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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."


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Foreign Fab Four

It’s always good to step outside the comfort zone of the frequent and familiar wine choices, so this month I’m featuring four very different wines. Two from France, one from Spain and an unexpected treat from Lebanon. We are finally seeing a good range of foreign wines on the shelves of wine stores and in online providers. Affordable non-NZ wines used to be limited to bulk Australian producers who did largely deliver bang for buck, but now larger producers from Europe are able to export good wines at a good price point for the average wine drinker.

Sacha Lichine La Poule Blanche VDF 2015 $22.00
This is a sauvignon blanc from Languedoc, the hot southern region of France formerly an area of mass produced cheap wines. Nowadays they are lifting their game to make wines under the entry level VDF (Vin De France) classification, and often from grapes atypical to the region. This is a dry and mineral take on sauvignon blanc. Not much aroma – just a whiff of minerality and a hint of stone fruit. In the mouth it’s very dry, mineral and flinty with a hint of gooseberry.  Match with oysters.
Availability – Mairangi Bay Fine Wines and online at Vino Fino

Bodegas Franco-Españolas Rioja Bourdon Gran Reserva 2007 $38.00
A garnet red and opaque wine made of Tempranillo, Mazueleo and Graciano.
Aromas of cedar, sherry and black pepper. Gamey and astringent. A complex and elegant wine with flavours of ripe plum, cherry, liquorice and spice with persistent tannins and a dry finish. Only 5,000 cases produced. Not widely available. A good match with a rich venison casserole.

Sacha Lichine Le Coq Rouge VDF 2015 $22.00
From the same producer as La Poule Blanche, a red blend of Grenache and Syrah from the Hérault region, south of France, between Pezenas and Béziers. With aromas of ripe red berries and flavours of cherry, cassis and plum, this is a light bodied fresh and fruity easy drinking red. Match with lighter picnic fare.
Availability – Mairangi Bay Fine Wines and online at Vino Fino

Chateaux Marsyas BQa de Marsyas 2013 $41.40
Hailing from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, one of the few Middle East wine regions, this is a juicy dark ripe red. A cab Sauv/Syrah/Mourverdre blend. Slightly pongy earthy beetroot aromas (but in a good way) lead on to a complex palate of black berry fruit compote, and Christmas cake. The finish is soft and dry. Match with marinated BBQ eye fillet.
Availability – Mairangi Bay Fine Wines.

For local availability – I highly recommend searching