Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Zealand Special

I confess that for me, the best wine choice is always something from New Zealand. From the stunning scenery to the friendly people, it is no wonder that they grow some of the best wines in the world. They have great drainage from the hilly terrain, abundant sunlight and a pure aquifer to feed the grapes. New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are not a new story, but definitely a story worth telling again. Here are some shining examples in my opinion, some with a bit of a twist.

1. Craggy Range, Sauvignon Blanc "Te Muna Road Vineyard", 2008. $17.95. I am not leaving a vintage here because they are all good. The 2007 and 2008 are particularly noteworthy (across the whole country) but they are all amazing. When I open a bottle it takes me back. Citrus hints, kiwi fruit, flint, green apple, fruit forward on the nose. On drinking the fruit is still there, but it has a restrained quality that is not always a trademark of New World wines.

2. Mahi Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, 2008. If you can find it this is a great small production wine. The juice was fermented cool to retain the fruit characters and then held on yeast lees for three months to gain palate richness and texture. A small portion of this was kept in older French oak to once again add complexity. The Mahi shows a range of fruit characters, from citrus through to tropical notes. The palate has an elegant structure with a textural mid-palate and a long finish.

3. Seresin Sauvingon Blanc Marama Marlborough 2006. $26.77. Seresin is a great vineyard, with a small tasting room overlooking the vineyard sloping down from it. The Marama is biodynamically grown and hand harvested. They use wild yeasts, and age the wine in oak for 15 months. The bouquet is of pineapple, mushroom and citrus with a hint of buttered toast. The Marama is absolutely delicious, with vanilla, grapefruit and strawberries on the palate with a pleasing grassy finish. It really shows the care that the Seresin team put into all there wines. The flagship Seresin is great for weeknight specials when you just need to get away from the dreary weather. Like opening up a bottle of sunshine.

4. St. Clair, “Pioneer Block 3” Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 $18.95. This is another amazing vineyard from which almost any bottle is a good choice. When I visit the tasting room in Marlborough I feel like a kid in a candy store. In addition to the flagship Sauvignon Blanc, St. Clair issues, "Pioneer Block" bottles that are single vineyard wines that really show the breadth of terrroir that can be found in Marlborough. They do 11 Sauvignon Blanc Pioneer Blocks, one that is a standout is Pioneer Block 3. It has a fresh vibrant palate of passionfruit, gooseberry and crushed herb. The wine has a wonderfully full and rich palate with striking minerality. It is the crushed herb flavours that make the Block 3 a little bit more edgy than a traditional Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc.

I always enjoy these wine on there own to really take me back to this amazing country, so no food pairings here. There is so much more to say about Kiwi wine: the Bordeaux blends from Hawke's Bay or the unbelievable Pinots from Central Otago, but we can save that for the next installment. Enjoy!

Anu Pohani


Todd said...

Have you spent much time there? Truly a stunningly beautiful place. On an astronomical note, I'm pretty confident that 5000+ hours of sunlight is impossible.

Anu Karwa said...

Hi Todd - this posting was from our guest blogger, Anu Pohani. I personally have New Zealand as my next "must see" wine destination. And I think the 5,000 was a typo - looking into it!

s45ad446512gd said...


Anonymous said...

河水永遠是相同的,可是每一剎那又都是新的。 ..................................................

How to Pick a Summer Wine: The Gentler, Lighter Side of Wine

Summer’s soaring temps beg you to step away from heavy Cabernets and check out the gentler, lighter side of wine. When choosing the perfect summer wine for your outdoor engagement party or wedding, think light, crisp, refreshing--and because people tend to drink more in the heat--lower in alcohol. Nothing more prettily suggests summer than a dry (i.e. not sweet) rose. Avoid the simple, syrupy versions and try French roses from the Mourvèdre grape or roses made using the Saignee method for more complexity. Pick wines from countries where you imagine the locals sipping leisurely at sidewalk cafés while basking in the sun, like Spain. A Spanish fave is Albarino from the Rias Baixas region. Made to drink young, Albarino is a crisp, white wine with intense fruit, lively acidity and generally a lower level of alcohol. It pairs perfectly with summer foods from seafood to grilled vegetables. But you don’t need to swear off red wine for summer. Look for light bodied wines like Pinot Noir from Oregon or a Valpolicella from Italy, both capable of standing up to barbequed foods. And don’t be afraid to put a slight chill on your red wine. It is summer after all!

