Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tasty and Inexpensive Wines From New Zealand

I don’t pay nearly enough attention to New Zealand wines. I’m only one person, and wine has many worlds in which to lose oneself. But I need to lose myself in New Zealand more often.

I’ve enjoyed many a New Zealand Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and the national staple variety, Sauvignon Blanc. The latter of which is a hit with pretty much every casual wine drinker I know, and I usually spot at least one Kiwi Sauv Blanc per house party. They’re relatively inexpensive, tasty and almost always reliable. No wonder they’re all over the place.
This report features a range of wines from New Zealand, all of which were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

SRP: $15
Medium straw color. Fresh aromas of lemon zinger, grapefruit, white peach and some mineral notes. Crisp acid keeps this wine lively, but the creamy body gives it weight on the palate. Juicy white peach, lime and kiwi flavors mix with elements of mineral water, white pepper and lemon. Nice spiciness to this wine, but it doesn’t overwhelm the juicy fruit. Clean and tangy on the finish with a honey undertone. A wine that plays all the different positions very well, so to speak. (87 points)

2013 Kim Crawford Pinot Gris New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $15
Medium straw color. Aromas of white peach, green melon, kiwi and clean mountain streams, rocks, a hint of seaweed? Crisp, the acid tears across the palate, but there’s enough mixed melon, shaved lime and ripe apricot to balance it out. I love the white flowers, minerals and mountain stream notes. So clean and crisp, but a lot of depth as well. (89 point)

2013 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $15
Pale yellow. That classic shock of grapefruit, kiwi and lemongrass on the nose, a bit of sweet sage and green onion as well. Tangy acid, this wine is so fresh and clean. Green apple, kiwi and grapefruit taste ripe, yet the fruit tingles the palate. Moderate grass note, but also some fresh floral perfume and honeysuckle notes. A bit more nuanced and mild than a lot of Marlborough Sauv Blancs, and I like it. (88 points)

2014 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $15
Light yellow color. Nose of ruby red grapefruit, white peach, white flowers and notes of seaweed and green grass.  Clean and refreshing on the palate with crisp acid and a fleshy mouthfeel, the white peach fruit is juicy and drizzled with lime and grapefruit juice, accents by sea salt, green onion and honeysuckle. Bright and crisp onto the moderate-length finish, this begs for salads and sautéed veggie dishes. (86 points)

2014 Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc Regional Collection New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $13
Light golden yellow color. Classic Marlborough nose of grapefruit, lemongrass, white peach, some green pepper. Palate is crisp and clean and bright, not a lot of weight or depth, but the lime and grapefruit mixes well with the white and green pepper notes. Hints of honeysuckle and  white peach linger on the finish. (85 points)

2014 Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc Icon New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $22
Light gold color. Nose of guava, dried pineapple, grapefruit and white peach, hints of jalapeno pepper and sage. On the palate, this shows more creaminess and depth than the regional collection. Dry and clean with lime and grapefruit juice drizzled over papaya and guava, accented by white pepper and some wildflowers. A more complex example than the entry level with a fresh and mouthwatering approach. (87 points)

2013 Jackson Estate Sauvignon Blanc Stich New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $22
Light gold color. Strongly aromatic, with lime, guava and grapefruit, along with river rocks, nettles andd some white flowers. Tangy and clean with a vibrant personality. The white peach, lime and grapefruit flavors are refreshing and laced with notes of green onion, nettles, white flowers. Also shows some nice mineral components. Quite pretty. (87 points)

2013 Vavasour Pinot Noir Dashwood New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $17
Light cherry colored. Bright cranberry and wild strawberry fruit on the nose along with sage, bay leaf and fresh roses. Medium bodied fresh acid, a silky smooth mouthfeel. Clean, floral, bright, cranberries, cherries and strawberries. Zesty with red apple peel, floral, underlying earthy tones. Very bright and tangy with a drink-me-now, food-friendly personality. (86 points)

2012 Nobilo Pinot Noir Icon Marlborough New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $22
Vibrant ruby-cherry color. On the nose I get chilled black cherries, strawberries and raspberries, mixed in with cinnamon, pepper and sweet cocoa powder. Fresh and bright on the palate with medium to high acid, soft tannins and tangy fruit. I get raspberries, wild strawberries and red currants, dusted with some white pepper, soy sauce, cocoa powder, also some softer notes of coffee and cedar round out the finish, which is quite long and tangy. A brisk and lean style, but not a weak wine, this offers lots of food-pairing options, and I find it mouthwatering and delicious. Aged 10 months in 20% new French oak. (88 points)

2012 Goldwater Pinot Noir Wairau Valley New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough, Wairau Valley
SRP: $20
Light ruby color. Nose of bright cherries, raspberries and strawberries, matched with pickling spices, rhubarb and dried roses. Medium bodied with fine tannins and fresh acid. Black cherries, raspberries and red currant fruit, all bright and tangy. Love the notes of dusty soil, rhubarb, oregano and white pepper, a hint of cola and coffee on the finish. Not the deepest or most profound New Zealand Pinot, but it’s doing everything right and all the elements are in balance. (87 points)

2013 Kim Crawford Pinot Noir South Island New Zealand, South Island
SRP: $17
Bright red cherry colored. Lovely nose of mulled raspberries and juicy black cherries, along with rhubarb, fresh roses and hints of clove and peppercorns. A leaner, fresher, more reserved style with bright acid and soft tannins. This is all about crunchy red fruit (cherries, raspberries, McIntosh apple), mixed with notes of cinnamon, rhubarb, garlic pickle and bay leaf. Clean, refreshing, food-friendly but showing some complexity. Drink over the next year or two. (88 points)

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