You might be thinking why someone (namely Sarah Ahmed from The Wine Detective) would describe a range of wines as “off-piste". The meaning here is that these wines are a little rebellious, a little edgy—they can’t and won’t be contained with everyone else. They need to deviate from the norm and draw fresh lines in the powder. Framingham’s wines are some of the most fascinating we carry at K&L. The wines are dynamic, edgy, stylish and engaging. Framingham’s philosophy to remain “out of the mainstream” means the focus here is creating expressive, aromatic wines with a very deliberate sense of individualism—“we take risks and follow our hearts” is proudly emblazoned on the front page of their website. The wines are unashamedly audacious, full of bold flavors and zesty acidity. They have been portrayed by some of the world’s top wine critics using language such as: “original” and “fired by attitude”. They're one of my favorite producers I get to visit each year when I travel to New Zealand.
The creative force behind these outstanding wines is winemaker Andrew Hedley. Andrew has been described by two MWs (Bob Campbell and Jancis Robinson) as: “New Zealand’s best sweet winemaker” and “New Zealand’s finest Riesling producer”. While Riesling is his primary passion (his are truly world class), he also makes phenomenal Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. Andrew is a very interesting guy, hailing from Northern England originally; he is a huge fan of Punk Rock (check out his Sex Pistols “God Save The Queen” T-shirt on the website) but also holds a PhD in Applied Chemistry. This diverse personality is definitely reflected in his wines—part raw rebellion and part intricate science. As if the annual harvest punk rock concert wasn't cool enough, there are a lot of wine geeky facets to Framingham that should get most of our customers excited. Framingham’s estate is certified BioGro organic and has some fantastic plantings of 30+ year old vines. The fruit for their wines is exclusively from the Wairau Valley in the heart of Marlborough wine country. Andrew’s style is both experimental and artistic but also very measured and precise. His blending skills are perhaps second to none and he crafts wines with beautiful layers of flavor and complexity from a broad palate of diverse, small lot fermented, base wines. In the winery everything is kept very parcellated from the specific blocks that were individually picked/fermented. Andrew then uses these dozens of individual components to render the final expressions with great depth and detail.
Ribbonwood is the second label of Framingham and the new vintage of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is an absolute stunner. Don't settle for mass-produced, commercial, bulk New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc when you can have something like this crafted by Andrew, a master of his trade. It's everything you could want in a classic, everyday NZ white wine and it exemplifies that fresh, crisp, juicy style of Sauvy that originally put New Zealand wines on the map. With our direct import pricing, a bottle comes in at just over $10, making it instantly one of—if not the best—white wine values in the store. I know my colleague David Driscoll agrees. So far he's bought most of our supply for himself!