WINE TAST­INGS

Sparkling wines, Cham­pagne and NZ sweet wines

Cuisine - - CONTENTS -

IN AL­MOST EVERY coun­try where good wine is made, a part of that pro­duc­tion is given over to sparkling wine. All of th­ese pro­duc­ers who grow their grapes out­side the lim­its of the Cham­pagne re­gion must call their wines some­thing else, of course, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make wines of out­stand­ing qual­ity. There are sparkling wine­mak­ers around the world who are every bit as com­mit­ted to per­fec­tion­ism as the renowned “chefs de caves” of Reims and Eper­nay. Our sparkling wine cat­e­gory is al­ways a broad church, con­tain­ing wines of dif­fer­ent styles from a num­ber of coun­tries. Most of the en­tries are nat­u­rally from New Zealand, but that’s not the only rea­son our top 10 is dom­i­nated by Kiwi wines. We’re very good at mak­ing bub­bles, and we’re get­ting bet­ter at it all the time. BEST BUYS Those wines of­fer­ing an out­stand­ing mix of qual­ity and price are awarded Best Buy sta­tus. Price points dif­fer, de­pend­ing on the va­ri­etal, but if you see the Best Buy sticker you can rest as­sured you’re get­ting a great wine at an ex­cel­lent price. Look out for the sticker on wine bot­tles at all good wine re­tail­ers.

TAST­ING PANEL

For this sparkling wine tast­ing, John Belsham, an in­ter­na­tional wine judge and owner of Foxes Is­land Wines in Marl­bor­ough, was joined by own­erdi­rec­tor of Oenotec Pty Ltd, Aus­tralian Dr Tony Jor­dan. Tony has en­joyed an il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer at the top of the sparkling wine world with var­i­ous roles at Moët Hen­nessy, Do­maine Chan­don, Cape Men­telle and Cloudy Bay. Round­ing out the tast­ing panel was John Saker, au­thor and Cui­sine wine writer. See page 131 for John Saker’s in­ter­view with Dr Tony Jor­dan.

1 TOP SPARKLING WINE Roed­erer Es­tate An­der­son Val­ley Brut NV (Cal­i­for­nia, USA)

$45 ★★★★★

CHAMPENOIS KNOW-HOW

com­bines with north­ern Cal­i­for­nian ter­roir to de­liver this com­plex, ac­com­plished wine, where chardon­nay nar­rowly shades pinot noir in the blend. It’s a rich, Veg­emite-in­fused style, quite de­vel­oped and yeasty, yet has fresh­ness, great en­ergy and drive. “It would not be out of place in a Cham­pagne line-up,” noted John Belsham. The per­fect part­ner for smoked sal­mon bli­nis. (A) CAL­I­FOR­NIA DREAMIN’ It was back in 1981 that re­spected Cham­pagne house Louis Roed­erer es­tab­lished its foothold in Amer­ica. A 580acre site in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s Men­do­cino County was se­lected by then Roed­erer president, Jean-Claude Rouzaud, af­ter a long search through­out the state. Ever since, this Cal­i­for­nian an­nexe has ad­hered to the same prin­ci­ples that have made 200-year-old Louis Roed­erer one of Cham­pagne’s great­est houses. Only chardon­nay and pinot noir are used to make the Cal­i­for­nia sparkling wines, and only fruit that is grown on the es­tate it­self. The vine­yards are all farmed

2 / Hunter’s Miru­Miru™ Rosé NV (Marl­bor­ough, NZ) ★★★★★ $50

Kiwi sparkling rosés don’t come much bet­ter than this, a per­sonal favourite of Hunter’s own grande dame, Jane Hunter. Bou­quet garni, berryfruit scents lure you in; the palate is weighty and com­plex, rich with fresh bak­ing char­ac­ters and en­livened by a per­sis­tent mousse.

3 / Daniel Le Brun Meth­ode Tra­di­tion­nelle Blanc de Blancs 2011 (Marl­bor­ough, NZ) ★★★★★ $40

Daniel Le Brun may no longer be in this par­tic­u­lar build­ing, but the fine tra­di­tion he es­tab­lished con­tin­ues. The nose of­fers fresh linen, lemon meringue and or­ange zest notes. In the mouth there is weight, struc­ture and plenty of tex­tu­ral in­ter­est. “Won­der­ful bal­ance,” noted John Belsham.

“The top NZ sparklings have at­trac­tive and quite so­phis­ti­cated aro­mas and in the mouth are com­plex, long and well­bal­anced.” TONY JOR­DAN

4 / Hunter’s Miru­Miru™ Re­serve 2013 (Marl­bor­ough, NZ)

★★★★★ $50

Miru­Miru is Māori for bub­bles and also stands for “con­sis­tent ex­cel­lence” among the coun­try’s wine judges. Three years on lees has im­bued this wine with se­duc­tive hon­eyed, caramelly, toasted qual­i­ties. The flavours carry to a long fine fin­ish. A classy, well­crafted bub­bly from a top vin­tage.

5 / Nau­tilus Es­tate Cu­vée Marl­bor­ough Brut NV

★★★★★ $39

Nau­tilus is another star in the Marl­bor­ough sparkling galaxy. Lemon char­ac­ters, laced with bready com­plex­ity, come through on the dry, re­fresh­ing palate. There is a light­ness and el­e­gance to this wine, which car­ries to a lengthy fin­ish. Serve it along­side salty hors d’oeu­vres.

