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Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne $34.99One of our best non-vintage Champagnes, this organically grown blend of half each Chardonnay and Meunier comes entirely from Bruno Michel's estate. It has been aged for six years on the lees and shows wonderful natural toasty quality as well as incredible vibrance! This was the big hit of our most recent staff Champagne tasting and we think you will love it too.

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Entries in New Zealand (16)

Wednesday
Jun202012

{Terra Ignota} Great Estate Chardonnay from Mt. Difficulty - 50% Off!

Yep New Zealand makes killer Chardonnay too! We've just secured an unbelievable 1/2 price deal ($9.99!) on some 2008 Mt. Difficulty Estate Chardonnay from this legendary Central Otago prodigy. Sourced entirely from their selection of estate vineyards in the Bannockburn sub-region of Central Otago. The grapes are grown in very sparse soils made up of Bannockburn and Molyneux gravels with veins of clay.

Click Image For Larger Map

The growing season in 2008 was consistent and warm leading to perfect ripeness. The juice was pressed off and 100% barrel fermented with 75% going through malo. A very precise lees stirring regiment was utilized to give this wine its rich and textural mid palate. This wine checks so many boxes, it's balanced and bright enough for some, yet toasty and rich enough for others! If you’ve never had any Mt. Difficulty wines before this is a perfect and very economical introduction to one of the top producers in the region.

Templars Hill VineyardI visited the winery last year and got to check out a few of their vineyards also. They have some truly unique terroir and the wines reflect this. This wine is really quite ridiculous at $9.99! I don’t think there is another Chard in the store that can touch it for that price. There’s only 25 cases left so get it while you can!

Cheers!

-Ryan

 

Ryan Woodhouse

NZ & Aussie Wine Specialist

K&L Wine Merchants - Redwood City

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Terra Ignota is Latin for "Unknown Land". It was the name for the South Pacific region during intial mapping and exploration of Australia and New Zealand. As we are going to be exploring new and exciting wines from this region, we think this is a fitting title for our blog series on wines from this part of the world. Stay tuned for more!

 

Tuesday
Jun052012

{Terra Ignota}: Te Whare Ra - K&L's First Direct Import from the Land of the Long White Cloud

 

Te Whare Ra, is a small, organic, family-run winery in the Wairau Valley of Marlborough.

Te Whare Ra (pronounced “Tea Far-ee Ra”, from Maori meaning “The House in the Sun”) is one of the premier boutique wineries in Marlborough and has some of the oldest vines in the area dating back to the 70’s. Since 2003, it has been owned and operated by Jason and Anna Flowerday. Both are winemakers by trade; Jason is a local to Marlborough and Anna is from McClaren Vale in Australia. The two were destined to have a winery of their own, and Te Whare Ra (TWR) is a culmination of their passion and dedication to quality.

Jason and Anna Flowerday

During some time in Marlborough last year my wife and I stumbled upon TWR. We were looking for small boutique wineries and personally gravitate toward organic/Biodynamic producers. We pulled into the front of the winery but everything looked closed. We rang the bell and Anna answered the door. We chatted a while and she explained that their first pick for the 2011 vintage was happening the next day and they had closed the tasting room to prepare the winery for harvest. Thankfully she offered to pour us some wines anyway and I was immediately stunned by the quality of all the wines.  After the tasting she took us for a wander through the winery and crushpad. Jason joined us and we talked about their viticulture, winemaking style and general philosophy. 

View of the Crush Pad and Individual Berry Sorting at Te Whare Ra

I was amazed by the small scale of production and extreme hands-on, detail-oriented winemaking they employ. The vineyards are farmed meticulously using organic and biodynamic methods. They even have their own cows for manure and other Bio preps. They are members of Organic Winegrowers NZ and are soon to be Bio-Gro certified. Most of the fruit is hand-picked and sorted. The Pinot is then de-stemmed and resorted by the individual berry! Fermentation is done in one-ton open fermenters for gentle extraction and finesse.

Jason Hand Plunging the Pinot Noir

Seeing and hearing all this made perfect sense after tasting the wines. Jason and Anna’s careful hand crafting and obsessive attention to detail define these wines; they are truly distinctive, expressing quality, purity, a dynamic sense of place, and a great thread of textural complexity and detail that shows though in every wine. We exchanged contact info, picked up a couple bottles to give to our Kiwi hosts and left vowing to tell any that would listen about how special these wines were. On returning to the US and getting my position with K&L I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for K&L's first serious collaboration with a single boutique producer from New Zealand through our Direct Import program. 

