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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bargain Red Wines for the NZ Winter


Bargain Reds for Winter



By Phil Parker - wine writer.

Phil runs wine tours in Auckland see: www.finewinetours.co.nz

One of the nice things about our cooler weather is that it’s an opportunity to drink some red wines.  White wines are fine of course but winter means that you don’t want to chill them – they taste much better at room temperature when it’s cold outside. 

Red wines can benefit from being warmed up slightly above room temperature.  (My old trick – in case you missed it, immerse the unopened bottle of red in a basin of medium/hot water for a few minutes. Dry off, open, enjoy). Warming releases the aromas and softens the wine.

Okay – on with the hunt for a bargain red wine. I got lucky with a couple of reds plucked from the supermarket shelves this week.  This can backfire of course, but if you’re gambling less than ten bucks then it’s not a disaster.  From experience, any bargain wines in the seven dollar range are usually disappointing.  There seems to be a threshold at $9.99 where they become drinkable.

First up:
Pete’s Shed Central Otago Matai Block Pinot Noir 2008 $12.99
This is a label purpose made for Progressive Enterprises supermarkets (Countdown, Fresh Choice, Woolworths etc.). The 2009 version was given less than favourable reviews for being under ripe, but this one’s a ripper.  Silky soft tannins and ripe dark berry flavours give way to spicy savoury notes and a lasting finish.

Taylors Oomoo McLaren Vale (Grenache/Shiraz /Mourvedre blend) $11.99
The label is a reproduction of an old Taylors wine label - featuring emus and kangaroos!  Oomoo is allegedly an aboriginal word for 'tastes good'.
South Australia’s Mclaren Vale is a producer of some pretty grunty reds like Cabernet and Shiraz, but this is a softer take on the Great Aussie red.  The Grenache/Shiraz /Mourvedre blend is a mix you see in Aus – often called GSM for short.  This one opens up with lovely black pepper, plum pudding and a liquorice aromas.  On the palate – chocolate, plums, black cherry and fig, with medium tannins.  A great match with a hearty beef casserole or venison.


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