Sunday, February 16, 2014

Eureka! Central Otago/New Zealand Wines Strike Gold!

Recently, I had the delicious opportunity to experience wines from New Zealand's Central Otago, which is the world's southernmost wine region.  This area's climate and geography is similar to that of Burgundy and Willamette Valley, and one of its sub-regions, Bannockburn, was a gold mining town in the 1860's. It's an area of extremes, boasting the highest and lowest temperatures nationally, as well the highest light intensity of the country, with 95% percent of its wineries part of the New Zealand Sustainable System. That's enough to entice me, so without further ado, here are some of my wine notes:

Mt. Difficulty Pinot Noir Single Vineyard Pipeclay Terrace 2010 $95
Opaque deep rose colors, violet on the nose with complex but subtle hints of stone, roasted vanilla beans and caramel. On the palate delicious ribbons of cola, ripe cherry, strawberry and spice. This vineyard and winery is certified sustainable. Unfiltered and unrefined, this was my hands down favorite.

Felton Road Bannockburn 2010
Vegetal, strawberry, red fruits, raspberry, spicy bing cherry.

Felton Road Pinot Noir Cornish Point 2009 $55
Attractive aromas, metallic mineral, vanilla, yummy cherry and strawberry.

Felton Road Pinot Noir 2010 $40
Caramel aromas with fresh red berry flavors, mild tannins and long finish.

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2009 $40
Alluringly funky on the nose with barnyard and underbrush contrasting violet, glycerine and wood, beautifully balanced against blue fruits and vanilla. Excellent long finish. This one was outstanding, especially for the price.

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2010 $37.95
Dark and brooding, also funk, horsey but again beautifully balanced. Very attractive floral aromas, with vanilla, barnyard and plum. White pepper and spice on the palate, slightly high alcohol content, ripe tannins and good finish. This vineyard and winery is certified sustainable. Aging: One year in French oak and another in bottle.

Felton Road Chardonnay 2011
Beautiful! Fresh, mineral, quenching, kiwi and green apple. Tastes more like a Sauvignon blanc than a Chardonnay. 

The dinner/tasting took place at the fantastic Aureole New York at 135 West 42nd Street. A wonderful evening, highlighted by wines that prove there might still be some gold in those New Zealand hills!

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio
Crispy Shitake, Sacallion, Taro Root, Ponzu, Lavash Cracker

Main Course
Roasted Scottish Salmon 
Sweet Potato, Black Trumpet Mushroom, Apple Nage

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