- Discovering the Joys of New Zealand Wine

Newsletter for Summer, 2005

It is summertime north of the Equator. There's a frenzy of activity from trips to the beach, outdoor sports to dinners on the deck with friends. Around the corner, there is splendor of autumn. This month we review some top New Zealand Rieslings; wines that will go well for summer sipping and for crisp autumn dining. We also have our Highlight Wines for this issue.

Spotlight on Riesling

With the increased popularity of New Zealand wines in America, KiwiWineries has been pleased to find more Riesling arriving on these shores. So this month, we have reviewed a bevy of NZ dry Rieslings with styles across the board. Whatever your preference, there will be one to suit your tastes.

Pegasus Bay 2004 Riesling - Waipara

The only representative from Waipara in this review, Pegasus Bay is consistently excellent over a range of wines. The 2004 Riesling is no exception. There are notes of apricot and nectarine together with citrus on the nose. The body is tight and crisp, lightly flinty to go with the abundant fruit. It has a graceful, clean finish. approx US$24

Felton Road 2003 Dry Riesling - Central Otago

An elegant, refined wine from Central Otago's premier producer. Classic varietal characteristics with lots of citrus and stone fruit along with soft petrol notes. Medium depth of fruit flavors with lime highlights and a clean finish. US$27

Coopers Creek 2001 Riesling - Hawke's Bay

A bit older than optimum at this time. The nose had an interesting note of sweat. Not repulsive but it didn't seem on character for the variety. Probably better as a younger wine. US$12

Spy Valley 2003 Riesling - Marlborough

Another terrific wine from Spy Valley. The nose has some classic Riesling notes with light petrol and citrus. Smooth drinking with crisp acidity, lime citrus notes and a clean finish. US$13.

Villa Maria 2004 Riesling - Private Bin - Marlborough

A very pleasant, classic New Zealand white wine. Lots of bright fruit flavor, mostly gooseberry and citrus. Refreshing and smooth. Not a lot of varietal characteristics. Tasted blind, it may seem more like an SB. US$12

Allan Scott 2004 Riesling - Marlborough

A fruit driven wine full of stone fruit, peach, nectarine and apricot. No petrol characteristics. It finishes just a touch off-dry. US$15

Esk Valley 2001 Riesling - Hawke's Bay

Light yellow color indicating its age. A bit of petrol on the nose and some basic fruit elements. Body tended to be ponderous. US$13

Fromm 2004 LaStrada Riesling - Marlborough

Fromm's Riesling is an exciting new import this year. Fromm's Swiss owner and winemaker have crafted this wine in Spätlese style and it delivers. It has layers of citrus along with lightly honeyed apricot. The modest residual sugar is balanced with a crisp acidity for a clean refreshing finish. approx US$20.

Voss Estate 2004 Riesling - Martinborough

Another new import this year. A liquid bouquet as the nose greets you with a very nice floral burst followed by citrus notes. Reminiscent of a German Kabinett, the body has a mineral component balancing the citrus and apple fruit notes. Just a bit off-dry on the finish. approx US$18.

Seifried 2003 Riesling - Nelson

Winemaker Hermann Seifried was born in Austria and knows his way with Riesling. The 2003 edition won double gold medals at the 2004 San Francisco International Wine Competition. It has a lovely nose with citrus and apricot and a touch of petrol. The fruit continues on the palate with full-body and a clean finish. US$17

Kim Crawford 2004 Dry Riesling

A light, refreshing crisp wine. Citrusy lemon/lime notes. US$12.

Omaka Springs 2004 Riesling - Marlborough

A basic Riesling with varietal characteristics. Dry style. US$10

Stoneleigh 2004 Riesling - Marlborough

An interesting nose with spice and herbs, a bit of anise. No petrol notes. The palate is all fruit with a mostly clean finish. US$18.

Grove Mill 2002 Riesling - Marlborough

Grove Mill is a stalwart Marlborough with a reputation for quality aromatic white wines. The 02 Riesling has a light bit of classic petrol on the nose along with stone fruit notes. The body is smooth with a touch of residual sugar and features peach and nectarine flavors. US$16.

Waipara Hills 2003 Riesling - Canterbury/Marlborough

Winner of a gold medal at the 2004 Sydney International Wine Competition. This wine has a bit of petrol on the nose along with apple and citrus notes. The palate is austere with a bone-dry finish. approxUS$15

Babich 2004 Riesling

A light-bodied, crisp, dry wine. Nice notes of apricot. US$11

Here are two other wines of note that we encountered recently:

White Wine Highlight

Shepherd's Ridge 2004 Sauvignon Blanc

Produced by Wither Hills in Marlborough, Shepherd's Ridge was originally an export label. It has transitioned to a single vineyard label with differences in style rather than quality. This SB has the usual bright citrusy, gooseberry nose rounded off with some warmer tropical notes. A smooth palate of subtle lime and a bit of background mineral for structure.
Rating: 89 Price: US $20

Red Wine Highlight

Dog Point Vineyard 2003 Pinot Noir

Dog Point is a fairly new label but the principals, James Healy & Ivan Sutherland, have lots of experience at Cloudy Bay. The 2003 Pinot Noir is a rich garnet color with plum on the edges. A full nose with soft mushroom, leather and lavender notes. A red and black cherry palate that is complete from attack to finish. No rough edges. This ranks with the best of the Marlborough Pinot Noirs.

Rating: 91 Price: US$40

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