Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wine releases

In the wine world we live in these days there is a continual stream of new wines being released by producers all year round, some are sent to market while they are young and fresh while winemakers retain some for release later in the year when the wines have spent a little time resting in bottles.

Red wines in particular are generally released a year or more after being bottled and many winemakers like to make us wait until the flavour and structure components are a little more in sync with each other before we get our hands on varieties like chardonnay and riesling. When they are initially bottled some components dominate others and letting the wine age a little before release gives the wine a chance to show what it is really made of.

Each year there is a race to see who can get the first sauvignon blanc onto the shelves, a practice I am not particularly fond of because I don’t think the wine is being released when it is ready. Some of these wines are ok but they will never be great. Last year we saw a few sauvignon blancs made from grapes harvested in late March and early April hitting the shelves in June, in my opinion way too soon. August, September and October saw a slew of 2009 wines leaving wineries and heading for the shelves and about the same time we started seeing a number of 2008 red wines being offered for sale.

However Neudorf Vineyards always release the sauvignon blanc they make in one year at the beginning of March the following year, just before they start harvesting the next vintage. Why? The complex, weighty style of sauvignon blanc they make takes a little time to reach its peak drinking potential and the Finns want you to enjoy their wines at their best.

Just over 10% of the Neudorf Vineyards 2009 sauvignon blanc ($22) was fermented on old oak barrels to add some texture complexity and the result is a sauvignon with a luscious viscosity to the texture as well as bright fresh tropical fruit flavours.

With the cooler weather we have had this summer the 2010 harvest is running about two weeks late so this year most of the region’s winemakers will get to enjoy Easter working 24/7 in the vineyards and wineries while you and I get to enjoy the early autumn sun. Even though the season is running a little late with an overall slightly lower yield this year (not a bad thing with an oversupply of some varieties) all reports point to fantastic quality in the vineyards.

I have been drinking

Woven Stone Ohau 2009 Sauvignon Blanc – RRP $16-17

This is the first vintage of this wine made from grapes grown near the Ohau river on the Kapiti Coast north of Wellington. Green capsicum tones dominate the aromas and blend delightfully with green apples and passionfruit in the palate. Mouth-watering acidity and a flash of flinty minerality make it dangerously easy to drink.

Neudorf Vineyards 2008 Moutere Pinot Noir - $49 from the cellar door

This wine is made from a blend of fruit grown on Neudorf Vineyards home vineyard and from a small block of vines in Pomona Road and the result is a seductive delight with flavours and textures that flow through your palate. Upfront spiced cherry fruit flavours with a touch of charred oak give way to floral violet tones then the talcum fine tannins and a touch of juicy acidity take over. This wine is very young but has all the hallmarks of a quality pint noir.

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