Friday, March 21, 2008

Small New Zealand Wineries Part 1

Te Whare Ra ( "Tee Faree Ra" is supposed to mean house in the Sun in Maori) is based in Marlborough New Zealand. This is on the south Island in the town of Renwick which is host to quite a few wineries including Cloudy Bay, Montana etc...

Established in 1979, this small boutique winery probably has some of the oldest vines in the area. In 2003, the husband and wife team of Jason & Anna Flowerday took the helm and have significantly upgraded various aspects of the winery. Although offering a Pinot Noir, IMHO they are a white wine producer with offerings mainly from Sauvignon Blanc, Reisling, Gerwurztraminer and Chardonnay. It's their aromatic wines which to me show their stuff here. Current size of the vineyards ~9 hectares with many coming from the older vines planted in 1979 ( almost 30 years ago) - I was told the Gerwurztraminer. Fruit is basically hand sorted and picked - now we are talking.

Cutting to the chase, my favorite wines from their lineup would be the "Toru" bottling and their Gerwurztraminer.

The "Toru" is a blend of several aromatic grape varietals consiting of Riesling, Gerwurztraminer and Pinot Gris. While tasting this wine, images of a picnic & grilled seafood keep popping up - probably my mind telling me that's where I should be with this. 89 points

The 2007 Gerwurztraminer to me is a standout here. The concentration and flavor in here just screams of old vines and low yields. The typical Lychee notes were present although not overpowering, minerals, hints of sweetness from the fruit with 22g/l of residual sugar - nice finish ( the wine was still going strong after being opened more than 24 hours). The best thing to compare this to would be an Alsatian Gewurtz VT. 92+ points

These guys deserve some room in your cellar.

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