Thursday, February 11, 2016

From Central Otago 2012 Loveblock Pinot Noir @loveblockwine


Quite pleased to have a lovely New Zealand wine to review.

This time of year is associated with love and romance. Is there a better way to celebrate the occasion than with a bottle of New Zealand Pinot Noir?

Impressive at open and even better as it breathed, it was a sincere pleasure to review this lovely New Zealand wine from Loveblock Vintners Ltd. Above the snow capped mountains of Central Otago, on the Bendigo Loop Road, lies a small Pinot Noir vineyard named "Someone's Darling." Loveblock Vinters has done well by this fruit.

Loveblock farms and grows grapes in accordance with Organic Certification standards, Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand principles and low chemical intervention.
From the attractive label, to the extraordinary aromas and delicious wine in glass, this is a fine example of New Zealand Pinot Noir. I Strongly Recommend the Loveblock 2012 Pinot Noir. Well done.

Tasting Notes 2012 Loveblock Pinot Noir Central Otago

Color: Ruby core, clear.
Nose: Broad earthy red fruit, dusty, perfumed, sour core.
Palate: Ripe raspberry, yum, surprisingly luscious at first taste, dark fruit around periphery of palate, leafy note, with subtle fruit tar and pleasant acidity into the moderate finish. Impressive opening. Big like.

After 15 minutes: Added depth to the nose, perfumed red fruit, touch of orange blossom, hint of spice. Livelier palate, bright spike mid-palate, tart cherry, earthy raspberry, focused to middle, dark fruit tar, mushroom and strawberry into the medium finish. Well done.

After 30 minutes: Inviting earthy nose with touch of sourness and perfume. Tart fruit, dark strawberry, raspberry, fine tannin expressed on medium finish. More inclined to food at this point with the tannin.

After 45 minutes: Toasty loveliness on the nose, fruit preserve included, with lovers breath and perfume, even a whiff of fresh brewed coffee - darling of a sexy nose telling an intimate story! Layered palate, focused to front, ripe strawberry, dark raspberry, juicy with a kiss of rich chocolate and mandarin orange, dry on the extended finish. Thoughts of food forgotten. Hello...

After one hour: Just as captivating. Expressive with a longer finish. Perhaps a little more coffee on the satisfying finish. Well done. Paired well with salad and fried pork chops.

After six hours: Tart red fruit, strawberry dominant, focused to middle, lively on the palate, pleasant grip of tannin on edges of tongue, forest floor added to experience.

Day two: Supple mouth feel, modest tannin, fresh, cherry, raspberry, cola, touch of tartness into the almost candied finish. Paired well with salmon.


Thoughts: See my notes below on the history of this winery and vineyard location. Grapes used to make this wine were likely 3rd or 4th leaf. Young. I expect each successive vintage to show even better. The bar is set high. Delicious on its own and with food, it is time for you to experience a premium New Zealand Pinot Noir.
Strongly Recommended + Drink Now.

Country: New Zealand
Appellation: Central Otago (South Island)
Vineyard: Someone's Darling, Estate
Variety: 100% Pinot Noir - Clones planted B777, B667, B115 and Abel. The vineyard was entirely cane pruned to two canes, with the wire being approximately half full. Yield from the vineyard was two tons per acre.
Closure: Screw Cap
ABV: 14%
Imported by: Terlato Wines
Sample for review
Production: 2,700 cases
SRP: $37

About Loveblock Wines

photoKim and Erica Crawford founded Loveblock wines. They tend to go by their first names when promoting Loveblock to avoid confusion with the well known company they sold and are no longer involved with - Kim Crawford. Loveblock is their return to the New Zealand wine industry. Erica is the founder and CEO and her husband Kim is the winemaker.

Erica and Kim have embraced a philosophy of being custodians of the land they farm. Farming organically they seek to restore soil balance and fertility without the use of commercial fertilisers and chemical protection. Loveblock vineyards are located in the wilderness of Central Otago. A unique region where they are working to showcase the terroir of this rugged terrain. Together they are working to make the best wine that they can.

Loveblock’s Pinot Noir vineyard in Central Otago is SWNZ accredited.

Erica is an active member of the Global Women NZ Advisory Board, an organization which works to expand the influence of women and helps to shape and mentor emerging leaders. She holds a number of directorships, both in the wine industry and in other sectors.

Kim trained at New Zealand’s Massey University and specialized in Oenology at South Australia’s Roseworthy College. His first jobs included vintages at Arrowfield in NSW’s Hunter Valley, Stags Leap Winery in Napa Valley and Backsberg Estate in South Africa. He returned to his native New Zealand in 1988 and worked at Coopers Creek Vineyard for some 10 years. He has over 30 years of winemaking experience.

Central Otago Vineyard Info

Ringed by mountains and interlaced with lakes and deep river gorges, Central Otago is one of the world’s most spectacular settings for vineyards. It is one of the hottest, coldest and driest regions in New Zealand. The climate and unique terroir combined make this area one of the best for producing premium Pinot Noir.

