A MEETING WITH WINEMAKER ERICA CRAWFORD
LOVEBLOCK WINES FROM NEW ZEALAND
Loveblock wines from New Zealand are a relatively new brand on the market but the people behind it are established veterans of the New Zealand wine scene. Kim and Erica Crawford created Kim Crawford wines and when they sold out for a bundle to Gallo and Constellation Wines, they then took a five year break under the non compete’ terms of the contract.
We met Erica Crawford at an exclusive lunch at the outstanding Hollywood restaurant WOLF, and here is the story about LOVEBLOCK. Erica was born and raised in Cape Town which as you know also produces some very up and coming stellar wines, and she made the big move to New Zealand after she got married. Trained as a medical scientist, this has obviously helped her in her winemaking career.
We have long been a huge fan of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and this version is outstanding to say the least. Retailing for $23.99, the 2016 version comes from Marlborough country or to be more specific, on the hills overlooking the Awatere Valley. The grapes are tank pressed followed by four hours of settling and the juice is inoculated with organic yeast. This gives the wine more texture than normal.
As to a food pairing with the wine, the chef at Wolf who is by the way Marcel Vigneron, came up with an outstanding food pairing of Hamachi Crudo, a sublime dish prepared with nuoc cham, radish, herbs and puffed rice.
The 2013 Pinot Gris on the other hand was much sweeter on the nose with floral aromas and a hint of ripe pineapple. The taste reveals blood orange and poached pear, and the tasting notes indicate that the grapes were destemmed and crushed before being pressed. The juice is then cold settled for 36 hours and inoculated with organic yeast. A maximum of 5,000 cases were produced of this wine which retails for $25.99. What the chef came up as a pairing was a ridiculously good Mushroom Risotto w/pine nuts, sorrel, fresh English baby peas and pancetta. It was as good as any I have tasted in Milan and just the right texture.
Finally I got a chance to taste the Pinot Noir which is a difficult wine to produce in New Zealand because of the low production percentages. This 2013 Loveblock version which retails for $37 tasted lovely and fruity and only 2.700 cases were produced. The aging period for these grapes was 11 months with older oak which preserves the intensity of the fruit. This is wine of course that goes perfect with meats, and the pairing of Braised Beef Cheek could not have been better. This version is pan seared and as tender as you could imagine with jerusalem artichokes, endive, all in a turmeric peppercorn sauce.
What makes these fresh tasting New Zealand wines so special is the day/night climate variation from 75 degrees down to 40 at night.