Monday, September 25, 2017

NZ Is For New Zealand

Locations is an experiment of place for winemaker Dave Phinney, of Orin Swift fame. It's his attempt to make wines from all over the world. These wines are labeled only with a big letter or two, depicting the place of origin - F for France, P for Portugal, I for Italy, TX for Texas. Yes, he sources grapes from Texas. And NZ is for New Zealand.

The 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes were grown in Marlborough's Wairau, Awatere and Waihopai valleys. Phinney says he searched for growers who had been digging the Kiwi dirt since the early 1970s. He describes the three lots this way: "the Wairau Valley, with its traditional passionfruit and crisp grassy flavors… complemented by the second wave of plantings in the ever expanding Awatere Valley, noted for the minerality and elegant characteristics the fruit gains from the region's proximity to the Pacific Ocean… the southern valley of Waihopai, where the gravel soils, and later, cooler ripening climate produce Sauvignon Blanc characteristics that provide the final layer of complexity." The wine never touched oak, and alcohol is reasonable at 13.5% abv.

This New Zealand Locations wine delivers exactly what the label promises. The classic fragrance of NZ Sauvignon Blanc comes through with fanfare. Minerals, citrus, fresh cut springtime grass, wet driveway - they're all there. The palate shows the bracing acidity and fresh-flavored lemon-lime-minerality for which the country’s favorite white wine is known. Yet, there is a creaminess to the mouthfeel which suggests malolactic fermentation. You'll want to have crustaceans over for dinner when you uncork this one. I had it with a homemade cheese and olive plate, a good pairing.