June-July 2014

Kim Crawford
By: Zachary Bernstein

Hand-sorting grapes at Kim Crawford.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF KIM CRAWFORD


LIKE A GOOD ROCK BAND, Kim Crawford Wines originated from humble beginnings before blowing up to fame, recognition and legions of fans. Husband and wife duo Kim and Erica Crawford of Central Auckland, New Zealand lacked some of the things most wine producers had—like their own grapevines, their own tanks or a sizable budget—and ran their passion project operation out of a spare room in their house. That was in 1996. Soon afte the fruits of their labor hit the market, Kim Crawford Wines started earning trophies an medals across the globe, winning over wine drinkers and critics alike with their special blends of New Zealand flavor led by their flagship variety, the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Matt Deller.
“New Zealand’s actually regarded as the best country for Sauvignon Blanc now,” says Matt Deller, Brand Ambassador for Kim Crawford, while featured on a local Kansas City television news program. “We took that handle off Europe.”

Deller ran his own boutique wine importing and exporting business for over a decade  before bringing his expertise to act as the point person tying together production, marketing and sales to spread the Kim Crawford gospel. 
The Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has been  an easy sell, employing grapes from vineyards spread across the valleys of the Marlborough region, each with their own distinct flavor, joining forces to make a rich aromatic blend. And what food does Deller personally like to pair with his company’s foremost export? “Seafood: oysters, salmon . . . I like scallops with fennel, lime and wasabi mayonnaise.”
However, Kim Crawford doesn’t rely on its Sauvignon Blanc alone. Out on the market since last October is their Chardonnay-based alt-Champagne selection, a 2009 vintage called Fizz Méthode Traditionnelle, named after the popular Kim Crawford vineyard hostess Felicity “Fizz” Nelson, who also shares the same bubbly and vivacious traits. The Chardonnay comes from Castle Cliffs Vineyards in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley, boasting bright mineral and citrus flavor.

Coming soon to the United States is a Small Parcel series Pinot Gris, bringing more of the aromatic whites that perform so well in New Zealand, this time with added spice and honeysuckle, partially fermented in acacia wood to enhance the quality of the aroma.  

Deller also offers a sneak preview of an upcoming wine slated for release in October, Wild Grace, a Small Parcel Chardonnay named for the elegance of its purity and its unrestrained native-yeast fermentation. Matt Deller and the people at Kim Crawford prove you don’t have to be a rock star if you’re drinking wine, but it helps to be one if you’re making it.

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