This is just was just the beginning as we continue to expand our offerings that already include: Oakridge, Dalwhinnie, Te Mata Estate and Waterkloof. You can also look forward to many more Direct Imports in the future!

 

Here is what we have in stock now, ready for you to try. Click on the links to learn more:

 2011 Te Whare Ra “D” Riesling Marlborough (Dry)* ($18.99)

Elegantly floral with a complex palate of concentrated citrus, with Kaffir lime and grapefruit. Zesty acid keeps the mineral laden finish snappy. 1,026 cases made.

 2012 Te Whare Ra Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough* ($18.99)

Combining tropical passion fruit and lychee notes with cooler qualities of elderflower, citrus and gooseberry from the Awatere fruit. Great mid-palate texture and fresh, yet restrained, acidity on the finish. More concentrated than the 2011 vintage due to low yields and meticulous fruit selection.

 2011 Te Whare Ra Chardonnay Marlborough* ($24.99)

Very Burgundian in weight and texture. The palate is packed with orchard and stone fruits. Beautiful texture and richness with perfect balance. Oak is well integrated with rich toasty notes of creamy hazelnuts and fresh ground grains leading into spicy elegant finish.

91+ RP: "The 2011 Chardonnay is scented of white peaches, lemon curd and baking bread with hints of almonds, gingersnaps and orange blossom. Medium to full bodied, there's just a suggestion of oak complimenting the stone fruit and toasty flavors with refreshing acidity, a silken texture and a nice long finish. Drink this one now to 2016."

 2011 Te Whare Ra Gewürztraminer Marlborough* ($18.99)

Crushed rocks and flowers! Overtly floral, but with serious mineral qualities. A big, rich and textural Gewürtz. Exotic Asian spice and tropical fruit dominate the palate. 510 cases made.

 2011 Te Whare Ra Pinot Noir Marlborough* ($24.99)

Beautiful strawberry and boysenberry fruit on the nose. In the mouth soft red and dark fruits. The typical bright, crunchy Marlborough acidity is balanced with rich savory undertones and depth from the old vines. 450 cases made.

After tasting each wine many times it still amazes me how this marriage of winemakers can excel with every grape variety that graces their estate. These are truly special wines. I hope you will try them!

The Flowerdays

Cheers!

- Ryan Woodhouse, NZ / Aussie Specialist

 

***

 Terra Ignota is Latin for "Unknown Land". It was the name for the South Pacific region during intial mapping and exploration of Australia and New Zealand. As we are going to be exploring new and exciting wines from this region, we think this is a fitting title for our blog series on wines from this part of the world. Stay tuned for more!


Saturday
May262012

Terra Ignota: Told You So!…NZ Pinot Noir Gets Deserved Recognition

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member

Stunning View Over Rippon Estate to Lake Wanaka and Beyond

It was with mixed feelings that I turned to page 61 of this month’s Wine Spectator. I was looking for the article splashed on the front cover “New Zealand Pinot Noir Comes of Age.” In general I am not a fan of the 100 point system or large publications having such a rampant impact on the success or failure of wines, wineries, regions, even countries. However, when one of these industry “Super Powers” puts its considerable weight behind a wine by bestowing it with a 90+ point rating, or as in this case, many 90+ ratings, behind a whole category, New Zealand Pinot Noir, one can’t help but feel excited and somewhat gratified. For many years I have been preaching how great these wines are, telling customers and colleagues alike, that NZ has truly world class potential for many grapes beyond Sauvignon Blanc. Sure some listened and have been enjoying the rewards ever since. Others still believe that NZ makes “pretty good Sauvignon Blanc”, yet refuse to believe that any NZ wine above $15 is worth considering, yet at the same time spend $100’s of dollars on Pinot with less balance, finesse and complexity from other regions. So perhaps now the “powers that be” have spoken declaring the “coming of age” for NZ Pinot Noir, more people will listen and grab some before the prices skyrocket! Being consistently ahead of the game at K&L we are already in possession of many of these top rated wines and indeed many others that may not feature in this months WS article but are nonetheless worthy of your consideration.

