The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Cameron Douglas MS wine review: Aromatics & Semi-Aromatics

Aromatic and semi-aromatic grape varieties can produce wines with power and finesse, seductive scents that can remind us of flowers and perfumes, fleshy juicy fruits to exotic spicy flavours.

Some varieties produce berries, juice, and wine with a specific package of scents that identify the variety and wine with specific combinations of aroma and flavour.

Included in this list are the muscat varieties, Torrontés, Riesling, Albariño, Würzer, Grüner Veltliner and Gewürztraminer. Pinot Gris is classified as semi-aromatic.

To a greater or lesser degree, these varieties each carry distinctive, sometimes intense aromas of flowers, ripe white-fleshed fruits, musk, candy, herb and spice.

The origin of these core aromas and flavours come from a naturally occurring compound in the grape skin called ‘terpenes’, alcohol and acidity in a finished wine can intensify these attributes even more.

Aromatic wines can be produced bone-dry through to exceedingly sweet and that means it might be a little harder to match you the reader, to the right wine, but never impossible.

Both the aromatic and semi-aromatic varieties are perfect pairing for autumn fare as the ingredients in these dishes tend to be slightly weightier with cream and earthier baseline stocks and even some sugar in the food – think Thai and Vietnamese dishes.

Cameron Douglas MS explores some of the options in this month’s tasting guide, here are some of his top picks…

Forrest Marlborough Semillon 2021

An excellent bouquet, varietal and complex, scents of grapefruit and citrus peel, hay and crumbled stone mineral qualities. Delicious on the palate, dry, mineral and varietal with flavours of orange and grapefruit, hay, a natural fruit spice quality and drying white flowers. High acid line, crisp, dry and salty. Best drinking from 2025 through 2035.
Points: 95
RRP: $28.00
Distributor: Forrest Wines
Phone: (03) 572 9084

Hunter’s Marlborough Riesling 2023

Lovely aromatics with scents of flowers and apple, lemon and flinty stone mineral highlights. Just dry as the wine touches the palate with a backbone of acidity and flavours that mirror the bouquet. Apple and citrus, a fine lees complexity and flinty mineral flavours. A moment of spritz in the acid line adds a liveliness and vigour lengthening the finish. Crisp, salivating and delicious with best drinking from 2026 through 2036.
Points: 93
RRP: $20.90
Distributor: Eurovintage
Phone: (0800) 338 766

Leefield Station Marlborough Pinot Gris 2023

Bright and engaging bouquet, lively varietal and fruity with scents of green and brown skinned pears, some apple and quince highlight then a lick of citrus. Fruity and just dry on the palate with a satin texture, contrasting acid line and mealy almost fine chalky mouthfeel, and a whisper of lees texture. Balanced and well made with a luscious fruity finish. Best drinking from 2024 through 2027+. Excellent value.
Points: 93
RRP: $21.99
Distributor: Lion
Phone: (09) 347 2000

Dicey Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Gris 2023

A bouquet of ripeness, fleshy fruit scents and minerality. Aromas of white peach and pear, fresh red apple and sweet quince and a whisper of lees autolysis enhancing a mineral suggestion of stone. Delicious, warm, textured and generous on the palate with flavours that reflect the bouquet, just dry with some very fine fruit and lees textures, core fruit flavours and a balanced finish. Be sure to serve this wine cool at around 8 Celsius, on its own is fine or with creamy pasta. Best drinking from 2024 through end of summer.
Points: 92
RRP: $32.00
Distributor: Red + White Cellar
Phone: (0800) 946 3792

To read all of Cameron’s wine reviews, click here!

Cameron Douglas is New Zealand’s first and only Master Sommelier. An experienced wine commentator, judge, reviewer, presenter and consultant, he is the Beverage Director & Group Sommelier for Rodd & Gunn and is the Patron of the New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals Association. Formerly academically in charge of the Wine & Beverage Programme at AUT in Auckland, Douglas has also consulted to a variety of establishments, taking care of their wine lists, wine and food pairings, and staff training matters, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas.

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