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Showing posts with label Marlborough. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marlborough. Show all posts

26 December 2015

Pinot Noir: 'luv' wine

Lord Byron by Richard Westall
from englishhistory.net
That's the Valentinesque PR angle that came with the bottle of Byron Pinot tasted-noted below, with an obvious nod to a certain hedonistic early-19th century poet; but it's true there's something seductive about good Pinot Noir. "Oh Mr. Byron, don't be such a big girl's blouse." *

Byron Pinot Noir 2013 Santa Barbara County, California - Aged for eight months in French oak, although it doesn't taste of it (phew: I hate oaky Pinot Noir). Quite delicate floral cherry/berry nose with balsamic edges, subtle silky palate with very Pinot sweet/savoury fruit characters, supple and drinking well now with a touch of rounding weight (13.5% abv) and fresh bite too. £14.95 from Slurp (UK).
Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 New Zealand (13.5% abv) - Soft and sweet-fruited texture with ripe aromatic berries and savoury hints, a little fresh bite and weight on the otherwise silky finish. Quite good value Pinot: £8.48 Asda 'Extra Special' range.
Domaine Levert 2011 Mercurey, Burgundy (13% abv) - Pretty decent example of not-so-dear (although hardly a bargain) mature French Pinot, with attractive smoky 'cheesy' edges and sweet/savoury finish. Marks & Spencer £15.

Other sexy Pinots I've talked about recently (follow the links):
Secano Estate Pinot rosé Leyda Valley, Chile (Nov 2015).
De Bortoli Yarra Valley Pinots from Victoria, Aus (Oct 2015 - scroll down a bit) and Eileen Hardy, Dalrymple Vineyards and Tamar Ridge from Tasmania (June).
Paul Cluver Selection Pinot Noir and 'Ferricrete' from Elgin, South Africa (Sept & April 2015)
Fürst Pinot Noir Centgrafenberg Franken, Germany (Aug 2015)
Tindall Vineyard - Marlborough New Zealand (June 2015).

* Name that 80s/90s Brit comedy series?

07 June 2015

New Zealand: Tindall Vineyard, Marlborough

Based in Blenheim in deepest Marlborough wine country, I'm told this family estate is named after Henry Tindall, "grandfather of brothers Clyde and Nigel Sowman," who are now in charge working with well-known winemaker John Forrest. They've created three pretty stylish classic varietals, even if on the dearer side, which are produced by "certified organic grape-growing." UK importer is Awin Barratt Siegel Wine Agencies: available from Smithfield Wine, Hannibal Brown, Rannoch Scott, Dorset Wine, Field & Fawcett, Darcy Wine, Slurp, Steep Hill Wines, Ministry of Drinks, Harrison's Vintners, Cork & Bottle, Christopher Piper, Wine Lines... (the average £ prices quoted). Apparently also available in Ireland, and in the Netherlands from Tamis Wijnen. tindallvineyard.co.nz

Sauvignon Blanc 2013 - lively and pure ripe gooseberry fruit on nose and palate, intense and crisp mouth-feel with nice long finish; classic NZ SB style. £11-£13
Chardonnay 2010 (barrel-fermented, 20% new oak) - enticing maturing fruit with oaty buttery aromas / flavours, elegant balanced style with tasty finish, drinking nicely now. £11-£13
Pinot Noir 2009 - lovely maturing sweet/savoury Pinot nose, soft and silky mouth-feel with subtle concentration and weight vs tasty complex and delicate finish. £17-£19

02 December 2013

New Zealand: TerraVin, Lay of the Land, Rod Easthope

TerraVin was acquired by a partnership of "Pinot enthusiasts," as their blurb puts it, in 2011 including "several British businessmen." They humbly describe themselves as a "boutique Marlborough winery with a dedicated focus on growing and making world-class hillside Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc." My notes below would suggest they're on the right track by the way. This 29 hectare vineyard site was planted 10 years ago in "an isolated valley in the back of the Southern Wither Hills," and apparently was once an early Maori settlement prized for its sheltered location. The "gently sloping north-facing vineyard" runs from 130m to 200m elevation and enjoys a maritime micro-climate. Gordon Ritchie is winemaker here and keeps an eye on vineyards too.
TerraVin UK office: 020 8876 9656. Available from Clark Foyster Wines who sells to the London area on-trade and by the case. These posh eateries list them: Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Chelsea; The Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal; Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, Knightsbridge; Pied a Terre; Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, Mayfair; Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons; Hotel TerraVina, Gerard Basset's place in the New Forest, Hants. Elsewhere: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Paris; Jacob Hotel, Hamburg; Jean-Georges, Shanghai; Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong; and also in Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, New York and Sydney. www.terravin.co.nz

