Wine Tasting Expeditions: The Winery, Queenstown

nz-red-wines

The Winery in Queenstown is a haven of enomatic machines and bottles of wine from around New Zealand. All of the labels I saw there were brand new to me, even after working with a wine retailer in the Philippines and in the Oregon wine industry. This most likely means that if you want to get a hold of great New Zealand wine, you’ll probably have to visit the country.

Although I’ll start with the whites for this post, I tried the Pinot Noir before moving to the Riesling and Gewurztraminer. This was a good thing, because both of the whites I sampled were a bit too sweet.

mt-difficulty-riesling2015 Mt Difficulty Riesling

A pleasant balance for those who like sweet wines. It’s still on the sweet side for me, but has enough acidity to keep things interesting if you want to drink it all afternoon. It’s floral and fruity, with flavors of honey and apple. Edging towards a late-harvest Riesling profile.

chard-farm-gewurz2014 Chard Farm Gewurztraminer

Great floral and herbal notes, true to their tasting notes it also had cardamom spice. Sweet finish.

I was definitely in a more red wine mood today, perhaps due to the temperature as well. This was the day I acclimated, so I was happy walking outside with a sweater top and windbreaker.

New Zealand Pinot Noir at The Winery

According to the helpful sales associates at The Winery, 2014 was an excellent year for Pinot Noir, so I started with that. Their wines are delicious, age-worthy, and I lean towards their cooler climate selection (great climate for Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Chardonnay).

valli2014 Valli Burn Cottage Pinot Noir

This Pinot Noir has a sharp nose with a bit too much alcohol for my taste. It’s a good choice for people who like juicy alcoholic reds, otherwise I think it needs a few more years in the cellar. Some plum flavors, but overpowered by the alcohol and tannin.

super-nanny2014 Super Nanny Central Otago Pinot Noir

A softer nose than the Valli, with nice red fruit. Although this was also a 2014, it was more developed in terms of balance and flavor. There was round, supple cherry on the mid-palate, with a nice softness from their French oak barrels. Nothing too complex, and can be aged for a while longer. Easy drinking.

mountford-estate2011 Mountford Estate Pinot Noir

My favorite of the wines I tried. It has the same lovely complex nose of an Oregon Pinot or Red Burgundy. Lots of bright spice, with tannin that has had some time to soften out. It has great balance now, five years after its vintage year. It finishes a bit flat, but is definitely more well-rounded than the first two (which is likely thanks to longer time in the bottle).

If you’re a wine lover, do yourself a favor and visit New Zealand. The stuff you see internationally doesn’t do the local selection justice. The Winery is an excellent place to taste because of the selection, the knowledgeable staff, and their useful enomatic machines.

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