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March 8, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Before I get into this week’s column, I thought I’d give you a quick heads up: Pak’N’Save Kilbirnie currently has some epic wine specials on the go. My pick of the lot is the Woodthorpe Chardonnay from the acclaimed Hawke’s Bay producer, Te Mata winery. This is currently being sold at $13.98, which is amazing value as the wine is usually sold around the $20 mark.

The focus of the column this week is on the versatile, aromatic white wine variety, Riesling. Riesling originated and gained its prominence in the Rhine and Mosel river valleys of Germany. The earliest references to the variety date back to 1435, and Riesling now thrives in many countries outside of Germany including Austria, Italy, New Zealand, and more recently, China.

The variety is versatile in the sense that it can span a broad range of styles and is produced in both dry to sweet, and light to full-bodied variations. The strong acid profile and vast array of flavours and aromas make Riesling a candidate for ageing. Commonly, with age, Riesling wines develop a distinct kerosene aroma, deep golden colour, and oily texture.

Riesling plantings in New Zealand are most common in the South Island, as the cooler climate and long sunshine hours provide optimum growing conditions.

Wine of the Week

This week’s wine is once again great value for money and surprisingly comes from a small-scale producer. The Johner Riesling 2009 is a product of the Wairarapa-based winery Johner Estate, which was founded in 2001 by Karl Heinz Johner, who moved from Germany to New Zealand on a quest to make high quality Pinot wines.

The 2009 Riesling uses locally grown Wairarapa fruit and is fermented and matured in a German off-dry style in stainless steel tanks. When poured, the wine is a pale light green colour with lush aromas of green apples, feijoa and apricots. Bizarrely, if you go to Nic Nac’s dairy on Cuba St and get a $1 mix that consists of those chewy apricot and feijoa sweets, as well as a couple of tangy apples, you can pretty much replicate the aroma of this wine.

A balanced acid and residual sugar profile, combined with 12.5% alcohol makes the wine vibrant and relatively light in body. This wine is available at Regional Wines and Spirits for $13.25 and I would wholeheartedly recommended it with that Asian dish that you’re probably going to have some time soon.

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