After more than a decade of garnering points for its tangy, grassy sauvignon blancs, New Zealand has lately become known for producing true-to-character wines made from that tricky but trendy varietal, pinot noir. It makes sense that a hard-to-grow grape would find a home on the islands where The Lord of the Rings was shot: rugged, windblown, chilly. The 2005 Amisfield ($33, vinfolio.com) from the Central Otago district is a great example, instantly recognizable as pinot by its minerally, slightly meaty aroma without any fruit-in-your face aggression. Yannick Speicher, sommelier at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort, offers Amisfield because the winemakers "respect the character of the grape." He adds: "This is not a wine that will overheat your taste buds, one with overextraction. . . . It's very much like a Côte de Beaune from Burgundy." And it has what wine people call "length." I compared the Amisfield to an equivalent Spanish red recently, and the Kiwi hung back while the Spaniard strutted its stuff then began to fade in the glass. More than two hours later, the Amisfield was still delicious, its pinot notes pitch perfect.
New Zealand Pinots
Buyers + Cellars
After a grueling round at Kauri Cliffs, you tuck into a crisp sauvignon blanc. Notes of gooseberry mark the flavor, and a citrus finish on the bite refreshes you. It's a seemingly perfect expression of New Zealand—a case for your collection is a must.
Call in the experts: Vinfolio.com is an online wine store with a suite of complementary services for collectors. Its personalized buying service will locate the wine you sampled and deliver it to your doorstep—or store it hassle free in its San Francisco facility. Advisers can help you grow your collection or sell your wine. Best of all, collectors can track their cellars from anywhere in the world with Vinfolio's free software, VinCellar. You can upload your inventory to the database, or Vinfolio's team will catalog each bottle for easy trafficking. The online system allows you to view cellar contents, including a bottle's location (New York apartment, Cape Cod beach house), professional scores and when-to-drink dates so your best grapes don't sour. There's also recent auction and retail valuation, allowing you to manage your cellar in much the way you would a stock portfolio. A smart solution for the traveling wine enthusiast.