With my vinous tripping around Nelson this week, it would safe to wager that a Nelson wine will be this week's Wine of the Week and you'd get a return on that bet. But it won't be so easy to pick which wine gets the honour. Heck, it's been hard for me to make that decision. I've tasted a whole raft of wines, tasting them first as a beverage and then again with food, and several wines have stood out.
Firstly the Waimea Nelson Syrah 2007 - written up on my blog last Wednesday - what a delicious soft juicy red.
Then some rather stellar Pinot Noirs, my favourite being Te Mania Reserve Pinot Noir 2007, which was in a battle with Neil's favourite, the Neudorf Tom's Block Syrah 2007 from, arguably, Nelson's most famous producer. A battle of gravels versus clays and it came down to the wine that was the best match with my cooking. I'll add the link to my blog entry when I've posted it.
And lastly a bunch of aromatic wines that were quickly tasted to check they were 'okay' before I put them in the wine bag to take out to dinner. There was the Anchorage Nelson Gewurztraminer 2008, Brightside Nelson Pinot Gris 2008 and Te Mania Nelson Riesling 2007.
Thai food was the theme - it was a Thai restaurant after all.
All of the wines had moderate residual sugar, according to the notes and on that alone, all should work with the food but I couldn't see the high acid, limey style of Riesling really being a humdinger match so it was poured to sip on while we were waiting for our orders. Then later we washed down the food with the Pinot Gris and the Gewurztraminer. The Pinot Gris was good but it was the latter that took the whole experience to the extra level.
Anchorage Nelson Gewurztraminer 2008 is a lemon gold colour and has a sweetly perfumed scent of rose petal and Turkish delight. It's quite sweet on entry to palate - a little too sweet on its own without chilling but later absolutely perfect with spicy Thai cuisine. A medium-bodied wine, sweet and juicy, light and gentle in its attack but with a powerful lasting impression. Ginger, honey and orange zest infiltrate the sweet musky flavours with cumin and coriander spices adding an exotic flare to the long lasting finish.
My favourite food match was a spicy red curry with chicken, vegetables, Thai herbs and coconut milk.
The grapes for this wine come Lodder Lane Vineyard in Riwaka, west of Motueka in the west of the great Nelson valley rift. Close to Abel Tasman National Park, the vineyards are also close to the sea and protected by the westerly winds by the Takaka Hill. Justin Papesch is the winemaker and the stats for this Gewurztraminer read 12% alcohol, 13.9 grams per litre of residual sugar and a reasonably low acidity of 5.8 grams per litre - it all results in a well-balanced, tasty drop. Recommended retail price is $19 a bottle. Check out www.anchoragewines.co.nz for where to buy.
© Sue Courtney
6 Apr 2009