Around the Wine World in Eight Days – New Zealand continued


  • Turkey – Tuesday
  • Chile – Wednesday
  • Argentina – Thursday
  • France – Friday
    1. And we’re taking off the weekend, sightseeing in France
  • Spain – Monday
  • Germany – Tuesday
  • Australia – Wednesday
  • New Zealand – Thursday — and today’s continuation into Friday.


Today is the final day of Around the Wine World in Eight Days. It ran a day over (into a ninth day), because when I was about to continue with New Zealand for yesterday, I realized that the next wines from Murdoch James could just become an after thought… I didn’t want that, because fair is fair. As someone who also sends samples to wine writers, I know the cost involved, and it’s a very big financial commitment. As I said, with five wines yesterday, they took a huge chunk of the story. I want New Zealand to end on a high note, for everyone who trusted me with their samples.

It’s also a lovely ending to a massive project that I decided to undertake. I’m still trying to figure out why I didn’t see its magnitude ahead of time. I’ve come to think of it as a self-inflicted education, due to the massiveness of it all. The most significant part of this journey… The saying “last, but not least” has never meant more to me. With this particular story, I found myself…

My soul is singing, because I could so identify with this one. The gods gave me true. And, it’s not the first time. For a year, Mills Reef in the Hawkes Bay region, entrusted me with their Public Relations. Tim Preston was touring the United States, so we set up meetings with wine writers along his travels route. When I met the Preston family (at the end of his tour), I met some of the loveliest people I had ever met. They came bearing gifts; they stole my heart. Now, after producing this story, I believe, more than ever, that leading with my heart on my sleeve (as my grandmother so aptly accused me) is the way to go, if the people I’ve now been observing from New Zealand are any example.

I’m also going to leave you with a video at the end of this one, on sustainability, because the entire world could borrow a chapter in this playbook. The New Zealanders can teach humanity a thing or two. Yesterday I wrote what James Milton, founder, viticulturist, winemaker for Milton Estates had to say… The video allows you see him, and many others, chanting with one unified voice for sustainability.

I live as sustainably as I possibly can… Not just when people are watching, as was stated in a video about New Zealand that I watched; but every moment of everything I do. And, so does New Zealand. I don’t want this to sound preachy, so if you’re interpreting it this way, please rethink that. Be inspired, because our earth is so fragile and time is so short to save this world for our grandchildren’s grandchildren. The people of New Zealand live and work this way. We can trust their wines, if we are wanting to make a difference and leave the world a better place than we found it. It’s “like minded” wine, for you fellow naturalists.

Murdoch James

2014 Murdoch James Estate Pinot Gris

This Pinot Gris is really lovely, and brought back all of the Oregon Pinot Gris Symposiums that I organized for Oak Knoll Winery, a few years ago.  At that time, I got to study Pinot Gris (and Pinot Grigio), its many styles, and what foods would pair well with each. These food and wine pairings are based on my own experiences with food…. Isn’t that the same for us all? This New Zealand Pinot Gris is more in the style of a cross between an Alsatian Pinot Gris and one from Oregon. Alsace is more round for me, Oregon is more lean than a French one, and the one from New Zealand seems to be somewhere in the middle of the other two, if that’s even possible. It has to do with terroir, I’m convinced of it. Beautifully round in texture, delicate yellow plums for flavor, and a silky finish. This is a truly refreshing wine that I’d enjoy with a chicken stir-fry with lots of vegetables in a plum sauce… Yellow plums.

2014 Murdoch James Estate Sauvignon Blanc

This is a really friendly Sauvignon Blanc. Not littered with tons of MMB (3-Mercapto-3-methylbutan-1-ol), the chemical ingredient that makes Sauvignon Blanc resemble aromas of something that exists in our pet cat’s litter box. I have a hard time with this aroma, because it tends to dominate in not only the nose, but then also the palate… It’s not my favorite experience in wine, but I DO love Sauvignon Blanc wines. The winemaking techniques and terroir have allowed just a hint in this wine, with tons of white grapefruit dominating and in the lead role. If I were into lots of cheese, this one would help to cut through the creaminess, balancing the food and wine pairing. Delicious, really delicious and refreshing on this summer afternoon. Go for it!


2013 Murdoch James Estate Pinot Noir

The color of rose colored glasses, when a line of glasses would be poured at a pre-wine event. I cam imagine the image.  The color and level of transparency tell will tell us all that this Pinot  is delicate. I shot this image with my Nikon, with the Riedel Master Somm glass while it’s laying on its side, with a shot of the the Estate Pinot in it. This 2014 vintage is still very young and the tannins are present, so get ready to have something creamy, while enjoying this wine… With today’s rain, I’m thinking a creamy dill quinoa.  I enjoyed the rose petals of this one, as I drifted toward the the High Block. I recommended this one for simple flavored dishes. I try to eat simply, so you know that this one is right up my alley.

2013 Murdoch James High Block

Rich plum on the nose, this one is going to be very juicy, before even tasting it. I wasn’t disappointed. The colors of the two Pinots are very inviting, with the Estate being a bit lighter in body, and the High Block being more rich in overall depth; it’s a fun study in wine color and its richness. When I want a Pinot Noir for just sipping and enjoying it, this is the style. It has remembrances of many Russian River Pinots, with its depth of terroir showing. Single blocks are a true gifts, when we can get our hands on one.  Very delightful, and an amazing way to end this series of Around the Wine World in Eight Days. Perhaps another time, I can run with eight more wine regions. It’s a good snap shot for people curious about starting out, and a great brush-up for me; in some instances also learning a lot along with you.

The Murdoch wines were well worth the wait for me, to create a ninth day, truth be told. To wait just one more day to taste the focus and integrity of these four wines? De-luscious…