Sunday, November 27, 2011

Anchorage Wines – published 30.09.11

When the Drummond family decided to convert their apple orchards to vineyards in the early 2000’s the wine industry was booming, the economy was growing like crazy and people had plenty of spare cash to enjoy the finer things in life. Creating Anchorage Wines was a sound business decision at the time and while we all knew the bubble had to burst at some stage no one expected all the negative forces to line up with such devastating impact on a single industry. Fortunately the Drummond’s had decided to target the middle ground with their product and while times have been tough, with their vineyards reaching full production just in time to coincide with a bumper 2008 vintage and a downturn, no let’s say plummet, in the world economy they have weathered the storm by delivering good quality wine at a great price.
While the downturn meant selling wine at about the cost of production with very little or no margin for a couple of years Anchorage has always delivered on quality.
Winemaker Justin Papesch has the luxury of selecting fruit from different vineyards from which to craft his product each year. Vineyards at Lower Moutere, Riwaka and beside the Motueka River have quite different climate conditions and soil structures so Anchorage is able to deliver wines with distinct vineyard characters that make the most of each variety.
The Motueka site is located at the mouth of the Motueka River so the soils are quite light, stony and free draining and the Riwaka sites have a similar soil structure while the Lower Moutere site has a top layer of stone filled clay with gravel below that. In 2011 it was decided that the sauvignon blanc fruit from the Motueka River site was delivering the flavours and structure that best represents the Anchorage Wines style for this variety so that is the fruit that went into the Anchorage sauvignon blanc.
Anchorage wines don’t pretend to be $50 wines but they often deliver flavour and quality well above their price range of between $17 and $22. Take the Anchorage 2010 Pinot Noir Rose (RRP $18) as an example; bursting with lush creamy raspberry aromas with rich fruit, a touch of vanilla and minerality in the flavours this is a dangerously easy wine to drink. And you will often find it on special for about $15.
I was particularly impressed with the Anchorage 2010 Reserve Chardonnay (RRP$20). Justin has a soft spot for chardonnays made with the use of seasoned oak as well as new oak barrels. This wine is made in a big, full style but is beautifully balanced with rich peaches and cream flavours and some nice lime freshness in the finish.
Next time you see Anchorage Wines at your favourite wine retailer don’t be shy about picking up a bottle and putting it in your shopping bag, you won’t be buying a premium wine but you will be buying a wine that delivers great flavour and very good value.

I have been drinking

Villa Sandi Prosecco il Fresco DOC (Italy) - $24 at Casa del Vino
Many Proseccos can be quite sweet but while this version has lovely ripe fruit flavours and a modest 11% alcohol it is delightfully dry. The fresh acidity in the finish balances the residual sugar nicely. Fantastic drinking late on a sunny afternoon.

Blackenbrook 2009 Riesling – RRP $23
Selected as one of the wines to represent Nelson in the 1st XV Competition this went on to win the Best Riesling award. Exceptional balance is the key to this finely crafted wine. With intensely floral aromas and a backbone of fine minerality we see in many Blackenbrook wines this wine not only represents everything great about the 2009 vintage but also the dedication to quality at Blackenbrook. Be like me, by some for the cellar, you won’t regret it.

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