16 September 2011

Te Awa Wines

I still get a little tingle of excitement when I get wines from New Zealand. It's a place that's remote even by Australian standards, but is responsible for mainstream English-speaking entertainment like the film versions of The Lord of the Rings.

Here I present three wines from Te Awa on the north island of New Zealand. The full name of the area is Te Awa o Te Atua, Maori for "River of God". Things like this tickle my old anthropology memories, and I can recall reading first edition ethnographies by Margaret Mead and Franz Boaz in the Pacific. I can recall in my graphic design days when I got a bunch of invitations to typeset in a strange vowel-heavy language and thought, "Where did all these Marshallese come from?" And the answer was that loads of them live in Northwest Arkansas working at the various Tyson chicken factories. But let us move on to wine.

2009 Te Awa Syrah
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
99% Syrah, 1% Viognier
$27, 13% abv
Starts out with a tart, bright cherry profile, As it breathes, it's really light and delicate, with a quiet, smooth finish.

2009 Te Awa Sauvignon Blanc
Includes a touch of Semillon.
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
$18, 13.5% abv.
Forward fruit of pineapple and balanced acidity, slightly floral nose and a long finish. Nothing like the big grapefruit SB you might expect from NZ.

2009 Te Awa Chardonnay
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
$27, 13.5% abv.
Light oak with a touch of vanilla and buttered toast. Light body with a mild touch of creamy lemon flavor. Balanced acidity and a long finish. Quite nice.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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