Oh dear, there's a bit of a gap between this and the last entry, isn't there.
Anyway, Happy New Year. Hope you all had a great festive season.
Clive from Nautilus Estate in New Zealand just left the shop so I thought I'd tell you about his wines. A classic Kiwi range including Sauvignon Blanc, on good form as ever, Chardonnay (great value, in an oakier style) and a Pinot Noir which is more refined than I remember.
Clive also presented me with an interesting excersise. He'd brought cask samlples (wine direct from the barrel of a vintage that hasn't yet been bottled) of three different Pinot Noir clones from the same vineyard in the 2008 vintage. Clones are vines of the same grape variety but with tiny genetic mutations within them which change the chracter. Pinot Noir winemakers are particularly obsessed with them. Two of the clones were Burgundy or 'Dijon' clones (667 and 777 I think he said) and one was a mutation of the 'Ata Rangi' clone - stolen from the Domaine de la Romanee Conti vineyard and used in a number of Kiwi plots inlcuding Ata Rangi (allegedly). The idea of the excersise was to show that each clone has a defined character.
A great idea this, as we hear about these things but rarely get a chance to taste them. The three wines (which were vinified and aged identically) were really quite different with the 667 being expressive, fruityand light with relatively low in tannin. The 777 had deeper flavour but a more closed nose, and more spice and the biggest tannic structure of the three. The Ata Rangi clone was the most balanced, complete wine, with a bit of everything and a real sense of harmony.
The most revealing aspect of the tasting though was when Clive blended a wine in front of me (well, tipped all three glasses together - very scientific). The resultant wine was the best of the three (which is the idea of blending after all) and had an element of all three clones, but a noticeably longer finish with a noticeably different fruit character than any.
Next time, we'll get him to do it at an in-store tasting!