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Jenise

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WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Jenise » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:53 pm

Had my brother (who used to work for NZ Airlines) and his husband over last night:

With boiled spot prawns:

2019 Jules Taylor Chardonnay

A creamy, high-acid style without much oak influence. Elegantly straight-forward, and probably better in a year two than today.

With escarole salad, basil pesto vinaigrette:

2018 Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc OTQ Marlborough
Same as three months ago. Not your typical citrus basket NZ wine, more in the style of white Bordeaux with grassy, grapefruity flavors and textural cut and intensity.

With lamb meatloaf, rice, shitake mushroom sauce, pea sprouts:

2018 Misha's Vineyard Wines Pinot Noir The High Note Central Otago

Dark blackish red. Dark cherry fruit, Asian spice, and earth. Excellent body and intensity without being too-too. Very impressed--killer QPR for $25 from Last Bottle.

2015 Two Paddocks Pinot Noir Central Otago
Opened two hours before dinner, but no significant change resulted. Bright, clear barely-medium red, simple cherry and some savoury notes. Meager body and complexity. Disappointing.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by John F » Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:57 pm

Jenise (and others)

What is your overall take on NZ wine? I remember drinking Cloudy Bay during my max wine discovery period.....circa 2000.... and being intrigued by the cat pee and all that. And when we moved in Tokyo from 2005-2010 we drank a lot of NZ wine given the distribution there ... and we also did a trip with the family there in 2008 including a couple of days at a vineyard.

I loved it then But find myself never buying or drinking it now...... any thoughts?
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Jenise » Tue Feb 16, 2021 4:10 pm

John, thank you for asking.

I really like New Zealand wines. But I do have the impression that up here in the thinner air of North American afficianado-dom and the pull for all things French and Italian, they tend to get blown off as New World and therefore not worth paying attention to. Four reasons for that that I can see. 1) The huge popularity of mass production $10-12 New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs wherein popularity at the budget level is a crime against wine snobbery. In the world of fine wine, there's nothing worse than being too common. 2) General lack of experience with them--why buy a NZ pinot noir with all the quality coming out of Oregon and California? And 3) there are no kiwi wines in the collectible market. There's no Lafite no Sassicaia, no Cayuse no Marcassin--that North Americans know of--to drive interest. 4) Wrong hemisphere.

I'm not a wine collector. I don't buy wine to resell. I buy wine to drink with friends and the food I create and am lucky enough to be able to afford almost anything I want. I crave variety in both flavor and experience so it's as natural as breathing to me to try everything. And there's almost nothing I don't like except Nero D'avola and Caymus cabernet. :)

Last year our Los Angeles tasting group did NZ pinots, one bottle from each island required per couple. The results were impressive. Down the line, the reactions were, "Wow, why don't we buy more of these?" A pinot called Erewhon ('nowhere', backwards) was as good as any pinot noir I've ever had from anywhere and I would kill for more. Any pinot lover would--if they knew it existed.

But for the above reasons it's hard to distribute it here. People just don't know what they're missing, and there are so many good domestic wines there's no impetus, like your being in Tokyo, to investigate.

On this board, John S. and I are the only people who ever comment on New Zealand wines.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by John S » Tue Feb 16, 2021 4:28 pm

Shame about the weak Two Paddocks, that is usually a very nice pinot. I was impressed when owner Sam Neill was pouring his wines at the Vancouver Wine Fest a few years ago.

There are many great wines coming out of NZ, but most high quality producers are rather small in scale (relative to Bordeaux, for example). Quite a range of varieties as well, for such a small country. But as Jenise mentioned much of the best wines never make it out of the country (except Australia and the UK to some extent). So most people see their basic sauvignon blancs and that's about it. But, for example, Hawkes Bay provides some great Bordeaux varieties and blends (and syrah), Martinborough has great pinots, Marlborough does have some world class pinot, riesling and sparkling, Waipara pinot and reisling, and Central Otago does well at pinot and riesling.

The best way to learn more is to visit NZ again! Maybe in 2022 that can happen again?!?
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Jenise » Tue Feb 16, 2021 8:26 pm

John S wrote:Shame about the weak Two Paddocks, that is usually a very nice pinot. I was impressed when owner Sam Neill was pouring his wines at the Vancouver Wine Fest a few years ago.


I actually bought this one because I'd had an impressive one at the tasting in L.A. mentioned above to John. This was definitely way way below expectations. Btw, I'd have crawled up there on my hands and knees to get Sam to pour me his wine. :)
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Pat G » Wed Feb 17, 2021 4:44 am

I, too, started out with Cloudy Bay and also Lawson's Dry Hills. Both Sauv Blanc. NZ is on my list of potential lower-priced Sauv Blanc and PN. Central Otago seems to be the glam-priced area for PN. Tasted Mt. Beautiful and Felton Road PNs from Central Otago at a World of Pinot Noir maybe 5 years ago. For me, the QPR just wasn't there. Could have been palate fatigue.

A few years back Kim Crawford sold his brand and started Loveblock. Their 2015 PN, Central Otago is in my cellar. Received as a gift in 2018. FWIW it was on the Wine Spectator Top 100 list. And the 2018 was, too, on the 2016 list. Few years difference, about $10-$15 price increase.

Now that the topic has been raised, I realize it has been years since we have had a NZ wine. Too much in the cellar already, methinks.
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Tim York » Wed Feb 17, 2021 6:20 am

For my European palate, New Zealand is the New World country producing the highest proportion of wines which I really like. I think this is no accident in view of its very temperate climate which brings freshness and minerality. I have had bottles where I think that the producers are mistakenly trying to reproduce an Aussie aesthetic and others where I find the bouquet on the nose too explosive and perfumed due, no doubt, to alchemy with yeasts. However, I have had many which are first class, e.g. PN from Felton Road, Chardonnay from Kumeu River (warmer climate there), Neudorf, Dog Point, cool climate Syrah (I forget the estates), Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, of course.

