country. Lovely lychee, white peach, hints of ginger and tangy tropical tastiness abound in this wine. And you simply can’t go wrong if you’re thinking about having a number 19 crispy squid with chilli coconut sauce from the thai takeaway – this wine is perfect.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Gewurztraminer 2009 $32 (4½ stars)

Sourced from the oldest gewurztraminer vines in the region, this is one perfectly poised and deliciously elegant example. Lifted lychee, rose, white peach and soft, musky spices mean it’s aromatically stunning and clean, fresh and ultimately drinkable.

Millton Vineyard Clos de Ste. Anne Narboth’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008 $53 (5 stars)

When you look at where the iconic pinot noirs of New Zealand come from, southern(ish) regions like Martinborough, Marlborough, Nelson, Waipara and Central Otago immediately spring to mind but from today onward I’m adding Gisborne to the list because I’ve just tried the sensational Millton Clos de Ste. Anne Narboth’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008. Fashioned by winemaker James Millton from biodynamically grown grapes from the tiny vineyard named after his wife Annie, this pinot has incredibly seductive, spicy, pine-needle aromas wrapped up with some dried herbs, baked strawberries and rhubarb. To drink it is ripe, lush, slippery and lithe, leaving a hint of bitter chocolate on the finish.
Available from fine wine stores or via