New Zealand Wine Evolving with Kim Crawford's Loveblock Wines
Winemaker Kim Crawford became famous when his eponymous winery's Sauvignon Blancs took the world by storm. Kim later sold that winery and since then some palates have gotten a little burned out on the enormous aromatics and flavor profiles of what the world came to know as "New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc." Kim now makes wines for Loveblock Winery, which he owns with his wife Erica. The organic wines they produce are expectedly delicious - but unexpectedly restrained, especially when it comes to the Sauv Blancs.
I had the chance to taste through three of Loveblock's wines and talk to Kim at a media lunch in New York last week. Kim gave us a breakdown of what some New Zealand winemakers like him are going for nowadays in their wines, and it's a pulling-back from the punch of strong aromatics and flavors. Restraint and elegance are the new watchwords.
We started with the Pinot Gris, a round, fruity, refreshing wine that would be nicely paired with light fare but also could easily be consumed on its owned. It offered floral and pear notes on the nose with white peaches on the palate and good acid. A wine I'd call "gulpable."
Next we tasted how Kim is working with Sauvignon Blanc. This elegant wine was certainly an eye opener, as it truly showed restraint compared to many New Zealand Sauv Blancs. There was a refreshing but not overwhelming aroma of lemon as well as tropical fruit and crisp flavors of white peaches. The wine had medium high acid but also a creamy texture that was welcome and surprising. Kim stated that he is particularly looking to make wines with good texture and mouthfeel - allowing some of the wine to go through malolactic fermentation - and it showed.
The 2014 Loveblock Pinot Noir came next. I tipped the glass to admire the translucent ruby color and Kim remarked, "I never trust a Pinot Noir you can't see through." I agreed I preferred Pinots with delicacy like this one. Created from grapes grown in the Central Otago Valley, Kim told us they have no problem achieving ripeness every year. Lush cherries on the nose and palate along with a hint of tannin and spice made this a satisfying Pinot Noir.
Look for Loveblock wines to experience New Zealand's shift towards restrained elegance.