Date: Jul 25/11, Mon Time: 03:30:00-06:30:00 Style: Drop-In
Pyramid Valley Vineyards Wine Tasting - Mike Weersing from Pyramid Valley Vineyards was in town to present his Chardonnay's at the Cool Climate Chardonnay Convention in Niagara and the Roy Thompson Hall. Courtesy of partner wine agent The Living Vine, Mike made a stop at the Fine Wine Reserve to show his entire range of wines to our members.
Mike and Claudia Weersing, founded Pyramid Valley in 1996, arriving in New Zealand after Mike studied winemaking in Burgundy and apprenticed with various stints at Hubert de Montille, Domaine de la Pousse d’Or, Nicholas Potel, Jean Michel-Deiss, Ernst Loosen, Randall Graham, Evesham Wood. Mike spent years looking for his ideal vineyard site and ultimately found it in the middle of nowhere in central New Zealand (Canterburry), where not many (if any?) others are making wine. He has planted 95% of his vines with ungrafted rootstock and claims that the own rooted vines burrow deeper into the limestone soils than the grafted vines. His vineyards are on sites that have never seen the use of chemical pesticides or other human made intrusions on ‘nature’.
These wines are also fully biodynamic, and the Weersings take this philosophy to its extremes, harvesting in relation to the phases of the moon and even attempting to isolate yeasts that live on the grapes from those that are indigenous to the cellar itself. In fact, Mike is going all out to try to get the saccharomyces yeast that live on the grapes to be the only yeast used in the fermentation.
Earth Smoke, Angel Flower, Lion's Tooth and Field of Fire are the estate's home vineyards. Other wines are made from vineyards leased from growers in Canterbury and various other New Zealand regions, but Pyramid Valley have full responsibility for them, "turning the irrigation off and converting to biodynamics," according to Mike.
08 Kerner Pinot Blanc $34.95
RP = 92 pts Pyramid Valley’s 2008 "Kerner Estate" Pinot Blanc is just sensational. Resulting from a wild yeast fermentation in old oak that lasted 10 months, the nose is a little mute to begin but give it a few moments and fragrant notes of spiced pears, warm apples and toast begin to appear with an undercurrent of white blossom and dill seed. The full bodied palate is rich with apple and stone fruit flavors plus a silken texture with crisp acid to enliven and a long creamy finish. Delicious now, it should open with a further 6 months in bottle and I’m imagining it will develop a pleasant nutty/toasty character, drinking through 2014+. 92 points
08 Riverbrook Riesling $29.95
(2007) RP = 91 pts Fifteen percent of the 2007 "Riverbrook Vineyard" Riesling was late picked, noble rot affected fruit. It has a moderately pronounced, complex nose of lime juice, honeysuckle, wet pebbles, musk and grapefruit with a whiff of white pepper. Light bodied, this is a medium-dry style possessing 20 grams per liter of residual sugar and 12.5% alcohol. The finish is very long, chalky and a little funky. Drinking now, it should cellar to 2016+. 91 points
07 Howell Cab Franc $47.95
RP = 90 pts This has a wonderful nose: black cherries, plum and a touch of cooked meats – well defined with no peppery elements normally associated with Cabernet Franc. The palate is ripe, almost over-ripe with sweet black plum, macerated cherries and a honeyish note towards the svelte, weighty finish.
09 Field of Fire CH $69.95
Wine-Pages = 91 pts 450 and 500-litre barrels for ferment. Gorgeous nose of oatmeal and gentle Brazil nuts, a lovely green fig streak with some vegetal notes. The palate has lovely richness allied to precision, with a big mineral, pithy lemon dryness, the medium-bodied, limpid texture very appealing. Unfined, unfiltered, very low sulphur.
09 Lion’s Tooth CH $69.95
Wine Pages = 93 pts Tighter, more mineral and focused, has that umami streak with a little toasty, reductive and mineral character. Intense on the palate, with a mouth-filling extract that is lemony and dry, with beautiful rounded, almost vanilla notes - but not oak, just a smooth, composed suppleness to the fruit and acidity. Brilliant length.
09 Angel Flower PN $69.95
RP 90 pts The 2008 “Angel Flower” Pinot Noir is a pale, slightly cloudy ruby color presenting earthy/gamey aromas of underbrush and pigeon breast over warm cranberry, red cherry and allspice. The palate is soft and supple with low to medium level satiny tannins, crisp acid and lots of earthy/savory flavor layers in the long finish.
09 Earth Smoke PN $84.95
(2008) 97 pts Jamie Goode - Wine Anorak 10% whole clusters, warm ferment, 12 000 vines/hectare. Pale in colour and slightly cloudy, with wonderfully pure, sweet aromatics of sweet cherry fruit with hints of fudge sweetness and warm herbal notes. The palate is super-smooth and textured, showing sweet fruit and real elegance. Incredible texture here, with very fine structure. It’s a wine that is alive and quite thrilling.
09 Cowley PN $47.95
08 Hille Semillon Late Harvest $29.95
($28; a 95/5 blend) Slightly hazy appearance (this is bottled without fining or filtration). Candied yellow fruits, light herbs and spices on the scented nose. Intensely flavored and spicy on the palate, with a note of marzipan adding complexity to the fleshy candied fruit and spiced pear flavors. Very sappy and aromatic on the long, vibrant finish, with a sexy oak component providing further interest. A very intriguing semillon-based wine.