In 2008, Erica and Kim bought a small 20 acres patch of paddock on the Bendigo Loop Road in Central Otago (South Island). Bendigo is the warmest of the Central Otago winegrowing areas and this little vineyard is the warmest one in Bendigo ensuring consistent ripening year on year. This vineyard is dedicated solely to Pinot Noir. This vineyard is Sustainable Winegrowing (SWNZ) accredited.

A variety of clones were selected for this site to deliver a wide range of flavors in the wine and to produce elegant, yet complex and clean fruit-driven wines. They named the block “Someone’s Darling” as legend holds that in the mid-1800s, a local farmer found the body of a young man on a nearby property. He buried him and for the lack of a name, identity or kin, he simply engraved on the coarse wooden cross “Someone’s Darling”.

Loveblock makes more than Pinot Noir, they also make Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Moscato Brut, Sweet Moscato and Chenin Blanc.

It's been too long since I have had the pleasure of reviewing a New Zealand Pinot Noir. The Loveblock Pinot Noir was a wonderful experience. Hopefully there will be more lovely wines to review soon.


- William

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Interview with Hamish Clark of Saint Clair Family Estate @SaintClairWine

A conversation with the winemaker.

Thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Hamish Clark today, senior winemaker for Saint Clair Family Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand.

A tremendous New Zealand wine tasting and two fun winemaker conversations. We began the October podcast with a long-distance call to Marlborough, New Zealand to speak with Hamish Clark, Senior Winemaker for Saint Clair Family Estate. Hamish shared with us why Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is so special and many details on growing grapes and making wine on the South Island.

*Show LinkListen to the show.

Tasting Notes Saint Clair Family Estate 2012 Sauvignon Blanc:

Color: Shiny straw.
Nose: At opening aromas leaped out of the glass, big blast of passion fruit, grapefruit, barnyard floor, grassy, salinity, mineral.
Palate: Fresh, creamy, saline, kiwi, grapefruit skin, with passion fruit into the finish. Wow! This wine had it going on.

Paired this white wine with Brisling Sardines on bed of spinach tossed with sardine oil from the can of sardines, black pepper, chopped garlic and onion on toasted whole wheat bread. Tasty companion, a little slippery and messy, but delicious.

After 3 hours: More savory on the nose with grapefruit, grass and fresh chive, passion fruit and barnyard floor faded to background elements. Palate savory with herbal characteristics, spice, grass with lime and grapefruit peel on the finish, bright top palate. A certain ocean breeze character to this wine, enjoyable. Think brussel sprouts, asparagus, artichoke and mixed green salad accompanied by herb roasted chicken. 30 minutes later I was thinking this wine was at a "drink me now" stage.

Day two: Aromatic with passion fruit and grapefruit. Grapefruit and brightness stood out, nice crisp finish of tart, zippy, white grapefruit. Big like. Drink alone or pair with fish tacos. Strongly recommended.

Country: New Zealand
ABV: 13%
Closure: Screw cap
Price: $20
Sample provided by Winesellers Ltd.

Saint Clair Family Estate Cellar Door & Café
Corner of Rapaura & Selmes Roads
Blenheim, Marlborough, NZ
Phone: 03 570 5280

*Update: I am now co-hosting a monthly wine podcast on Minstrel and Muse Audio Art Magazine - we call it "Wine Muse World Tour" with host Linda Reznicek.

I don't know when I will have more New Zealand wine reviews to post, hope soon, but thanks for stopping by and remember to drink New Zealand Wine!


- William Pollard Jr.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review: Framingham 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

Phew. What a busy start to summer! And with summer brings oodles of Sauvignon Blanc. My latest New Zealand bottle was the 2011 Framingham Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough.

At first glance, the color was a golden wheat, very clear with a hint of green. The nose offered notes of grapefruit, papaya and passionfruit. A bold nose with clear tropical fruit characteristics, I anticipated this wine to be delightful.

Upon first sip, this wine delivered exactly on the nose profile. Smooth, light and balanced with little to no bite, this was a winner! Not too sweet, with only hints of sweetness on your tongue, this was a great bottle! A short finish, with lingering notes of grass and grapefruit, it exhibits very traditional New Zealand Sauv Blanc notes & is highly recommended..

I pumped this wine and waited to open it again until day four, where is exhibited the same flavors. That wine pump really is amazing!

ABV%: 13%
Price: $12-$18
Vintage: 2011
Bottle Notes: At our boutique winery in the Wairau Valley, we craft expressive, individual small batch wines with new world purity and old world complexity. This 2011 Sauvignon Blanc delivers punchy flavours of passionfruit, grapefruit and redcurrant. Texture is enhanced by some barrel ferment and our signature mineral finish is retained.
Food Pairing Suggestions: Common with Sauvignon Blancs, oysters and seafood are recommended, although I think this would go well with a wide variety of foods. If you like this wine, it would pair well with almost anything as long as it isn't too sweet, or too heavy.
Grape Blend: 2011 Framingham Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is blended from fourteen base wines sourced from eight different sites in the Wairau valley including the North bank, Southern valleys, Lower Wairau and our own Estate at Conder’s Bend.
Importer: Evanton, Inc.
Current Vintage: They have recently released their 2012, but the 2011 is noted it can be drank for up to 18-24 months after bottling.