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This Week's Tasting

Glad They Didn't Take My Advice - New Zealand Wines: Twelfth Night, Plus Two
October 25, 2017

Ever fantasize about starting a winery in a far-off land? Don't ask for my advice.

Twelfth Night Vineyard

        When Somerville residents Beth Anne Dahan and her husband sought my opinion about setting up the vineyard in New Zealand, I responded with my equivalent of Humphrey Bogart's cynical line to the hapless refugees in Casablanca"Go back to Bulgaria."

I recited a long litany of all the pitfalls they were liable to; the weather, the insects, the water or its lack, the unreliable locals, the difficulties in marketing etc, etc, etc.

Fortunately they didn't take my advice but went ahead with a vineyard in New Zealand's Central Otago, a prime growing area for cooler climate grapes and they've come up with a portfolio of wines that offer serious quality for very little money.

Beth Anne, who is too polite to say I told you so, will join us to present four wines from the winery they have named Twelfth Night. I liked them a lot when I tasted them last summer. Three come from Central Otago where the cool climate makes for wines of a lighter, more European style. We will taste a delicate but fruity Riesling and a Pinot Noir as both rosé and red. In addition they buy grapes from Marlboro to make a Sauvignon Blanc that delivers some very good intensity at a very reasonable price.

Literally and figuratively we will flesh out the tasting with two choice wines from other New Zealand producers. Villa Maria makes an incisive but not over the top Sauvignon Blanc from the Taylors's Pass region in Marlborough's cooler Awatere Valley.

Craggy Range in the Martinborough region on the eastern side of North Island makes a Pinot Noir more delicate and more intense than many Willamette Valley peers at the same price.

This tasting will be well worth it to hear the trials and travails a local winemaker and taste the fruits thereof.

New Zealand


2015 Twelfth Night Sauvignon Blanc; Aroma: very grassy, very dense, heady, juicy; Mouth: juicy and forward, fleshy, herbal smoky, nice acidity, long;

Very Good Plus 13.99; Mixed Case, 12.59; Case, 11.89

2014 Twelfth Night Riesling; Aroma: bright rather diesel-y, grapey, fresh and clean; Mouth: clean juicy rather fresh, rather forward, very bright

Very Good Plus 18.99; Mixed Case, 17.09; Case, 16.14

2016 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Taylor's Pass; Aroma: fresh rather clean, light acid, fresh lifted; Mouth: juicy rounded, bright and clean acidity, bright star fruit, grapefruit, clean fresh long; Very Good Plus 29.99; Mixed Case, 26.99; Case, 25.49


2016 Twelfth Night Rose Pinot Noir; Color: medium orange red; Aroma: fresh pretty, rather dense, plummy, reserved ; Mouth: pretty rather sweet, fleshy full bodied, clean acidity, fine long, mouth filling ; Very Good; 18.99; Mixed Case, 17.09; Case, 16.14


2013 Twelfth Night Pinot Noir; Color: Very dark clean; Aroma: heady rather full, very rich deep fruit, plummy, rather rich very dense; Mouth: juicy bright acid clean herbal, very fine, a touch of fine acids clean; Very Good Plus 21; Mixed Case, 18.9; Case, 17.85

2016 Craggy Range Pinot Noir; Color: Deep; Aroma: Deep rather firm; Mouth: Juicy full clean rich nicely bright full subtle wood note, very balanced; Very Good Plus 32; Mixed Case, 28.80; Case, 27.20


10-25 New Zealand Twelfth Case: Special, two each of the above wines - $225

Instore only 10-25 New Zealand Twelfth Case Pack: Special, one each of the above wines - $119


Order by phone at 617.367.8605, or reserve here: order@federalwine.com


Please pass this on to any friends who are wine enthusiasts!


           - Len Rothenberg


(c) Federal Wine and Spirits Inc. 2017