Cider: not a frequent visitor to my fridge (Photo: Alice Neville)

Whose cider you on? A summery new drop even a hop-head can enjoy

Alice drinks outside her comfort zone, and Henry enjoys a young, fruity pinot gris named after a Martinborough legend. 

GOOD GEORGE BREWING ROSÉ CIDER WITH STRAWBERRY & LIME JUICE

946ml, 4.5%, $14.99 from Fine Wine Delivery Co

What’s this, a cider for beer of the week? Madness! I know, I’m as shocked to my very core as you, dear reader, no doubt are. Generally I don’t see the point of cider unless it’s one of those traditional ones from Normandy or Somerset, and that’s mainly for the ye olde worlde charm(e) rather than the actual taste.

But lo and behold, here we have a New Zealand cider, and one that’s all pink and pretty and has strawberries and lime in it to boot, which immediately raises my suspicions it might be like one of those ubiquitous lolly-water RTDs that pose as ciders (looking at you, Rekorderlig).

You know what though? It’s not, and it’s a pretty bloody nice summer drop. It tastes like strawberries — like real, actual strawberries rather than that fake strawb flavour, but without the risk of needles — and is slightly tart and dry and refreshing. There is a touch of sweetness, yes, but even my hop-blasted bitter-addicted palate could handle it. In fact, I managed to polish off a little more of this nearly-one-litre bottle than was strictly necessary for a weekday lunchtime in front of my laptop.

It’s a new release from Hamilton brewers Good George and is inspired by the summer infatuation with rosé (the wine innit), which, as my esteemed colleague Henry has pointed out, is a lot like pizza. The cider’s not actually as pink as your average rosé — or as pink as the Sawmill strawberry sour from a couple of weeks ago, for that matter — but instead it’s a lovely luminous pinky orange blush, a description I’ve nicked from the label because my own prose can’t match it in this instance.

It’s clear from their social media that Good George is marketing this cider to the laydees out there, which sets my teeth slightly on edge (ENOUGH OF THE GENDER STEREOTYPING), but it’s clearly working, if the excited comments from female names are anything to go by (not to mention the fact the first batch sold out in record time). And it’s no surprise, really, because it tastes pretty damn good.

Verdict: I cheated on beer and I’m not even sorry.

Alice Neville

Wine of the working week (Photo: Henry Oliver)

RUSSIAN JACK PINOT GRIS 2018

13%, $14.50 from Fine Wine Delivery Co

What do you think when you think of Russia? Vodka and communism? The Cold War and birthmarks? Putin and the mysterious disappearance of journalists? Fake news and Facebook?

Well, in Martinborough, and in particular at Martinborough Vineyards, when people think of Russia, they think of Russian Jack, the “everyday” wine made by Martinborough Vineyards, known for their pinot noirs that have received accolades over plenty of fancy French wines many times more expensive.

Apparently, Russian Jack was an actual Russian guy named Jack, who helped out around the orchards and farms in Martinborough before the vineyards came. But ol’ Jack loved wine, drunk a lot of it, and lived a long, fruitful life, making him a legend in the town. Not that this pinot gris is grown in Martinborough, though – it’s from grapes Martinborough Vineyards grows in their Marlborough vineyards (lower-case v). Confusing enough for you?

Anyway, the wine itself, named after a guy who lived to be very old, is the opposite. It’s decidedly young tasting: bright and fresh, fruity and sweet. Think passionfruit, melon, pineapple and orange topped with a squeeze of lime. It’s strong and structured enough to hold up to hot spice or pungent seafood. It’s a goddamn fruit salad of a wine, perfect for BYOing to your favourite noodle spot, or, if you ever need, drinking in the late-morning for a celebratory brunch.

Verdict: Pick up before your next dinner at a BYO noodle joint.

Henry Oliver


Buy champagne online at Fine Wine Delivery Co, and source all your Christmas needs while avoiding the crowds. 

The Spinoff’s beverage content is brought to you by Fine Wine Delivery Co, which is completely and utterly devoted to good taste, whether it’s wine, food, craft beer, whisky, rum… Check out their website or pop into one of the two Auckland superstores.

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