Virtual wine tasting on Saturday 15 August 2020

A group of Hawke’s Bay winemakers is hosting its first virtual wine tasting on Saturday 15 August from 5pm to 6pm.

The evening will include wines, canapѐs and conversation, all to be had at home with a pre ordered tasting package including five different wines from five wineries in the region. It’s called the F.A.W.C! Night In Virtual Wine Tasting and includes wines from Halcyon Days Wines, Clearview Estate, Te Awa Estate, Collaboration Wines and Smith and Sheth CRU. A representative from each winery will host the tasting. Find out  more or buy tickets at

Wine of the week… affordable Italian for $17

2018 Vino Lascito Sangiovese Rubicone $16.99

Sangiovese is Italy’s most abundant grape variety, writes author Ian d’Agata in his award winning book, Italy’s Native and Traditional Grapes. It’s probably the country’s most important grape variety too, given the huge number of wines made from it. And despite a roller coaster of styles, synonyms and regions in which it is produced, Sangiovese remains the heart and soul of a massive amount of Italy’s most exciting wines. It makes up at least 55,000 hectares of vineyards from the top to the toe of the Italian boot, including in the northern region of Romagna, arguably better known for its Lambrusco, fruit and nut liqueurs. This wine is made in high volumes in Romagna by winemaker Scipione Giuliani, who uses the appassimento (dried grape winemaking) method to produce a modestly priced wine with great concentration and dry flavours.

There is no shortage of extremely good quality New Zealand reds to write about this week but this extremely affordable, super drinkable Italian wine took my fancy. It over delivers on price and flavour.

Available from specialist stores.

Misha’s Vineyard from the deep south highlights Riesling’s potential

If global politics are leaving a slightly bitter taste in your mouth right now, it might be time to get reacquainted with one of the world’s most underrated and sometimes sweeter wine styles. Before tuning out when the word ‘sweetness’ is mentioned, read on because one of these exceptional Rieslings is totally dry in style – and tastes it. Riesling does have a reputation for being sweet but that’s not always the case, as this pair of great whites from the most southern wine region on Earth show. They are both single vineyard wines and come from Misha’s Vineyard,  planted between 2005 and 2007 at 228 to 315 metres above sea level on the steep slopes above Lake Dunstan in Bendigo, one of Central Otago’s best known winemaking sub regions. The hot days and damned cold nights provide a long growing season there, which suits the late ripening Riesling grape down to the ground.

Here are my wines of the week.

2019 Misha’s Vineyard Lyric Riesling $30, 18.5/20
Dry Riesling is rare in New Zealand and can be one of this country’s most outstanding wine styles. This dry Riesling has body to burn with its modest 4 grams per litre of residual sugar. It’s succulent, juicy and  intensely aromatic with lemon and lime zest flavours.

All the grapes in this wine were hand harvested and whole bunch pressed then divided into two portions; 75% of the juice was cool fermented to dryness in stainless steel tanks to retain varietal purity. The remaining portion went through spontaneous fermentation in older French oak barrels to add complex  characters. A small portion of natural grape sugar is retained to add flesh, without the wine being austere.

This is a delicious and dry white with elegance and power.

2017 Misha’s Vineyard Limelight Riesling $30, 18.5/20
Light in body, big on flavour this Riesling is medium in style and forms the biggest production of Riesling from Misha’s Vineyard, due to its popularity in exports markets in Australia, China and Hong Kong where the distributor preference is for a richly flavoursome Riesling, such as this one, which has 27 grams of residual sugar. This is equally as delicious as the Lyric Riesling and highlights the incredible diversity of styles that the Riesling grape can produce.