Thursday, May 12, 2011
With the 2011 vintage grape harvest underway it is a very nervous time for winemakers. The crop across the region is a good size, not too big but plenty of outstanding quality fruit that is packed with flavour and at the moment is in pristine condition.
A few vineyards have some minor issues with botrytis (rot) but nothing that can’t be handled by winemakers experienced in making wine in a sometimes wet cool climate winemaking region. The nervousness is nothing unusual for winemakers at this time of the year as they wait for that final flavour boost in their fruit that bright sunny days and cool nights deliver while keeping a close eye on long range weather forecasts. The message right now is ‘please Mr Weatherman, no more rain!’
As wineries prepare for this year’s harvest it is also time to clear the decks of remnants from the last few years. At Kaimira Estate at Brightwater this means a one day sale to move on the last few cases of some wines.
When I was there last week checking on the state of the current vintage (winemaker Sally had a big grin on her face as we talked about the quality) June Hamilton treated me to a taste of some of the wines being sold at their annual sale where you will be able to taste and buy wines that sell for $18 - $28 for between $9 and $11.
Included are wines from the very good 2006 and 2007 vintages and some bin ends from the 2008 vintage. The 2008 wines I tasted (gewurztraminer and pinot gris) are both very well made wines with elegant fruit flavours and soft acidity. At $9 a bottle or $50 for a six pack these are absolute bargains.
I have been a fan of Kaimira’s Brightwater riesling since I first tasted it way back in 2001 and have been following it ever since. In 2001 it was selling for about $12 a bottle so being able to buy some from the great 2007 vintage now for $9 a bottle is almost criminal. This wine is starting to show some classic riesling age characters, deep rich cooked lemon/lime flavours with a luscious texture and very fine mineral based acidity. If you want to find out what happens when you age riesling then at this price this is a great place to start.
Kaimira’s 2006 Vintners Selection Pinot Noir -$11 a bottle (normally $28) or $60 for a six pack this is another outstanding bargain. Complex layers of flavour balanced with elegant oak spice and a touch of smoky bacon fat it is a complete wine. I have my six pack on order.
Blog followers - sorry I am late posting this article I wrote for The Nelson Mail about a month ago, the celar door sale has been and gone!
I have been drinking
Golden Hills 2009 Syrah - $34.90 at the winery
A double Gold medal winning wine made in a cool climate Northern Rhone style. Packed with rich fruit flavours and balanced with exciting pepper spice this proves you can make great syrah in Nelson. We served this at a degustation dinner recently and it was perfectly matched with a beef and mushroom dish.
Marble Point 2009 Dry Riesling about $20 at the winery
This is a reasonably new label and one to keep an eye on. Located about 5 minutes drive past the Hanmer turnoff this winery is producing wines with purity of flavour, texture in the mouthfeel and a freshness that is very enticing. This particular wine is bursting with lemon and lime citrus characters while a little time on yeast lees has added weight and softness to the mouthfeel. 4 stars from Michael Cooper and worth searching for.