Cheap and cheerful wine to get you through winter

By Yvonne Lorkin


I've been out with enough artists, musicians and advertising types in my past to know that moody, tattooed, be-whiskered arty dudes with wardrobes full of skinny jeans, cargo shorts, Sonic Youth t-shirts and enormous record collections do not necessarily mean long-term satisfaction.

Sometimes it's nice to spend time with people who wax on about the changing face of independent film, the great American novelists, the social impact of the "bouncy Stonehenge" art installation being set up for the London Olympics or who's more relevant in the new millennium - Bruce Springsteen or Lucinda Williams - because I get inspired, but I can't handle more than a few hours of that at a time.

Like everything remotely intellectual and stylish, there is money involved in some way, shape or form and it is an extremely expensive business keeping up.|The same can be said for wine. It's nice to treat yourself every now and again to something you can sneakily file under "entertaining" when it's tax time, but for those Tuesday nights in front of the telly it's a glass of a tried and true, reliable favourite that'll put a smile on my face. Here are some that really satisfy.

BROWN BROTHERS CIENNA ROSSO NV, $17

Be warned, it's very sweet, but if you're up to your eyeballs in chocolate it's absolutely the best wine to pair it with. Dark crimson and scented with raspberry, red rose and cherry and studded with spice and a hint of spritz. At only 7 per cent alcohol, it's safe enough to have a glass at lunchtime. Widely available.

CONSPIRACY MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011, $12

Well, I'll be. The last time I saw the word "phantasmagoria" it was on a Damned record back in the 1980s. But despite the pulp fiction storyline on the back label, this snappy sauvignon has fresh lemon, passionfruit and crushed herb flavours which definitely do the business. Available from www.finewinedelivery.co.nz

MAUI MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011, $17

This is one sauvignon you won't forget in a hurry, mainly because it absolutely over delivers when value for money matters. Pungent pea pod, passionfruit, lemon sorbet and leafy aromas lead to a crisp, tangy, tantalising mouthfeel and lovely length of flavour. Buy now from www.tikiwine.com

VILLA MARIA PRIVATE BIN EAST COAST GEWURZTRAMINER 2011, $13

The last bottle I bought was actually $10 at Countdown, but I rarely see it over $14 these days which makes it brilliant value, especially as it's the best butter chicken wine ever. Loaded with lychee, ginger, rose and soft peachy flavours, it's fresh, aromatic and has a hint of sweetness on the finish which works beautifully with spicy food. Widely available.

BLOCK 88 MARLBOROUGH PINOT NOIR 2010, $21

Hold the phone, it's $21? This has to be one of the best value pinots on the market. Packed with spicy berryfruit, pot pourri and aromatic spices on the nose and lush red cherry and raspberry flavours in every sip. It's made exclusively for the Fine Wine Delivery Company by Marlborough stars Auntsfield and if you're a pinot fan, you need to try this. www.finewinedelivery.co.nz

I can rely on these wines, they never disappoint and while they're easy on the wallet, tasty and interesting, I don't have to think about them, which is nice. I don't need any challenges on a Tuesday night, I just need comfort, happiness and simplicity.

The things that make me happiest nowadays are a warm, freshly laid egg from one of my chickens, an invoice actually being paid into my account on the 20th, a smiley-face stamp on my child's homework and the fact that the only music my husband has ever owned were soundtracks from the Tour of Duty TV series, Stand By Me the movie, Bon Jovi's Blaze of Glory alongside Midnight Oil's Diesel and Dust, and ACDC's Thunderstruck. On cassette.

- Hamilton News

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