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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 (17)

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!


Saturday
Mar242012

{Terra Ignota}:World-Beating Bordeaux Blends From New Zealand!?

Everyone knows NZ’s staple Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Pinot Noir is also definitely making it’s self known as another NZ varietal with world class potential that can be very elegant, even Burgundian in style. However, it is another region with other varieties that may be New Zealand’s most exciting export: enter the hearty reds of the Gimblett Gravels. Situated in Hawkes Bay, this region enjoys a warmer climate than much of NZ and the growing area is a low lying plain on the dryer east coast. Proximity to the ocean also plays a role moderating the temperatures in both winter and summer. Within this region lies the unique growing district of the Gimblett Gravels.

This area has remarkably deep and dense gravel soil deposited by the Ngaruroro River.  In the late 19th century, a huge flood caused the river to change course leaving the original gravel riverbed high and dry. The soil is so poor here it is remarkable that anything can grow. However, as we know, our friend the vine flourishes in these types of challenging environments. Much of the area is planted to Bordeaux varietals drawing on the similarities to the deep gravel soils of the left bank and especially Graves in Bordeaux. Syrah also does especially well here.

Situated at the heart of this region is NZ's oldest winery, Mission Estate. Founded in 1851, this property makes a range of wines that illustrate the potential of this world-class terroir. At a recent comparative tasting in Hong Kong hosted by Master of Wine Lisa Perrotti-Brown, eight Gimblett Gravels wines were lined up against eight of the top Bordeaux producers. Mission Estates proprietary wine “The Jewelstone” came in third, beaten out only by Haut-Brion and Chateau Mouton, finishing the blind tasting ahead of Lafite, Latour and Margaux as judged by 40 of the worlds top wine professionals. A pretty good showing when you consider this wines price tag: $31.99!

We have just received a limited number of the 2009 “Jewelstone”, it is comprised of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc. “Deep garnet-purple color and complex scents of black currant, warm blackberries and anise with nuances of dried plums, cinnamon stick, dark chocolate and vanilla. Concentrated and full bodied in the mouth, it gives high acidity, firm very fine-grained tannins and a long spicy finish. Delicious now, it should evolve nicely through 2020+”Perrotti-Brown MW.

2009 Mission Estate "Jewelstone" Bordeaux Blend Hawkes Bay New Zealand $31.99

We also have other great wines from this exciting region:

2010 Craggy Range "Te Kahu" Bordeaux Blend Gimblett Gravels $18.99

2009 Mission Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay $19.99

More will be following with Bilencia Syrah, Esk Valley and Te Mata wines all on their way to us, so watch this space!

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!

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