- Discovering the Joys of New Zealand Wine

Newsletter for December, 2004

December - Another solstice is upon us as are the various holidays. This issue we review two Sauvignon Blancs, provide some holiday gift ideas, and report the gold medal winners from last month's Air New Zealand competition.

From the Heartland by Erin M. Myers

Our intrepid reporter in the Midwest reviews two top NZ Sauvignon Blancs currently available.

Cairnbrae Sauvignon Blanc 2003

An excellent Sauvignon Blanc nose; nicely balanced between fruit and herbaceous components with hints of apple and citrus. Palate is upfront and medium bodied, gentle finish. Citrus and tropical fruit aspects enhance the flavor. Pairs well with light seafood. An enjoyable and worthy NZ SB. Retails for $11.

Rating: 88 .

Seresin Sauvignon Blanc 2003

Pale yellow color. Vibrant fruit filled nose with hints of honeysuckle. Crisp palate was especially fruit filled, most notably honeydew melon with hints of herbaceous characters. Long, flavorful finish highlighted by a light vanilla character. A fantastic fruity Sauvignon Blanc. Retails for $19.

Rating: 93-94 .

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Winelover

Wondering what to get for the wine lover on your holiday gift list? Or perhaps a treat for yourself over the holidays? We offer a few suggestions in the realm of New Zealand wine.

The Wine Atlas of New Zealand by Michael Cooper

The must-have coffee-table book on New Zealand wineries. Excellent maps and photographs, winery reviews, and profiles of the leading winemakers. The best book in the marketplace for New Zealand wine. US$60 at Barnes & Noble

Subscription to Cuisine Magazine

Cuisine is the premier magazine in New Zealand for "food, wine & good living" and has won international awards. Published bi-monthly, each issue features extensive wine reviews by a panel of expert tasters. A one-year subscription is NZ$40 plus overseas postage. When you order the subscription, also get the 2005 edition of Cuisine Wine Country for NZ$16.95 plus postage.

Two tickets to the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration

Enjoy breath-taking scenery and the outstanding pinot noirs from Central Otago in this two-day event being held in Queenstown, January 28-29, 2005. The featured speakers this year are Jancis Robinson and Steve Tanzer. NZ$764 per person plus travel and lodging. Remember it will be the middle of summer in Queenstown so this is the perfect mid-winter get-away from the States.

Air Tahiti excursion to New Zealand

Air Tahiti offers a seven-day excursion to New Zealand, with a rental car, for US$939 per person from Los Angeles. This package may include a stopover in Tahiti. Another fabulous winter escape.

Pegasus Bay Tasting Glasses

When you visit the winery in Waipara, purchase some of the stylish and functional tasting glasses (about $5 each). While you are there, be sure to have lunch at the restaurant.

Vineyard Stay in Marlborough

If you take that mid-winter get-away to warm, sunny New Zealand and visit the renowned Marlborough wine region; we recommend accommodations at a vineyard B & B such as the Waterfall Lodge at Mud House/LeGrys Winery. The guesthouse is located in the vineyard and your visit will include a welcome and tasting with the owners. NZ$225 per night.

Vineyard Stay on Waiheke Island

For a visit to New Zealand anytime of the year, schedule some time on Waiheke Island, a ferry ride away from Auckland on the North Island. Waiheke is known for boutique wineries, artisans, scenery, and sub-tropical beaches. Vineyard stays are available at the Winemaker's Loft at Cable Bay Vineyards and Kennedy Point Vineyards. NZ$200 per night.

and of course, Wine!

The holidays are a perfect time to indulge in fine wine. Here are some rare New Zealand wines to pursue:

  • Dry River Pinot Noir - The original cult wine in New Zealand; now available in the US. $60
  • Kingsley Estate Gimblett Gravels Syrah - Beat James Halliday's best Australian Shiraz entries in a Tri-nation challenge.
  • New Zealand Cinema Trilogy - No not the Lord of the Rings DVD set (although that's not a bad gift either). This trilogy is three wineries owned by New Zealand movie greats.
    • Seresin Sauvignon Blanc (see review above) - Cinematographer Michael Seresin of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sleeping Dogs, Midnight Express
    • Two Paddocks Pinot Noir - Actor Sam Neill of The Piano, Jurassic Park I, II & III, The Dish, The Hunt for Red October, Sleeping Dogs
    • Sleeping Dogs Pinot Noir - Director Roger Donaldson of The Bounty, Thirteen Days, Sleeping Dogs, No Way Out
  • Pegasus Bay Prima Donna Pinot Noir - Hard to find; try dinner at the CityZen in the Mandarin Oriental in DC. 2001 vintage is $80
  • Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir or Chardonnay - Initial releases of a winery with a great pedigree.
  • Cloudy Bay Pelorus - Even prior to being purchased by Veuve Clicquot, Cloudy Bay's own sparkling wine was top-notch.

