Yvonne Lorkin wine column for week beginning Sat June 30 2018

Urbn Sprawl

Brendan Seal first heard of urban wineries whilst working as a winemaker in the USA and he immediately thought Dunedin would be a cracker of a location to do it himself. Making wine from Central Otago fruit, cellaring it and selling it all in the central city might seem like a logistical nightmare to some, yet for Brendan it’s a dream come true. “Dunedin is a fantastic city, very close to my heart and full of energy and new ideas” he says. “Dunedin locals also tend to be huge supporters of the Central Otago wines. After all, despite the climatic differences they are both part of Otago and the links between the two areas are historical and very strong”. For Brendan the appeal of an urban winery was to do something new and show people behind the scenes of how Pinot Noir is made, something people don’t often get to witness, even when they visit wine regions. “Personally I find it energising being in such a vibrant environment and getting to engage directly with the people who drink my wines” he says. “I’m in the cellar door, I’m dropping off my wines to restaurants and I’m showing people through the winery. That level of direct engagement is something we often lose as we get further up the winemaking food-chain, but that face to face relationship is of real value to both the wine drinker and the winemaker”. After a successful pop-up winery trial, he’s back in the city for good and it’s all go. Non-Dunedinites can be purchase his wines online at www.urbnvino.nz

How Pretty?

Fancy getting your laughing gear around some super-exotic, hard to find and even harder to pronounce deliciousness from Deutschland? Then fret no more because German wine guru Andrew Hedley and his wine import company Oh So Pretty are here to help. In addition to his day-job as winemaker at Framingham Wines in Marlborough, he specialises in importing Riesling at every level of the quality/sweetness/dryness level. From boutique growers in every German region, he’s also importing pinot blanc, pinot noir, grüner veltliner, zweigelt, st. laurent chardonnay, lagrein and even a sauvignon blanc from the likes of Austria, Hungary and Italy. For a copy of his catalogue, email andrew@framingham.co.nz

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Kuen Hof Kaiton Südtirol Eisacktaler Riesling 2016 $47 (4 stars)
If you’re a fan of the aromatic, white-wine spectrum, then get your laughing gear around this ravishingly good riesling from the Pligers family at Kuen Hof estate. They’ve been producing wine since the 12th century in Eisacktal in Südtirol, Italy’s northernmost wine region. Kaiton is a celtic word for the area surrounding the estate, which has schist and quartzite soils responsible for the electric minerality, lime peel and gorgeous green apple flavours in the wine. Dry, balanced and bursting with personality, Italian riesling is my new favourite thing. Drink 2018 to 2022.
To buy email: andrew@framingham.co.nz

Urbn Vino Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 $40 (4 stars)
While the fruit might originate from the barren, schisty landscapes of Bendigo and Bannockburn, the resulting wine actually has ‘city kid’ written all over it. Crafted by Brendan Seal in Dunedin’s central city, ‘urban’ winery, it has soft cherry and berry characters, earthy layers, a slippery, silky texture in the mouth and a decently dusty, leather-edged finish. Definitely one for that duck confit you’ve been thinking about making…
www.urbnvino.nz

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Brodie Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2011 $27.50 (4 stars)
Seven years on from vintage and this wine is at peak. The great thing is that it’s beautifully made and at under $30 is a bargain. Seriously juicy and woven through with wild strawberry, cherry and hints of pepper, it’s also got black tea and cranberry characters which lead to a long, tangy, spicy finish. It’s surprisingly youthful and zesty, yet it has underlying power and structure and maturity. Its quality is testament to Ann and James Brodie’s dedication to martinborough pinot noir.
Sip with venison tartare.
www.brodieestate.co.nz

Escarpment ‘Noir’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2017 $30 (3 stars)
This is Larry McKenna’s (or Larry McPinot as he’s affectionately known) first foray into organic, minimal intervention, ‘natural’ winemaking and its, it’s ok. Unfined, unfiltered and minus any additions like sulphur (to prevent premature oxidation), this wine was fermented in a clay amphorae and left on its skins for around 9 months before being pressed and subsequently bottled. Expect aromas of hedgerow fruits, forest floor and fresh tamarillo followed by a light, earthy, cough-drop character on the palate, high acidity and some gum-prickling tannins on the finish. It’s a drink-young style.
www.escarpment.co.nz

Urlar ‘The Mediator’ Gladstone Pinot Noir 2016 $32.50 (4 stars)
I love that the back label of this wine says to ‘put away until the cosmos tells you to enjoy it’ although I think it’s one to definitely be enjoyed now. Produced organically and biodynamically by Angus Thomson and their talented team, this is a bright-as-a-button pinot noir, bursting with cherry, raspberry and rosehip tea notes. Fresh, vibrant and cleansing, it’s a pinot for everyday drinking, everyday appreciation and everyday awesomeness with anything involving some cooked duck, venison or lamb.
www.urlar.co.nz

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