Wine, But Not As You Know It

Wine lovers the world over have their favourite tipple, it may be the glamorous sparkling wines of Champagne, the high impact reds of Barolo, or the vibrant sauvignon blancs of Marlborough. But every now and then we crave something different, something exciting, like the amazingly interesting wines below. Are you ready to be brave and drink outside the box?
Valli The Real McCoy, $39
Pinot Gris Orange Wine 2019
Central Otago

What is orange wine? Orange wine, also known as skin contact or amber wine, is a style of white wine that is made similarly to red. White grapes are fermented with their seeds and skins and appear orange due to the hues extracted during the winemaking process.

The Valli Real McCoy, one of winemaker Jen Parr’s favourite wine to make, is produced from handpicked pinot gris taken from the Gibbston subregion of Central Otago. The wine spent 33 days on skins which included 28% whole clusters (grapes attached to the stems) and was then basket pressed and aged in old oak barrels for 11 months.

This is a very well made and delicious example of an orange wine. If you love a negroni, you’ll love the aromas of orange zest, bitter grapefruit, mandarin blossom, and peach. A structured wine with fine grippy tannins, and nutty, savoury notes. Salty snacks are the best fit for this style of wine, summer platters laden with salami, olives, cornichons, and hard cheeses.

Valli Orange Wine 2019
Hunter's Offshoot Sauvignon Blanc - NV
Hunters Offshoot, $25
Sauvignon Blanc 2020

What is pét-nat? Growing in popularity, pét-nat is an abbreviation for pétillant naturel, a French term that roughly translates as ‘naturally sparkling’. Unlike champagne, pét-nat is not filtered and generally under a crown seal closure. Be careful when opening, some bottles can be explosive!

The Hunter Offshoot is made from sauvignon blanc planted in the Rapaura subregion of Marlborough. The wine is bottled while it is still fermenting and is cloudy as there is no filtration, the yeast cells will settle at the bottom. 

Lively aromas of white nectarine, lemon pith and white blossom are carried to the surface by fine but vigorous bubbles. A fresh and well balanced wine with flavours of ripe citrus and crunchy green apple. Enjoy with shellfish and seafood dishes, ceviche, steamed mussels, or sashimi would be perfect.

Zenkuro, $35
Plum Sake

What is sake? Sake is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice that has been polished, also know as Japanese rice wine, although the process is closer related that of beer brewing. Based in Queenstown, Zenkuro is the only producer of sake in New Zealand. Passionate about producing a high quality product, they use 50% to 60% polished certified Gohyakumangoku and Yamadanishiki sake rice from Japan and water that is sourced from the Southern Alps. Currently producing five styles, the award winning Zenkuro Plum Sake is infused with local plums and a small amount of Manuka honey. 

A pretty, pale pink colour with slightly sweet and almost creamy aromas and flavours of red plum, honeysuckle, and a splash of soft citrus. This is a light and refreshing aperitif style wine with a delightfully smooth texture, perfect for any time of day but an absolutely lovely way to start an evening.

Plum Sake

Words – Angie Atkinson, The Wine Writer