6 / Daniel Le Brun Meth­ode Tra­di­tion­nelle Rosé NV (Marl­bor­ough, NZ) ★★★★★ $25

Pale cop­per in colour, this rosé is de­light­ful. Don’t be fooled by the sotto voce aro­mat­ics. In the mouth it opens up to re­veal at­trac­tive berryfruit notes, a sub­tle layer of toast and a herbal twist. A touch of sweet­ness adds an at­trac­tive di­men­sion. “An ideal aper­i­tif rosé,” noted Tony Jor­dan.

7 / Lin­dauer Spe­cial Re­serve Blanc de Blancs NV (Gis­borne, NZ) ★★★★★ $17

No show with­out Lin­dauer, the peren­nial overachiever on the lo­cal bub­bles scene. This Blanc de Blancs (100 per cent chardon­nay) de­liv­ers a re­mark­able de­gree of rich­ness and com­plex­ity for the price. It is a yeasty, creamy de­light, with a gen­er­ous core of fruit in the en­gine room.

8 / Akarua Meth­ode Tra­di­tionelle Vin­tage Brut 2011 (Cen­tral Otago, NZ) ★★★★★ $48

Cen­tral Otago has a place at the top ta­ble thanks to this finely crafted spec­i­men. Fine, toasty scents lead through to a palate of­fer­ing red ap­ple and lemon flavours. “A won­der­ful jux­ta­po­si­tion of flavour, poise and fi­nesse,” opined John Belsham.

9 / Deutz Marl­bor­ough Cu­vée NV ★★★★★ $26.60

This is a lively, fas­ci­nat­ing wine. A seam of flinti­ness gives it drive, added com­plex­ity and tex­tu­ral in­ter­est. A core of toasty fruit has weight and car­ries to a long fin­ish. This is a con­fi­dent ex­pres­sion from one of the coun­try’s most ex­pe­ri­enced and re­spected sparkling wine pro­duc­ers.

10 / Rock Ferry Marl­bor­ough Blanc de Blancs 2011 ★★★★ $45

One of a tri­fecta of 2011s in our top 10, this wine is or­gan­i­cally grown in the Wairau Val­ley. It’s a ripe style, with ex­pres­sive yel­low plum and chamomile aro­mat­ics. In the mouth it is con­cen­trated yet poised, gen­tly tex­tured and burst­ing with life. It would be a fine part­ner for smoked sal­mon.

“The con­tin­u­ing progress we’re see­ing from a num­ber of New Zealand sparkling wine pro­duc­ers is ex­cit­ing. This tast­ing has re­con­firmed that the best at their trade con­sis­tently pro­duce some truly out­stand­ing lo­cal méth­ode tra­di­tion­nelle wines.” JOHN BELSHAM

Akarua Meth­ode Tra­di­tionelle Brut NV (Cen­tral Otago, NZ)

★★★★ $34 Ban­nock­burn-grown and chardon­nay­dom­i­nant, the Akarua NV style is all about crisp­ness and vi­vac­ity. An over­ture of toasty aro­mas is backed up by a creamy palate where yeasty com­plex­ity is bal­anced by lively, fresh acid­ity. Part­ner it with an an­chovy-rich tape­nade. Hunter’s Miru­Miru™ NV (Marl­bor­ough, NZ)

★★★★ $30 This year marks the 20th an­niver­sary of the launch of Hunter’s Miru­Miru™, now firmly es­tab­lished as a New Zealand clas­sic. This NV re­lease of­fers bis­cu­ity, ap­ple aro­mas and a weighty, bal­anced, com­plex mouth­ful. It flows with tight­ness and dis­ci­pline through to a crisp, lifted fin­ish. Akarua Meth­ode Tra­di­tionelle Rosé Brut NV (Cen­tral Otago, NZ)

★★★★ $37 Canti Pros­ecco D.O.C. Milles­i­mato 2016 (Tre­viso, Italy)

★★★★ $17 (B) Clos Henri La Chapelle Blanc de Noir 2014 (Marl­bor­ough, NZ)

★★★★ $39 Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV (Marl­bor­ough, NZ) ★★★★ $35.90 Deutz Marl­bor­ough Cu­vée Rosé NV ★★★★ $26.60 Freix­enet Cor­don Ne­gro Brut NV (Spain)

★★★★ $16 (B) Hãhã Brut Cu­vée NV (Marl­bor­ough, NZ )

★★★★ $22 Louis Bouil­lot Perle de Vigne Cré­mant de Bour­gogne NV (Bur­gundy, France)

★★★★ (C) $31 Quartz Reef Meth­ode Tra­di­tion­nelle Brut NV (Cen­tral Otago, NZ)

★★★★ $32 The Sounds Marl­bor­ough Méth­ode Tra­di­tion­nelle 2014

★★★★ (D) $36 Vic Williams’ Se­lec­tion Marl­bor­ough Méth­ode Tra­di­tion­nelle 2014

★★★★ (D) $36 DIS­TRIB­U­TORS To source wines listed, con­tact the dis­trib­u­tor, in­dexed by let­ter. (A) EuroVin­tage: 0800 338 766 (B) Glen­garry: 0800 733 505 (C) Ne­go­ciants NZ: 0800 634 624 (D) NZ Wine So­ci­ety: 0800 809 463

TOP 10

bio­dy­nam­i­cally. Cur­rently over­see­ing the wine­mak­ing at the es­tate is the tal­ented Arnaud Weyrich, who be­gan his ca­reer at Roed­erer as an in­tern back in 1993.

Dr Tony Jor­dan

John Saker

John Belsham

Akarua Pisa Vine­yard

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