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A frequently asked question about wine

The biodynamically farmed land of New Zealand’s Pyramid Valley is in tune with the rhythms of our universe, says Michael Robinson (Photograph supplied)

It is clear to me that the two questions that I have been asked the most often over the years are: “What is your favourite wine?” and, “What’s new?”

Today I intend to answer the latter, which is far easier to respond to than the former.

Last week I wrote about the effects of climate change on wine, and so let us lead off with 2019 Campbell Kind Wine New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Canadian Steven Campbell was into importing sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines long before this became the chic thing to do, and this is a new arrival for us. It is classified as an organic wine that is government-certified to have no chemicals, pesticides or herbicides at all in its production. All controls are natural through insects (good bugs that eat bad bugs), natural sprays, predatory fungi and so on. The "Kind Wine" is a project created to mitigate the carbon footprint as much as possible. Sustainability is the key here.

You will find classic New Zealand style with gooseberry, lemon, lime, grapefruit and cut fresh grass along with herbaceous, zippy acidity. $21.75 (Stock #6921).

Our 2019 Pyramid Valley Central Otago Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is produced with the following mindset: "We tend our estates according to the holistic principles of biodynamics, working with the energy of the cosmos and feeding the soils and ecosystem of the site to let nature work her wonders.

“The beauty of biodynamics for us, is being in tune with each of our vineyards and their unique needs based on individual soil type, site aspect, ecosystem and local climate. In the cellar, our winemaking follows natural principles with the use of indigenous yeasts, natural fining and minimal, if any, filtration. Our ultimate goal is to guide our wines from the earth to the bottle, producing wines that truly breathe of their place."

This is a delicate and detailed sauvignon blanc, with vibrant but not overt, complex aromas on a soothing, textured palate. $28 (Stock #6917).

With the philosophy above and hailing from an area on our globe that is almost the same distance south of the equator as the vineyards of Burgundy and Oregon are north, you can be assured that our 2018 Pyramid Valley Pinot Noir from Central Otago, will be wonderful.

The Wine Enthusiast magazine backs this up by sharing this: “Already showing great promise. It's lightweight but not without substance or layers. Gentle berry notes mingle with savoury, mushroom and soy sauce nuances. It really comes to life on the palate, which is both vivacious and structured, the chalky tannins and crunchy acidity jiving with juicy, silky fruit. Elegant, poised and highly drinkable. Drink now and over the next five to eight years. 94/100.” $44.90 (Stock #6920).

Now we will travel to Spain to check out three new arrivals, the first being 2021 Casa Roja Enemigo Mio Jumilla Garnacha that shows a happy looking wild boar on the label. This animal is a “pig” when it comes to eating delicious, ripe grapes and it is the nemesis of many vineyard owners in Europe. The garnacha grape is one of the most widely distributed grapes in the world and it was in the 1400s that the Pope planted it around his new home – Chateauneuf du Pape – in France, where it became known as grenache. Only tempranillo covers more acreage in Spain than garnacha.

This wine is cherry red, and the nose is fruity and floral with notes of rose petals. It is delicate, elegant and exhibits rich complexity in which the aromas of red fruits and balsamic stand out. $25 (Stock #9377).

Our 2019 Caso Roja Tinta Fina Tinto Fino Ribera del Duero is, we are told, the “wife” wine of their Machoman and I presume that the drawing of a tattooed lady on the label is said wife; I like the humour of these folks. This wine is 100 per cent tinto fino (aka tempranillo) from the premium region of Ribera del Duero in the Castilla y León province, known as the Kingdom of Castles. As you may be aware, most vineyards are replanted in sections about every 35 years, as fruit volume drops off with age. Older fruit – like us? – is more complex, and so the vine age of 35 to 100 years is a good sign for the grapes used in this wine. It shows aromas of wild fruits, red fruits, vanilla and spices. It is also powerful and intense. $36 (Stock #9363).

Although I like to think that rosé has morphed into a year-round wine, it is still cold out there as I write, and I know that many of you consider it a warmer weather treat. The beautiful bouquet of brightly coloured flowers on the label of 2021 Casa Roja Haru Ribera del Duero Rosé certainly brings on thoughts of warmer days, fish cakes, kite flying and Easter.

It is made 100 per cent from tempranillo fruit, with the juice left in contact with the dark red skins for up to eight hours to extract the desired rosé colour. Notes of red fruits wrapped in white flowers and hints of peach give way to a silkiness integrated with strawberry and citrus. It is teeming with flavour. $27 (Stock #9375).

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson can be contacted at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). A selection of their wines, beers and spirits is available at www.wineonline.bm

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Published March 24, 2023 at 7:54 am (Updated March 24, 2023 at 6:15 am)

A frequently asked question about wine

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