Down Under Delights Enjoyed in Oregon
“If I must choose just one New Zealand winery for sauvignon blanc, I’ll pick Kim Crawford. The 2016 vintage is already available in area stores, and if anything, it’s even better than previous years,” John Gottberg Anderson recommends in a piece for Oregon daily newspaper The Bulletin.
“Straw-coloured, almost greenish on the pour, this wine is unoaked and bone dry with a suggestion of smokiness. On the nose, there’s a pleasing suggestion of ripe stonefruit, like walking through an orchard before the pears have been harvested. The palate offers passion fruit and subtle flavours of pomelo, or Chinese grapefruit, along with the varietal’s naturally grassy notes. The lingering flavour is fresh and tangy.”
“Kim Crawford’s grapes come from vineyards in Marlborough’s Wairau and Awatere valleys, neighbouring alluvial terroirs much like Napa and Sonoma in California.”
“There’s nothing quite like this in the Northwest, but one winemaker who ‘gets it’ is Ray Walsh of Eugene’s Capitello Wines. No surprise here: Walsh is a New Zealander.”
“Having discovered wine on a backpacking trip through Europe, Walsh was working in Marlborough for Kim Crawford and the large Villa Maria estate when he was recruited in 1993 by Eugene’s King Estate. After successfully raising its international profile in pinot noir and pinot gris, he stepped away in 2003 to establish his own brand, Capitello. Now he and his family fly back to Marlborough every harvest season.”
“Capitello’s Marlborough sauvignon blanc features a hint of oak, separating it from traditional New Zealand wines. But his Willamette Valley sauvignon blanc, sourced from local grapes, is a distinctly ‘Down Under’-style wine, with aromatics of passion fruit, lychee and lemon zest.”
“Walsh also makes wines on contract for Eugene’s Territorial Vineyards. But as something very near and dear to his heart, he keeps the sauvignon blancs to Capitello, the company he owns.”
Original article by John Gottberg Anderson, The Bend Bulletin, April 20, 2017.