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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Esk Valley Riesling 2010‏, Marlborough, New Zealand


To many people, New Zealand white means Sauvignon Blanc - in that ripe, tropical style so typical of Marlborough.

And whilst zesty Sauvignon Blanc may have become the country's calling card, it is by no means all there is on offer, with almost all the noble and international varieties showing well in New Zealand's "house style" of purity of fruit with an Old World food-friendliness.

For me, despite any claims that Germany or Alsace might make, the best Rieslings generally come from Austria in a dry, focused, full-bodied and minerally style that works so well with food and this Esk Valley Riesling 2010 is very much in the same vein.

Immediately on opening, the nose is mineral and flinty with hints of stone fruit, elderflower and some honey aromas; with aeration and warmth, the mineral elements become more pronounced.

The palate is citrussy with zesty lime, cox's apple and pear fruit, honey aromas and rounded, linear acidity.

Full-bodied and mouthfilling in a ripe-yet-dry way, the finish is long, mineral and buzzy.

It has all the hallmarks of my favourite Austrian Rieslings, feeling crisp, focused and precise, and will match with well-seasoned, modern international style dishes.

The grapes for this wine come from two sites in Marlborough; from old vines in Waldron's vineyard in the Wairau Valley for body and richness and from the cooler Taylor's Pass in the southern Awatere Valley for elegance and minerality.

With too much warmth, these elements seem to separate out and lose harmoniousness, appearing to "let the gaps show" somewhat, so either serve well-chilled or cellar for a few years to allow everything to integrate.

The wine also spends an extended period on its lees, which gives a greater depth of flavour.

Match with foods such as chicken in creamy sauce, smoked salmon or Thai coconut curries.

£10.49 from Cambridge Wine Merchants, Jubilee Wines, slurp.co.uk, Woodwinters, nzhouseofwine.co.uk

Provided for review.

Links

Esk Valley - http://www.eskvalley.co.nz/
Cambridge Wine Merchants - http://www.cambridgewine.com/
Jubilee Wines - http://www.jubileewines.com/
slurp.co.uk - http://www.slurp.co.uk/
Woodwinters - http://www.woodwinters.com/
nzhouseofwine.co.uk - http://www.nzhouseofwine.co.uk/

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