This Week’s Wine Tasting
New World Wines
South Africa and New Zealand
Protea– “In a world of cookie-cutter products, protea is on a mission to make wines that dare to be exotic and beautiful, in every way imaginable. We’ve broken new ground by offering our uniquely delicious wines in designer-crafted bottles you won’t forget – and won’t want to discard.
The inspiration for our brand is the protea (PROH-tee-uh). Haven’t heard of it? It’s the beloved national flower of South Africa, and comes in a dizzying diversity of sizes and colors; each blossom you spot is somehow a little more exotic and special than the last one. Kind of like our wines – and our bottles.
A standard pretty label stuck on a standard boring bottle wouldn’t do- So we sought out designer Mark Eisen, who after conquering the fashion industry has turned his attention to artistic glass. Using an advanced screen application in which nontoxic ink fuses with the glass at a very high temperature, Eisen was able to transfer his evocative designs directly onto and wrapped around the bottle. In the process, he transformed the bottles from mere containers to objects of beauty and contemplation. A bottle of protea won’t just sit on your table, it will enliven the table – and probably spark more than a little conversation.”
Protea Chenin Blanc 2014
Western Cape, South Africa. 100% Chenin Blanc. “The grapes were crushed and de-stemmed and had skin contact for a few hours. The juice was then drained of the skins and settled overnight. After racking, the clean juice was cold fermented in stainless steel tanks. After fermentation the wine was kept on the fine lees for 3 months before stabilization and bottling.” “To make the Protea Chenin Blanc, our winemakers step smartly aside and allow the essence of the remarkable, too often underappreciated Chenin Blanc grape to arrive in the glass with rich fruit and verve. The Protea Chenin Blanc is pale lemon in appearance. It shows aromas of fresh, crisp fruit. On the palate, you’ll find hints of pear, citrus and honeysuckle. The wine was created in a lighter, more accessible style for earlier enjoyment.” $13.99
Protea Red Blend 2012
Western Cape, South Africa. A Bordeaux style blend 53% Cabernet Sauvignon and 47% Merlot. “The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were fermented separately and aged for 18 months in cement vats.” “The Protea winemaking team blends the traditional Bordeaux varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, to create a serious yet approachable wine.A beautiful deep ruby, the Protea Red immediately shows aromatic notes of blackberry, espresso and spice. On the palate the wine is full and juicy. Balancing ripe fruit and subtle tannins, the blend is a versatile choice for food pairings.” $13.99
Villa Maria– “In 1961, at just 21 years of age, George Fistonich leased five acres of land from his father in Mangere, Auckland and started off with just an acre of vines. He harvested his first grapes in 1962 and made his first wine under the name Villa Maria.
Throughout the 1960s Villa Maria was a one-man band, with George’s wife, Gail, supporting him in his venture. He made dry red and white wines, sourcing grapes from the greater Auckland regions. In the early 1970s he started to employ staff and the company began to expand rapidly. Today, Villa Maria employs more than 250 permanent staff and exports wine to over 50 countries worldwide.
George Fistonich has spent five decades at the forefront of New Zealand’s wine industry that he helped develop. As an icon of the New Zealand wine industry, we are known for bold and industry-changing moves such as moving to 100% screwcap through to the emphasis on sustainable practices in every area of the family owned company.
Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Marlborough, New Zealand. Wairau and Awatere Valleys. The wine underwent cool, slow fermentation in stainless steel tanks in order to retain distinctive regional and varietal characteristics. Fruit for this wine was sourced from vineyards across the Marlborough region in the Wairau and Awatere Valleys spanning a range of different meso-climates. Careful attention was paid to vine health and cropping levels to give the vine the best chance to optimise the season and develop strong, clean flavours. This intense Sauvignon Blanc is alive with a myriad of flavours dominated by gooseberry, passionfruit, fresh citrus, melon and herbaceous aromas. The wine has an enticing palate with a juicy flavour profile, purity and concentration, finishing crisp and clean with an interwoven thread of acidity.” $13.99
Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. A Bordeaux style blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec. “Destemmed and crushed to fermenters. Inoculated with several strains of yeast and fermented at 30 degrees. Post fermentation pressed to oak barrel, 34% new, for 18 months maturation. Blended, egg white fined and filtered to bottle.” “The fruit for these wines are sourced predominantly from vineyards located across the Hawkes Bay region. An array of soil profiles combined with high sunshine hours and low rainfall makes the Hawkes Bay New Zealand’s ‘home’ to the French Bordeaux varieties Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. A significant portion of the grapes are grown in Villa Maria’s vineyards in close proximity to Gimblett Road. The free draining gravelly soil here has a devigourating affect on vines and results in red wines with enhanced structure, flavour and colour. This wine exhibits rich blackberry and raspberry notes on the nose, leading to a palate packed with juicy red cherry and cedar spice with an underlying tobacco character.” $14.99
Kim Crawford– “We strive to let the natural flavours of the grapes shine through in every glass you drink. That’s why: We were one of the first wineries in New Zealand to launch our wines in screw caps because they keep wine fresher than corks. Now it is an industry norm. At a time when the world was flooded with oak aged chardonnays, we decided the world needed a clean, top quality, fruit driven chardonnay devoid of heavy oak, so we started making one. We only offer our Small Parcels in stellar vintages.
Seasoned winemaker, Anthony Walkenhorst, joined Kim Crawford in 2005, working alongside the founder Kim Crawford. The first wine Anthony made won the Sauvignon Blanc Trophy at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and the following year the Small Parcels Rise and Shine won a Trophy for best Pinot Noir. He continues to carry the torch, crafting our bold, unique and vibrant wines that ensure Kim Crawford’s exceptional style is present in every bottle.
The vineyards of Kim Crawford Wines are located in outstanding, predominantly coastal sites. The grapes benefit from long days, clean sea breezes and crisp nights. In combination with New Zealand’s long and dry autumn season, our grapes ripen slowly, which allows them to build flavor intensity as well as develop a sophisticated acidity. In the end, it is this unique combination of factors–from regions and soils, to temperatures and growth rates–that give Kim Crawford Wines a perfect balance of fruit and acidity. This ideal pairing of elements makes Kim Crawford more than just the perfect wine to compliment foods and occasions–it makes it the perfect wine to compliment one of the most stunning regions the world has ever known.”
Kim Crawford Pinot Gris 2014
Marlborough, New Zealand. “Sourced predominantly from the Wairau and Awatere subregions of Marlborough. After harvest, the grapes were crushed and direct pressed with minimal skin contact. The clarified juice was then cool fermented to optimise varietal expression, flavour, and intensity. There was no wood and minimal skin contact. We used five different yeasts to ensure that we profiled the fruit and kept the fresh acidity. The color is pale gold. A delightfully aromatic nose of pear backed up with quince jelly and floral notes is followed by flavors of fresh, crisp pears, Braeburn apple, melon, and honey with hints of spice on the palate with a generous mouthfeel. Elegant and supple, a wine that delivers lingering flavours of warm, spicy fruit and a bright, clean finish.” $13.99
Kim Crawford Pinot Noir 2013
South Island, New Zealand. “These grapes are from some of our favorite cool-climate vineyards on New Zealand’s South Island. We’ve used a wide variety of clones and rootstock, along with a mixture of soils and microclimates to ensure a balance of flavor profiles and exceptional quality. Partially aged in French oak barrels for the alluring complexity of well integrated oak and fine silky tannins. Aged in a mixture of French oak barrels and tank for five months. Medium depth with a bright ruby red colour. This wine is enticingly aromatic showing notes of dark cherries and strawberries. Bright fruit aromas of fresh crushed berries, hints of spicy oak, and some forest floor notes. The palate is rich, with red berry flavors providing some nice fruit sweetness. Soft tannins ensure that the wine is approachable in its youth, however, it does have structure to enable the wine to develop over the years.” $17.99