Ask Bob

Hi, I am sure I remember reading an article that Bob Campbell wrote some time ago that recommended wines/ports/champagnes that could possibly last long enough to be given as a present to a child’s parents so that it could be opened on the child’s 21st. Unfortunately I am unable to remember which issue I read this in. Could you please remind me? Thank you very much for your help.

21 years bottle life is a big ask for any wine, particularly if it is not stored in ideal conditions (cool, constant, dark). Your best bet is vintage port from Portugal. They need at least fifteen years maturation and the best will last two or three times as long. The drawback is that most port houses only produce a vintage wine every two or three years which is a problem if the child was born in a year when no port was made. One excellent producer, Vesuvio, produces vintage port in just about every year. You’ll find it at Peter Maude Fine Wines in Orakei, Auckland. Expect to pay around $150 per bottle. Vintage cognac is another option. They don’t need careful storage and will last forever. Scenic Cellars in Taupo has the best selection.

Hi Bob, do you know of any preservative-free wine being sold in New Zealand? My Aunty is visiting from Australia and is allergic to preservatives in particular sulphates. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

I’m afraid not. Hardy’s of Australia (tastings) did bring in preservative-free wine for a brief time but it is no longer available, perhaps because it has a very short shelf life. The wine type likely to have the least amount of preservative is good bottle fermented sparkling wine (Methode Traditionelle) or Champagne. Red wine is also low in sulphates, the main wine preservative.

We enjoy a Rosé in summer and recently enjoyed a Gibbston Valley Blanc de Pinot Noir(?) – now we can’t find it anywhere and wonder if we’ve remembered the name correctly. Any help to identify and find it would be appreciated.

Gibbston Valley Blanc de Pinot Noir (tastings) was one of my top picks in the last issue of Taste. I described it as, “Delicately luscious wine with the sweet scents of wild strawberries. It walks a tightrope between obviously sweet or excessively acidic but maintains its balance nicely.” Available through the Gibbston Valley website for $25.

First published in Taste Magazine NZ – Apr 2007.

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