With Christmas looming, in a good way, I’m thinking about what fizz to have on Christmas morning when I’m opening, hopefully a few good presents, alongside giving a few in return of course. Being the ‘wine expert’ in the Roberts household it falls on me to make sure the drink is sorted and doesn’t disappoint. I’ve spoiled them over the years so keeping them happy isn’t as easy as just grabbing a bottle of Grandes Marques off our virtual shelf and popping it open come Crimbo morning.
I like to open up something a little different, something with an air of the unusual or unexpected about it, and so this year I’ve selected something from New Zealand’s most iconic winery – Cloudy Bay. They’ve grown from very humble roots to stand tall as one of New Zealand’s most highly regarded producers and their Sauvignon Blanc is revered the world over.
I decided to go with their NV Pelorus to show there’s more to Cloudy Bay than just their Sauvignon Blanc and also to remind my family and all who’ll read this that there are some truly amazing traditionally made sparkling wines available that are not only produced in Champagne.
Pelorus follows the model used in the Champagne region of France and is crafted from predominantly Chardonnay with a supporting role given to Pinot Noir. The grapes are carefully sourced from selected vineyard sites located in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley. I don’t want to get to technical so I won’t just recite the whole process once the grapes are harvested so I’ll just skim over it. After the base wine finishes fermenting it rests on its lees for approximately 8 months before, blending and undergoing a second fermentation (the part the gives the base wine its bubbles) in bottle. This now fizzy juice then rests in bottle for a further two years before finally being readied for release onto the eagerly awaiting market.
At under 20 quid, by a penny, it really does represent excellent value for money but saying that, what is this wine really like? As you’d expect from a top-quality Champagne Method sparkler once poured it has plenty of vibrancy. The nose shows notes that point in the citrus fruit direction with layers of fresh bready aromatics adding complexity. This palate is instantly fresh with green apple flavours, toasty delicacy and a finish that is long and ultimately incredibly refreshing.
A good bottle of fizz brings enjoyment to the dullest of occasions, so when you open up that unwanted gift on Xmas morning, if you prepare well like I do, you can just have a sniff, followed by a good sip of your fizz, smile and be grateful. Also remember, it’s the giving that really matters!