Friday, November 8, 2013

New Zealand Sparkling Wine Challenges Big Bubbles

While seeking out this tasting event, I was hijacked into another wine event at the same hotel, held at the same time.  It was a stroke of luck to encounter two wine tasting events for the effort of one.  Also luckily, I made it from the restaurant up to the pool area at the Sunset Marquis to sample Kim Crawford Fizz, a méthode traditionelle sparkling wine produced in New Zealand's Malborough region.

The wine was poured blind alongside four other notable bottles of bubbly (Veuve Cliquot, Taittinger, Gosset and Schramsberg.).  Blind tasting not being one of my strong suits, I'll skip the gruesome details of how my investigation fizzed out and concentrate on the attributes of what turned out to be wine number three.

Kim Crawford Fizz Méthod Traditionelle is part of their Small Parcels range.  The sparkling wine is produced in the same way Champagne is made - méthode champenoise - but the folks from the Champagne region have successfully restricted use of that term only to wines produced in Champagne.  So, elsewhere, it is known as the traditional method.

The wine is named after Felicity Nelson, Kim Crawford's winery host (pictured).  Her effervescent personality gave her the nickname "Fizz," and it's now on the label.

The winery's website describes the sourcing of the 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir grapes and how they display themselves in the wine.  "Chardonnay from the Castle Cliffs Vineyard in Marlborough's cool Awatere Valley provides elegance, minerality, and pure citrus flavors. The Brooklands and Hay Vineyards - in the heavy clay soils of Marlborough's Southern Valleys - provide depth, structure, and complexity for our Pinot Noir."

Bubbles are medium-sized and they dissipate quickly.  The nose shows a toasty grapefruit, apple  and tangerine aroma.  The mouthfeel is dry and full, and the fruit is embedded in a yeasty framework with a long finish. It's a clean and refreshing quaff.

Images by Allison Levine

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