Tuesday, July 14, 2015

In the <$20 Range, New Zealand Delivers

The wave of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has not let up, and the American market remains loaded with inexpensive offerings. Many of the wines play the same riff, but grassy grapefruit-driven wines clearly have lots of fans.

New Zealand is home to other value-driven white wines, as demonstrated in this small sampling This lot doesn’t contain any stunners, but the wines are consistent, tasty and moderately priced. I was especially impressed with the Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir, which is a solid bargain at $17.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2014 Starborough Sauvignon Blanc - New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $15
Light straw color. Aromas and lemon verbena, grapefruit, white pepper and green beans. Lively acid, moderately creamy, flavors of nectarine and grapefruit mix with spicy white pepper, green herbs and notes of minerals and chalk. Not super complex, but better than many at this price point. (86 points)

2014 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough - New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $15
Pale yellow color, hint of green. Classic aromatic profile of kiwi, grapefruit, white peach, diced jalapenos and green bell peppers. Bright acid, tingles the palate. The lime, white peach and kiwi is matched with jalapenos and white peppers, notes of spicy arugula, honeysuckle. Classic Marlborough Sauv Blanc, just not all that exciting. A bit more muted than last time I tasted this. (85 points)

SRP: $15
Pale straw color. Bright, crisp aromatics: green apple, kiwi, nectarine, also some honeysuckle.
Juicy, medium-bodied profile with clean acid. Juicy yellow and green apples, rich pears, mango, backed up by notes of honeysuckle and white tea. Clean, refreshing yet a plump and juicy personality, food friendly, just not too deep or complex, but solid value for the price. (86 points)

2014 Kim Crawford Pinot Gris - New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $15
Pale straw color, bit of tangerine. Bright, vibrant nose of white peach, cantaloupe melon, white flowers and dandelions. Medium-bodied with a creamy, honeyed mouthfeel, balanced by moderate acid. Yellow pears, white peaches, nectarine, hints of orange zest, chamomile tea, honeysuckle and raw almond. Uncomplicated, but tasty, refreshing, food-friendly Pinot Gris. (87 points)

2014 Giesen Pinot Gris - New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $14
Pale straw color. Very light and bright on the nose, limes, lemons and green pears, white flowers, potpourri and floral spray. Crisp and clean on the palate with bright lime, white peach and green apple fruit, along with significant floral complexity and a sense of river stones and crushed rocks. Not super complex or long, but very pleasant for the price. (87 points)

2013 Giesen Riesling - New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $14
Light gold color. Lots of blossoms on the nose, along with honey, white peach and orange marmalade notes. Moderate acid helps balance it, but this has a significant amount of residual sugar. The white peach, nectarine and guava mix with honey, dandelions and white tea. Semi-sweet but refreshing and clean. (85 points)

2014 Giesen Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $14
Pale straw color. Classic, strong aromatics of cut grass, grapefruit and (I hate to use this, but it really reminds me of) cat pee. Tangy acid, tart and crisp approach, the lime and white peach is laced with mowed lawn and white pepper. Simple, typical flavor-profile, but pleasant. (83 points) 

2013 Trinity Hill Pinot Noir Hawkes Bay - New Zealand, North Island, Hawkes Bay
SRP: $17
Medium ruby. Nose of bright red currants, black cherries, along with dusty earth, tobacco, some rhubarb and hints of mushroom. Medium-bodied, medium-light tannins, refreshingly tart acid, a dusty, tangy feel to this wine. The red and black cherries and tart red currants are laced with notes of rhubarb, white pepper, roses, hint of balsamic glaze and mushroom. Tart, fun, bright, easy-drinking but not simple. Check this out if you’re tired of high alcohol, toasted oak Pinot Noirs. (87 points)

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