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New Customers Save $20* with code APRILNEW
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Vavasour Pinot Noir 2005
"Right now this wine presents itself as being rather light and lacking intensity, but it does have some pretty black cherry fruit and intriguing spice notes, and it should fill out a bit and put on weight over the next year or two. Finishes clean and long, with mild peppery notes and slightly dusty tannins."
Nearly a century later in the early 1980's Peter Vavasour took a keen interest in the viticultural developments of the Wairau Valley in Marlborough. After some research it was found that the climate and soils of the Awatere region were quite similar to those of the Wairau.
We are dedicated to the Awatere region and our philosophy is to concentrate on fruit grown in the area. Selected grapes are handpicked; this ensures that only the best fruit makes it into the bottle. Our vineyards are trained on the 'vertical shoot positioning' trellis. This form of trellising suits our growing conditions: it also makes it easier if we have to manipulate the canopy due to seasonal growing conditions. Between Glenn (winemaker) and Allan (viticulturist) every effort has been made to ensure that the vineyard and viticultural techniques are adapted to suit the conditions of the Awatere region. After all great wine is made in the vineyard. In all its viticultural techniques Vavasour have focussed on quality over quantity.
Home to perhaps the world’s most easily recognizable Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough has a unique terroir that lends a unifying thread to all of its wines. But despite common misconceptions, the wines from this region at the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island are anything but homogenous. With well-draining stony soils and a dry, sunny climate, the vineyards of Marlborough benefit from wide temperature fluctuations between day and night, which helps to preserve natural acidity in their fruit.
The region’s specialty, Sauvignon Blanc, is beloved for its pungent, aromatic character with notes of exotic tropical fruit, freshly cut grass, and green bell pepper along with a refreshing streak of stony minerality. These wines are made in a wide range of styles, and winemakers take advantage of various clones and vineyards sites as well as fermentation, lees-stirring, and aging regimens to differentiate their bottlings from one another. Also produced successfully here are fruit-forward Pinot Noirs, elegant Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewürztraminer, and a wide range of Chardonnay styles, as well as more experimental varieties like Grüner Veltliner and Syrah.
One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.
In the Glass
Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.