Browse Tag


Dog house

Dog Point 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Goes right to the heart of Marlborough sauvignon-ness (sauvignon-icity?) but in a defter, more polished way than the abrasive style that made the region. This, in case it’s not clear, is a good thing. Underripe citrus and grass vie with just enough razory acidity for dominance, and while the wine’s racy enough, it’s neither tooth-scraping nor functionally underripe. Solid, paradigm-defining wine. Which is not to say that there’s not better out there, because there is. (3/10)


Fromm “La Strada” 2002 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – The hyper-masculine aggression of this wine has really been shed over the last year or so, which is something I didn’t expect to happen quickly or, in my more pessimistic moments, at all. It’s still no delicate flower, for sure, but now both the flavors and the overall body are something more recognizable as pinot noir, albeit still far, far on the fringes of the weight that’s typical from anyone else growing this grape in Marlborough. (Well, except maybe Glover’s, but that’s mostly about tannin.) The dusty, black-soiled elements are now met by freshening acidity, while a scowling array of berries must accept the presence of lighter, crisper elements in their midst. This wine, always so brutish in the past, is undergoing a fascinating transformation, but I wonder if I’ll have the patience to wait this story out to its denouement; I’ve only a few bottles left. (3/10)


[vineyard]Fromm “La Strada” 2002 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – Perhaps the always-fearsome structure is beginning to weaken, or maybe there’s just bottle-variation here, because the dark, moody, truculent fruit is more accessible than usual, and the wine’s youthful aromatics have suddenly reasserted themselves. Thus, a wine that used to smell like pinot but feel like tannat begins to veer away from a stage in which it more closely resembled the latter. Frankly, this is pretty enjoyable, though one has to like filo-esque layers of tannin. (12/09)

Strada sphere

Fromm “La Strada” 2002 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – As with previous bottles, somewhat at war with its structure. The tannin is layered and ripe, but heavy for the wine (which is darker and more brooding than many pinots, and certainly almost all other Marlborough pinots), and even the usual counterpoint of fat doesn’t quite cut through the muscle. I don’t know if this will hold long enough for the structure to abate, and so my inclination is to drink up over the short term. All this warning and layering of caveats aside, the wine’s dark berries, earth, and autumnal hardwood aromas are still present and powerful. (8/09)


Dog Point 2004 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – One of the holdouts against screwcaps in New Zealand…and, of course, corked. (10/09)


NewHarbor 2008 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – A whiff of reductive stink at first unscrewing, but after a dozen minutes or so it blows off. The fruit’s plummy, but arid rather than rich, with a diagonal plane of tannin that’s nearly but not completely transparent (the effects are more prominent late in the game). There’s earth, and there’s vinyl, plus a touch of burnt tire. Just a tiny bit green, but also purplish…the wine would be better-served in all cases by a little more attention to the middle. It’s not bad, though it’s not great either. (8/09)

Buyer & Cellar

[bottle]Villa Maria “Cellar Selection” 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Lemon-lime, grapefruit, grass…all ripe, clean, and vibrant, with balanced acidity and just enough persistence. A little crystalline minerality as well, though this is a fruit-dominated wine, for sure. (7/09)

Villa Maria “Cellar Selection” 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – See above note, crediting the consistency of the closure. (7/09)

No Dog

[vineyard]Dog Point 2004 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – In other vintages this has shown a good deal of heft, which is appealing enough but may not express the wine’s “Marlboroughness” to the fullest extent. By that I mean that I expect the region’s pinot noirs to have a little more lightness and red fruit than Central Otago, the Waipara, and certainly Martinborough, yet also more forwardness than Nelson. Here, that heft is indeed shot through with some brighter, cherry-ish fruit, though there’s still layers of beet, leaf, and earth above and below. Despite the tally of descriptors, the wine’s not actually complex, but since there’s more balance and light to this wine than usual, its early appeal is likely to be surpassed by the qualities revealed by aging. (5/09)

…and shoot

Dog Point 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Grass, unidentifiable yellow fruit, and a particulate texture with some rocks in the blend. Structured, but not overly so, and balanced. Makrut lime is the topnote. Very nice. (5/09)