Browse Tag

new zealand

Earth, wild, and fire

[vineyard]Wild Earth “Blind Trail” 2007 Pinot Noir (Central Otago) – Such a pleasant, direct wine…sappy fruit (mostly berries), a bit of sweet earth, round-textured but with acidity, and finishing surprisingly strong. Nice. (6/09)

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)

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)

Wine on the wing

[vineyard]Donaldson Family “Pegasus Bay” 2007 Riesling (Waipara Valley) – Bright apple-lime fruit, lightly sweet, with mirror-reflective silver-foil minerality and the perfect amount of acidity. Surprisingly long for a wine that attempts to give of itself so early, yet experience suggests that this portends complexities to come. A very fine example of everything it is: the grape, the place, and the producer. (4/09)

Donaldson Family “Pegasus Bay” 2007 Riesling (Waipara Valley) – Exactly…exactly…the same as the previous bottle. This is why we like screwcaps. (4/09)

Kumeu are you?

[grapes]Kumeu River 2005 Chardonnay (Kumeu) – Sulfurous and a little clumsy. Very, very sulfurous, in fact. Difficult to assess. 24 hours later, things haven’t changed much. (4/09)

Kumeu River 2005 Chardonnay (Kumeu) – Take two. Sulfurous, but less difficult than the previous bottle. Still, it doesn’t add up to much. This exact wine was very enticing six months ago, so it has obviously entered some form of hibernation. Optimists (and those who’ve had well-aged Kumeu River chardonnays; I have, and they’ve been wonderful) will assume it’s a normal closed period. Pessimists will eye the screwcap with reductive suspicion. I don’t know which is the correct assessment, but I do know the wine’s in no mood for a party at the moment. (4/09)

Two grins

Peregrine 2003 Riesling (Central Otago) – Performing even better than at the winery. Dried apricot, deep black minerality, tarragon, and light residual sugar. Medium-bodied with preliminary bursts of complexity, terrific balance, and a long, drying finish. Very, very promising. (3/05)

Not Steve Croft

Stonecroft 2000 Gewürztraminer (Hawke’s Bay) – Dead cheese (not just rotten, but an actual corpse), celery, and stinky armpit. Blessedly short. A truly awful wine. (3/05)

Crazy stone

Wild Rock 2007 Pinot Noir “Cupids Arrow” (Central Otago) – Dense, chewy, meaty, and somewhat blackened; in the pinot-as-syrah sweepstakes, this deserves at least an honorable mention. There’s acidity and a plummy brightness that combine to make the wine other than ponderous, but in the end its defiant scowliness and meaty density are hard to ignore. (4/09)