February 2022 Edition: The New Zealand Pinot Box
Order by January 31
Exclusive to Gourmet Box lovers,
We invite you to a free virtual unboxing & tasting event! More details inside the box!
Hello Wine and Cheese Lovers!
The mood is down (all the way down) for our February gourmet edition! But that’s a good thing, as we’re heading south to my homeland of New Zealand. February marks the country’s national day celebrations, known locally as “Waitangi”. And to join the celebrations, we’re pairing three tantalizing Swiss artisanal cheeses with a gorgeous Pinot Noir from one of the southernmost vineyards in the world.
Some people believe if you dig a hole from Switzerland all the way through the Earth, you’ll eventually end up in NZ/Aotearoa “the land of the long white cloud”. Think of this gourmet box as a tasty excavation without all the digging. Two worlds combined in one (delivered) experience.
Known as the home of New World Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand’s history with winemaking dates back to the early 19th Century. The first wine grapes cultivated were in fact Chardonnay. Pinot Noir (of the same family) is a more recent addition, only being planted commercially in the 1970s, but by no means is this a developing variety. New Zealand Pinot is now one of the most sought-after the world over.
An antipodean homage to Bourgogne
Our wine of the moment comes from Hall-Jones’ family-run Domaine Thomson, located in the Central Otago region, just east of the Remarkables (aka the Southern Alps). Stunning views and an intriguing “continental” climate. There’s also an interesting connection between the Pinots of this region and that of Bourgogne (Burgundy) in France: they share very similar latitudes, just either side of the equator; -45 degrees south and +47 degrees north, respectively. Wine regions in parallel.
The Explorer’s grapes come from the domain’s white chalky top terrace vines known as the Moon Block (300m). Retaining the fresh fruit elements, so iconic of this wine, the grapes are pressed gently, never crushed. It is then aged in French oak barrels for 10 months to bring out its velvet spices.
This wine knows no bounds, inviting on the nose, silky on the palate. It can be enjoyed now or up to five years’ time. The taste of my home – my “mana”, for you to indulge in.
Here’s a great pairing recipe. More flavorful inspiration in the box!
Explorer Pinot Noir 2019 (Bio)
By Domaine Thomson, New Zealand
Grape: 100% Pinot Noir
Wine Style: Dry and surprisingly developed for its (young) age. A complex yet highly accessible wine.
Characteristics: Ripe and expressive bouquet. Rich aromas of dark cherry, plum, and toasted spices, developing into some gamey notes with smooth integrated tannins. Contributing to its long, lingering finish.
Serving recommendation: Slightly cooler than room temperature. Put in the fridge for 10 mins if too warm. Suggest opening 30 mins before enjoying. Decanting is not necessary.
Interesting fact: Many Pinot Noirs from NZ have a direct connection with the famed vineyard Romanee Conti. A cutting was taken in secret in the mid-70s and traveled in the rugby boot of an unknown All Black player. However, the cutting was confiscated upon arrival at Auckland Airport and ironically into the hands of hobbyist winemaker Malcolm Abel. The rest is wine history.
Santé, Marc Checkley
A marriage of lakes and mountains
New Zealand and Switzerland share many similarities: lakes, mountains, and cows aplenty (just not as many sheep or Hobbits in Switzerland!). We scoured the valleys and peaks to find three artisanal pairing cheeses that truly make this a taste made in heaven. Here’s our exclusive gourmet selection:
The Smokey and Seductive One
FüürStei from Chäsi Girenbad (ZH) is a natural-smoked, semi-hard cheese made from raw cow`s milk sourced from the local pastures of the Züricher Oberland. It is a unique specialty with deep savory flavors that remind us of charcuterie. Its bold, smokey taste and spicy character marries beautifully with the rich flavors and aroma of the Explorer Pinot Noir.
The One that Evolves
Wölkli Chäs from Fläcke-Chäsi (LU) is a soft, bloomy rind cheese that is made in Luzern. Matured for a minimum of 10 days, the flavors continue to evolve for nearly a month. It is mild and milky with an ultra-creamy texture that is almost like velvet in your mouth. The soft crust adds an earthiness that reminds us of the terroir that this specialty comes from. We love how the Explorer pairs gorgeously with this artisanal cheese without overpowering its delicate flavors.
The One that brings Us Together
Mont Vully Réserve is a spicy, bold cheese specialty from Fromagerie Schafer (FR) that is aged for more than 10 months, which of course, further develops its earthy intensity. This award-winning cheese develops a unique flavor profile from the way it is processed and aged in the cave: it is washed regularly with Pinot Noir wine from the vineyards of surrounding Mont Vully. A perfect marriage, poles apart with our New Zealand Pinot Noir!
Here’s to Gourmet!
A collaboration between Marc Checkley – “Drink Moi”
and The Cheese Ladies – L’Atelier du Fromage