IF you think about New Zealand wine, the chances are it's Sauvignon Blanc that springs to mind or, if you're a bit well off, perhaps your natural thought is Pinot Noir. Anyway, if the current shipping crisis wasn't bad enough for sales of far-flung wines, the poor old Kiwis have suffered a major production blow for the 2021 harvest due to the weather.

So, here's the thing, Sauvignon shortages are going to make the headlines because that's what many of us have been drinking during lockdown, but the Kiwis produce Chardonnay, Riesling, Chenin, and Gewurztraminer as well and you know what? They are all superb.

Quality has always been the selling point for NZ wines. Sure you pay a bit more, but when have you ever had one that's let you down? If you could marry an industry, this would be the one to wed with perhaps California as your racy, more expensive bit on the side.

So, perhaps it's time to start exploring the other grapes, white and red by the way because the North Island in particular makes some cracking Merlots, Cabernets and Syrahs. The red wines that used to taste like you’d just been rugby tackled into fresh mown grass are long gone with silky, vibrant fruit and restrained but seductive noses very much at the fore.

So, raise a glass to NZ this Christmas, the Marks & Spencer of the wine world.

Chardonnay, Muddy Water, Canterbury - Waipara

A classic Chardonnay as good as any Burgundy I've tried recently. A nutty nose leads into a palate I could only describe as toffee apples and that brought back some lovely memories. Gorgeous.

Corney & Barrow £23.95

Freemans Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir

I had little hope for this when I was given this by a friend, I mean seriously folks a NZ pinot for this price? Well, I wasn't just wrong, I was very wrong. This is wee blinder. Its got plenty of soft plummy fruits, and just a tease of spice on the finish. Don't just buy a bottle, buy a case before it disappears!

Aldi £7.99

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