Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Some new favorites from New Zealand

By Jessica Yadegaran
Friday, June 1st, 2007 at 11:55 am in Uncategorized.

So I don’t know if any of you were there, but I attended Taste of New Zealand on Wednesday night at MOMA and had a fabulous time. Not only are the New Zealand people totally warm and friendly, but they’re producing some fabulous wines to boot.

First off, I didn’t see any corks in that place. That’s because the country is almost all screw cap. Also, there’s very little oak, at least in the whites. Some may see 3-5 months in oak, I was told, but that’s it. Most are aged in stainless steel. It’s probably why their Pinot Gris came out so on top for me. I already knew their Sauvignon Blanc to be the best in the world, so I was there to find other stand-outs from New Zealand. I found Pinot Noir.

I already love Felton Road, from the Central Otago Pinot Noir Ltd, a group of 45 producers. This is the Southern most grape growing region in the world, located at latitude 45 degree South, the same latitude as the Northern Rhone Valley in France. If you like Felton Road like I do, try their Kawarau Estate 2005 Reserve Pinot. It’s a gold-mine of a wine, so much brambly fruit going on. And it’s biodynamic. I loved it.

From there, I noticed the majority of the producers at this event were from Marlborough. So there’s much to say about those wines, starting with The Crossings in the Awatere Valley. In addition to a killer Unoaked estate Chardonnay, they make a kiwi-lemon Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Noir that are out of this world. All are under $20. You won’t be sorry.

I liked everything at the Monkey Bay booth. The peachy Unoaked Chard. The tropical Sauvingnon Blanc. Even the rose, a tart strawberry blend of pinotage, merlot, malbec and syrah, was fresh and made me crave garlicky shrimp. Their wines cost about $10. You should be able to find them at Whole Foods.

And lastly, if you like Pinot Gris, I don’t think you’ll ever be able to find one as special as Nobilo’s. Light straw in color with a pinkish hue, and gorgeous orange blossom flavors. It’s a must-have at $22.

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