Craggy Range 2008 Te Muna Road riesling

A short note today on a riesling from New Zealand. Riesling has many guises from the deliciously slatey, fruity Germans of the Mosel, bone dry yet aromatic Alsatians to the limey Australian rieslings that come from the Clare and Eden Valley. There is a riesling for everyone, no matter what your preference. And now, New Zealand has joined the club of premium riesling producers. Riesling does very well in the cool climate and and stoney soils of  Martinborough and Marlborough, New Zealand. Craggy Range has produced a real cracker of  a Riesling from their Single Estate Te Muna Road vineyards in the Martinborough region. The grapes come from 2 small terraces that are part of the famous Martinborough Terrace which has exceptional, old stony soils.   The grapes are handpicked, whole bunch pressed and go through cool fermentation before being left on the lees for 4 months. This gives the wine a complexity and body that is a hallmark of Craggy Range. I find that New Zealand rieslings seem to combine the aromatic quality of Alsace with the fruitiness of a german riesling while still retaining it’s dry character. There can be some residual sugar but I find that there is no where near as much as can be found in many German rieslings, especially those that have a few  years of age. I often find that New World rieslings go very well with Indian cuisine. I was at Mint Leaf Lounge for a dinner and  The Craggy Range Te Muna Road riesling was served with a curry, potato and mullet dish with a mustard sauce. The riesling had a vibrant, floral citrus nose, a well balanced wine with lovely passionfruit and citrus notes, it had a depth and elegance that made it a true pleasure to drink. I enjoyed  it on its own as well a with the fish, the wine neither being overpowered or overpowering the fish. Craggy Range’s riesling is a fine example of what New Zealand is doing with this...

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Mint Leaf Lounge – winelist and a Conundrum

“I’ve seen it all, from Blue Nun to now.” So said my charming host, Gerrard McCann, GM of the Mint Leaf Lounge, situated smack in the heart of the City, referring to the changing wine tastes of British consumers. Gerrard had invited me to check out Mint Leaf’s wine list and do a bit of food and wine matching. Gerrard’s philosophy regarding wine lists is to try and list wines that you won’t find on any other wine lists. To that end, Mint Leaf only sources their wines from small boutique distributors and look for rare and unusual wines to offer on the wine list. The list is divided (mostly) not by region or country but by the type or characteristics of  the wine. Hence, they have headings such as “crisp, refreshing & fruity”, “full & creamy”, “fine wines & rarieties” (for the reds), “soft & fruity”, “round & spicy” and “curiosities & fine wines” (for the whites) as well as the more traditional Bordeaux and Burgundy, to help their guests choose the appropriate wine to enjoy with their meal. I found an eclectic mix of wines on the list: Duck Pond Chardonnay from Washington state, Petit Mansang sec from France to a Fiano Mandrossa and everything in between. There was a smattering of Sancerres and Pouilly Fumes as well as white Burgundies to round out the list. A fine balance between Old World and New World, not too many choices but not too few, there seemed to be something for everyone. The reds were the same, with some fabulous choices, Amalaya Malbec by Colome, one you don’t see often on lists but such a winner, Joseph Phelps ’06 Le Mistral and a not too extensive collection of Grand Cru and 1er Cru classe Bordeaux. I could go on and on but if you really want to know more, have a look at the list here. Since we were in the City, they also have an extensive selection of champagnes, from Jacquart to Krug...

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