Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Zealand Wine: Kim Crawford Pinot Gris

Kim Crawford Pinot Gris was spotlighted as one of the wines from New Zealand featured in the fall of 2014 at Whole Foods Market.  The grocery’s wine folks sponsored a virtual tasting event for these wines, and I received and invitation to participate, along with samples of the wines.

The winery had an inauspicious beginning, in Kim and Erica Crawford’s spare room in 1996.  Recognition of their reputation followed quickly and today they are reported to be the top-selling New Zealand producer in the U.S.

Kim Crawford’s winemaker, Anthony Walkenhorst, says on the winery website, "Being a winemaker allows me to combine creativity and science, which I love."  He has developed an uncluttered wine style which lets him capture the essence of the fruit with which he works.

On social media, @davidnzwineusa commented that,  "@nzwine = diversity, quality, value. Balance, great with food."  @WineHarlots tweeted, "Light and lively, the @kimcrawfordwine Pinot Gris $16 yearns for ceviche."  Which reminds, me - so do I.  @JamesTheWineGuy liked the "green citrus, fig, sesame, white flowers, and sesame."

The Kim Crawford Pinot Gris 2013 utilizes grapes sourced mainly from the Wairau and Awatere sub-regions of Marlborough, New Zealand.  They describe the winemaking process in a nutshell: "After harvest, the grapes were crushed and direct pressed with minimal skin contact. The clarified juice was then cool fermented to optimise varietal expression, flavour, and intensity. There was no wood and minimal skin contact. We used five different yeasts to ensure that we profiled the fruit and kept the fresh acidity."

The wine has a 13% abv alcohol number, so the one-glass-only drinker won’t have to worry about getting tipsy at lunch.  It comes under a screw cap and the retail price on the Pinot Gris is $17 at Whole Foods.

Peach and pear juice - ripe and running down the forearm - adorn both the nose and the palate of this lively Pinot Gris.  The aromas are full and rich, while the mouthfeel is bright and zippy, with admirable acidity and a light touch of citrus minerality on the lengthy finish.   It sips great, and will serve as a great aperitif. It also marries quite well with food.  We had ours with takeout vegan cashew curry, some pineapple fried rice and my wife's roasted carrots and parsnips.  It was delicious.  It’s also good with Brussells sprouts and goat cheese.

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