For worthy eating and drinking experiences around Wellington, NZ (and the greater region) – you can also catch Heather out and about hosting Zest Food Tours around the city…

Advintage, Albarino & Viognier

I recently got to try an Albarino wine at a function, and took quite a fancy.

Advintage albarinoSo when given the opportunity to order a couple of bottles from Advintage to try out their online retail shop, I chose a one-off 2014 Gisborne Albarino by winemaker Rod McDonald, and a 2013 Hawkes Bay Quarter Acre Viognier, unknowingly also by Rod McDonald (if you go to their home page, you’ll see some interest categories at the top or go to the full wine list under ‘main menu’ further down).

Advintage are based in Havelock North but appear well connected to Wellington with folks like Ti Kouka, Floraditas, Sean Clouston of Logan Brown, and Whitebait among others all Twitter followers, and our own Martin Bosley providing a recipe of the week for their website (yes, it does change weekly, I checked).

Advintage boxSome pretty big claims are made around customer satisfaction and prompt service. I couldn’t fault the service as I ordered Saturday morning, the order was dispatched first thing Monday morning and arrived to my door in Wellington first thing Tuesday morning. And in good condition inside its well-designed protective packaging.

Their 4 point guarantee also states that if you buy wine which turns out not to your taste, they will collect any unopened bottles at their expense (cases obviously) and replace them or give you a refund. Not something I could test, but a strong statement about customer satisfaction.

Albarino cheesecakeSo to the Albarino with that gorgeous label. I first had it alone, and then accompanying some delicious Ti Kouka macadamia cheesecake (why wouldn’t you?). Alone it was minerally, lightly salty, drier than the previous one I’d tried, but once warmed to room temperature definitely a little tropical. Pretty much in line with the tasting notes then. I actually liked it more with the cheesecake, as it cut through the richness and the cheesecake moderated its dryness. Interestingly, hubby preferred it alone. Just goes to show how individual wine drinking is.

The Quarter Acre I chose because Viognier feels like it might be the new ‘pinot gris’, and I’d like to learn more about them. The ones I’ve had so far seem versatile for food matching, have a more satisfying finish than pinot gris, but not as florally pungent asAdvintage viognier gewurtz’s.

This one I enjoyed overall more than the Albarino, possibly because of its sweet fruitiness, and subtle hint of chardonnay in the finish. It worked for me both on its own and with a sweet chili, garlic and cashew chicken stirfry whipped up for dinner. The notes describe a fleshy wine with apricot, orange, ginger and subtle toasty flavours – yep, I’d agree with that. And it feels like it deserves its five stars and 18.5/20 from Raymond Chan.

All in all, Advintage delivered as promised, and I’ve hopefully added a little more knowledge to my wine arsenal. Thanks DGM.

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