We opened this wine last week and it was one of the ones we most enjoyed drinking both before, during and after our meal.
Named Fox Junior, it is a new label from the Foxes Islands stable, er, winery in Marlborough. The island in the name is not an island, not anymore anyway. It's a ridge surrounded by the dry course of an old riverbed where vines grow as profusely as the water that once flooded this plain. As for Foxes, that name comes from Sir William Fox (1812 - 1893), a statesman and a reformer according to the 1966 Encyclopedia of New Zealand, and as well the Premier of New Zealand four times, albeit some stints were not very long. Sir William adopted a Maori son, who became known as Fox Junior. This is the name of winemaker John Belsham has given his new selections - currently Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
Fox Junior Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008 ($28.99) is a medium translucent colour, like a red cherry in hue. Savoury on the nose and in the palate, it is far more intense in taste than the colour would suggest. Very approachable, ready to drink, it offers soft silky tannins and loads of savoury flavours with underlying creamy oak (French oak, 10 months), strawberry and black cherry fruit sweetness and a long, persistent and pleasing finish. I rated it 17.5 out of 20 with extra ticks for accessibility and enjoyment.
Also tasted the other week was Foxes Island Marlborough Riesling 2008 ($33.95). This is a gorgeous Riesling in what I call the true Marlborough style. It's not searingly dry, nor is it softly sweet. It is delicately perfumed and floral with hints of honeysuckle, rose petal and earthy herb scents. The delicacy of the aroma carries thru to palate that seems quite light at first then surprises with its mouthfilling flavour and oomph. I like the way the flavour expands in the palate - bright and fresh with a sherbet-like zing, citrus and exotic tropical fruit and beautifully balanced with just enough sweetness to take the edge off the dryness. best of all the finish goes on and on and the flavours are delicious - and five minutes after swallowing I am still enjoying it. I gave this wine a gold medal rating and it was just behind the Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Riesling 2008 from Waipara, which was last week's Wine of the Week - click here to read that review.
© Sue Courtney
8 Feb 2010