Rías Baixas Albariño from Spain, “Exceptional with Everything” Oh Really?

There's nothing we love more than a challenge. It's in our makeup. We're two women, thirties. One Indian. One Filipina. The first, founder and CEO of a business in the arguably male-dominated wine world. The second, building experience to be a future proprietess of a wine store. Add to this: In New York City. So when presented with the opportunity to play wine and food critic for a night—to pair Rías Baixas Albariño wines, proclaimed to be "exceptional with everything" with Mercat’s offerings —it is impossible and simply against every ounce of who we are, to refuse.

Mercat means “market” in Catalan, the language of the northern Spanish region where owner, Jaime Reixach, is from and where the restaurant’s menu draws its inspiration. The albariños we’ll be drinking also originate from the northern region, and so we’re already anticipating more perfect wine pairings than tragic mismatches.

It’s a beautiful warm Thursday night—and we are tasting two Albariño wines: Alba Rosa from Martinez Serrantes and Pazo San Mauro, both 2006 vintages. We take our time with each wine—assessing them alone and then side by side. At the end, we agree that both are delightful: the Alba Rosa is sparkling with surprising depth while the Pazo San Mauro would bring life to our springtime picnic. Further, we imagine that if each wine were to be personified, they might just be these two ladies, described as such:

Alba Rosa Martinez Serantes Albariño | Scarlett Johansson: "Sparkling with surprising depth"

Alba Rosa Martinez Serantes Albariño | Scarlett Johansson: "Sparkling with surprising depth"
This golden blonde hued wine gives an almost effervescent quality that shoots racy brightness into your mouth. It has the usual grassiness and citrus qualities one expects from this wine. The reason why this wine fits Scarlett most is because it has the quality of lightness but comes with surprising depth of character and fullness in body. The comparison would be perfect were the wine to show great legs, but its light-bodied, lower alcohol nature doesn’t allow it.

Pazo San Mauro Albariño | Cameron Diaz: “Livens up your springtime picnic”

Pazo San Mauro Albariño | Cameron Diaz: “Livens up your springtime picnic”
Cameron would be a fun addition to any springtime outing. Her lightheartedness would make everyone smile and this wine does the same. The light yellow straw color gives way to granny smith apples, peaches, melon, and citrus scents that jump at your nose, smelling like springtime in a glass. This wine begs to be explored further. The crisp and pleasantly tart apple is balanced with pear and makes it the perfect brunch wine.
Now, we move on to the heart of our challenge: Exceptional with everything? Oh really? How do these two beauties handle themselves in company? After the three and a half hours of glorious sipping, chewing, and chatting, among ourselves and the restaurant staff, here are our findings:

No surprise, our lovely wines get along splendidly with their classic and traditional partners: we have raves for the nicely seasoned patatas bravas—not too spicy, not too garlicky—and the padrones/blistered shishito peppers, the char and oil offset by the tartness of the wines. One of us goes wild for the Canelons de Verdura/eggplant wrapped spring vegetables, manchego, and cranberry reduction. And then Chef Lowder sends over Trencat d’Ous/mushroom with salsa verde topped with a fried egg, which again, goes splendidly with our wines. Even the suckling pig/Cochinillo, which we think will surely clash, in fact becomes the surprise of the evening. Like the beauty and the beast, our wines and the pig make an unlikely but harmonious pair.

We ask ourselves for the last time: Rías Baixas Albariño from Spain: Exceptional with Everything?

If not for being the gluttonous bottomless pits that we are, we would certainly have answered YES with an exclamation point. But since we order those two desserts—Torrades Sta. Teresa/fried bread with lemon yogurt and Pa Amb Oli Xocolata/bread, olive oil, and chocolate, our answer must be: Almost. These two desserts with our two Albariños — are disastrous.

Rías Baixas Albariño from Spain: Exceptional with almost Everything.

--Anu Karwa and Marie Estrada

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