When I lived near Brussels in Belgium, there were quite frequent tasting opportunities in the vignerons' presence and several stockists. However, since I have been living in provincial France, I have seen very few bottles. IIRC the last I bought were at the Marks & Spencer British food store in Paris, where the shelves are now largely empty due to Brexit :( .
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Jenise » Wed Feb 17, 2021 6:54 pm

Pat G wrote:I, too, started out with Cloudy Bay and also Lawson's Dry Hills. Both Sauv Blanc. NZ is on my list of potential lower-priced Sauv Blanc and PN. Central Otago seems to be the glam-priced area for PN. Tasted Mt. Beautiful and Felton Road PNs from Central Otago at a World of Pinot Noir maybe 5 years ago. For me, the QPR just wasn't there. Could have been palate fatigue.


Or maybe, relative to Tim's comment, your palate is so used to California's warm-climate pinots that the appeal wasn't there, especially on the fly at a tasting.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Pat G » Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:26 pm

That is entirely possible, Jenise. Looked over the last year or so of my PNs consumed at home and about half were from CA, one from NM, several from OR & Casablanca Valley, Chile. The last two are cooler climate, but let's assume most CA/NM are warm climate.

When I do a trade tasting I avoid pricing the wines I taste in advance. I do that after the fact so that my onsite TNs are less biased. But I know about region/AVA pricing in general, and at times either MSs or the folks pouring point out wines I really should taste. So the $ factor enters in. As does, consistently, palate fatigue. Drink plenty of water, but still.

Another issue for me with NZ: I have found a few Marlborough PNs that are very decent and <$12. Dashwood is one example. So I do tend to evaluate other NZ PNs against that to see if I believe they would be worth the "upgrade" for home purchasing. If so, they become weekend/special occasion wines.
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Peter May » Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:56 pm

Pat G wrote: I have found a few Marlborough PNs that are very decent


Have you tried (the confusingly similarly named) Martinborough PNs; Martinborough is at the southern end on North Island and make excellent PNs. For NZ PNs I would go for Martinborough and Central Otago. The latter are bigger, former more restrained and elegant.

In the US I'd go for Washington State and Oregon, and South Africa Hemel in Aarde Valley
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Pat G » Sat Feb 20, 2021 4:51 am

Thanks, Peter. Will look into South Africa & Martinborough. Familiar with WA & especially OR.
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Pat G » Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:23 pm

On topic I believe. Read last night. And liked the comment about not analyzing wine sometimes. I may take a few days for note-taking, then just write the darn thing and spend additional days enjoying the wine. Should do that more often. Why not?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lmowery/20 ... 86da797195
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Jenise » Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:03 pm

Pat G wrote:Familiar with WA & especially OR.


But not for pinot as almost none is made here. Peter probably doesn't realize how different our two states our in spite of what you'd think of as a nonexistent border.
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Pat G » Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:51 pm

Fair enough, Jenise. Which is why I noted especially OR; should have clarified that my familiarity with WA is for various reds.

WA and OR have a few shared AVAs, but I tend to look to WA for bigger reds. WA: Syrah, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc etc. Not big Merlot fans, but have a few WA Cab-dominant blends with Merlot. Most of the wines we now have are Rasa: Yakima Valley, Walla Walla, Columbia Valley. And a few splurge Red Mountain. No PN from there. :wink:
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Jenise » Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:35 pm

Exactly right, and I knew where you were coming from. But def not much pinot here commercially. Not a single winery devoted to it, just a few who toy with the grape. The big reds are our deal, and much as I arrived here a Cab fan I still buy most of my cabernets out of California and look to Washington for syrah, a grape Washington has taught me how to love.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Jenise » Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:39 pm

Quoting myself:
Last year our Los Angeles tasting group did NZ pinots, one bottle from each island required per couple. The results were impressive. Down the line, the reactions were, "Wow, why don't we buy more of these?" A pinot called Erewhon ('nowhere', backwards) was as good as any pinot noir I've ever had from anywhere and I would kill for more. Any pinot lover would--if they knew it existed.


SO glad I mentioned that, as while checking Winebid this weekend I decided to take a look at what kind of stuff they had from NZ and SA. Usually, there isn't much but if something IS there, low U.S. demand means prices will be no more than half original retail and maybe, bonus, you get some bottle age. And there they sat: the Erewhon I lusted after above, the very vintage (2013) and some '14's as well. This morning, I own them! Also found some cool Mulderbosch stuff from SA: a sparkling, some cab francs, and some '09 Late Harvest SB's. I used to be a devotee of their regular SB and have never seen these others stateside before. I'm a happy girl today!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Pat G » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:45 pm

Syrah. Got 3 2016 Rasa Syrah, SJR Vineyard, Walla Walla. Part of a CT Barrel Project. 100% Syrah. Woot!
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Re: WTN: Night in New Zealand

by Jenise » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:10 pm

Pat G wrote:On topic I believe. Read last night. And liked the comment about not analyzing wine sometimes. I may take a few days for note-taking, then just write the darn thing and spend additional days enjoying the wine. Should do that more often. Why not?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lmowery/20 ... 86da797195


Liked the article, thanks. I like the comment about analyzing too. I have certainly gotten away from being too literal or technical. After all, I'm not trying to sell the wine. Instead I want to share the experience of that wine with others who may also own it.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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