2004 Air New Zealand Wine Awards

Last month, the results of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards were announced and the November newsletter featured the trophy winners. This month, we cover all the gold medal winners.

  • Cardmember Paradox Marlborough Methode Traditionnelle
  • Cardmember Awanui Marlborough Riesling 2004
  • Spy Valley Riesling 2003
  • Villa Maria Cellar Selection Riesling 2002
  • Villa Maria Cellar Selection Seddon Riesling 2002
  • Villa Maria Reserve Riesling 2004
  • Villa Maria Single Vineyard Fletcher Riesling 2004
  • Wairau River Wines Riesling 2004
  • West Brook Marlborough Riesling 2003
Sauvignon Blanc
  • Amor-Bendall Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Highfield Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Jackson Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Matua Valley Paretai Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Matua Valley Shingle Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Mud House Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Mud House White Swan Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Sacred Hill Marlborough Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Tohu Mugwi Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc 2004
  • Auntsfield Estate Cob Cottage Chardonnay 2003
  • Drylands Chardonnay 2003
  • Esk Valley Reserve Chardonnay 2003
  • Forrest Estate Winery Vineyard Selection Chardonnay 2002
  • Framingham Chardonnay 2003
  • Hunter's Chardonnay 2001 Lincoln Heritage Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2003
  • Montana Renwick Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2002
  • Nobilo Station Road Chardonnay 2004
  • Palliser Estate Chardonnay 2003
  • Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnay 2002
  • Selaks Founders Reserve Chardonnay 2003
  • Vavasour Chardonnay 2003
  • Vidal Estate Hawkes Bay Unwooded Chardonnay 2004
  • Vidal Estate Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002
  • Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2003
  • Villa Maria Single Vineyard Waldron Chardonnay 2003
Other Specified White Varieties
  • Trinity Hill New Wave Viognier 2004
  • Johanneshof Gewurztraminer 2004
  • Villa Maria Reserve Gewurztraminer 2004
Pinot Gris
  • Martinborough Vineyards Burnt Spur Martinborough Pinot Gris 2004
  • Spy Valley Pinot Gris 2004
Sweet White
  • Forrest Estate Winery Botrytised Riesling 2004
  • Konrad & Co Sigrun Noble Riesling 2003
Blush & Rose
  • Hunter's Rose 2004
Pinot Noir
  • Akarua Pinot Noir 2003
  • Bannock Brae Estate Goldfields Pinot Noir 2002
  • Fairmont Block 1 Pinot Noir 2003
  • Johner Estate Pinot Noir 2003
  • Maison Esquilat Pinot Noir 2003
  • Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2003
  • Rockburn Pinot Noir 2003
  • Schubert Pinot Noir 2003
  • Vidal Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002
  • Villa Maria Reserve Pinot Noir 2003
  • Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylorís Pass Pinot Noir 2003
  • Sacred Hill Brokenstone Merlot 2002
  • Trinity Hill Gimblett Road Merlot 2002
  • Villa Maria Cellar Selection Merlot Two Vineyards 2002
  • Villa Maria Reserve Merlot 2002
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab or Merlot Predominant Blends Capricorn Red Rock Gravel Pit Red 2003
  • Esk Valley Black Label Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec 2003
  • Esk Valley Reserve Merlot/Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
  • Forrest Estate Winery Newton Forrest Cornerstone Cabernet Merlot
  • Kingsley Estate Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Malbec 2002
  • Mills Reef Reserve Merlot Malbec 2003
  • Sacred Hill Helmsman Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2002
  • Trinity Hill Gimblett Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
  • Vidal Estate Reserve Hawkes Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
  • Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2002
  • Mills Reef Elspeth Syrah 2002
  • Passage Rock Syrah 2003
  • Selaks Founders Reserve Syrah 2002
Other Red Varietals
  • Murdoch James Estate Blue Rock Cabernet Franc 2003
  • Villa Maria Single Vineyard Omahu Malbec 2002

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