New Zealand is best known for it sauvignon blanc, and deservedly so, for they are among the best in the world. What the Kiwis get much less attention for is riesling — which is too bad, since they make some very, very nice ones.

The Villa Maria riesling  (about $14, purchased, widely available) is a lovely wine, with riesling oiliness (which is a very good thing), some lime zest citrus, stone fruit, and a long finish. Also, it’s not especially sweet considering how much residual sugar is in the wine. In this, it’s a finely crafted effort, in which the winmaker aimed at balance between the various components — fruit, sweetness, and acid. Would that more winemakers tried to do this. And, of course, it has a screwcap.

The only drawback to this wine is that it’s kind of picky with food. In this, it’s a good example of why some wine is better with some food — though everyone is free to drink whatever wine with whatever food they like, of course. If you’re not going to drink the Villa Maria on its own, it really does need to be paired with a dish that complements it. Think salads or a lighter style seafood. I drank it with potato pancakes and braised red cabbage, and that didn’t do much for the wine.

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