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Wine of the Week for week ending 25 March 2012
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Three Martinborough Stars
Martinborough, New Zealand

Not one Wine of the Week this week, but three. Delectable treasures from a cellar, opened for a birthday, all stars in their very special way.

A finger food entree of salmon sashimi was matched to Dry River Martinborough Pinot Gris 2005. This wine is light in colour for its age, with haunting aromatics, and luscious and heady to the taste. There's an opulence to the wine yet the backbone is phenolic and nutty, a pointer to the longevity of this wine as it indicates many years ahead of it. A rich, textural wine and a harmonious match to the melt in the mouth salmon.

Then the battle of Martinborough's iconic Dry River and Ata Rangi Pinot Noirs, both from the 1999 vintage.

Dry River Amaranth Pinot Noir 1999 is incredibly deep in colour, again youthful for its age. A concentrated, savoury, earthy and funky wine with herbal nuances so inherent to the grape, yet so expansive in the mouth with increasing chocolate increasing and hints of liquorice. Beautifully fine smooth tannins and hedonistically long.

Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 1999 is a darker, richer, more intense wine than the Dry River - so fresh, so youthful with a harmony of savouriness and raisiny fruit sweetness with fine silky tannins, incredible mouthfeel and presence.

All I can say is if you have these wines in your cellar and they have been cellared with care, they are so enjoyable now. If you have one or both of these wines, do try them and make your own assessment.

And to match the age of the main course wines, the meal was retro too - a mini lamb rack for each diner served with a minted pea puree, a dish from last century that would grace any fine dining table today. It's the quality of the lamb that counts, like the wine, only the best will do.

© Sue Courtney
19 March 2012

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