Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Report from ... New Zealand Wine Fair - May 12, 2011

In the land of Sauvignon Blanc, the one who make it different is King ... I am paraphrasing an old saying here but what I'm trying to get you to understand is that everybody knows that New Zealand make great Sauvignon Blanc, of that there is no doubt, but the question on everybody's lips should be, when confronted by the New Zealand section at your local liquor store: what else can they do?

As it turns out plenty.  This year with close to 40 wineries in attendance I tried to avoid New Zealand's signature grape and instead focused my attention on "anything else".  At one point I started asking producers what wine they were most proud to pour for me, and 90% picked something other than Sauvignon Blanc - seems the Kiwis are getting the message loud and clear:  If you are going to have a sustainable wine industry you can't focus solely on one grape - the world wants to see what else you can do.

The Wine Fair was broken down into two parts - the self pour media seminar and the trade portion.  This year's seminar wanted us to focus on 'The Amazing Aromatics from New Zealand', other than Sauvignon Blanc, and the "Various Faces of Syrah" from different parts of this dual island nation.

Seminar (aromatics) ...
I thought all the Rieslings (3 in total) were quite nice, the best of which was a Mt. Beautiful 2008 Cheviot Hills Riesling from Canterbury; at $18 it delivered fresh fruit, petrol, peach, apple and pear ... beautiful is a good name for it. (****+)

I was less impressed with the Pinot Gris selection, the best of this mediocre lot was an Akarua 2009 Pinot Gris from the Central Otago. (***+)

My palate fared better with the Gewurztraminers, the Spy Valley 2010 Gewurztraminer ($21.95) had just what you'd want from this grape - nice floral and rose petal nuances with a dash of spice. (****)

Seminar (syrah) ...
Seven Syrahs were on the table for sample, four from the Hawkes Bay region, two from the Gimblett Gravels (a sub-region of Hawke's Bay) and one from Waiheke Island.  My favourite was the Sacred Hill 2007 Deerstalkers Syrah ($39.99) from Hawke's Bay proper; it was deep, rich and dark fruited with some sour black raspberry notes on the nose; the palate proved just as deep and rich with flavours of raspberry, smokiness and earthiness leading to a firm mouthfeel and good tannins; the finish proved to be very Syrah-like with lots of peppery notes (****+).  Rounding out my top three were two from Gimblett Gravels: Mission Estate 2009 Reserve Syrah ($26.95) with its slightly plum-pepper finish (****) and Villa Maria Cellar Selection 2008 Syrah ($37.95) with meaty-earthy and chalkiness in the mouth ... with time this should develop into something wonderful, say 3-5 years (****).

The Rest of the Show (alphabetically, four-stars and above) ...
Amisfield 2009 Pinot Gris ($32.00) - rich fuller style of Gris (****+)
Astrolabe 2009 Durvillea Pinot Noir (n/a) - sour cherry and strawberry (****)
Churton 2008 Pinot Noir ($34.95) - good acidity, nice aromatics and spicy finish (****)
Giesen 2009 The August Sauvignon Blanc ($29.95) - wild ferment, 9 months in oak, whole bunch pressed ... results: creamy mouthfeel, something different (****)
Kato 2010 Sauvignon Blanc ($16.95) - grassy, gooseberry and gorgeous, especially for the price, and available on the general list (****+)
Jackson Estate 2008 Vintage Widow Pinot Noir ($29.95) - cherry cranberry fruit with a pinch of earthy on the finish (****)
Nautilus 2009 Pinot Noir ($37.95) - dark berries and spice (****)
Ostler 2009 Caroline's Pinot Noir ($39.95) nice structure, plenty of dark fruit (****)
Sileni 2009 Estate Selection 'The Pacemaker' Cabernet Franc ($18.95) - great story behind the wine, lovely cherry-tobacco notes, very pretty wine (****+)
Teawa 2009 Left Field Merlot Malbec ($18.95) - red fruit dominant with a touch of pepper on the rounded finish (****)
Te Kairanga 2007 Runholder Pinot Noir ($32.95) - from 25 year old vines, earthy perfumed and sour cherry (****)
Wairau River 2009 Pinot Noir ($19.95) - red sour cherry, sweet vanilla, spiced-cranberry, very feminine in style (**** 1/2)
Wither Hills 2010 Rarangi Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($22.95) - lots of mineral and citrus with an inkling of pea pod (****+)


1 comment:

Dean Tudor said...

