Renall is a knowledgeable guide who has worked across all facets of the wine business in some of our best known vineyards and recently spent six months working in France at the prestigious Chateau Langoa and Leoville Barton, Bordeaux, France. He writes insightfully about the viticulture methods employed and the oenology practices used in each winery.
The fact that the book is divided into regions means that before setting off on a journey to a particular part of New Zealand you can easily locate some good wineries to visit.
On several occasions we have driven out to a vineyard and found it shut so the fact that the opening hours are listed for each vineyard is also convenient.
I’d make just one small criticism He describes the often delectable food available at many of these wineries But he does not include how expensive the food or wines are likely to be. We have been taken aback at times, pleasantly surprised at others, when we have arrived at a vineyard for lunch and looked at the prices on the menu. It would have been useful to know this beforehand.
It is easy to be lost for words when asked to say what you like about a particular wine. His wine descriptions have certainly added to my wine vocabulary!
For instance he describes one reserve merlot aged for 12 months in French oak as:
“The wine is smooth and seductive and displays silky tannins, cigar-box characters as well as classic plum, black olive and chocolate notes.”
And a complex Coquina Sauvignon Blanc which was barrel fermented as displaying characteristic butterscotch, toast and steely notes, along with piquant minerality,
Should you have visited the vineyard and bought the particular bottle which he has described on hand at you dinner table it would be fun to ask your guests to give their opinion before disclosing Renall’s description!
Before he began to write this book he studied photography as he was keen to show the visual splendour of New Zealand’s iconic wineries. One of the pleasures of this book are the many photographs, not just of the wineries and their surroundings, but also of the small and sometimes quirky details which he captured with his photographer’s eye.
Wine enthusiasts would enjoy this book, especially if they plan to visit some of these vineyards.
100 Great New Zealand Wineries by Douglas Renall. Published by Bateman. RRP $59.99
Reviews by Lyn Potter
Parent and grandparent, Avid traveller, writer & passionate home cook