If world politics tire you, how about…

If world politics are getting you down, here’s something light and tasty to look forward to this summer in the small town of Martinborough, an hour and a quarter’s drive from Wellington city – Palliser Estate has all day casual platters by local chef Jo Crabb.

Pip Goodwin, the new Palliser chief honcho at Palliser Estate says the winery’s outdoors have been re-designed by landscape architect Hamish Moorehead. Visitors to the winery can now enjoy sitting outdoors enjoying not only the wines but Crabb’s French-inspired platters to go with them. Each plate is matched with a wine and a dessert.

Palliser Estate is open for tastings 7 days a week from 10.30am to 4pm at 96 Kitchener Street, Martinborough, phone 06 306 9019. 

New Top Drop for Under $20: MW Shiraz

2015 Most Wanted Shiraz South Australia $16.99, 14.5%

Talk about good value for money… 

This cheekily named MW Shiraz is a newcomer to New Zealand and is imported by another MW – Master of Wine Stephen Bennett, who has carved a niche for bringing surprisingly high quality and low priced wines to this country. It’s an equation that strikes the right chord with wine drinkers looking for smooth, ripe red wines, such as this big bodied Shiraz. It’s a must have on hand for summer barbecues, but delivers more than that too, thanks to ripe fruit flavours and great balance between power (ripe flavours) and approachability (soft tannins). Tasty.

Available from specialist stores, such as Fine Wine Delivery Company in Auckland or find out about stockists near you by calling, 09 378 9463.

A first from Kumeu

Kumeu River Cremant Auckland $55

Cremant is the name for high quality sparkling wine made the same way as champagne, only not able to be called champagne because it comes from somewhere else, in this case that somewhere else is Kumeu, West Auckland.

The wine has been a work in progress for Master of  Wine Michael Brajkovich for the past three years while it has aged on its yeast lees (left overs form fermentation) in the bottle. This process enables it to pick up all sorts of complex flavours of fresh bread, yeast and savoury notes too – especially over an extended three year period (the same duration as vintage champagnes).

The wine is made mostly from Chardonnay, the key grape at this small family owned and operated wine specialist; here it makes up 60% of this wine’s blend, with the balancing 40% being Pinot Noir. The wine is bone dry with lots going on and flavours that remind me of fresh bread, fresh goat’s cheese and a hint of honey and citrus. It was aged on lees from August 2013 til May 2016 and is a bone dry with a full body and lingering finish.

PS: It’s sealed with a crown seal since Kumeu River Wines is a cork-free zone, and while this could suggest that you are more or less committed to the bottle (once it’s opened), that can only be a good thing – this is very good quality sparkling wine and joins an already outstanding stable of whites from one of New Zealand’s smallest, highest quality producers.

17.5/20

Find out more from www.kumeuriver.co.nz/ or from Vintners NZ