My take ..

**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Mt. Beautiful Cheviot Hills Riesling Canterbury 2008, $18
-Carrick Riesling Central Otago 2009, $29.95 Lifford
-Spy Valley Gewurztraminer Marlborough 2010, $21.95 Kylix
-Sacred Hill Deerstalkers Syrah 2007 Hawkes Valley, $39.99 Diageo
-Villa Maria Cellar Selection Syrah 2008 Hawke's Bay, $37.95 PMA
-Man o' War Dreadnought Syrah Waiheke Island 2008, $49.99 Mark Anthony
-Pasquale Pinot Gris 2010 Waitaki, $30
-Pasquale Pinot Noir 2009 Waitaki, $50
-Elephant Hill Reserve Syrah Hawke's Bay 2008, $38.95 HHD Imports
***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Ostler Caroline's Pinot Noir 2009 Waitaki, $39.95 Von Terra
-Ostler Audrey's Pinot Gris 2009 Waitaki, $29 Von Terra
-Akarua Chardonnay Central Otago 2009, $22.95 Von Terra
-Astrolabe Voyage Pinot Gris Marlborough 2010, $21.95 Rogers
-Astrolabe Voyage Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2010, $21.95 Rogers
-Giesen The Brothers Pinot Noir 2009, $29.95
-Tohu Pinot Noir Marlborough 2008, $26.25 Connexion Oenophilia
-Tohu Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2010, $18.30 Connexion Oenophilia
-Hunter's Riesling Marlborough 2006, not available.
-Framingham Pinot Gris Marlborough 2009, $19.95 Charton Hobbs
-Waipara Hills Gewurztraminer Waipara 2009, not available
-Vinoptima Reserve Ormond Gewurztraminer Gisborne 2006, $54.95 Hanna
-Te Awa Chardonnay Hawke's Bay 2009, $23.95 MCO Wines
-Churton Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2009, $22 Terra Firma
-Cloudy Bay Chardonnay Marlborough 2008, $29.95 Vintages
-Coopers Creek Viognier Gisborne 2009, $16.95 Noble Estates
-Elephant Hill Viognier Hawke's Bay 2010, $26.95 HHD Imports
-Lawson's Dry Hills Gewurztraminer Marlborough 2009, $18.45 Wine Guru
-Marisco The King's Bastard Chardonnay Marlborough 2009, $19.95
Glencairn Wine Merchants
-Sileni Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2010, $15.95
-Southbank Estate Pinot Noir Marlborough 2008, $19.95 Vintages
-Spy Valley Envoy Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2009, $33.95 Kylix
-Staete Landt Estate Grown Chardonnay Marlborough 2009, $36.95 Lifford
-Summerhouse Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2009, $19.95 Vintages
-Te Kairanga Estate Chardonnay Martinborough 2009, $17.95 Small
-Yealands Estate Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2010, $23.95 Trialto
*** Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Akarua Pinot Gris Central Otago 2009, $22.95 Von Terra
-Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Gris Wairarapa 2009, $21.50 Wine Guru
-Trinity Hill Syrah Hawke's Bay 2008, $20.95 Connexion Oenophilia
-Te Mata Estate Bullnose Syrah Hawke's Bay 2009, Prevedello $38
-Mission Estate Reserve Syrah Hawke's Bay 2009, $26.95 Vinexx
-Babich Family Estate Individual Vineyard Headwaters Organic Block
Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2010, $19.95 Dionysius
-Kato Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2010, $16.95 General List
-Konrad Gewurztraminer Marlborough 2010, $17.35 Vergena
-Mt. Difficulty Chardonnay Central Otago 2008, $26.95 Small Winemakers
-Stoneleigh Chardonnay Marlborough 2009, $16.95 General List
-Wither Hills Rarangi Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2010,
$22.95 Select

www.deantudor.com AND http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com