We started with a feast featuring Puriri Hills wine and several right bank Bordeaux wines. We had a simple meal of roast beef and chateau potatoes featuring your Puriri Hills Reserve 2005 and also your Puriri Hills Pope 2008. Accompanying these were also a 1966 Ausone, a 1966 Cheval Blanc, a 1981 Clos Fourtet, and a 2001 Cheval Blanc. All the wines showed brilliantly, except the 01 Cheval Blanc was still a bit young. We all agreed that it will be majestic when it reaches maturity.
The second evening we also had a simple meal to highlight the wines: braised leg of lamb with rice and gravy. This time, left bank wines were compared to your Puriri Hills Reserve 2008. Alongside your wine, we had a Lafite, a Latour, an Haut Brion, and a Pape Clement, all from the 1999 vintage. Here again, all the wines showed well, except the Latour, which begs for another 10 years to reach maturity.
The opinions of all the guests were surprisingly unanimous, with some indicating slight preferences for one or another producer, but all agreeing that all of the wines were indeed world class. This of course includes your wines. I think we agree that while Puriri Hills showed more affinity for the right bank wines, it has its own unique style, but one that can hold its own with any in the world. I have been drinking fine wines for more than fifty years, and I can honestly say that in terms of complexity and profundity of flavor, the Puriri Hills rivals the very best wines of Bordeaux. Redolent of exotic fruit and spices, your wine manifests richness and intensity without sacrificing elegance or grace. You have certainly accomplished your goal of making world class wines in New Zealand, and I am sure you are justifiably proud.
I guess I should also mention that we finished both meals with Rockbridge Vineyards V d’Or, an ice wine produced right here in our county. Long a favorite of mine, this wine demonstrates a lusciousness that proves that one need not venture to the Rhine or Sauterne for a dessert wine.
By Craig Crockard, Virginia, USA