Awaken to Kim Crawford wines
By W. Peter Hoyne
I have always been somewhat confused about the continued enthusiasm for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. This grape came into its own about a decade ago within the U.S. market and has always been a seasonal choice, especially during the warm summer months. Today, California has mastered this wine through blending and allowing for more sun exposure of the grape canopy, creating a level of intrigue that entices even the novice to indulge. Kim Crawford is one of those wineries in the forefront of this new movement, consistently crafting stylish wines. They introduced a reserve tier of Small Parcel wines that caught me by surprise and in awe of this new direction. Crawford has established his reputation with Sauvignon Blanc. Their philosophy remains: "We do things unconventionally, take risks, start things, welcome different..."
1. 2006 Kim's Favorite Chardonnay | Gisgborne, New Zealand
In each vintage, Crawford searches for choice blocks of grapes that represent the best from individual vineyards. Then he barrel ferments them in American oak. A forward and full-bodied Chardonnay of white currant and tropical fruit oils layered with creamy butterscotch. This wine retains its purity and precision in the finish. | About $20
2. 2005 Kim Crawford Park-Lands Vineyard Gewurztraminer | Gisborne, New Zealand
Gisborne is on the sunny eastern harbor region of New Zealand's North Island. This wine has expressive elements similar to the notable wines of Alsace with subtle aromas of lychee nuts and almonds followed by a refreshing core of white peach, apricot blossom and honeysuckle. | About $20
3. 2006 Kim Crawford SpitFire Sauvignon Blanc | Marlborough, New Zealand
Selected from distinct vineyard plots, this wine is described as "the pinnacle of Sauvignon Blanc from Kim Crawford." Truly the ultimate white wine yielding a flavor profile so exotic it left me speechless, if only for a moment. Deep tropical tones of mango, guava and passion fruit soar from the glass onto your palate. They're balanced by just enough acid, allowing the flavor to linger on your palate for a few minutes before ending with a lasting impression. What a shame that most Sauvignons Blanc are not modeled in this style. 400 cases imported. | About $20
4. 2006 Kim Crawford Rise-n-Shine Pinot Noir | Central Otago, New Zealand
Rise-n-Shine is sourced from the rugged terrain and mountainous inland region of Central Otago, an area dedicated to Pinot Noir because of the flavor complexity that evolves from this wind-blown region. The deep crimson color yields aromas of rose petals with powerful undertones of dried cherries, pomegranate, saddle leather and clove. | About $28
W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits.