Unsung heroes

I recently had an opportunity to taste all of the gold medal winners at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards. I’ve chosen two wines from the tasting because both often slip below the radar despite having won many top awards in previous years.

Esk Valley Marlborough Riesling 2009 – $17.90

Riesling is a quiet achiever in Marlborough. Although it is often edged out of the limelight by show-stopping Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough Riesling is capable of making world class wines.

Esk Valley 2009 Marlborough Riesling was voted the country’s top Riesling by the judges at the 2009 Air New Zealand Wine Awards. I agree with their decision. This is great Riesling and an outstanding value wine by any measure.

It’s got a whisker of sweetness but the wine’s mouth-wateringly edgy acidity promotes a pleasantly dry finish. Citrus/lime, honey and a suggestion of floral characters make this the perfect summer drink.

Clearview Estate Black Reef Blush 2009

This is New Zealand’s best Rosé. Unlike most local examples, which are made from Pinot Noir, Clearview Estate Black Reef Blush 2009 is produced from a blend of red Bordeaux grape varieties plus the disease-resistant Chambourcin. The result is a flavoursome Rosé with lovely crushed berry and strawberry characters and hints of spice. Most local Rosé has the body of green top milk compared to this blue-top beauty.

Clearview Estate Black Reef Blush 2009 reminds me of the sort of Rosé I quaffed while holidaying in the south of France a few years ago. First impression offers a tease of sweetness leading to a satisfyingly dry finish. I love it!

First published in KiaOra Magazine – Feb 2010.

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