Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Whole Foods Shows Off New Zealand Wines: Wairau River

Whole Foods Market is celebrating wines from New Zealand this fall, and they are taking to social media to alert the wine-loving public.  There is a virtual tasting event set - one occurred in mid-September - for Thursday October 9, 2014 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. CT.

To participate in a virtual tasting event, get the wines at a Whole Foods Market near you, take them home, log onto Twitter and stay ready with the hashtag: #WFMwine.  Using the hashtag in your tweets will channel your comments into the stream with everyone else's.  We always have so much fun that way!  To follow along, set up a search for #WFMwine and save it.  It's very easy to keep in the flow that way.

One of the wines featured in the September event was the Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc 2013.

Wairau River Family Estate Wines is one of the largest independent wine producers in Marlborough, on New Zealand's South Island.  It has been a family operation since Phil and Chris Rose got the kegs rolling in 1978.  The Rose family has enough members to start a small town, and Sauvignon Blanc is their flagship wine.  They also produce Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gew├╝rztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

The grapes for this Sauvignon Blanc grew on some of the oldest vines on the Wairau River estate, planted in 1983.  The alcohol is a very moderate 13% abv and it retails at Whole Foods for  $17.  The winemaker notes that it does not have to be consumed immediately - it will cellar well for two to three years.

This is real New World Sauvignon Blanc, with a grassy, grapefruity overlay on the nose that allows aromas of pineapple and lemon-lime to come forward.  In a word, sensational.  The sip does not disappoint, as the palate shows extremely bright acidity and a fresh-as-a-daisy mouthfeel.  Clean and crisp all the way to the finish, flavors of green apples and grapefruits get a tropical twist.  As it happens so often with this variety, a bit of springtime escapes when you unscrew the cap.

Whole Foods advises pairing this with seafood enchiladas - which sounds really good - and fennel salad.  On the label, the winery suggests that it is "best savored with high-jinks and convivial company."  Any type of seafood will swim up the Wairau River for this Sauvignon Blanc.

On Twitter, @WholeFoods kicked things off with an invitation to "follow our wine experts @WFMWine... They'll be sharing all sorts of knowledge!"  @WFMWine - the chain’s wine guys - had a little fun with the notion that New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc smells… well, different. "You guys like this wine? not 2 much cat pee, sometimes overwhelms the nose.this one doesn't at all.u guys smell much pee?"

Once the tasting got started, @craigabarrett opened the discussion of the Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc with, "Effervescent nose. Strong green apple jolly rancher notes. Medium + body," and we were off to the races.  Many Whole Foods stores across the country were participating by pouring for shoppers. @WFM_Louisiana noted, "Broad St. guests are describing the Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc as "tart" and "heart warming."  @kuqofywukuqo answered a Tweeted question: "What do you think of the Wairau River? We love it!"  @MomsToolbox tweeted, "Wow! Love the grapefruit & green apple in this zesty Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc!"

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