John Hawkesby is a wine writer for Canvas Magazine.

Wine: Blind tasting politics

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With tongue firmly in cheek and an eye on this month’s election, we match wine with political parties.

2009 Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Chardonnay, $30ish. Photo / Supplied
2009 Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Chardonnay, $30ish. Photo / Supplied

National: A dream vintage so far. Sunny disposition and only brief patches of inclement weather don't seem to have affected growing conditions. Able to be blended with other varietals and produce a robust wine that continues to enjoy wide popularity.

Recommended: A Bordeaux blend.

Labour: Looking for a point of difference and something specific to distance itself from everyone else. Had been seen as having no chance of success but the vagaries of the current system should never be discounted. Hoping to be the next big thing.

Recommended: A red of course, syrah.

Greens: Has gained a bit of traction with those tired of the same old, same old. Appeals to those with a sense of adventure and who like to know what's going into anything produced from the land.

Strong interest from the ecologically and environmentally aware.

Recommended: Anything from Millton Estate - Gisborne's premier organic and biodynamic producer.

Act: Not their best year, in fact a very difficult vintage. Change of label doesn't appear to have found much favour. Seen as old school, a boy's club, somewhat dusty but constantly trying to reinvent itself.

Recommended: Obviously a tawny port, with cigar of choice optional.

Maori Party: Unusual turbulent weather at the wrong growing time saw considerable damage in the vineyard. However, doggedly determined, they've managed to salvage some fruit. Careful nurturing and an ability to turn setbacks into success means this fragile temperamental grape was eventually bottled.

Recommended: An early-drinking pinot noir.

United Future: Continues to be a one-trick pony and may be seen as no longer fashionable. Can be a bit bland and doesn't appear to be improving with age. Needs to be cellared correctly and served at room temperature to avoid flavour fluctuations.

Recommended: Pinot gris, naturally.

Mana Party: Volatile, unpredictable, excitable, a bit of a show pony and divisive. Consumers either love it or hate it probably because it's so difficult to define and so easily affected by vintage variations. A troubled pedigree, which often doesn't travel well but grows with considerable success north of Auckland. Needs chilling.

Recommended: Gewurztraminer.

New Zealand First: Vine pull, so nothing produced, but rumours persist that mercurial leader can not only walk on water but turn it into wine.

Recommended: Anything.

Progressives: While not enjoying widespread popularity, it does have a small cult following. Suffers from a reputation that it can be one dimensional, mainly due to confusion as to style. More information on the label would be useful if they go again this year. Great with fish and chips.

Recommended: Riesling.


2009 Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Chardonnay, $30ish
Inviting pale gold colour with big aromas of nectarine, white peach and whispers of spicy oak. Try it with chicken and pasta.

2010 Clayridge Pinot Rose Brut, $24
This sparkling cuvee, from 60 per cent pinot noir, 30 per cent pinot gris, and 10 per cent pinot blanc is full of strawberry, peaches, cream and red cherry flavours.

- NZ Herald

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