Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Kiwi Tasting Note (?)



I find this hard to believe, but I am about to post about a New Zealand wine! Don't worry, it will not be a Marlborough sauvignon blanc, as just about 99.99% of them are garbage. No, I would prefer to write about a much less planted, more noble (in New Zealand, anyway) grape varietal: pinot gris.

Aurum Estates is located in Central Otago, which at 45 degrees lattitude is the world's most southerly wine region. It is also apparently quite visually stunnning, alpine, with mountain tops rising high above the vineyards. Much has been made of the pinot noir here, though, with the exception of Rippon, I still don't get the hype.

Aurum's 2006 pinot gris is an example par excellence of pure new world fruit. I say that because, while there are no mineral notes, the dripping ripe aromas and flavors of mandarins, melon and pink grapefruit (NOT the processed, clichéd, NZ sauv blanc type of grapefruit, but rather, the riper, more natural Alsace type grapefruit flavors) are stunning. Yes, this is a wine from New Zealand, the yeasts used for fermentation may be cultured, there is a touch of heat on the finish, etc. But, I must admit, I find this wine to be more interesting, and more appealing, than many old world whites (including some riesling from the Sunday '07 German riesling tasting) I have tasted over the course of the past week.

When the new world achieves, even we staunch traditionalists and Europhiles must recognize. Hats off, Aurum. Keep up the good work.

1 comment:

saignee said...

It's always nice to find a producer doing good things in the new world. Gives you a little hope that perhaps people are starting to look at what they've done to wine and realize that perhaps there is some value in not trying so hard to control the outcome.

By the way the Poggiarellino Rosso di Montalcino was showing outstanding the other night. Give it a try when you can.