Marlborough/Central Otago, New Zealand
Pinot noir grapes have flourished in some New Zealand growing regions because of temperate climates, low humidity, diurnal variations and extended growing seasons. This wine draws grapes from two sources nearly 500 miles apart on New Zealand's South Island. Central Otago vineyards cling to soaring mountainsides above river ravines, and the Marlborough region's Awatere Valley boasts maritime influences, a moderate climate and long ripening seasons that yield concentrated fruit flavors. Grapes were fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for six days. The wine aged in French oak barriques for nine months. This six-year-old wine has not lost the fresh expression associated with youth while taking on the benefits of aging. It offers aromas of ripe berry fruit, plum and subtle hints of underbrush and oak. On the palate, taste dark cherry, herbal notes, spice, nuanced minerality, silky tannins and good acidity. Drink it with duck confit, veal picatta, grilled pork chops, venison sausage and herb-roasted fowl. Buy it at: Grande Krewe Fine Wines & Spirits, Brady's Wine Warehouse and Philippe's Wine Cellar. Drink it at: Ruth's Chris Steak House at Harrah's New Orleans Hotel.