Why should you care? The La Niña-influenced cool, overcast summer and very late harvest of 2012 resulted in many unsatisfyingly lean, green sauvignon blancs from Marlborough. But the more protected continental Central Otago region a bit farther to the south on New Zealand’s South Island enjoyed somewhat more clement summer conditions, and its pinot noirs were in a better position to benefit from a warm-up at the end of the very long growing season. Thanks to slow ripening and slightly lower alcohol levels than usual, the best of these wines display uncanny clarity of flavor and complexity, often with enticing floral lift.
What does it taste like? The basic estate bottling from Terra Sancta shows an attractive bright medium red color and complex aromas of dark cherry, raspberry, earth, herbs, lavender and sandalwood. It’s supple and tangy on the palate, with nicely ripe but brisk red fruit flavors leavened by pepper and herb notes from a percentage of whole-cluster fermentation. This sappy wine shows captivating lift and definition and its firmly tannic, spicy finish leaves the palate feeling energized. My score: 90 points.
How much does it cost and where can you find it? $28; Terrell Wines