Mount Riley Update

The update. Yes. The Pinot Noir WAS as good as I remembered. Different to some that I like from the same region (Marlborough) but with the characteristics that I like in a Pinot Noir.

But I am getting ahead of myself.. let's begin at the beginning.

Mount Riley is the only commercial producer of a Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand. I think that is safe to say. Although a methode champenoise, it is a lemonade wine, very light on the fizz and lacking in what many would expect of a sparkler. They don't do alot of lees stirring to extract all the yeasty aromas because, as Digger said, " It isn't that type of wine." So not at all complex, still quite refreshing and I don't know if I would have called it blind, but there were certainly typical Sauvy characteristics floating around. Overall, more than I'd pay for it ($19) and not my thing, but if it you take it on design, it is exactly as it is intended.

The 2005 Sauvignon Blanc was anothertypicalMarlborough Sauvy. A little more than I was expecting.. it wasn't bad. It was all fresh lime and melon, perhaps a little tinned green bean. Not approaching what I would call sour, it still had quite a happening acid profile.

The Riesling was from the 2004 vintage. Made with both Marlborough and Nelson fruit. I am always keen to try riesling, it is a great grape. I don't know when it is going to get the recognition it deserves here in NZ.. and if you like to drink it I guess you should hope it doesn't.. if the corresponding price increase is anything like Pinot Noir from a few years back. I digress, anyhow, this was a lovely light style. Very pale straw, faint petrol, rubber eraser (?) and an ever so slight flinty edge. I think it had a bit of residual sugar but it should hang out for awhile. I'd be keen to taste a vert of these in a few years.

The Chards were impressive. The 2004 was a fresh tasting drop with lots of juicy ripe peach and a creamy texture. For $19, you'll hear no complaints from me. The 17 Valley, also from 2004, is a slightly deeper colour than the previous but still a pale-med straw. The buttered toast and tropical fruit make it a fantastic mouthful. That high note of picture theatre popcorn was interesting. Nice. One to allow a wee sleep and enjoy with a meal. I'd have to say that I'd likely have it with my favourite fast weeknight stand-by, a carbonara made with a lightly smoky bacon.

The Pinot Noir 2004 and the 17 Valley 2003 were tasted together. The 04 was bright garnet with ripe cherry and raspberry pie aromas and applewood tobacco smoke. A very pleasant just over $20 Pinot Noir. A solid food wine and I think gougeres would be a perfect partner. I love gruyere. And speaking of cheese, I think the 17 Valley would take the cake or rather, the cheddar. I'll predict spectacular results if served with a vintage cheddar platter. Well ripened cheeses will reward pairings with silky Pinot Noir (well integrated tannins only need apply). Sun ripened cherries, slightly floral, reaching but maybe chocolate, bacon or ham and a slight hint of smoke. Again, a vertical of some of these in a few years would be delicious!

The Merlot Malbec.. I am a fan of malbec and the sometimes crazy spice it can contribute. This 2004 concentrated faintly tarry bitter chocolate and smoke will be an interesting match for my barbeque sauce or any barbecued food I think. I'll have to share the "recipe" for the sauce sometime. (I say "recipe" because it isn't about exact amounts.) But a damn nice sauce if you ask me.

And damn nice wines too.

Next week, Muddy Water.


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