Mt. Difficulty Templars Hill Vineyard

Before discussing the individual wines I would also like to point out the regional diversity within New Zealand. Pinot Noir from Marlborough, Nelson, Martinborough, Central Otago, Waipara etc, etc, will have very different flavor profiles. To stereotype hugely, for me Marlborough often shows a very crunchy, red berry acidity and some orange peel notes. Nelson (specifically the Moutere Hills,) has clay soil that gives a lifted brightness to then fruit, silky texture and often shows a dusty element on the finish. Martinborough, red fruited with gamey hints, more detail and layers to the wines seem to take more air / time to show their true qualities. Central Otago Pinot is generally the power house Pinot region of New Zealand, offering darker fruits with more weight and richness. Waipara / Canterbury, with lots of coastal influence and huge site diversity generally shows an elegant and often earthy, herbal style of wine. These are generalizations, and the beauty is that many sub-regional variations exist adding further intrigue to the category. If you don’t want to take my word for it, please read the WS article and explore some of these stunning wines!

2010 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir, Martinborough

94 Points Wine Spectator: "Exotic aromatics of mahogany and sandalwood follow through to supple red licorice, cranberry, cherry and raspberry flavors that are elegant, precise and balanced. Baking spice details of clove and nutmeg persist on the finish. Drink now through 2020.”

2008 Rippon “Mature Vines” Pinot Noir, Central Otago

93 Points Wine Spectator (94Pts Wines & Spirits): “Delivers lovely aromatics, with sandalwood, Asian spice, white pepper, crushed stone and dried floral notes. The details continue on, offering strawberry, cherry and a terrific balance between tannins and acidity, keeping the flavors fresh and lively. Drink now through 2020.”

2009 Seresin Estate “Leah” Pinot Noir, Marlborough

92 Points Wine Spectator: "Wild strawberry and raspberry flavors are delicate and pretty in this stunning red, which shows spicy nutmeg, dried ginger, fresh herb and floral details, with a terrific supple texture. Drink now through 2016.”

2010 Craggy Range “Te Muna Road Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Martinborough

91 Points Wine Spectator: “Elegant and highly detailed, with plush, ripe red raspberry and cherry flavors that are fresh and juicy, joined by black tea, clove, sassafras and sage notes. Smooth and tasty, gaining momentum on the finish. Drink now through 2019.”

2009 Staete Landt Pinot Noir, Marlborough

91 Points Wine Spectator: “Light and velvety, with lovely detailed red cherry and cranberry aromas and flavors, hinting at citrus peel and white pepper as the finish lingers effortlessly. Drink now through 2015.”

2009 Momo Pinot Noir (Seresin Estate), Marlborough

90 Points Wine Spectator: "A wonderfully smooth and classy expression of ripe red fruit flavors, warm baking spices, vanillin and mineral accents. Very harmonious, with a long finish. Drink now through 2016.”

2008 Mountford "Estate" Pinot Noir, Waipara

92 Points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Pale ruby colored, the 2008 Pinot Noir gives pronounced notes of warm strawberries and cranberries going earthy/gamey with supporting aromas of underbrush, smoked duck, truffles and wet stones. Medium to full bodied, there is a lot of poise on the palate with a good backbone of high acid and a medium level of very fine, silt-like tannins. There's plenty of berry and earth flavors layering the long finish. It's good now and should continue to develop and drink to 2016.”

2009 Neudorf "Moutere" Pinot Noir Nelson

91 Points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: “Ruby colored, the 2009 Moutere Pinot Noir offers a good intensity of warm cranberry, pomegranate and red currant aromas with hints of violets, damp earth and Ceylon tea. Medium bodied, the concentration of red berry and earth flavors is well balanced with a medium level of finely grained tannins, and refreshing acidity. It finishes long and savory. Drinking nicely now, it should cellar to 2015+.”

Cheers!

-Ryan Woodhouse K&L Aussie / NZ Specialist

 

***

Terra Ignota is Latin for "Unknown Land". It was the name for the South Pacific region during intial mapping and exploration of Australia and New Zealand. As we are going to be exploring new and exciting wines from this region, we think this is a fitting title for our blog series on wines from this part of the world. Stay tuned for more!