30 Canine combos

"Behind every successful winemaker sits a faithful bow-wow," says wine scribe Huon Hooke of Australia, where the wine dog book phenomenon first took off. Following the first Australian Wine Dogs book in 2003, the publishing has gone global and New Zealand now boasts its own edition - Wine Dogs New Zealand by Craig McGill, Susan Elliott and Kevin Judd ($39.99 from good bookstores or visit

).

It's an engaging collection of striking photos and lighthearted profiles of the pooches behind some of the country's most well known wines. There's Tomi, the grape-guzzling resident labrador at Lawson's Dry Hills, dapper Guido the skateboarder-hating greyhound belonging to Cooper's Creek's Simon Nunns and Fromm's cute puppy, Gaja III.

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Another cracking combination of wine and the canine is Palliser Estate's The Great Walter Martinborough Pinot Noir 2008 ($95 for 750ml and $190 for a magnum - available to order through fine wine merchants). It's the fourth release in Palliser's "Great Dog" series that commemorates significant hounds connected with the estate while showcasing some of its finest pinot noir.

The Walter's namesake was a late golden labrador retriever owned by Clive Weston, managing director of Palliser's New Zealand distributor, Negociants. With its plush and elegant palate of dark berries, mocha and spice, this limited edition release is definitely one for wine aficionados as well as dog lovers.

31 Complementary condiments

Waikato-based Wild Country make a point of using New Zealand grown products in their impressive portfolio of small batch, hand-made condiments. These include some tasty products made using local wines such as the tangy and fruity New Zealand chardonnay mustard ($8), zingy berry fruited New Zealand merlot vinaigrette ($15) and punchy and piquant garlic and chilli dipping sauce with New Zealand merlot($10). Details of stockists can be found at

.

32 Diamond Champagne

Luxury and practicality combine in Moet & Chandon's Brut Imperial NV Champagne chill box (on special at $89.90 from Glengarry). New this Christmas, the ritzy gold diamond patterned box doubles as an isotherm bucket designed to keep this classic Champagne at ideal drinking temperature. Cheers!

33 Box of French Delights

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For that sweet someone on your Christmas list, consider this French-themed gift box. Containing Castaing foie gras canard and foie gras d'oie, which are matched with a classic sweet accompaniment, the Chateau Belingard Monbazillac 2006 ($55,

), a fresh sticky with notes of honey, orange and almond from one of France's historic dessert wine producing regions. Check out other delicious combinations available from this French wine specialist and their deli.

34 Truffle hunters

Liqueur may be a more traditional addition to chocolate truffles, but Gibbston Valley's Winery Selection ($16 from

) employs the prestigious Central Otago estate's own wines in their version. The selection contains a mix of rich dark chocolate and cherry flecked pinot noir truffles and peachy creamy white chocolate ones infused with chardonnay.

35 Visual vineyard feast

New Zealand's vineyards can be found nestling among stunning scenery, ably captured by ex-Cloudy Bay chief winemaker and noted wine photographer, Kevin Judd in his large format book, The Landscapes of New Zealand Wine. Through his often striking pictures of vineyards photographed at all times of the year and day, Judd takes readers on a visually thrilling excursion through the country's wine regions, joined in the accompanying commentary on the history and wines of each by Master of Wine Bob Campbell.

36 Environmental option

On the outside, Ata Rangi's Crimson Pinot Noir 2008 is possibly one of our prettiest-packaged wines - and the boxed magnum looks a million dollars. The crimson-hued contents of the bottle are also easily as attractive, a pinot with a silky smooth palate of juicy spiced cherries. Sales of Crimson also go to support Project Crimson, a charitable conservation trust that works to protect and regenerate New Zealand's Christmas tree, the pohutakawa, which adorns its label. The Ata Rangi Crimson magnum is $80 and available from the cellar door or online at

.

37 A Craggy Range

Some of the county's top wines are found within Craggy Range's limited release, estate grown, Prestige Collection. Two of these are presented in a smart wooden box in the Craggy Range Two Bottle Gift Pack ($140 from Glengarry). One is the Bordeaux styled merlot and cabernet franc blend Sophia Gimblett Gravels 2007, with its stylishly voluptuous palate of fresh and velvety black fruits, roasted spice and mineral. The other is the classy, toasty and minerally chardonnay, Les Beaux Cailloux Gimblett Gravels 2007.

38 Pioneering female pinot

Men have largely filled the pages chronicling the early days of New Zealand's wine history, but it appears it was a woman who was behind one of the country's first pinot noirs. This hailed from a small vineyard in the Wairarapa planted in 1892 by the French-born Marie Zelie.

Celebrating her achievements, Martinborough Vineyard named their top pinot noir after the female pioneer. The 900 bottles of the second vintage of its Marie Zelie Pinot Noir 2006 ($180 750ml/$425 a magnum from Glengarry and Caro's) have just been released. It's a powerful, complex pinot, with layers of dense berry fruit, notes of freshly ground coffee and earthy mineral undertones lifted by hints of violet and a fresh line of acidity. A fitting tribute and a fine gift for the wine collector.