Thursday, September 25, 2014

Report from ... New Zealand Wine Fair - May 8, 2014

New Zealand's wine fair comes in two parts:  the "seminar" and the general tasting.

Seminar Wines ...
This year's seminar was all about Pinot Noir - from all over New Zealand.  Pinot is New Zealand's second most planted variety, but a distant second to Sauvignon Blanc.  With the most Pinot planted in Marlborough followed by Central Otago and Wairarapa.  During the seminar we taste wines from all three regions. plus a few others - let's take a look:

Waimea Estate 2012 Pinot Noir (Nelson)
nose of ripe cherry and plum followed by earthy, sour cranberry and spice (*** 1/2+)
Mount Riley 2012 Pinot Noir (Marlborough - Wairau Valley)
plenty of raspberry, cherry and strawberry with elegant oak and spice on the finish  (****)
Auntsfield 2012 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir (Marlborough - Southern Valleys)
ripe cherry, cocoa, spice and vanilla; but the cherry is the star here (****+)

Pegasus Bay 2011 Pinot Noir (Waipara Valley)
ripe cherry, cocoa, spice and vanilla; but the cherry is the star here (*** 1/2+)
Greystone 2011 Pinot Noir (Waipara Valley)
the chill on this wine really brings out that superb fruit backed by cherry and cranberry (*** 1/2+)
Ostler 2011 Caroline's Pinot Noir (Waitaki Valley)
very Pinot-esque from the earthy to the spicy with cranberry, strawberry and good acidity -
balanced and well-integrated ... best wine of the seminar and quite possibly the day (**** 1/2)
Amisfield 2011 Pinot Noir (Central Otago - Lowburn)
blueberry, blackberry and black cherry highlight the dark fruit while there is also a hint of
mocha; good tannins, acidity and a nice balance, but there is a little leafy note (*** 1/2+)

General Tasting Wines ...

I try to stay away from the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir - but that's really difficult when it comes to New Zealand wine - so I try Sparkling, Pinot Gris and others ... but when it comes to a New Zealand wine fair it's tough to stay away from those Noirs and Blancs ...

Akarua NV Brut Sparkling (Central Otago)
70/30 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir with 18 months on lees
this is quite a bitey sparkling, refreshing with fresh bread and green apple (****)
Akarua 2012 Rua Pinot Noir (Central Otago)
7 months of aging in 1-2 year old barrels
approachably dark fruited, smoky with good acidity, spice, black licorice, cherry
and a peppery finish (****+)
Astrolabe 2013 Province Pinot Gris (Marlborough)
starts off like a Sauvignon Blanc but ends with sweet white fruit with apple and pear (*** 1/2+)
Babich 2012 Winemakers' Reserve Pinot Noir (Marlborough)
strawberry, raspberry with a touch of plum and spice - there's also nice acidity for balance -
this wine has real drinkability  (****+)
Elephant Hill 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (Hawke's Bay)
with 5% oak has given this wine a hint of some creaminess but also a gentle grass and citrus
with a balance of fruit and acidity - not bracing but delicious (****+)
Eradus 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough - Awatere Valley)
good minerality and acidity; rich in grapefruit with a grassy backing (****)
Hunter's 2012 Chardonnay (Marlborough)
rich and buttery with oaky notes, apple, and grilled pineapple; pleasantly toasty (****)
Lawson's Dry Hills 2013 Pinot Gris (Marlborough)
23% barrel aged 3 months and wild fermented
orange zest and spice with hints of baked apple; weighty and elegant (****+)
Marisco 2013 The King's Thorn Pinot Gris (Marlborough)
lovely aromatics with a touch of tropical spice on the palate (*** 1/2+)
Marisco 2012 The King's Wrath Pinot Noir (Marlborough)
certainly shows some wrath but also some delicacy with acidity and sour red fruit (****)

Marisco Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir (Marlborough)
gentle with sweet fruit, balanced acidity and spice - friendly on the palate (****)
Middle Earth 2012 Pinot Noir (Nelson)
savoury strawberry with a balance of cherry and smoke (*** 1/2+)
Middle Earth 2013 Pinot Gris (Nelson)
very nice mouthfeel with honey, peach pit and apple core (*** 1/2+)
Oyster Bay NV Sparkling Cuvee Brut (Hawke's Bay)
nice refreshing bubble with bread crust and lime zest (****)
Ten Sisters 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough)
orange, lime zest, floral and grassy with good acidic balance; very drinkable (****)
te Pa 2013 Pinot Gris (Marlborough)
nice pineapple, peach and lemon pith (*** 1/2+)
te Pa 2011 Pinot Noir (Marlborough)
delicate cherry and raspberry (*** 1/2+)

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