Home > Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > Erin Pours Wines From New Zealand and New York at The Musket Room

Erin Pours Wines From New Zealand and New York at The Musket Room


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When Jenn and I sat down at the bar of The Musket Room it was sommelier Erin Barbour Scala who immediately placed glasses in front of us.  It is through her previous work at Public and her wine blog Thinking Drinking that Erin and I have become friends.  Erin decided to start us with a flight of three New Zealand white wines.  I typically taste wines that I have selected so to taste interesting wines picked by someone else is a treat.

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The 2009 Quartz Reef, Vintage Methode Traditionelle was quite an opener.  Its upbringing in oak and even, perhaps, the hand riddling, produced a beautiful sparkling wine evocative of Champagne.  That I may not have been able to place this as a wine from New Zealand may be due to my inexperience but I would readily open a bottle for my friends.  Erin noted that the 2011 Millton, Chenin Blanc, Te Arai Vineyard would change in the glass.  I was diverted by having my first taste of Chenin Blanc from New Zealand but Jenn was beguiled by the oscillation between waxy fruit, sage, and perfume.  Jenn grew up in New Mexico so she finds aromas of sage particularly attractive.  That she loved the Chenin Blanc over the larger, oak influenced 2009 Mountford Estate, Chardonnay is a bit telling.  For me the Mountford was a little too overt.  The 2009 Urlar, Pinot Noir mixed some complexity with higher-toned berries and citrus.  Of similar intensity the 2010 Paumanok Vineyards, Merlot showed a nice mix of grapey fruit and cinnamon spice.  To finish with the Channing Daughters Winery, VerVino Vermouth-Variation 3 served on the rocks was a complete surprise.  I did not take any note, instead I sipped it as I chatted with Barbara Lambert and Erin.  Erin and I have been discussing our next Online Symposium, we solidified our next topic that night so stay tuned.

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2009 Quartz Reef, Vintage Methode Traditionelle, Central Otago
Imported by Station Imports.  This wine is a blend of 87% Chardonnay and 13% Pinot Noir which was aged on the lees for 4 years.  Alcohol 12.5%. The nose was textured with aromas of a little sweet spice and wood notes.  There were slightly firm bubbles in the mouth with dissipated in to a firm mousse.  The acidity was supportive throughout.  The flavors were tangy and chalky with grip, spices, and a juicy aftertaste.  A pleasure to drink.

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2011 Millton, Chenin Blanc, Te Arai Vineyard, Gisborne
Imported by Verity Wine Partners.  This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from the Te Arai Vineyard which was planted in 1984.  It was fermented and aged in a mixture of demi muids and stainless steel tanks.  Alcohol 11.5%.  There was an evolving nose of waxy aromas, sage, and perfume.  The nose really steps out of the glass.   The flavors were a bit more fresh in the mouth than I expected with apple fruit and lots of grippy acidity flavors.  The flavors started apple-like then became sweeter.  An interesting wine.

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2009 Mountford Estate, Chardonnay, Waipara Valley
Imported by Fruit of the Vine Inc.  Alcohol 14.5%. The nose was clearly barrel influenced Chardonnay with ripe yellow fruit.  In the mouth were butterscotch flavors, good acidity, and a bit sharper towards the end with apple acidity.  I thought the oak a little too overt for my preference.

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2010 Urlar, Pinot Noir, Wairarapa
Imported by Atlas Imports.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir fermented in oak cuves then aged for 25% new French oak barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a complex nose of higher-toned berries, citrus, and “under brush”.  It took on a citrus aromas with air.  In the mouth were firmer flavors but delivered with good length.  It had nice cranberry notes yielding both fruit flavors and complexity.

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2010 Paumanok Vineyards, Merlot, North Fork
This wine is 100% Merlot.  There was a slightly sweet, restrained nose.  In the mouth were grapey flavors, cinnamon spice, and chewy tannins.  The firmer structure made way to acidity in the aftertaste.

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NV Channing Daughters Winery, VerVino Vermouth-Variation 3, Long Island
Alcohol 19%.  Served on the rocks this was a balanced, light red wine with a floral and herbal mixture.  No notes taken but I enjoyed sipping from my glass as I chatted.

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