Wednesday, March 2, 2016

New Zealand, Always Delivering the Value

This report was first published on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

Since my last report on New Zealand, I’ve tasted through a range of bottles and found some tasty and value-driven wines. New Zealand really has the $12-$20 range dialed in, as producers continue to put out fan-friendly, popular Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

Sure you can spend a lot of money in New Zealand, but for many wine drinkers (myself included) wines like these gave me a pleasant and rewarding introduction to this country’s vino.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.
2015 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $12
Pale straw color. Bright and crunchy on the nose with bell pepper, white pepper and asparagus on top of white peaches and limes. Punchy and tart on the palate, brisk but slightly creamy, too. Limes, grapefruit, lemon pith, mixed with green pepper, grass and a slight mineral note. Crisp, clean, bright, this is a reasonably priced wine that is representational of its grape and place. (85 points)

2014 Mt Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand, South Island, Canterbury
SRP: $16
Medium straw color. Cool and clean on the nose with peaches, limes, white pepper and slight onion grass. Refreshing and clean on the palate, stays bright but some richer, honeyed elements as well. Lime drizzled on papaya is the flavor profile I get, add in some saline, white pepper, green onion, crushed chalk and honeysuckle. A fresh, interesting example, the complexity is impressive at this price point. 87 points

2014 Sea Pearl Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $12
Bursting aromas of ruby red grapefruit, lemon pith, tangerine, matched with flavors of lemongrass, green pepper and sliced jalapeno. Bright acid, moderately creamy, juicy flavors of tangerine and ruby red grapefruit, some floral perfume, a good dose of sliced jalapeno and bell peppers with some baby’s breath and honeysuckle. Not very complex, but plays the part very well. (85 points)

2014 Mt Beautiful Chardonnay New Zealand, South Island, Canterbury
SRP: $22
Bright, complex aromatic display: white peaches, creamy pears, sliced limes, clean laundry and white floral tones. Vibrant acidity on the palate, this is a precise wine but shows enough creaminess to add some depth. Flavors of green apples, green and yellow pears, tangerine, the fruit is bright and zesty but full of creamy complexity. I get salt air, river rocks, honeysuckle and a deep mineral concentration as well. This Chardonnay is impressive for its purity and complexity, let alone for its price point. (89 points)

2014 Mt Beautiful Pinot Gris - New Zealand, South Island, Canterbury
SRP: $19
Juicy green and yellow apples on the nose, along with honeycomb, white tea, baby’s breath and a hint of white peppery spice. Medium bodied, bright, crunchy acid but some creaminess as well. Tart green apples mix with notes of cantaloupe and honeydew melons. A sense of chalk and crushed shells plays off this baby’s breath and cut white flowers blend. Quite nice, with a solid finish, this delivers a lot for the price. (87 points)

2014 Villa Maria Pinot Noir Private Bin - New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $16
Deep ruby color. Aromas of juicy black cherries, raspberry jam, sweet cranberry sauce, hints of pepper. Medium-bodied, bright acid, a tart and fruity approach with juicy red cherries, cranberries in sauce and wild strawberries. Some interesting spice elements, tobacco, rhubarb, white pepper. Nice tartness, soft tannins, some smoky earth notes. Fun, a bit simple, but solid. (86 points)

2014 Mt Beautiful Pinot Noir North Canterbury - New Zealand, South Island, Canterbury
SRP: $25
Juicy ruby color. Smells of tart strawberries, juicy cherries, rose hips, tobacco, white pepper - aromatically, this is rocking. Lively structure on the palate with fine tannins, the acid is crisp and crunchy, combining for a mouthfeel that is slightly chewy but incredibly vibrant. Juicy black cherries mix with tart red currants, and the fruit is dusted with tobacco, white pepper, black tea, rose hips and hints of mushroom. Long, quite complex, this is an elegant Pinot that punches above its weight in terms of price. Aged 10 months in 25% new French oak. (90 points)

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