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Wine and the oldest sports trophy: the 1851 America’s Cup

Last week I featured Italian wines for the supporters of Luna Rossa as it challenges New Zealand for the world’s oldest sports trophy, the 1851 America’s Cup.

Even though New Zealand has done a remarkable job of controlling Covid-19 it has now shut down its largest city and the soonest these races can start in Auckland Harbour is March 10. But let us get some wine on the ready anyway.

Sauvignon blanc leads the way in New Zealand and one of our very first ventures into this land of wine resulted in us importing this wine from Michael Seresin. If you are seeking organic, vegan or biodynamic we have it all in 2018 Seresin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Brimming with concentrated ripe aromas of warm fruit interlaced with savoury notes, this sauvignon blanc shows the full spectrum of flavours. Characterised by striking the perfect balance between complexity and drinkability it is highly textured and, above all, delicious and poised. Showing a positive effect from extended ageing on lees and barrel ageing, wild yeast and a splash of sémillon.

Sourced from Seresin's old vines that thrive on river silt terraces in the Central Wairau Valley as well as their clay-rich Raupo Creek vineyard, which has a gentle north-west facing aspect, settled in the centre of the Omaka Valley. Both vineyards are managed following organic and biodynamic principles.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate rates it 91/100 and says: “Bottled just three weeks before my visit, the 2018 sauvignon blanc seemed pretty recovered, offering up ripe nectarine and cut-grass notes on the nose. Medium to full-bodied, it's plump and silky on the palate, showcasing round fig and melon notes.”

Let me explain the term “pretty recovered” as this refers to the fact that when wines are removed from tank or barrel and placed in the bottle, they can take a few weeks to settle down (known as bottle shock) and show at their best. $27.65 (Stock #8714).

If sailing is further postponed you could enjoy the spectacular cinematography of Michael Seresin by watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Angela’s Ashes, Gravity and many more.

Here is what Canadian critic Natalie MacLean thinks of our 2019 Auntsfield Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: “Love this clean, crisp and mouth-watering sauvignon blanc from the Auntsfield in the Marlborough region with classic gooseberry, grassy, grapefruit and mineral flavours mouth-filling on the palate. Auntsfield was the first vineyard and winery established in Marlborough in 1873. Wine grapes are certified-sustainably grown in the ancient greywacke rock and loess clay soils of a single vineyard. 90/100.” $21.30 (Stock #7968).

It is not easy to be the market leader year after year, but the philosophy Oyster Bay have of producing fine, distinctly regional wines that are elegant and assertive with glorious fruit flavours, has worked so well for them. Their 2020 Oyster Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is no exception with stunningly aromatic tropical fruits and bright citrus notes, with a refreshingly zesty finish.

You well may find 2019 in stores and here is what Wine Enthusiast thought of it: “Bright and fruity, this wine offers notes of passion fruit, citrus, white spice, ginger and grass. There seems to be a touch of residual sugar on the palate to balance the acidity and add texture to the fruit. Crisp, refreshing and citrusy, this checks all of the Marlborough SB boxes.” $22.95 (Stock #6900).

And now for a wine named after a young lady that practised an even older trade than that of wine. This was back in the gold mining days of the late 1800s. I refer to 2019 Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir. This wine celebrates pinot noir from a warmer season in Central Otago. Wild raspberry and red cherry characters dominate while soft sweet brown spice characters add in detail. Savoury red cherry notes lead the wine onto the palate; the wine flows with good texture. Fine elegant tannins rise out of the mid-palate and with wild raspberry notes drive the finish alongside fine acidity. Master of Wine Bob Campbell rates it a fine 91/100. $28.90 (Stock #8644).

Here is a little tech talk on what goes into the making of 2017 Seresin Leah Marlborough Pinot Noir. Fruit hand-picked, destemmed and cool soaked in tank. Must (juice) warmed, fermented with wild yeast, and the caps hand-plunged daily during fermentation (complexity). Wine left on skins for four to five weeks, then drained, lightly pressed and transferred to aged French oak barriques. Natural malolactic fermentation during 11 months of maturation, then bottled lightly filtered and unfined.

The winemaker comments: “Exhibits bright, fragrant berry-fruit aromas, interlaced with spice and herbal notes. The wine is focused and concentrated, with a succulent fruit core, framed by fine-grained tannins and a mouth-watering acidity. An elegant and understated style with immediate appeal, but structure to last. Named after Michael Seresin’s daughter, Leah.” Natalie MacLean scores it an impressive 94/100. $31.75 (Stock #8716).

We end with the spectacular and very rare 2015 Auntsfield Heritage Pinot Noir that garners 97/100 from Wine Orbit, and this description: “This is splendidly composed and magnificently styled, showing fragrant aromas of dark cherry, plum, violet, thyme and toasted almond characters with nuances of mushroom and game. The palate is concentrated and persistent, exhibiting exceptional focus and depth, wonderfully complemented by velvety mouthfeel and fine, grainy tannins. Multi-layered, complex and gorgeously elegant.” $62.50 (Stock #5801).

As I watch these America’s Cup machines with their new, four-cornered main sails, I think of how we changed the world of sailing that is aptly described in a 1671 poem that referred to our craft “with triple corner’d sayles they always float about the Islands, in the world there are, none in all points that may with them compare”.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

Italy is to challenge New Zealand for the world’s oldest sports trophy, the 1851 America’s Cup (File photograph)

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Published March 05, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated March 02, 2021 at 10:47 pm)

Wine and the oldest sports trophy: the 1851 America’s Cup

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