When Kim Crawford was winemaker at Saint Clair estate in the Marlborough region of New Zealand, he was noted for his hands-on style. There was little stress on high technology. He made clean, natural wines that offered the flavour and character of the grapes. The talented artist of the grape was named 'Winemaker of the Year' in both 1995 and 1996. He is carrying on his personal tradition and has established his own label. Now on sale at Watson's Wine Cellars is the full range of Mr Crawford's wines. Wisely, he has stuck to what he knows best: the whites. There are two sauvignon blancs, a riesling, a semillon and a couple of chardonnays, one of them unoaked. His sole red is a cabernet franc. With prices ranging from $148 for his straight 98 sauvignon blanc up to $199 for a semillon and his wood-matured chardonnay, these are not the cheapest Kiwi whites on the block. But they are all worth drinking. It gets hard trying to pick one wine in Watson's. With hundreds of labels from which to choose, you find yourself like a child in a toy shop on the night before Christmas. What's Santa going to bring? Well, I didn't have too much time because I stopped off to buy a bottle to take to lunch, so I decided on the 98 semillon. Why this wine? Well, I wanted something a bit different, and you don't offer find a 100 per cent semillon wine and I liked the shape of the bottle and the modest label. It proved a good choice. After Mr Crawford left the Saint Clair vineyard he started making his own range of wines. Most fruit is sourced from specialist vineyards. The semillon, for example, comes from grapes grown by Jim and Jenny Scotland in the Hawke's Bay region of the North Island. Regular winds from the Pacific Ocean waft inland every afternoon, cooling the vines and letting the grapes slowly ripen to full sugar-laden maturity. The aroma is heavy: you catch figs and melons in the first sniff. It is rich on the palate with a smooth lime flavour. You need something substantial to eat with this wine, maybe a pasta dish with fish or a creamy sauce. Mr Crawford likes to boast that he lets the natural flavour of the grapes flow into the bottle. That is a nice philosophy, but to make it a reality you need excellent fruit. That is where his policy of buying-in grapes from expert growers pays dividends, because he can get sauvignon blanc from the cool climate of Marlborough, semillon from warmer Hawke's Bay and source his red grapes from hotter climates in Gisborne or around Auckland. A nice selection of wines and a good addition to the growing choice we find on Hong Kong shelves. The Scotland grapes, grown in the Clive district of Hawke's Bay, are picked about three weeks later than in other vineyards in the area. 'This gives an evolution and intensification of flavour,' Mr Crawford said. The specific vines were selected from the dry and hot Barossa of South Australia, picked particularly so it was not as herbaceous as New Zealand semillons. He likes the vineyard, which has alluvial soils over gravel. Riesling grown there has won gold medals every year since 1992. This isn't just the climate, soil and that helpful cooling breeze, but the viticultural skills of the husband and wife who nurture the vines, he is quick to point out.