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Wine of the Week for week ending 30 December 2001
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Cloudy Bay Pelorus 1996
Marlborough, New Zealand

Bubbly has to be the best way to start a meal - and especially so at Christmas time, whether you are on your own or with family and/or friends and/or other guests. If you are entertaining, hand the guests a flute full of chilled bubbles as they arrive. It will soon bring a smile to the face to wipe away the stress lines that this time of year can bring.

I could open Champagne, but the fact that several Champagne companies have French interests in Marlborough for sparkling wine production, shows that the quality of our home-grown fizz is high. And it is cheaper too!

Cloudy Bay Pelorus label This year I'm going to open one of New Zealand's best, the Pelorus 1996, from the winery that took the interest of Veuve-Cliquot - the one and only Cloudy Bay.

This Pelorus from the vintage of 1996 spent just over three years on tirage and has since been developing in the bottle - for over 18 months.

It is a gorgeously full-bodied toasty blend of pinot noir and chardonnay with a richness full of creamy yeast lees characters like baked bread and wine biscuits, hints of white peach and citrus zest and a power that builds to a nutty finish and a long and lingering sweetish aftertaste.

The golden hues sparkle as the wine is poured and as the mousse subsides, the tiny bubbles race endlessly to the top. As you sip, it soon has you tingling and looking forward to the rest of the day.

Cloudy Bay Pelorus 1996 is available from good fine wine stores. It will set you back around about NZ$42.

Here's a toast to the season.


For all the technical information on this wine, check out the Cloudy Bay website - click on the 'Wines' link to find the Pelorus.

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