Light, fresh, fruity, clean - they’re all words that come to mind when we think about the wines we like to drink in spring.
As temperatures warm up and the days get a little longer, we Kiwis start to venture out onto the deck, invite our mates around for nibbles in the afternoons, and maybe even fire up the barbie. That calls for wines that are crisp on the palette and pair well with lighter foods like seafood, chicken or salads.
Long gone are the days when rosé used to be an after-thought for many wineries, with many producing beautiful sophisticated rosés that appeal to drinkers of both red and white varieties.
The deliciously dry Leftfield Rosé is a unique blend of merlot, pinot noir and arneis grapes that leave you with the aromas of strawberries, cranberries and raspberries and floral notes on the palate. Try it with salmon, charcuterie and soft cheese. It also makes a delicious sangria when mixed with brandy, sugar syrup and citrus fruits.
For those wanting a sauvignon blanc with a difference, Stoneleigh’s Wild Valley will deliver. The wine is made from fruit picked at peak ripeness and is wild fermented by the micro-flora found naturally where the grapes are grown at Rapaura, Marlborough. The result is a wine with beautiful notes of lemon and honey with a creamy finish. It’s delicious with a range of dishes but particularly goat cheese, or oily fish cooked with citrus.
With spring being the season of renewal, it might also be the perfect time to try a different variety. Albarino is a grape traditionally found in the north west of Spain and northern Portugal.
Coopers Creek are leading the charge with this variety in New Zealand with Albarino now thriving in their Gisborne vineyard. This Cooper’s Creek Bell Ringer Albarino - named because it tastes and smells as pure as the peal of a bell, according to the winery - is a delicious medium bodied dry wine. It has peachy fruit notes with hints of herb, and a fresh citrus and mineral core. Keep to its Spanish roots and try it with a beautiful paella.
There’s also no need to give up the red wines in the warmer weather. Pinot noir particularly is perfectly suited to lighter meals and sunny afternoons entertaining. For a hint of red berries with darker note of cherry, and light, silky tannins try Rua Pinot Noir from highly regarded Central Otago winery Akarua. Bring it out when you put that tasty spring lamb on the barbecue.