This wine is an absolute dream; it would make the perfect push-the-boat-out white wine to have on Christmas day and would work beautifully with Thai Nut Roast. It is very concentrated, brimming with ripe white stone fruit – almost tropical – balanced with orange peel, that characteristic ‘petrolly’ tang of Rieslings and a slight smokiness. Intriguingly there is a slight spritz on the palate before the rich fruit kicks in and the length is ridiculous. A delicate Riesling it aint! It’s scarily easy to drink without food though; but before we’d got too far down the bottle we raided the fridge for some stinky French cheese before finishing it off with our main course of mushroom quinoa.
This wine is more in the style of a Grand Cru Riesling from Alsace rather than a racy lean New World peer. This is because it contains some grapes that have been affected by ‘noble rot’ or Botrytis – which is a good thing, I promise! It sounds gross but this fungus feeds off the moisture in the grapes, dehydrating them and making them intensely sweet. It also adds complexity to the finished wine as these shrivelled grapes contain higher levels of the compound phenylacetaldehyde which is responsible for floral, honeyed beeswax tones. By the way, in case you are wondering about the description “dry” in the title of the wine, Riesling makes beautiful sweet wine too. As rich and full flavoured as it is, this wine would be classed as off-dry – definitely not sweet!
Pegasus Bay is a leading winery in New Zealand and is family owned and ran – which is quite typical for the sub-region of Waipara. Waipara is at the northerly end of the wine zone of Canterbury, South Island, and with its coolish, maritime climate and warm autumns, is famed for its Pinot Noirs and aromatic white grapes such as Riesling.
At a glance
- Style? Off-dry white wine
- Where is it from? Waipara, New Zealand
- What’s the grape? Riesling
- Tastes of? Honeyed apricot, nectarine, ripe melon
- What food would complement it? Spicy Thai and Indian food; cheese and creamy full flavoured dishes such as Creamy Mushroom Quinoa
Other aromatic wines to try
Tesco finest* Tingleup Riesling Another antipodean Riesling, this is lighter and crisper in style and a brilliant budget choice.
Booths Paul Cluver Elgin Gewurztraminer Gewurtztraminer is a full flavoured tropical white – I often think they taste of lychees and orange blossom. A must try with spicy food!
M&S Kings Ridge Oregon Pinot Gris Pinot Gris is another Alsace grape; the new world versions tend to be a little lighter and less ‘oily.’ I love this variety for its slightly smoky flavour.