edited by Sue Courtney
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Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
In between the persistent rain showers here in Auckland, the sweet smell of late spring fills the air. It is especially sweet each time I return home from an outing and as I get out of the car, the heady scents of citrus blossom abound as they compete with the fragrance of the last remaining blossoms of the white wisteria and jasmine. The roses are making a magnificent display as well but their scent is subtle. I have to put my nose to several blooms to appreciate their fragrance.
I sniff the citrus blossoms to find the scent quite pungent while that of a new leaf is more delicate. The citrus and rose are edible and as I taste the petals of the orange, lemon, tangelo and grapefruit, I find the grapefruit to be surprisingly sweet in comparison to the others, while the rose petal is dry and bland.
The afternoon is warm and a richly scented, chilled gewurztraminer takes my fancy. I have a bottle of Kemblefield Hawkes Bay Gewurztraminer 2001 chilling in the fridge for just such an occasion.
It's not what I expect. The scent is honeyed with hints of beeswax, apricot, gentle musk, orange blossom from a distance and the subtle sweetly-scented pale pink rose.
The texture of this wine struck me with its slightly viscous, honey-like oiliness that makes the wine flow nicely across the palate. It's richly flavoured with lemon drops, honey, pink 'smokers' lollies and Turkish Delight with a sweetness like frozen sugar on grapefruit, or icing sugar on strawberries, which really pleases the palate. Then after the wine is swallowed, a bright sweet citrus (lemon/grapefruit) finish with ginger spice and musky overtones lingers for ages and the mouth is quenched with a mouth-watering juiciness, like the juiciness of watermelon on a hot summer's day. In fact, I can just imagine a watermelon infused with this gewurztraminer - what a lovely treat it would make this summer.
When I tasted the wine blind in August, I thought it lacked a little richness and gave it a silver medal rating. How the wine has evolved in just over two months. It's lusciously rich without being overpowering, the honey-like texture being very pleasing to the palate.
So I've just been to the Air New Zealand wine awards tasting and dinner, and I've tasted the three gold medal winning gewurztraminers from the Show, so why am I selecting another gewurztraminer for my Wine of the Week?
Well, the Lawson Dry Hills Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2001 was reviewed as Wine of the Week in September and the others I haven't had the opportunity to ponder over with a glass or two.
The delicious Kemblefield Hawkes Bay Gewurztraminer 2001 has 12.% alcohol by volume, 5.9 grams per litre of acidity and 5.8 grams per litre of residual sugar. It is a blend of Kemblefields's first estate grown gewurztraminer grapes and those from a vineyard near the Tutaekuri River in Hawkes Bay.
Order online at www.kemblefield.co.nz where it will cost you NZ$18 a bottle plus freight, or check with retailers of fine New Zealand wine. Kemblefield wines are exported to selected overseas markets.
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