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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Is there a better pinot noir from New Zealand?

Craggy Range Te Muna Road, 2005

Certainly my favorite thus far, albeit from a relatively small sample size. A producer who has probably made more headway w/ their bright, concentrated sauvignon blancs (from the same vineyard sources, I believe) but certainly has made a powerful statement w/ this persuasive expression of pinot noir.

Scintillating, exuberant scents of cracked pepper, hard spices, cardamom, dark cherries and black raspberries engulf the taster w/ the sweet and the spicy. The palate is full of fat pinot flavors, underpinned by peppered minerality and a satin coated texture that evokes each metaphor that put this temptress of a finicky grape on the map. While broad, it is quite grounded in pleasing restraint. Enjoy this silky goddess over the next 7 years. 93-94 points. With efforts like this (clocking in around 35 dollars, fairly priced around 80 smackers on the restaurant list) from New Zealand, can more outstanding pinot be far behind?

As a side note, I believe this wine has extremely limited retail availability. I've only been able to locate it at the Gotham Grill (which, eh-hem, I've frequented on multiple occasions, using this wine as the perfect excuse to return) & have yet to run into it on wine-searcher. It could be due to an exclusive restaurant deal, a high Wine Spectator rating, or minimal importation? Considering the high volume of their sauvignon blanc that can be found on retail shelves w/ relative ease, I'd probably rule out the latter theory. Another relentless search may be in order...


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