Santagostino Nero d’Avola Syrah Firriata 2012
L and I went to dinner Saturday night at the fantastic Cicio Cacio Osteria in Newtown. I love the food there, and the atmosphere. They like their salt – you are warned!
I had this fantastic wine there. On special. A 50/50 Nero d’Avola/Syrah blend from Sicilia.
Opulent and perfumed and engaging. Totally delicious.
Recommended – 92 points
Sileni Cellar Selection Syrah Hawkes Bay 2016 – $
Deep magenta colour. 12.5% alc. A value quaffer. L quite likes their Cabernet Franc Rosé.
This wine shows simple, soft fruit on the nose, with an itch of white pepper.
Soft ripe red plum flavours, medium tannins. Uncomplicated, and finishes long. Well-made for the price.
Commended – 84 points
Grava Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2015 – $$
Whole bunch pressed. Pale greenish straw. 12.5% alc.
Light and lifted, grassy, and finishes with a strong hint of licorice allsort
A smooth Savvy up front, slightly lean to taste, and minerally, with the expected lemon tang. Also evident is the typical lower North Island dialed-back SB acidity, but still is fresh and invigorating. Short.
Recommended – 87 points
Tietjen Witters TW Reserve Chardonnay Gisborne 2013 – $$
Off the Ormond Road. Pale gold colour. 13.5% alc.
Dense and layered and very aromatic, with big, buttery and oaky characters in the bouquet. Mango and apricot fruit.
It showed some development in the mouth. Rich mouthfeel with oak and full malo. Flavours of butterscotch, lemon citrus, ginger and honey. A strong spicy oak finish. An appealing and interesting Chardonnay.
Recommended – 87 points
Craggy Range Te Muna Road Riesling Martinborough 2014 – $$
Pale gold colour. 11.5% alc.
Steely cut-thru on the nose, crisp and ticklish, with scents of lemon and apple and a bit of clover honey.
Off dry. Austere and linear, with crisp citrus fruit flavours, short and sharp. Young and somewhat one-dimensional, but good for the heat of a summer’s afternoon, something that this season has been in short supply of.
Commended – 84 points
Clos Henri ‘Petit Clos’ Pinot Noir Marlborough 2015 -$23.55 Juicy & approachable, with structure and depth.
Kiritea ‘ Te Hera’ Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013 -$21.65 – savoury, peppery & aromatic. A layered, typical Wairarapa style.
Folding Hill Pinot Noir, Bendigo Central Otago 2013 -$28.95 – Elegant, wild thyme notes
Neudorf ‘Tom’s Block’ Pinot Noir Nelson 2014 -$30.25 – A quality quaffer.
Greystone Pinot Noir Waipara 2014 – $33.95 – Hand-harvested from the Omihi Vineyard. Wild yeast ferment with 15% whole bunch to add complexity.
This wine was commented at the tasting as being ‘cerebral’. If you think about anything long enough it becomes cerebral. I thought it had a velvet quality on the nose, with spice, some herbal character, and scents of red roses. So there!
Smooth mouthfeel, with a powerful and dense core of statement fruit. Elegant. It finished hot. No thinness or metallic notes, just deliciousness throughout.
Highly Recommended. 91 Points
L and I visited Craggy Range at their winery and cellar door situated beside dramatic Te Mata Peak near Havelock North in Hawkes Bay. We enjoyed one of the best and most entertaining and informative tasting and presentations I have ever attended. Our host was enthused and engaged and really knowledgeable. What he had to say as we looked at their wines was incredibly informative, and really encouraged me to buy up large!
Craggy Range Sophia Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$$$+ – drink 2020-2029. This is a gorgeous merlot-predominant blend. Powerful. At the top of the game.
Craggy Range Le Sol Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$$$+ – drink 2020-2029. An incredible Syrah. One of NZ’s finest wines.
Craggy Range Te Muna Four Martinborough 2014 – $$$$+ – drink 2020-2029. A delicious combination of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Gewürztraminer co-fermented to make a single blended white wine in the Alsatian style.
We tasted though their latest releases of Syrah, Rose, Sauvignon Blanc, Aroha Pinot Noir (and a library wine!), and Riesling, and bought a few extra bottles to enjoy back in Wellington from the Fridge. The Savvy in particular was fantastic.
L and I and the fam had a week’s break in Havelock North in the heart of Hawkes Bay wine country. In between swimming, tennis-playing, cycling, and tractor-riding to the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony, we enjoyed the sun and views and a few local wines…
Clearview Estate Winery Te Awanga Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2015 -13% straw
Sweet tropical nose, mild grass and acidity, clover Restrained acidity in mouth sweet ripe flavours luscious fine mouthfeel finishes sweet and lively. Main impression is sweetness. 89 points
Rod McDonald Wines Te Awanga Estate Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2015 – 13.5% pale brilliant gold Clear and crisp nose. Lemon. Peach. Iinear. Minerally. Salty. Spicyfg Lean. Simple. Linear, Citrus. Refreshing. Long. 90 points
Elephant Hill Le Phant Te Awanga 2014 – A Merlot-predominant blend with 26% Syrah and 13% Cab Sav. Perfumed and smoky, blackcurrants, brown paper, sweet on the nose. Evocative. I keep returning to sniff. Sweet and grippy, the wine opens up to show supple tannins, dark plums and berries, vanilla, smoky oak, & spicy finish, really moreish and very good. A very distinctive blend. 95 points
Spencer Hill Estate Latitude 41 Moutere Chardonnay Nelson 2015 – 12.5% pale gold. A variation from the Hawkes Bay theme… Oaky vanilla, buttery & rich. A developed golden stone fruit bouquet. Full of flavour on attack. Great line of citrus balanced with ripe fruit. Creamy Complexity on palate that is very appealing. 92 points
Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2015 – $$
Greenish pale straw colour. 13.5% alc.
I can feel the heat of the Martinborough days and the cool of the nights in the fresh mandarin and lemon bouquet of this wine. It smells of summer sun-blanched grassy hills beside the Ruamahunga River. Light and lifted, with clover honey and pear.
Sweet upfront to taste, there is a restrained citrus character supported through the middle with bags of sweet ripe fruit and bags of flavour. Utterly delish this is. It gives Te Mata’s Cape Crest a good run for the money!
Outstanding – 95 points
Elephant Hill Syrah Te Awanga Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$$
Deep dark carmine. 13.5% alc.
A big, rich and expressive aroma. Plums, savoury with vanilla and white pepper, balsa wood and spice, and a hint of funk.
The flavours show sweet on entry, with rich dark fruit through themed-palate and supple tannins with just enough grip to balance the floral nose, and heat and length at the finish.
This is such a good wine I can really see the kinship this grape has with Pinot Noir. A heady nose paired with a feminine quality on the palate. Sophisticated, delicate fruit with a good core of weight.
Highly Recommended – 93 points