Whole Foods Market makes it easy to be an adventurous wine lover. They make it pretty affordable, too. The popular grocery chain is shining the autumn spotlight on the wines of New Zealand, which offer a lot more than just Sauvignon Blanc.
Two tasting events on social media have featured New Zealand Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and even a sparkling wine. You can access the Twitter conversation by searching the hashtag #WFMWine.
The Grove Mill Winery 2012 Pinot Noir is very manly. It's the Chuck Norris of Pinot Noir. It could have been called Chuck Noirris. If you stick out your pinkie while drinking it, that finger will be dislocated. I've heard that when Chuck Norris makes wine, the grapes crush themselves. I can't vouch for that, but I won't argue the point, either. Chuck Norris doesn't get drunk from wine, the wine gets drunk from him.
Located in the Wairau Valley of the Marlborough region, at the top of New Zealand's South Island, Grove Mill is sustainable and ecologically committed. They even have a wetland area next to their vineyard, which is home to the Southern Bell Frog. Their masculine Pinot Noir hits only 13% abv and sells for a reasonable $20 at Whole Foods.
This Pinot is dark ruby red and has aromas to match. Dark raspberry is layered with sage, clove and forest floor. On the palate, black cherry cola meets a tart handful of raspberries over a cup of black coffee. Herb and spice linger on the finish, rounding out a spectacle that is ready for the holiday table.
On Twitter, @WFMWine commented on the $20 price point: "We think Grove Mill is quite a wine for the $." I agree. @WineHarlots tweeted that it was "a little heavy on the oak, pairing with a grilled lamb chop might balance it." @JamesTheWineGuy tasted it differently: "gorgeous nose! Rich yet balanced; a beautiful wine - low ABV 13%."
Whole Foods recommends pairing the Grove Mill Pinot with charcuterie, goat cheese, pork loin or roasted chicken. They have a recipe for that chicken on their website. I'll take mine with turkey, both white meat and dark. Pass the cranberry sauce, please.