New Zealand has taste for reds

Villa Maria 'Reserve' Pinot Noir 2008, Marlborough
Villa Maria 'Reserve' Pinot Noir 2008, Marlborough
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The rugby World Cup is under way in New Zealand and it would seem that the All Blacks are the team to beat.

But when it comes to wine, most of us think of New Zealand as ‘all white’. Yet the past few years have seen a huge shift in the quality of Kiwi reds and not just pinot noir either.

Villa Maria has been one of New Zealand’s top wineries for many years.

So here are some of the top reds. Villa Maria ‘Private Bin’ Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Hawkes Bay (Majestic £9.99) is very elegant, with red fruits and hints of cedar, while Villa Maria ‘Cellar Selection’ Syrah 2008, Hawkes Bay ( £13.95) has dark fruits, spices and pepper.

Top tipple

Villa Maria ‘Reserve’ Pinot Noir 2008, Marlborough

Very grown-up and elegant with complexity, a silky texture and great length. Not cheap but worth every penny and perfect with slow-roasted lamb

Tesco, £17.99