Browse Tag

new zealand


Donaldson Family “Main Divide” 2005 Riesling (South Island) – Just as bright and lively as all previous bottles, but a little less overtly fruit-happy, which is actually to the benefit of the wine because it reveals some sun-drenched rock underneath. Not much – this is still a fruit-driven riesling – but just enough to add welcome complexity. A nice wine. (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)

The end

[vineyard]Donaldson Family “Pegasus Bay” 1999 “Finale” (Waipara) – From 375 ml. My last, and best, bottle, exploding with spicy complexity, rich bronzed peach, and luxuriant texture. Fabulous. (9/09)

Fly, horsey, fly

[vineyard]Donaldson Family “Pegasus Bay” 2006 Riesling (Waipara Valley) – Lake, rather than river, riesling…by which I mean there’s a tranquility, and the mineral/structural underpinnings rest placidly rather than race past. Ripe apple, sweet lime, and a sunny acidity also play their part. A very engaging wine, still in the flush of youth. (8/09)


[grapes]Brajkovich “Kumeu River” 2000 Chardonnay (Kumeu) – Nowhere near maturity, and not due to the longevity-increasing qualities of screwcap, either; this one’s under cork. Peach has blue-shifted slightly to apricot, orange to pear, and there’s an ever-so-slight emergence of both tan earth and light spice, but with the fruit still mostly primary and the good structure still firmly in place, the only real sign of movement so far is a reduction in the textural presence of oak (though as noted earlier, the aged and spicy component thereof is still quite shy). I’d let it rest for another five years, at least, before venturing another taste. (9/09)


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)

Franz the librarian

[vineyard]Schubert 2006 Pinot Noir Marion’s Vineyard (Wairarapa) – Sweet plum, strawberry, and blood orange. There’s a little hint of candy, which I don’t quite like, but then some blacker, almost licorice-like tones on the finish. I think this will get better with age, because the structure’s there, but it’s pretty simple-minded just now. (7/09)

Bay leaves

Donaldson Family “Pegasus Bay” 2000 Pinot Noir (Waipara) – Big and dark, but not as weight-dominated as it was just a year ago, which means that signs that its made of pinot noir (rather than something more Rhônish) are starting to re-emerge. There’s always been good acidity, and the drawing back of the heft has revealed some delicious orange rocks within, but I still don’t think there’s any hurry to drink this. (7/09)

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)