Racy and vibrant Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is synonymous with the iconic wine-maker Kim Crawford. Kim Crawford captures the true aromas and flavors of New Zealand Wine in each bottle. You can very well imagine my delight and sheer excitement for having the esteemed privilege of sitting down with Mr. Crawford to share his newest wines Loveblock over a delightful luncheon at The Capital Grille.
Erica and her husband, Kim, renowned veterans of the New Zealand wine industry, are now sharing that story – of a special place and its extraordinary wines – for the first time, presenting the inaugural releases from Loveblock Vintners: a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.
Erica and Kim began making wine under their own label in 1996 and later sold that business. But they were lured back by an untamed parcel of land on a hillside in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley and the prospect of making wines that showed “true and naked terroir.” “We wondered what we could do with this wildness: How would the unique terroir translate to flavors in wine?” Erica says. “Can we make wine that is elegant, restrained and complex? Wine that speaks of its place and a season?”
“The land has its own rhythm and we respect that,” Erica says. “We don’t try to change that rhythm. We submit to that and the deep, intimate relationship it demands from those who work the land. We are the custodians of the land, and our reward is the elegant, yet complex wines made from the grapes we grow.”
The Loveblock Farm (vineyard) in the Awatere Valley is certified organic by BioGro New Zealand, the country’s leading organic certifier. The Central Otago property, purchased in 2008 and dedicated solely to Pinot Noir, is SWNZ (Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand) accredited. “Our philosophy was anchored in 2000 when life forced me to carefully and progressively examine the chemical nature of our immediate environment,” Erica says. “As a result, we are creating a self-sustaining estate with meticulous soil and plant management, leading to the production of grapes like no other.”
To make the wines, Erica jokes that she “hired the best winemaker I know – my husband.” That would be Kim, a past “New Zealand Winemaker of the Year” and colourful industry personality.
After our introductions over the 2012 Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc and amuse-bouche of Oysters, we sat down for a three-course lunch paired brilliantly with Loveblock wines. The chef and staff of Capital Grille treated us to an unforgettable feast of tantalizing flavors and textures.
The 2012 Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc lifted aromatics with peach, juicy citrus notes underscored with blackcurrant and tomato plant spice. The palate is elegant and restrained with peach combining beautifully with the citrus flavors and fresh acidity. The wine lingers long in the mouth, with inherent minerality.
Food Pairing: “Duo of Carpaccio” Scallop and Waygu Beef thinly sliced with a citrus vinaigrette beautifully complimented the fresh acidity and citrus flavors of the 2012 Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc. Can I get seconds please?
The 2011 Loveblock Pinot Gris wine, a potpourri of yellow wildflowers underscored with lychee, musk melon and almond flavor. Finishing dry, the wine has great minerality and length – a product, in part, of the extra year in bottle before release.
Food Pairing: Crisp, floral, and fruity Pinot Gris is a perfect choice for summers. Paired with the quintessential New England summer ingredient – Lobster, it’s a light yet opulent combination.
“Anything from the Pinot family is better with a year in the bottle,” Kim says. “The secondary flavors start to appear and the wines have more interest.” Pinot Noir is now the second-most planted variety in New Zealand, and the Central Otago region – the southernmost wine growing region in the world – has become known for producing the most distinctive Pinots in the country.
Loveblock’s “Someone’s Darling” block was named after a legend that in the mid-1800s, the farmer who owned the land found the body of a young man on the property. The farmer buried him and for the lack of name, identity and kin, he simply engraved on the course wooden cross “Someone’s Darling.” The 2011 Loveblock Pinot Noir is big and rich with sweet berry fruit flavors, hints of mushroom and oak and balanced dry tannins. Aromas of dark fruit with perfumed violet notes and a hint of oak.
Food Pairing: Filet Mignon’s lean meat is a remarkable match with Pinot Noir’s finesse. The Sliced Filet Mignon over Herb Roasted Mushrooms held it’s weight with the rich Pinot Noir.
With summer at our heels, Loveblock’s new line-up we tasted are exquisite compliments to scorching temperatures. Not to mention the endless flavor possibilities with Asian fusion to simple Italian meals. So whether you are in a mood for something sassy and vibrant as a Sauvignon Blanc, or simply enjoying the sunset with a crisp and creamy Pinot Gris, or craving the earthy sensuality of a Pinot Noir, Kim & Erica Crawford’s elegant and constrained wines will have you falling in love with wine all over again.
In Kim’s own words: “I am Erica’s husband and the winemaker here at Loveblock. Making wine is really the only thing I have ever done; I’ve been doing it for almost 30 years now. “I am from a farm and for me the challenge of Loveblock was to tame the wild piece of land up there on top of the hill. I thought the flavours we could extract had the potential to be quite special and distinctive, intense yet elegant. I am just lucky enough that we are in a position to experiment, return the balance to the land and make the best wine I can, doing what I love.”
The wines, imported and marketed by Terlato Wines International, will be available this spring in the United States. Terlato Wines International (TWI) has a global portfolio of more than 50 brands from an array of world class wine producers and presently markets more than one out of ten bottles of wine over $14 sold in America. According to Nielsen AdViews, Terlato Wines accounts for 26 percent of all advertising dollars spent among Luxury Wine companies—the leader in the category. TWI garners more 90+ ratings than any wine company in the world and is a division of the Terlato Wine Group, the parent company comprising several businesses specializing in the marketing and production of exceptional wines. Owned and operated by the Terlato family for four generations, the Group also includes the family’s winery investments and partnerships in some of the world’s most esteemed wine regions, including: Napa Valley; Sonoma County; Santa Barbara County; Victoria, Australia; the Rhône Valley in France; and Montalcino, Italy.
Mille grazie (thousand thanks) to each and every person including Gregory White PR, Terlato Wines, and Capital Grille for hosting this incredible once in a lifetime experience!