2011 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (13% abv) - Some complex maturing notes adding a savoury touch - and "a portion is fermented in seasoned French oak barrels," according to the blurb, which probably partly explains these characters and its more rounded mouth-feel - to otherwise ripe greengage / gooseberry fruit, still quite lively (for a 2011) and intense with crisp acidity and green fruit vs that rounder and tasty savoury side. Good wine, better than, and different from, a lot of NZ Sauvignon... and dearer too at £12.75.
2011 Pinot Noir (13% abv) - made from "parcels of grapes from three low-yielding north-facing hillside vineyards in Marlborough's southern valleys," to be more precise. Quite complex developing nose, savoury and earthy vs 'sweet' dried red fruits, lightly toasted vanilla tones vs elegant perfumed floral characters and intriguing 'volatile' matured cheese edges. Quite silky and soft with a touch of freshness still vs weight, maturing and tasty 'sweet/savoury' fruit, elegant and delicious now actually yet with underlining subtle structure. Very good Pinot, seems fairly expensive at £21.75 although this isn't outrageous compared to other high-class NZ Pinots (link goes to PN report scribbled in May).

Lay of the Land
One of UK online specialist Naked Wine's 'Angel-funded projects' if you like, Lay of the Land was created by winemaker Mike Paterson (pic. above) who was "head winemaker for 10 years at a leading Marlborough winery..." as the story goes, before Naked and their customers helped him get his own thing off the ground, an understandably "beyond scary" prospect otherwise cash investment wise. This is apparently the thinking behind Naked Wines' pricing - Angels pay £20 a month, which you can spend any time (and presumably sits in Naked's bank account gathering interest in the meantime) getting "25% to 50% off" their 'normal' prices. Seems like a good idea perhaps, if you buy cases of exclusive-label wines fairly regularly, although, as I've said before, who would pay these 'normal' obviously inflated prices anyway? (Not unlike the big supermarkets' famous 'half-price' type offers). So it feels like you're paying them to buy wine at the price it's worth, although there's that added novelty factor of sort-of investing in new winemaking projects and 'part-owning' tailor-made wines...

2012 Ben Morven Farm Pinot Noir Marlborough (14% abv) - perfumed, quite sexy 'sweet/savoury' Pinot nose with lively berry and hints of chocolate/vanilla, lightly herbal side too (or 'reductive'? went away with air in any case) and intriguing 'volatile'/balsamic edges. Punchy palate vs fresh acidity too, bitter-sweet finish with a touch of grip vs silky perfumed 'sweet/savoury' fruit vs vanilla and coconut texture; smooth and "drink now" vs quite structured with oomph underneath, that vanilla oak coating is a tad 'sweet' perhaps but the wine has nice Pinot character and bite too. Second day: weirdly seems a bit more closed up and touch firmer and tighter perhaps vs lovely floral and spicy cherry fruit vs savoury earthy notes. Made using "organic wine-growing principles," which probably means it isn't 'officially' but is in philosophy and practice... Angels' price £12.99, 'normally' £18.99.
2012 Destination Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough (13%) - ripe gooseberry and asparagus with melon and grapefruit too, lively zingy and crisp still vs a rounder oilier side, similar fruit flavours as on the nose, 'chalky' acidity vs a bit of weight, quite concentrated and lively upfront style vs more elegant mouthwatering finish. Odd perhaps that they've shipped a 'premium' wine in bulk and bottled it in Germany. 'Normal' price £13.49, Angel £9.49.

Rod Easthope 2013 Pinot Gris Hawke's Bay (12% abv) - aromatic, almost Sauvignon/Semillon like nose and character to start, although has zingy Pinot Gris/Grigio style and flavour too with light crisp vs rounder off-dry palate; attractive quaffer with zesty 'chalky' and lightly peppery finish vs honeyed sweeter fruit. Nice but kinda dear - you can get similar Italian Pinot Grigio or simple Alsace Pinot Gris for less. Also bottled in Germany. £11.99 or £8.99 if you're a Naked Angel!

Much more on New Zealand HERE.