Obsidian Waiheke Island Merlot Cabernets Petit Verdot 2014 $29.50
I've been writing about wine for about 15 years and I honestly can't recall ever being disappointed with an Obsidian wine. Their reds in particular are always solid, flavourful and reflect their place. Aromatically, this cabernet-dominant blend leans toward the herbaceous end of the spectrum, with complex, dark chocolate, espresso and after-dinner mint characters. It opens up in the glass beautifully if you give it a minute or six.
Sip with: slow-cooked, neck-chop stew.
Rugged Coast Estate Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011 $25
Despite the Japanese-y pottery-pattern label, it's modern art in a bottle. It's incredibly juicy and saturated with cherry, raspberry, rhubarb and spice notes that are followed by a hot rod of ripe fruit on the finish. So forget the pastel-shades and the old-fashioned fonts and immerse yourself in the earth and fruit layers of every sip. Eyes closed, of course.
Sip with: lamb and rosemary sausages.
Three Miners Herringbone Earnscleugh Valley Riesling 2016 $23
Earnscleugh Valley sits halfway between Alexandra and Clyde and it's like a riesling nirvana. I was seduced by its lovely pale colour and sneakily subtle, lemon and lime aromas.
Yet it's the juicy citrus intensity in the mouth and the unexpected explosion of green apple and lovely natural sweetness that had my eyes popping.
Sip with: kung pow chicken.