I recently had the chance to try a series of utterly remarkable New Zealand wines.
They’re from Framingham in Marlborough, a producer whose points of difference are that they are experts in Riesling, and also in sweet wines.
As a set of wines, these were quite stunning. The Pinot Noir is one of New Zealand’s best, and I’d really like to try it again: I get nervous about dishing out such a high score. But this wasn’t just a quick taste, so I am happy to go high.
For the sweet wines, I kept returning to them over the course of several days, and they held up beautifully (I’d not been able to attend the lunch at these were shown, but I swung by the restaurant later and picked up the bottles with a little taken out from each—this gave me the opportunity to taste at leisure).
The wines are made in small quantities; catch them if you can. UK agent is Les Caves de Pyrene, but I’m not sure that many of these bottles will be coming to the UK. Expect the scores for the sweet wines to increase with age – these were just babies.
Framingham F-Series Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Marlborough, New Zealand
13% alcohol. Powerful, taut aromatic nose with grapefruit, spice, smoke and some herbal notes. The palate is dense and quite powerful with grassy green notes and some rich herbal characters. Quince and grapefruit, too. Odd but nice. 91/100
Framingham F-Series Pinot Noir 2009 Marlborough, New Zealand
14.5% alcohol. Aromatically thrilling: sweet cherry fruit with complex herb and spice elements. Pure, elegant and beguiling. The palate is superbly poised and elegant with sweet cherry fruit offset with a mineral/spice dimension and subtle green notes. A really beautiful wine that’s quite profound. 96/100
Framingham F-Series Riesling Auslese 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
8.5% alcohol. Fine, lemony, grapey, melony aromatics. Real finesse. The palate is very sweet and richly textured, showing lovely balance and poise. Refined sweet lemon and melon fruit here. Nicely complex and subtly spicy. 94/100
Framingham F-Series Pinot Gris VT 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
8.5% alcohol. Varietally true grapey, spicy nose is fine and expressive. The palate is richly textured and fully sweet with a lingering, spicy finish. Pear, grape and melon fruit characters with nice balancing acidity. 93/100
Framingham F-Series Gewürztraminer VT 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
8.5% alcohol. Lovely open lychee, rose petal and grape nose is very expressive with some tea-like complexity. The palate is textured and sweet with rich lychee character. Beautifully balanced with good acidity and spiciness. Thought-provoking. 94/100
Framingham F-Series Riesling Beerenauslese 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
9% alcohol. Concentrated, rich and dense with lovely sweet, viscous grape and lemon fruit and a really long finish. Massive power here: the intense sweetness is balanced by the acidity. Remarkable wine of great potential longevity. 95/100
Framingham F-Series Riesling TBA 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
7.5% alcohol. A really viscous liquid. Sweet lemon, honey, spice and apricot nose. The palate is incredibly concentrated with fresh lemony high tones and super-sweet apricotty depth. Powerful, incredibly concentrated and yet beautifully focused and with some delicacy. Precise and pure, and will outlive most of us. 97/100
Framingham F-Series Gewürxtraminer SGN 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
7.5% alcohol. Viscous and concentrated. Engrossing nose of sweet lychee, rose petals and herbs. The palate is incredibly sweet and intense with honeyed Turkish delight characters. Opulent, smooth, viscous and delicious. 94/100