A new producer with the mission statement of ‘No Compromises’? Even at my tender age (we shall draw a veil over how tender) I realised what a cynic I have become as I sighed at the likelihood of yet another label big on PR piffle and small on delivery.
Lo, Misha’s Vineyards appears to be that rare beast combining both style and substance. They do indeed have a smart marketing/PR side of affairs and have clearly done their homework in site selection at Bendigo in Central Otago and in their planting and production systems. And with Robin Dicey and Olly Masters on board, they are also obviously no slouches when it comes to personnel recruitment.
However, as so many before them have shown, all this counts for nothing if you can’t translate it into what’s in the glass.
Misha’s Vineyard’s first commercial launch therefore presents an impressive platform on which to build. The range encompasses pinot noir (three levels, one yet to be released) plus aromatics – riesling, pinot gris and gewurztraminer (there is also a sauvignon blanc to keep export markets happy). The 2008 pinots and 2009 whites were on offer at the release and all were very accomplished wines showing a lovely approach to texture – a virtue all too often lacking. Olly has also cleverly managed to allow Central’s rather exuberant fruit to shine through on the nose of the pinots while offering subtle, savoury, dry (who’d of thunk it??) and textural palates. Smart stuff.
All wines were good to very good, but for me the star of the moment was the gewurztraminer. Perhaps we are the Gewurztraminer Appreciation Society here at the IWM (as ever, deeply unfashionable) but you can’t argue with a wine that displays that lovely heady aroma of spicy roses and Turkish Delight, moves on to a palate with the signature oily unctuousness and a bit of residual sugar balancing the rich fruit and crisp Central acid, and best of all finishing pithy, almost dry and savoury, leaving you wanting more. No mean feat. All too often, NZ gewurztraminer starts well and then things go all pear-shaped at the end, but this wine starts well and gets better.
So well done to Misha and her team – this is a label to watch.
(Emma Jenkins, Independent Wine Monthly, 3 December, 2009)