From a Kiwi in Cali…

By / Magazine / July 22nd, 2010 / 1

So I’m in a bar in San Francisco (sounds like the beginning of a joke) for a family reunion when cousin Rich from New Zealand offers me his glass. The contents swirl dark with seductive aromas of spice and cherries. He raises one eyebrow; we order a bottle and happily drink the whole thing without sharing with any of the other relies. Ya… we were bad but only because the wine was good.

2008 A to Z Pinot Noir is luscious with acidity and tannins perfectly in balance with loads of ripe red fruit and a touch of spice. It has an elegance and finesse for all its intensity. I was intrigued by the wine and winery because this is a blended product with thirty vineyards across Oregon as its source. The slogan of  A to Z (the bartender pronounced it “Zeee”) Wineworks is, “Aristocratic wines at democratic prices.” $20 at the winery, $48 from the barkeep who was not conservative with this prices but was liberal with his pours.

I also have to thank Rich for introducing me to Eradus 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, a wine a Kiwi writer describes as the “next big thing” from his homeland. I have to believe the writer is correct as Richard is very fond of wine and drinks quite a bit of this one. The grapes are sourced from the stoney terraces of the Breloft and Te One Vineyards (Awatere Valley, Marlborough) nestled between the Southern Alps and the Pacific. Expect a grassy nose with tropical fruit that carries over to more of the same flavours but adds a lovely minerality indicative of valley fruit. Lip-smackingly crisp but well-balanced, delicate but rich, quaffable with a smooth finish. Thanks for bringing it all the way to California, cousin.



Brenda McMillan is thrilled by new sights, sounds, aromas and flavours, and old buildings, barrels and friends. She travels at the drop of a corkscrew and is always "just back" from somewhere.

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