Top drops under $20 (and over) and wine news from Joelle Thomson

Author: Joelle Thomson (page 1 of 70)

Rosé is on a roll…

We’ve got a bit of a thing for a pink drink here at Regional Wines, where I work as wine programme director – tastings, writing interesting info’ about the world’s most interesting beverage and all that jazz… Anyway, so this week, we’re going to crack open three pink drinks tomorrow night at our new weekly casual tasting, Wine Wednesday, at Regional Wines from 5.30pm to 7pm.

Our resident wine whizzes will guide you through a trio of pink drinks and explain the differences in style and why colour is not an indication of dryness – or otherwise.

Speaking of which, rosé – or pink wine – can be made from any red grape and can even be made by blending red and white wine together, which is standard practice in France’s Champagne region for the production of the world’s highest priced pink sparkling wine. Unusual as that sounds (and it’s another story, which we can revisit over the upcoming festive silly season), most New Zealand rosé is made from Pinot Noir – for obvious reasons.
Pinot is the most widely planted red grape and most widely produced red wine in this country. This means that rosé tends to be produced in two main ways in New Zealand.
Firstly, it can be made as an intentional wine where red grapes are pressed and given anything from a few hours to a few days of skin contact so that the colour adds a light tinge to the wine.
Secondly – and this is more common – rosé is made using a method called saigneé – French for ‘bleeding’.
This refers to making pink wine from red wine (in this case, Pinot Noir) while the wine is still fermenting in tank – by bleeding off a little of the fermenting juice, The wine that remains in the tank (most of it) can gain a more intense colour and flavour while a fresh, light pink wine can be made at the same time. Hey presto – rosé.
Come along and check out this trio tomorrow at 5.30pm at Regional Wines in Wellington – there’s no need to book… come and check out these pink drinks with us for $5 at the door.
We hope to see you there.

Pink drinks at Wine Wednesday…

2016 Whitehaven Rosé $17.99

2016 Eradus Rosé $18.99 

2017 Haha Rosé $14.99

News: Craggy Range begins major refurb today

Craggy Range Winery began a major refurbishment of its cellar door today in a project destined to last through winter 2018.

The first stage is the cellar door of the Giant’s Winery, which is being replaced temporarily with a pop-up cellar door.

“The pop up cellar door will be a really fun experience, which will show one of our winery spaces – the Chardonnay cellar – that is usually behind the scenes and not available for the public to view,” says Craggy Range cellar door manager Michael Bancks

The refurbishment project is led by Paul Izzard, from Izzard Design; one of the guest judges on The Block NZ.

Fact file…

Craggy Range Giant’s Winery cellar door is shut from 16 October and the pop up cellar door within the Chardonnay Cellar will be open from Thursday 19 October to Tuesday 22 November.

The  new cellar door is scheduled to be open from Wednesday 22 November.

The Giant’s Winery restaurant, Terroir, will be refurbished during the winter season 2018.

Taste Champagne Lallier in Wellington tonight… free

If you’re wandering around Wellington tonight between 5pm and 7pm, pop into Regional Wines for a free taste of an exceptional range of bubbles from Champagne Lallier…

My blog on Champagne Lallier…

Talk about modest. I’m talking about the price, not the big, beautiful taste of Champagne Lallier, which over deliver for the $50.99 you’ll spend on this wine. And the trio of Lallier bubbles will be open for a free tasting tonight at Regional Wines at the Basin Reserve in Wellington from 5pm to 7pm.

Our team here at Regional had the tasty pleasure of checking out Lallier Champagnes this afternoon and, while we’ve all got our faves, we agreed the rosé was the pick of this beautiful bunch, which range from $23 for a half bottle up to $50.99. That’s no mean feat, given the hefty resources of time, reserve wines and grand cru vineyards (the highest quality land) that go into making Lallier Champagne.

When, where and what…

Champagne Lallier is based in… the village of Ay (one of the 17 Grand Cru villages) in the Champagne region.

It was founded in 1906 by… Rene Lallier and the business was sold in 2004 to Francis Tribaut who is the current owner and also the winemaker. This makes Lallier the only champagne brand where the owner is also the winemaker.

The bubbles are made in two locations… in Maison D’Ay and  in the new Cellier D’Oger, 10 kms outside of Ay on the Cotes des Blanc; a modern facility built in 2012.

Lallier Champagnes only contain the two most respected grapes… namely, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The wines go through malolactic fermentation, which varies… depending on the vintage and the acidity in the grapes as a result of the vintage.

Dosage varies from zero up to… 18 grams per litre.


The champagnes

Champagne Lallier Ay Brut R012 $46.45

Very fresh, very flavoursome and very affordable; this is made from a blend of 62% Pinot Noir, 38% Chardonnay and 81% of the wine comes from grapes grown in 2012 (hence the R012 – ‘recolte’ means year) and 19% reserve wines. It’s also drier than many champagnes with a dosage of 8 grams per litre and the wine is made from 85% Grand Cru vineyards.

Champagne Lallier Blanc de Blancs Ay $53.80

This is 100% Chardonnay and all from vineyards that are classified as Grand Cru; 60% from Ay and 40% from Cote des Blancs. The wine spent 36 to 88% wine of the year, 12% reserve wines, aging on lees 36 to 48 months, dosage 9 grams.

Buttered croissant aromas, very strong yeasty flavours, high acidity, great concentration with strong citrus flavours, a full body and a long finish.

Champagne Lallier Rose Grand Cru $50.99

Wine of the year 92%, reserve wines 8%, grand cr vineyards only; 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay. Pale salmon colour, savoury aromas, yeasty flavours, high acidity, very long finish. Very pronounced mushroom aromas with an explosion of beautiful red fruit flavours in the mouth…

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