Monday, March 26, 2012

Seifried "Nelson Bay" Riesling 2009

I remember my first encounter with antipodal riesling; it was a year-old 2008 Pike's “Traditionale” from the Clare Valley and I guess I wasn't ready for the sheer intensity of it; whatever else it was, it was forceful in all directions, especially acidity. I was advised that it would show better after 2013. Since then, I've approached southern hemisphere rieslings with caution. Well, I'm looking pretty silly now, with a glass of Seifried riesling from New Zealand in front of me—still refreshing with acidity and mineral character, but very well-mannered.

2009 Seifried “Nelson Bay” Riesling: This opens with mild citrus and floral notes on the nose, followed by flavors of peach and tropical fruit, and slate-like, almost German mineral character. Again, very refreshing, with a mouthfeel that just hints at richness. It played very nicely with a pork loin stir-fry; we'll have to try it with the Chef's latest obsession, bibimbap. Now that I think about it, it would probably make a fine accompaniment to the citrus-cured salmon at Hopgood's, our favorite restaurant in Nelson. It's only half a world away...

The wine is made by the Seifried family, who have been cultivating grapes near Nelson, at the northern tip of New Zealand's South Island, since 1973. Austrian-born Herman Seifried has nearly 500 acres west of the town, with varying terroirs.  The 2009 riesling is a blend from two vineyards, Brightwater (younger vines, lots of stones and well-drained soil, for low yields) and Redwood Valley Vineyards (older vines, clay, north-facing –meaning more sun, not less—remember where we are). Seifried also grows sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, gewurztraminer, merlot, pinot gris, and pinot noir. There is a sweet (204 grams/liter) riesling, named for Herman's wife Agnes, that wins lots of awards, that we'd like to run into someday.

Today, the Seifried children are very much involved in production; as best I can tell, Chris Seifried runs the vineyard, Heidi Seifried-Houghton handles the tech stuff, and Anna Seifried is the marketer. Seifried was the first winery in Nelson accredited as “sustainable.” Click here for the winery website; the short video is worth your time.

Nearly forgot: At $10.99 this is an excellent value; it came from Vinsite, and if you go down there this week and there's any left, you'll get an even better price.

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