I don’t have a single all-time favourite wine. It depends on the season, with whom I’m sharing it and what’s on the plate in front of me. Normally at this time of the year it would be a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or Riesling. But right now it’s a Cabernet Franc from New Zealand, an extraordinary Cabernet Franc that beats anything I have drunk from the Loire, Clos Rougeard included. I might even prefer it in a taste-off with Chateau Cheval Blanc, although this Premier Grand Cru Classe “A” has Merlot in the blend. So let’s just say it is the best single varietal Cabernet Franc I’ve ever drunk.
It’s from a small biodynamic producer, Pyramid Valley Vineyards, from north Canterbury in NZ’s South Island.. The grapes are sourced from a tiny vineyard of less than a hectare in Hawkes Bay a region better known for its Cabernet Sauvignons and Syrah. Winemaker Mike Weersing has coaxed amazing flavours from the handpicked grapes. Much fuller, richer and silkier than the Loire’s Cabernet Francs, it has a lovely mouth feel and long but soothing finish. Simply brilliant. I have managed to get hold of 100 bottles of this nectar and am debating whether to share with my clients or put it all away in the cellar. So twist my arm if you want to taste a truly amazing Cabernet Franc.