Monday, June 8, 2009

The Great Wines of New Zealand

Every year the best that New Zealand has to offer comes to Canada and embarks on the New Zealand Wine Fair. They reach Toronto by about mid May and it is a day of great Sauvignon Blanc, great Pinot Noir and a lot of other really interesting surprises from this island nation in the South Pacific. Almost fifty wineries set up at The Design Exchange in downtown Toronto and we spend the next 3 hours sampling wines from both islands in a variety of styles. Below are just a select few that really stood out this particular day and – for anyone who enjoys New Zealand wines – are a must buy for their cellars.

Gibbston Highgate Estate
2006 Soulgate Pinot Noir

Amethyst Wine Agency – the importer in Canada – brought not only the 2006 vintage of this great wine but also had a sneak preview for us of the 2007 vintage which gave us the opportunity to see what a difference a year can make. The 2006 vintage showed great complexity and finesse on the nose and palate with aromas of plums, cherries, herbs and spices. Due to the oak aging this wine went through, you could also smell cedar and toasty notes which helped subdue the palate, making it silky smooth.

The 2007 vintage was very similar but was even more powerful than its predecessor. There was even more complexity in the tastes and aromas and just a small amount of tannins. Both of these wines are ready to drink now but it would be very interesting to see how they develop over the next couple of years.

Gibbston Highgate Estate Wines are available through Vintages Online Exclusives.

Summerhouse Wines
2008 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Really great Sauvignon Blanc is a complex range of aromas and flavours and this one definitely does not disappoint. The aromas are tropical fruit, floral and a slight hint of lime while the flavours are fresh, juicy and vibrant. Citrus and tropical fruit flavours with an excellent balance of fruit and acidity make this wine one of those really easy drinking – almost “dangerous” – wines that works great on its own or paired with seafood, asparagus, goat’s cheese or tomato based dishes.

Summerhouse Wines are available only through private order in Canada and their agent is Amethyst Wine Company. Be sure to pick up this yummy wine from Laura Higgins (laura.higgins@sympatico.ca, 416-750-9994)

Summerhouse Wines
2007 Marlborough Pinot Noir

Classic Pinot Noir from New Zealand – this is it in a bottle. An amazing colour of bright red with this slight purple hue, great aromas of cherries and toast and a spicy, silky flavour with red berry fruit mid way through. This wine is young and vibrant, is more than ready to drink now, and will pair beautifully with a wide variety of dishes. Some of my favourites with this wine – BBQ, Spicy dishes, Chocolate cake and for something different, how about you try this with grilled Salmon.

Summerhouse Wines are available only through private order in Canada and their agent is Amethyst Wine Company. Be sure to pick up this yummy wine from Laura Higgins (laura.higgins@sympatico.ca, 416-750-9994)

Hawkshead Wine
2008 Central Otago Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris is not one of the better known grapes from this area of the world but the wineries of New Zealand are experimenting and coming out with some amazing versions of wines with non-typical grapes. The aromas are typical Pinot Gris – tropical fruit, pears, honeysuckle and, in the case of this wine, a hint of almonds and marzipan.

The aromas translate smoothly and easily onto the palate – tropical fruit, pears, stone fruit (mostly peaches) and this gentle balance of fruit and acidity. Possibly the best part of this wine – the rich creamy texture that keeps you coming back for more.

Hawkshead Wines are available through a variety of importers around the world. In Ontario, contact Eurovintage International at csr@eurovintage.com or 416-494-2881. For other locations, please visit http://www.hawksheadwine.com/purchase.html for more information.

Hawkshead Wine
2006 Central Otago Pinot Noir

The Gibbston region – where Hawkshead Wine is produced – is one of the coolest regions in New Zealand. Located inland at the bottom of the south island, the grapes from this region tend to require a late harvesting which equates into distinctive wines found no where else in New Zealand.

This Pinot Noir, instead of being bright red with hints of purple, is almost a garnet shade and has powerful aromas of dark berry fruit and ripe plums with floral and herbal hints. The flavours are restrained initially and you only get hints of fruit with balanced acidity. As it opens up, you can pick out flavours of dark cherries, berries, chocolate and spice making it a perfect wine to pair with a wide range of foods.
Hawkshead Wines are available through a variety of importers around the world. In Ontario, contact Eurovintage International at csr@eurovintage.com or 416-494-2881. For other locations, please visit http://www.hawksheadwine.com/purchase.html for more information.

Paddy Borthwick Vineyard
2008 Wairarapa Riesling

Before we get into the specifics on any of these wines, let me just start by saying there were six wines on this table and every one of them were amazing. The best thing about all of these wines is that every single one of them was under $30 and most were under $20 making them incredible values for what is in the bottle and – hopefully very soon – your glass.

The Riesling is another one of those grapes that we do not normally associate with New Zealand but this one definitely makes you stand up and notice it. The aromas were very fruit forward showing lime, ginger and honey. The palate is equally amazing showing hints of apricot and other stone fruits and incredible balance. Although this wine is ready to drink now, if you can stand to do so, try cellaring it for a couple of years to see this wine turn into something mind blowing.

Paddy Borthwick Vineyard wines are currently available through their importer only. Please contact Mr. Michael Gainer at Conoval Importing Services – michaelgainer@yahoo.ca or 416-907-8513 – for details.

Paddy Borthwick Vineyard
2008 Wairarapa Sauvignon Blanc

A typical Sauvignon Blanc but one of the better examples I have had in a while. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is generally very fruit forward and aromatic the whole way around. This particular version is filled with both aromas and flavours of peaches, apricots, gooseberry, melon, guava and pineapple.

The next time you are having friends over for Sunday Brunch, instead of having Mimosas, try a bottle or two of this wine instead. Paddy Borthwick Vineyard wines are currently available through their importer only. Please contact Mr. Michael Gainer at Conoval Importing Services – michaelgainer@yahoo.ca or 416-907-8513 – for details.

Paddy Borthwick Vineyard
2007 Wairarapa Chardonnay

Normally, it is difficult to pick out which kind of oak was used on a Chardonnay based on the aromas alone but with this particular wine it was easy to pick out that there was a combination of French and American Oak in play here. It created an aroma that was mostly nectarines and pineapple but you could detect the creaminess and the nutty characters that French and American Oak bring to a wine respectively.

The flavours were of cream, fruit and minerals showing it had great diversity with food – I suggest Roasted Chicken in particular – but also great age ability. This wine would be amazing to see in the next 7-10 years. Paddy Borthwick Vineyard wines are currently available through their importer only. Please contact Mr. Michael Gainer at Conoval Importing Services – michaelgainer@yahoo.ca or 416-907-8513 – for details.

Paddy Borthwick Vineyards
2007 Wairarapa Pinot Noir

Produced in a typical Burgundian style – as opposed to New World styles – this particular wine experienced minimal human influence and handling and shows intense aromas of cherries and plums. The flavours are rich and complex – mostly tobacco, spice and fruit – with great structure and fine tannins. Consequently, this wine is both a great wine to drink now and a perfect wine to cellar for years to come.

Paddy Borthwick Vineyard wines are currently available through their importer only. Please contact Mr. Michael Gainer at Conoval Importing Services – michaelgainer@yahoo.ca or 416-907-8513 – for details.
Post a Comment

Languedoc Is All About Diversity by Philip S. Kampe

                                                                Languedoc Is All About Diversity I Love...