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Selaks Riesling/Gewurtztraminer Icewine (half-bottle) 2004
Selaks winery is set in the gentle rolling hills northwest of Auckland city, just a few kilometers from the unspoiled West Coast of New Zealand's North Island. In this idyllic marine climate, using the latest European technology, Selaks combine the traditions of three generations of winemaking with "new world" efficiency, to produce premium varietal wines, acknowledged as among the best in the country. Selaks only use natural products in winemaking.
Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes are grown mainly in the shingly valley which slopes from the South Islands Marlborough hills down to Cloudy Bay. Other grapes like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon reach fulsome ripeness in the fertile Hawkes Bay on the east coast of the North Island.
From austere, long-lasting Chardonnays and flinty extra dry Methode Champenoise to fragrant ripe Riesling; from the rich Founders Reserve Cabernet and Merlots with its ripe berry flavors and firm tannin, through to lusciously sweet Ice Wine, all the families wines are driven by the best quality fruit. The care and skill of the chief winemaker Darryl Woolley ensures that the superb flavors of some of the worlds finest grapes are naturally encouraged and developed in the winemaking process.
This seductive wine reveals the secret of producing an outstanding ultra-sweet wine; optimum balance between fruit sweetness and crisp, clean acidity. Made predominately from Riesling and Gewurztraminer, this wine never fails to make friends. It tastes sweet and unctuous, yet not cloying.
A relatively young but extremely promising wine-producing country, New Zealand is widely recognized for distinctive, aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. While this is indeed the country’s most planted and successful variety, it is certainly not the only one that is capable of delighting wine lovers—and in a very wallet-friendly manner, at that. The world’s most southerly vineyards are found here, with significant climatic variation both between and within the warmer North Island and the cooler South Island. Overall, the climate is maritime, with plenty of rainfall as well as abundant sunshine. Producers have almost unilaterally embraced cutting-edge winery technology, resulting in clean, high-quality wines at every price point.
Sauvignon Blanc is at its best in Marlborough but thrives throughout the nation, known for its trademark herbaceous and vegetal character. This pungent, aromatic variety accounts for an overwhelming majority of the country’s exports. Chardonnay is the second-most important white variety and takes on a supple texture and citrus and tropical fruit aromas in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, respectively. Pinot Noir, trailing behind Sauvignon Blanc in national production numbers, is at its best in Central Otago, the southernmost winegrowing region in the world. These wines are known for bright, juicy red fruit. Taking cues from the wines of Alsace, aromatic varieties like Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer shine in Martinborough, while red Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have found success in Hawke’s Bay. Throughout New Zealand but especially in Marlborough, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are used to produce traditional method sparkling wine.
Apart from the classics, we find many regional gems of different styles.
Late harvest wines are probably the easiest to understand. Grapes are picked so late that the sugars build up and residual sugar remains after the fermentation process. Ice wine, a style founded in Germany and there referred to as eiswein, is an extreme late harvest wine, produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a higher concentration of sugar. It is becoming a specialty of Canada as well, where it takes on the English name of ice wine.
Vin Santo, literally “holy wine,” is a Tuscan sweet wine made from drying the local white grapes Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia in the winery and not pressing until somewhere between November and March.