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Friday, March 20, 2020

The Best of the Best

                                     New Zealand is so much more than Sauv Blanc

WineKnows' trip to New Zealand just ended.  We visited the country's four major wine regions (Hawkes Bay, Martinborough, Marlborough, and Central Otago).  Nearly 150 wines made from more than a dozen varieties were tasted.  Pinot Noir (PN) and Sauvignon Blanc (SB) led the pack in terms of the most tasted wines.

40% of the wines in my Top Ten are PN, but that's not surprising as New Zealand is rapidly evolving into one of the Pinot capitals of the world.  I'm not a fan of the classic Kiwi style of grassy SB, so it's no wonder that only one SB made it to my list (this one was made from warmer climate grapes and had the tropical profile I prefer).  The surprise was the Chardonnay which made a strong impression garnering two of the top ten spots.  Two aromatics also made my list:  Viognier and Pinot Gris.

TOP 10 (listed alphabetically)

  • Ata Rangi PN (2017):  from the estate's prime vineyards, this one is complex layers of spice, earth & fruit.
  • Decibel Viognier (2018):  intoxicating melange of luscious florals & citrus, it's one of the few bottles I brought home.  If you can find it, buy it (or save it for me to buy).
  • Dry River Chardonnay (2014):  stunning rendition of tropical fruit & citrus.  
  • Elephant Hill Salome Chardonnay (2017):  burnt pineapple mixed with limey mineral nuances.
  • Greywacke SB (2019):  luscious nectarine + lemon/lime + good finish.
  • Mt Difficulty Hanock Farm Single Vineyard PN (2016):  ethereal mix of raspberry, violet, spice & earth, all with a gorgeous finish.
  • Palliser Estate PN (2018):  elegant mix of savory & fruit with a winning finish.
  • Te Awanga Wild Ferment Pinot Gris (2018):  white & yellow peach mixed with grapefruit.  Lingering finish.
  • Te Whare Ra Single Vineyard PN (2015):  voluptuous mix of cherry, chocolate & spice with a fab finish.
  • Valli Bendigo PN (2018):  Grown in Otago's warmest region, this one is full bodied & screams black cherry & spice.  Silky tannins & an elegant finish.

Note that all the above wines should be available in the US.

A big "cheerio" for the Kiwis!

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