24 June 2013

Brancott Wines of New Zealand + Contest

Originally founded as Montana, these wines were always marketed under the Brancott name in the U.S. to avoid confusion with the Big Sky Country. Now the winery has changed its name to Brancott Estate for markets both foreign and domestic. I've enjoyed their pleasant, inexpensive wines over the many years of this blog, and in the summer heat I was excited to try a pair of their screwcap-enclosed wines again.

If you like Brancott, you may be able to win a trip to New Zealand. Details below the reviews...

Let's start with the food. I found a deal on a bunch of thick-cut lamb loin chops. I prefer rack of lamb, but when the loin chops are cut this thick, they can function as mini porterhouses of delicious, tender meat. I dressed them minimally with salt and pepper, performed a hot sear over charcoal, and then let them slow cook in the cold side of a covered BBQ grill until reaching a succulent medium rare.

For a sauce, I used a variant of Michael Symon's recipe, which is a piquant mole-style sauce incorporating sherry vinegar. I substituted some dried peppers and a few other bits of magic based on prior experience with Mexican savory chocolate sauces.

Rounding out the plate is a little medley of black beans, corn, peppers, and onion, served hot, not like a salsa. The smoky lamb and tangy sauce went perfectly together, and the side dish was just light enough to not be overwhelming. When you've got this much flavor on the plate, you don't really need to eat a pound of potatoes.

I tried both of the wines with the meal:

2012 Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough, New Zealand
100% Sauvignon Blanc
$13, 13% abv.

The classic aroma of grapefruit is there but it's balanced out by a riper apricot tone. Great combination of tart and soft body elements, tropical fruits on the tongue, leading to a crisp finish. Vegetal elements emerge as the wine warms up. Highly recommended with a bucket of steamed mussels.

2011 Brancott Estate Pinot Noir
Marlborough, New Zealand
100% Pinot Noir
$14, 13% abv.

Soft plum, strawberry, and just a background note of bacon fat. Medium tart acidity with a finish that is much rounder than expected. Overall a quite mild and refreshing Pinot Noir. I thought it was perfect with the lamb.

And if you're on Facebook, you can enter the Chill Hour Promotion to win a trip for two to New Zealand. I'm not eligible, and I get no kickback on this deal, but if you like these wines and want to enter, go for it!

Note: These wines were provided as samples.

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