SACRED HILL HALO MERLOT CABERNET 2011, $27
I love the deep, earthy character of this wine. It's like prunes rolled in dirt dust and dried herbs. In the mouth it has dark fruit intensity, monster tannins that are super-young and stretchy-dry but it has a huge future ahead of it. Widely available.
RED LEAF WINERY CANTERBURY SYRAH 2011, $30
This is the debut syrah sourced from Scott Grant and Celine Blond's 20-year-old Canterbury vineyard - and it's darn good. Inky magenta-black in the glass and crammed full of blackberry and pepper soaked in pomegranate and cocoa. Really fresh, interesting and a great southern example.
MAHI TWIN VALLEYS GEWURZTRAMINER 2010, $24
Soft ginger and classic lychee and potpourri notes on the nose and in the mouth.
It is rich, not overtly sweet, oily yet fresh and spicy, and boasts a long, dry finish.
THOMSON SINGLE MALT 18-YEAR-OLD NEW ZEALAND WHISKY 700ml, $135
The Thomson team unearths whiskies that have been hidden away for years and carefully crafts them from the cask into the bottle especially for single malt maniacs who demand the best. Each bottle is sourced from a single cask created by Willowbank Distillery in Dunedin that was dismantled in the late 1990s.
Despite the doors closing, the single malt remained, gaining character and flavour over the years. Neither chill-filtered nor coloured, only 197 individually-numbered bottles were produced and those lucky enough to secure a bottle will find smoked honey, nutmeg and earthy potpourri notes followed by a salty, tangy, gum-tingling freshness on the finish.