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Escarpment “Over the Edge” 2009 Pinot Noir (Martinborough) – Bitter cherry, more rind than flesh, with a greenish herbal note. I don’t particularly dig this. (6/11)


Dry River 2008 Gewürztraminer (Martinborough) – Sneaky. Starts off very shy, then gradually opens; the ideal temperature, at least from a “cold” opening, is somewhere a little higher-temp than might be ideal for most gewürztraminer. Is what appears to be a lowish alcohol vs. the gewürztraminer norm a factor? It might be. The aromatic range includes rambutan and some stone fruit, nut oils, and roses, but everything is nicely restrained…even delicate…in comparison to the weighty power of which the grape is capable. Off-dry, but just that; this is in no way overtly sticky. Finishes long and a little tingly, with the promise of minerality to come. As the gewürztraminers of Alsace get heavier and sweeter, this is a nice respite. (2/11)

Ata boy

Ata Rangi 2001 Syrah (Martinborough) – Aging faster than the pinot noir from the same house and year, which is probably a combination of site and vine, but could also just mean that more stake is placed on the success of the pinot. A well-read and somewhat intellectual wine with bushy eyebrows, seated in a well-worn leather chair in the corner of a dark, smoky drawing room, dusty tomes and old pipes strewn about the surrounding tables. I don’t know if I’d call it fully mature, yet, but it has probably learned all it is going to from its maturation, and the future might hold more unpredictability. This is the best aged New Zealand syrah I’ve had, but since that personal category is largely unpopulated there’s not much to that qualification. Perhaps more important: it was worth aging. (10/10)

Palliser o’ mine

Palliser Estate 2005 Pinot Noir (Martinborough) – If there’s a “standard” New Zealand pinot noir character, with adjustments for climate and vintage, this has it: dark and intense berried fruit, beet (and lots of it), a little hint of blood orange rind, and liquid earth with a fully-integrated structure, even in its youth. Straightforward, approachable, and tasty. (4/10)

Ata boy

[label]Ata Rangi 2001 Pinot Noir (Martinborough) – Rumbly, flexed-muscle fruit with the aromas of pinot noir but the weight of something a little more lumbering. The wine has mellowed quite a bit from its youth, and while this has left a solid foundation of earthiness more exposed, the whole package is a bit faded and worn. This is probably pretty much all the way down the road it’s going to travel, in terms of development. (5/09)

Am-am-am, am-amaranth

Dry River 2007 Riesling Craighall “Amaranth” (Martinborough) – Vivid. Crushed glass and rocks, both liquefied. Excellent acid/sugar balance. Incredibly pure. Very, very, very long. Incredible, and clearly the best wine of the entire tasting. (3/09)

Abrahamborough & Johnborough

Palliser Estate 2007 Riesling (Martinborough) – Intense lime, lemon, and limestone, but the wine is balanced rather than enormous or top-heavy. In fact, the balance is rather impressive. A wine of substance. The quibble is the a lack of complexity, though it’s young and there’s plenty of time. (3/09)

Sir pal

Palliser Estate 2007 Pinot Noir (Martinborough) – Green beets (rather than beet greens) and pinkish fruit, with a powdered cotton candy texture. (3/09)


Palliser Estate 2007 Pinot Noir (Martinborough) – Beet, plum, and weedy tannin. This wine throbs at a baritone pitch, never really adding anything other tones of interest. Disappointing. (3/09)

The Pencarrow is mightier

Palliser Estate “Pencarrow” 2007 Pinot Noir (Martinborough) – Tart. Rhubarb and cranberry. Smoke and a little minerality, with hints of depth on the finish. Very crisp. Not entirely balanced. (3/09)

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