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Wine of the Week for week ending 26 Apr 2009
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Waimea Bolitho SV Riesling 2006
Nelson, New Zealand

This week's Wine of the Week is Waimea Bolitho SV Nelson Riesling 2006. Bolitho is the flagship label for Waimea Estate and the SV stands for 'Signature Vineyard', in this case the estate's own Hunter Vineyard, developed in 1995.

The wine is a lustrous golden colour. Lime and mandarin on the nose has a toasty overlay, which, when tasted blind, is perhaps indicative of some age - and that turns out to be so. Some exotic spice adds to the attractive scent. Very smooth and harmonious in the palate - the texture is just gorgeous and the wine coats all parts of the mouth with its honey, perhaps even some toffee. There's perfect balance of acidity and sweetness, although perhaps the acidity has mellowed a little with age, and some candied orange notes come through together with tropical lime and subtle exotic spices. All the while there's that hard to explain kind of earthy depth. An exciting standout in a tasting of ten Nelson Rieslings, including several of its sibling wines.

What is also exciting about this wine - and for Nelson Riesling in general - is that although it was the most expensive in the tasting, it is only $21.90 a bottle.

The notes explain that 2006 was an unusual vintage with summer starting early, a very hot December and drought conditions on the Waimea Plains during the peak of the season. The fruit garnered excellent concentration and flavour and harvested was 2-3 weeks ahead of 'normal' on April 15th. The hand-harvested grapes were whole bunch pressed without skin contact and inoculated with a German yeast for a long cool ferment. Just on 13 grams per litre of residual sugar balances the eyebrow raising 9.3 grams per litre of total acidity, which the pH clocks in at 2.9. So it appears to taste drier than the sugar would suggest. Alcohol, according to the label, is 12% vol.

So we accompanied this gorgeous wine with terakihi fillets coated with a flour and fine spice crust then pan fried in a mix of olive oil and butter. Seafood is the obvious choice for this wine, as is something as simple as a double or triple cream Brie.

Waimea Estate makes several styles of Riesling - including a decadent botrytised Riesling in the years when conditions are right. Most of the wines are exported to several countries. Check out for where to buy.

© Sue Courtney
20 Apr 2009

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