On the Trail

Direct Import Validation

Ryan Woodhouse

Tongue in Groove is one of the most beloved direct imports at K&L because it's a moderately-priced pinot noir with incredible depth and complexity. For that reason, it's what our staff members drink and it's a wine they enjoy telling our customers about, simply because it epitomizes the goal of our direct import program: finding great quality at great price points. Our enthusiasm for the wine is no secret, as is clear from the number of glowing staff reviews on the product page, but the wine has also recently amassed huge scores from critics around the globe. In mid-December, Wine Advocate Editor-in-Chief Lisa Perotti-Brown snapped a phone pic of Tongue In Groove’s “Cabal Vineyard” Pinot and Instagramed it with the comment “Gorgeous label, gorgeous pinot." On seeing this we hoped the wine would feature prominently in her upcoming article on New Zealand and we weren’t disappointed when she awarded it 93+ points with a tasting note exclaiming “Love it!” as the proverbial cherry on top. Of course, w knew the wine was delicious, but that little bit of validation for our exclusive imports is always exciting!

It didn't stop there, however. The very same week the wine was scored 94 points by James Suckling.com and featured in his Top 50 NZ Wines of 2016. Add this latest acclaim to the existing 95 point Decanter review and Bob Campbell's 96 score, and you can see why we expect this wine to be one of the biggest hits of the year. We love it when one of our own comes good. The people behind this wine are some of the coolest in the business and, whilst the name and label are whimsical and esoteric, the juice inside is absolutely serious. Sourced from Waipara Valley, the wine is made under a non-interventionist philosophy, meaning no pesticides, herbicides, or artificial fertilizers are employed. It is fermented using wild yeast and is unfined and unfiltered; so what you get is a pure, honest, and unadulterated expression of place, grape and season.

Thanks to the inclusion of whole clusters there is an added element of complexity in this 2014, which takes the wine's depth to a whole new level. In the glass, it is nothing short of a joyful ride from sweet berry fruit to more savory elements of wild herb, stone, earth. A gentle grip of tannin makes for a lovely mouthfeel and assures years of continued development. This is a bottle you can certain enjoy in the near term, but feel free to lay it down for another five to ten years as it will develop beautifully. For those who loved the 2013, you’ll definitely want to pick up the 2014, and for those who haven’t enjoyed the wines of Tongue In Groove, what are you waiting for? Let us show you exactly what our direct import program can do.

-Ryan Woodhouse