Erica Crawford’s name isn’t quite as instantly recognizable to wine lovers as that of her husband — that would be Kim Crawford — but she’s a charming representative of the winery the two operate in New Zealand.
That would not be Kim Crawford.
The Crawfords — perhaps we’d better just refer to them as Erica and Kim — now own and operate a winery in the Marlborough region of New Zealand called Loveblock. They sold the winery that bears Kim’s full name in 2003, and with the sale they agreed to not use their last name in relation to any winemaking they undertake.
If you go to the Loveblock website, you’ll see the bios for Erica and Kim note that they both go only by their first name “to respectfully avoid confusion with the brand that carries her/his name but with which she/he is no longer involved.” Also, to avoid a lawsuit.
Erica was in Orlando recently to talk up some of Loveblock’s wines. I was invited to join her for a luncheon and tasting at the Boathouse in Disney Springs.
We began with the 2013 Pinot Gris. “The nose on this is quite a bit more constrained,” she said. “The focus is on texture rather than aromatics.” She said that historically, New Zealand winemakers have made Pinot Gris too cloying, with too much residual sugar, but Kim had cut back on that. “So I think this wine with shrimp and grits — I love it.”
But with the oysters that had just been placed in front of us, Erica had only one ideal pairing. “I love champagne, I could bathe in it,” she said, “but nothing goes with oysters like Sauvignon Blanc.” She was pouring the current release, which has nice notes of peaches and passionfruit but none of the grapefruitiness that overwhelms many Sauv Blancs.
She also brought along the 2012 Pinot Noir, a very nice showing of plum and blackberry flavors. “It’s not Meiomi,” she said, “but it’s not Marlborough, either.”
She also likes to quote Dr. Richard Smart, a viticulturist who described Pinot Noir as “A petulant princess: Wonderful at best and a total bitch at worst.”