“Several Ottawa sommeliers and wine professionals, along with noted author Natalie MacLean, enjoyed a wine tasting luncheon October 4, with an informative presentation from Kim Crawford’s Chief Winemaker, Anthony Walkenhorst and a scrumptuous meal from Maxwell’s Bistro. We were treated to several of Kim Crawford’s finest wines and each plate was introduced by the chef.
The New Zealand winery Kim Crawford was launched in 1996 with a virtual vineyard … the actual land for the vines came later! With an unusual start, and in a relatively short time, the winery has made New Zealand as famous for its wines as it is for kiwis! Canada is Kim Crawford’s #2 market after the U.S.” – Jane Staples
In the short video clip above, Kim Crawford Winemaker Antony Walkenhorst talks about food pairings for his South Island Pinot Noir versus his Small Parcels Spitfire Pinot Noir.
“What a beautiful sunny day to sit in Maxwell’s Bistro sampling a great menu and tasting some incredible New Zealand wines from Kim Crawford vineyards. The food pairing with their Fizz Methode Traditionelle, Sauvignon Blanc, Unoaked Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines was spot on.
I was fortunate to talk one-on-one with Kim Crawford winemaker Anthony Workenhorst about grape harvesting, selection of yeasts for their signature Sauvignon Blanc and the new sparkling wine Fizz Methode Traditionelle 2009, which we were able to sample before lunch.
It was interesting to compare the Kim Crawford Regional Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines as well as the Small Parcel wines of the same varietal. The Small Parcel wines are a more personal expression of the winemaking staff, with the selection of grapes from specific regions to add complexity.
One valuable lesson I learned from Anthony during the tasting: Never stand on the oak barrels during an New Zealand earthquake.” – Mark Cochrane
Antony Walkenhorst discusses the difference in his pinot noirs that are made from grapes grown the Marlborough region (brighter cherry aromas, aromatic) of New Zealand versus the Central Otago region (darker, deeper berry flavours).
Anthony described the processes behind each wine with the understated passion and art of a winemaker. It was heartening to hear that this Australian transplant to New Zealand once worked the harvest for Jackson-Triggs. He missed the icewine harvest by two weeks, and seemed relieved by that thought.
It was particularly interesting learning about the development and methodology behind the small parcels program at Kim Crawford. Already making standout Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, small parcels is about selecting the best grapes, best sites, blind tasting selection and riper fruit to name some of the challenges.
Judging by the small parcel Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir selections we tasted, Anthony Walkenhorst and Kim Crawford have succeeded. Alcohol levels for the international markets will remain higher than the lower alcohol levels trending in New Zealand.
A special shout out to the chef at Maxwells for a job well done. The deviled ham was awesome! And now to get myself some 2013 Kim Crawford ‘vintage of a lifetime’ wines just coming into our market.” – Heather Wall
Anthony share his favourite food pairings for his sauvignon blanc wines.
Anthony is an Australian who studied at renowned Roseworthy College in South Australia, and has worked in several wine regions, including Canada’s own Jackson-Triggs for the 2004 vintage. He also used to work with Kim Crawford himself, whom he describes as having an amazing palate, being switched on, and even a bit ‘artsy’.
Kim Crawford’s Fizz production of sparkling wine is gaining in reputation (and justifiably so). The wine is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, and made in the best quality of the traditional method used in Champagne. It has also rests for a staggering 42 months on lees, adding richness and creaminess to the wine, and produced 1800 cases this year.
Anthony also talked about the 2013 New Zealand vintage, being heralded as the vintage of a lifetime. Dry, drought conditions on the North Island and borderline drought conditions on the South Island led to a situation described as “rare to get all the [wine] regions firing at the same time”.
Anthony explains they had perfect heat degree-days, sunshine and dryness at harvest. The only downside was everything ripened at once and so harvest was compressed into a two-week period rather than the usual three! – Malcolm Lamont
This is the second in a series of team tastings by top reviewers in our community, most of whom are graduates of either the Algonquin College Sommelier Program or La Cite Collegiale Sommelier Program. You can see the wines reviewed in our first team tasting with Errazuriz wines. Stay tuned for more.
Photo and video credits: Heather Wall, Jane Staples, Matt Steeves, Dan Carkner, Mark Cockrane.