Saturday, December 25, 2010

Gestalt Drinking

The day's activities of relaxing and socialising meant a number of wines were opened, tasted or consumed. With all of the bottles opened, the psychological principle of gestalt came to mind. 'Sum of parts' and 'the whole' were phrases that were appropriate.
Two half bottles of NV Laurent-Perrier Champagne were opened. They've been sitting in the cellar a couple of years. Usually they get consumed quickly, as the 375 ml size is ideal for spontaneous opening. As we all know, 1.5 Litre magnums are ideal for keeping any length of time. These two were excellent. Quite dry and surprisingly so, but with the core of complex toastiness that comes from time on cork. They would be appreciated by those with 'English' tastes, which included SWMBO and me on this occasion. Here two half bottles gave better than one whole.

Then a stunning 2010 Saint Clair 'Wairau Reserve' Sauvignon Blanc. The different 'Pioneer Block' wines are all the constituent bits, it seems. The 'Wairau Reserve' one could imagine being the best bits put together. Sometimes that could be the case, other times it is the best performing block wine. We don't know. Whatever the case, this was incredibly refined, yet had the benchmark pungent passionfruit aromas and depth. With sheer class. You normally don't say this about wines from this variety.

We moved onto a 2008 Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett. This bottle a little out of sorts - or was it us? We usually drink Erni's wines in the context of his whole range. On its own, it was difficult to get the full perspective. I love the way this vineyard delivers exotic and ethereal florals. Here it was limes and minerals in a staid fashion. We opened this because of the Brazillette's new man of German origin being here.

With the meal, we paired 2006 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir with the single vineyard 2006 Ata Rangi 'McCrone Vineyard' Pinot Noir. The former made up of a blend of the best fruit from all the vineyards, the latter a special bottling of one special site. 2006 was a brilliant year in the region and it showed with both wines. Youthful, fresh, tight, vibrant and with tension. The healthy, ripe fruit was startling. The richness and depth of interest in fruit expression with textured palate weight made them international standard. The 'regular' wine was quite complete. Accessible now, with ultimate balance. It will keep a decade yet. The 'McCrone' still raw and primary. The componentry was in your face. Dark fruit depth, acidity, tannin structure and even the alcohol. Needing knitting together. Quite singular. It will come together, and maybe live 15 years easily. But tonight harmony and balance, completeness and togetherness won the day - or should I say night.

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