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Thursday, February 14, 2013

One of the World’s Most Romantic & Scenic


Many of you are probably expecting this article to be about France or Italy…both offer very romantico and attractive wine countrysides.   This Blog is about neither, but instead, a country that is on the other side of the globe.   New Zealand caught me totally by surprise. …dramatic beauty (a kind of Switzerland meets Tahiti), as well as mind-boggling landscapes all surrounded my majestic verdant peaks and empty, endless beaches.   A perfect place for romance.

Another revelation… New Zealand also happens to make fabulous wine.  I’m not a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, especially the grassy herbaceous style.   That being said, I was surprised to find so many Sauv Blancs that were made more in the tropical fruit genre that I enjoy.   Several of them were stunning.   One of my favorite producers was Terra Vin (particularly loved its floral as well as mineral notes, along with its great finish, however, I would have preferred for it to have a little less alcohol).  A deserted beach and two glasses of this well-crafted Sauv Blanc could be a true recipe for some starry-eyes.  

An additional stand-out white was the Viognier from Trinity Hill.  Bone dry, this winner is grown in the South Island’s stony soil.  The winery also made one of the best values we found in our 10 day reconnaissance.  We ended up going back three times to buy additional bottles of their Tempranillo….a steal for $35.  Since then, we’ve found out that this wine has won too many international competition medals to count.  A real Spanish version of romantico.

Trinity Hill’s winemaker has a wife who also makes wine.  (Hard to believe all that talent in one family.)  Her wines are made under the Bilancia label and are show-stoppers.  We found her Pinot Gris (well structured with an intoxicating nose and a fabulous finish) and Late Harvest Viognier (a pineapple and apricot bomb that is only made in the best vintages) to be outrageously grand.  And, what’s more romantic than husband and wife winemakers?

We loved the wines of Unison so much that we ended up inviting the winemaking team to our home in San Diego and they took us up on our offer in August 2012 when we hosted a winemaker dinner.  Their Bordeaux blends are exceptional, worthy of any passionate celebration.

The most romantic and most breathtaking wine district in New Zealand was not near the sea, however, but instead in the middle of the country near an idyllic lake surrounded by year-around snow-capped mountains.   There were many excellent producers we visited but Valli’s Riesling really pulled at the strings of our hearts.  We loved it so much that we chose it for our last night’s dinner…overlooking the lake at Queentown at one of the area’s best restaurants.  Very romantic.

Stay tuned for more details about our 2014 trip to New Zealand.

Happy Valentines Day!

1 comment:

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