Thursday, 29 October 2015

World Cup of Wine: Australia vs. New Zealand

In the lead up to the New Zealand v Australia Rugby World Cup match, I thought I would remind you all how awesome both places are (Although I am Australian and bias so I think Australia is better). One thing that makes us great, other than our rugby skills, are the wines that are coming out of both countries. There is a wealth of winemaker talent pushing winemaking boundaries with great results.

Here in London, we are lucky enough to be able to get our hands on ‘what the locals drink’ in the antipodean part of the world. No matter who wins on Saturday the following are all winners in my eyes.

I feel like a… SAUVIGNON BLANC

NEW ZEALAND: GREYWACKE, Wild Sauvignon Malborough (currently £22.49 at Majestic)

Winemaker Kevin Judd spent a good chunk of his winemaking career in the rolling hills of South Australia but now he is back in NZ doing some pretty note worthy wine things. NZ Sauvignon Blanc is not usually first on my drinking priority list, but for the Greywacke range I will definitely make an exception. He has a more traditional Sauvy B that has a delicate, restrained amount of the usual flavour characteristics plus a whole lot of refreshing minerality. Then there is the Wild Sauvignon which is not what you would expect. With lees time and wild yeasts, this wine is stone fruits and almond croissant, rich with orange curd and wild flowers.

Also available at NZ Cellar, Pop Brixton, SW9 8PQ

AUSTRALIA: DOMAINE LUCCI , Adelaide Hills (£17.49, Ministry of Drinks)

Anton, the winemaker responsible for this wine, is not what you would call a conformist. So you can be reassured that any time you invest in a Domain Lucci wine you will, more often than not, be taken to a place that you wouldn’t expect- pallet wise or mentally... A true artist in all forms. His cloudy Sauvignon Blanc has a touch of those Sauvignon Blanc capsicum and fresh garden notes with a hint of passionfruit but then it’s yeasty with a good whack of ginger. Not for the conservative. But real good with some deliberate oxidation.

Also available at Noble Fine Liquor E8 4 PH

Actually I want to drink a…CHARDONNAY

NEW ZEALAND: CRAGGY RANGE Kidnappers Vineyard, Hawkes Bay (£19.99 at Waitrose Cellar)

With the well-respected brains of MW Steve Smith in the vineyard, this Chardonnay is what I like to call good, clean fun. They make all their wines from ‘single vineyards’ and have travelled the world for influences and learnings. It’s honeyed and mineral, rounded and lemon curd. There’s a lovely melon and stone fruit refreshingness to it. Dry and zesty, full bodied and textural.

Available at NZ Cellar, Pop Brixton, SW9 8PQ

AUSTRALIA: L.A.S VINO, Wild Ferment, Margaret River

A young , up and coming, super tiny producer’s project. Nick, who also makes wine at his family’s well known Margret River Winery; Pierro, is currently making four different wines in very small quantities. So if you are lucky enough to see a bottle of this, or any of them for that matter; snap it up! The 2013 Wild Ferment Chardonnay is aromatic and complex. It has lovely flinty minerality with balanced acidity. There are hints of ripe stone fruits and candied almonds. Apples and citrus, with creaminess from lees contact, and bone dry.

Currently imported via Liberty Wines.

How about a…PINOT NOIR

NEW ZEALAND: ATA RANGI, Crimson, Martinborough (£18.34 The Drink Shop)

Family owned and run, Ata Rangi is one of New Zealand’s best Pinot producers as far as I am concerned. This Pinot is one of their more affordable tipples and worth every last pence. The Crimson series, for lack of a better word, is their ‘entry level’ range. This 2013 Pinot has a lively hit of raspberry, cherry, cranberry and spice and all things earthy and nice. A bit smoky with dried wild flowers. So good and hard to share.

Available at NZ Cellar, Pop Brixton, SW9 8PQ

AUSTRALIA: CIRCE, Mornington Valley (the Circe Hillcrest Vineyard pinot noir is £44.95 at Berry Bros)

The tiny production of Circe has made it’s way to the UK! Made by Dan Buckle, head winemaker at Sparkling wine producers Domaine Chandon, these wines are worth hunting down. The 2012 and 2013 of this stunning Pinot are quite different due to vintage variations; the ‘13 being cherry spiced, strawberries and cream with a juicy moorishness and the ‘12 having a touch more meatiness and pepper behind it. Both elegant, clean wines with good aging potential but I kind of want to drink them now…

Enough wine! I would like a… BEER!

NEW ZEALAND: YEASTIE BOYS Gunnamatta Tea Leaf IPA, 6.5% (£3.55, Mother Kellys)

After a very quick, sucessful crowd funding campaign, inspired by Brew Dog, these NZ brewers have brought their playful range of generally hoppy, well made beers. The Gunnamatta, at 6.5% is not for the faint hearted and is recommended in smallish doses depending on your constitution. That being said, having a couple at the start of the game will help set up your day… A full, floral IPA with hints of bergamot and citrus fruitiness. It’s guaranteed to get the conversation started.

Available from We Brought Beer


Owned by three brothers in South Australia, these crafties have finally hit our shores from Australia. With restrained hops, this super refreshing, crisp ale is highly sessionable. It’s a little bit fruity with subtle bitterness with a touch of malt. It is the ultimate tipple after a wine tasting or just because you’re thirsty.

Available at the Bottle Shop, SE1 2HH or in keg form this weekend at Temple Brew House WC2R 3JF

SIDE NOTE… We pretend to be outraged when people call us Aussies: Kiwi or vice versa, but secretly we don’t mind it at all because we generally heaps good guys and girls. So even though I will be whole heartedly wearing the green and gold with pride on Saturday I am pretty excited that it’s an Antipodean final. GO AUSTRALIA!

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