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Wine of the Week for week ending 8 May 2011
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Distant Land Gewurztraminer 2010
Marlborough , New Zealand

This gewurz is just gorgeous, I said to Neil after I had finished swooning. The wine was chilled and had a crispness to it, and while it seemed moderately dry, a sliver of sweetness enveloped the finish. The kind-of musky, spicy flavours infused with bitter orange were exciting my mouth long after the wine had been swallowed.

We had just completed a nine-hour drive from New Plymouth to Auckland it took that long because of the adventurous back road route that included gravel sections and at least half a dozen stops. The fact it was raining for most of the way didn't matter in the pristine bush sections between Awakino and Marakopa, and the Marakopa River, where we stopped for lunch, and the three harbours we passed Kawhia, Aotea and Raglan, all had a whimsical mistiness about them. We reached State Highway One at Mercer for a much needed food break; so on reaching home it was wine down time.

Gewurztraminer is my drink of choice at the moment, perhaps because of the food I'm eating, but also because I just like it simply to drink. Before or after dinner, it doesn't really matter. Now it was after dinner and Distant land Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010, that had been opened on the Thursday night before, with about 1/3 of the bottle consumed, and had been hibernating in the refrigerator all weekend, absolutely hit the spot.

While I don't like wines like Chardonnay to be too chilled, Gewurztraminer, with its low acidity and sometimes overly luscious sweetness, can take the cold without complaining. And in this case, the wine was all the better for it. I elevated my rating from 4 stars to 5

Distant Land Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010 has quintessential exotic scents of Turkish Delight and spice and classical varietal flavours of juicy lychees with smoker lollies and a touch of hot spice that leaves a white pepper tingle behind. Quite luscious, yet not overly sweet, it's balanced by musk and orange zest.

The back label states the grapes for this wine were grown in the Omaka sub-region of Marlborough's Wairau Valley. It was a low-yielding crop, just 1.5 tonnes per acre (3.7 tonnes / hectare) which resulted in a concentrated wine. The winemaker is Peter turner and he has made a wine with 13% alcohol, 11.2 grams per litre residual sugar and 6.3 g/l acidity. The closure is a screwcap and recommended retail price is $19. Find out more from

On the night we opened this wine it was a very successful match to my favourite (but doomed Thai restaurant dish), Chicken with Thai Basil (Gai Pad Gra Pow). On the night we finished this wine, it was supremely successful all on its own.

© Sue Courtney
1 May 2011

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