Thursday, August 4, 2016


by Dwight Casimere

MARLBOROUGH, NEW ZEALAND--NOBILO PURE NEW ZEALAND wines of Marlborough make you forget everything you formerly knew about New Zealand wines. The wines were first put on the international wine map in the 1980s as a fruit forward mouthful of bright, zesty citrus fruit and pronounced minerals that offered a pure expression of New Zealand's clean green land.

Some wine aficionados, however, were turned off by the preponderance of "green" flavors and aromas of prairie grass and chalk. Enter Nobilo's master winemaker Dave Edmonds and the winery's subregion collection of vineyards  that offer an amazing variety of microclimates and terroir, from windswept plains to rolling, sun-basked hillsides that offer a full repertoire  of luscious, flavorful grapes that produce beautifully finished wines.

Nobilo 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Regional Collection ($13) and Nobilo Icon 2015 Sauvignon Blanc ($22) are this week's Wine of the Week selections because of their outstanding character and flavor and the exemplary artisan winemaking of Dave Edmonds and his team at Nobilo.

The wines are not only stand-alone favorites, but are perfect with a number of summertime favorites. They are best enjoyed al fresco on the patio, an outdoor cafe,  a romantic day or evening on the beach or in an elaborate picnic basket at an outdoor concert. Seafood salads, garnished with shrimp, lobster or scallops, seafood pastas, or a mouthwatering platter of sushi or sashimi are the other choices for a perfect wine and food pairing.

The aroma alone is enticing. Take the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Regional Collection. The smell of fresh cut grass, so typical of summer and which everyone loves, is the first thing to greet you. Follow that up with aromas of fresh limes and tastes of succulent melons and hints of mild peppers and garden herbs, and its easy to understand why this wine just invites good summertime eating. Its perfect as an aperitif, served well chilled as a prelude to the meal, on through the meal as an able accompaniment and then, an applause-worthy finishing act.

For the adventurous, try using the wine as the main ingredient in a summertime cocktail. This writer used it as a substitute for rum in an otherwise traditional Mojito, with copious amounts of fresh lime juice muddled with sugar and shaken with two ounces of Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc and served in a glass rimmed with Turbinado sugar. Top it with a splash of sparkling water, or, for the bold and beautiful, a healthy dollop of Champagne, Prosecco or other sparkling wine for a delightful kick!


Nobilo Icon 2015 Sauvignon Blanc ($22)  is the flagship of Nobilo wines. Established by the Nobilo family in 1943, after the family fled impending war in Croatia in the 1930s, the winery gave expression to a 300 year old winemaking tradition in a country that had no previous wine culture. After several years of struggle, which saw the family building their own winemaking tools, the first commercial vineyards were planted in 1943. By the 1970s, the family established themselves as successful winemakers, and transformed New Zealand's wine industry by shifting from hybrid grapes to the single varietals Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. The rest, as they say, is winemaking history, with Nobilo continuing  to craft delicious wines with distinctive regional character.

Nobilo Icon is made predominantly from grapes from the renowned Castle Cliffs vineyard of Marlborough's Awatere Valley. Artisan winemaking accounts for its distinctive character. Hand harvested and  fermented in separate small tanks for a prolonged period under cool temperatures to preserve the bright, fruit character, the resulting wine has a complex array of sumptuous, mouthwatering flavors of citrus, wet stones and delicate white flowers. Flavors of lemon and white peaches combine with a juicy acidity and a bright minerality that gives the wine a long, lingering finish, which is unique to this white wine. This is an unusually sophisticated white wine that should be saved for that special meal or occasion. Consider that new seafood darling of the culinary realm,  pan-seared Branizino or Monkfish in garlic and olive oil,  sprinkled with rosemary or thyme, fresh capers and finished with a splash of the wine and a few gobs of softened butter to create a quick pan sauce. Pour over Orzo, jasmine rice or angel hair pasta and serve with a side of steamed or lightly grilled asparagus or grilled Romaine spears for a perfect meal on the patio or in the garden.

 Nobilo master winemaker Dave Edmonds
 The renowned castle Cliffs vineyards of Marlborough's Awatere Valley
 Shrimp and Loster Salads
 Below: Seafood pasta

 Assorted Sashimi trays

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