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Wine of the Week for week ending 19 August 2001
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Kim Crawford Marlborough Dry Riesling 2001
Marlborough, New Zealand

Goodbye Corked Wine! Hello screwcaps!

Kim Crawford Dry Riesling 2001 The Kim Crawford Marlborough Dry Riesling 2001 is the first wine to be released as part of the Screwcap Wine Seal Initiative, which heralds the new wave of wine bottle closures in New Zealand.

Twenty eight producers have committed to using the screwcap wine seals for the 2001 vintage early release wines while many more are exected to abandon the traditional cork in favour of the seal next year.

And it won't be just Riesling you see closed with screwcaps in New Zealand. There will be Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay for a start and perhaps some Pinot Noir. The producers have worked with ACI Glass in New Zealand to develop Burgundy-shaped as well as Riesling-shaped bottles. Some bottles will also be imported from France.

Look at this bottle of Kim Crawford Marlborough Dry Riesling in the photograph. It certainly looks smart. The screwcap doesn't detract from the overall package and gee, it is easy to open.

So what of the wine? Well, what a little ripper! The taste is so clean and pure.

The colour is pale, not quite colourless but almost except for some tinges of straw. Floral aromas, like peach blossoms and lime leaf, abound in the bouquet.

In the palate there's plenty of upfront sherbet with a yeasty youthfulness then "here comes the citrus" - lashings of limes and lemons. Then hints of honey, zesty spice and a lovely palate richness and length with tropical fruits, like pineapple and mango, emerging to linger together with the lime. Great intensity with a sweet ripeness. And such beautiful balance.

Three cooler, later ripening, crop-thinned vineyards in Marlborough were used to source the fruit for the wine. The grapes were picked at a ripeness of 22.5 Brix and fermented to dryness with an aromatic yeast until just 3.5 grams per litre of residual sugar remained.

This brand new wine is so delicious to drink now. It is so fresh and so juicy. However, I would say the cellaring potential of this wine is almost endless. Screwcapped wines from Australia that are over 20 years old are still drinking beautifully.

Kim Crawford was keen to move to screwcaps after a disastrous run of tainted corks with his gold medal winning Kim Crawford Dry Riesling 1999. In fact at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards judged in November 2000, 32% of the rieslings in the 1999 dry riesling glass, were rejected as being corked. I found a corked Crawford riesling at the show tasting. Crawford moved to synthetic cork closures for his 2000 Dry Riesling and I am sure I noticed some bottle variation at a tasting of that wine earlier this year.

The Stelvin screwcap will ensure no cork taint and allow the wine to age as a well sealed and airtight closure should.

This Kim Crawford Marlborough Dry Riesling 2001 is definitely gold medal material so don't be surprised when you see the results of the forthcoming Liquorland Top 100, being judged at the end of this month with results due to be released in September.

The wine was released in New Zealand on August 13th 2001, and should be widely available in fine wine shops and supermarkets. It has a recommended retail of NZ$19.95. Talk to your wine shop proprietor if you cannot find it. 400 cases of this wine will be exported to the UK.

Link to the Kim Crawford website for further information.

Link to the Screwcap Wine Seal Information Page for a look at the history and revival of this closure in Australasia.

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