Saturday, February 23, 2008

Striking Gold(water)

Found a bottle of Goldwater Cabernet/Merlot 1996 (from Waiheke Island off the coast of Auckland) murmuring on the rack earlier in the week and stood it up for tonight's rib-eye. It comes from a period where most Kiwi winemakers looking at Bordo styles were OTT with both oak and extraction, but I never found that with Goldwater (that may change under the new owners). This is the sort of wine that shows how well NZ can ape Bordeaux. It's fading now, three hours on from opening, and the acidity is poking out, but it's been in that smoky refreshing Cabernet zone, with the restrained cedary finesse, smoky black fruit and lazy tannic structure that could pass for claret - I'd have had is as something like a 1988 Haut-Medoc.

Also makes me think of how 50 years from now, perhaps the Kiwis will be better known for reds than whites. After all, this is a country initially dismissed as fit only for Muller-Thurgau. Then along came Sauvignon, then Pinot Noir. Syrah is currently hot in the Land of the Long White Cloud - Bilancia is a star - with the best wines having the herbal intensity of the Rhone with more bouncy fruit. Bordo blends have been around throughout these various fads, and have been improving steadily. Don't be surprised when their day comes...

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