Craggy Range SV Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$
I reckon that the 2014 vintage in the Bay was just as good for Chardonnay as the much-heralded 2013 vintage. And this wine is a good reference point for that claim.
Medium brilliant straw colour. 13% alc. From Te Awanga near Cape Kidnappers.
Toasty oak and mealy aromas. Ripe golden stonefruit. Good density. Elegance and lightness of touch.
Plenty of ripe fruit flavours, extract and sweetness on entry. The citrus freshness you need to see in a good modern oaked Chardonnay is balanced and provides the necessary structure on the mid-palate to avoid flabbiness and bland-ness. Good length in the finish, and no bitterness that might indicate a lack of extract. A delicious and rewarding drop.
Church Road Syrah Hawkes Bay 2013 – $
From the superlative 2013 HB vintage. Inky crimson colour. 13% alc.
Lots of wood on the nose, intense vanilla, and sweet oak. Perfumed soap and violets! Spice, dark cherries and plums. Pencil shavings. Confected deliriousness. Perfect cool-climate ripeness. So much going on!
Soft and fruit-driven on palate. Sweet oak and vanilla. Not so balanced due to so much wood evident, but so expressive. So much character! Medium tannins, verging on chewy, and drying. White pepper, chocolate, nutmeg and herbs towards the finish. Long. I have slight questions about ripeness but that is quibbling. This is sooo terrifically good for a base tier Syrah. Buy up!
From the Cellar: Villa Maria Private Bin Dry Riesling Marlborough 2012 – $
Pale gold colour. 12.5% alc. This was VM’s 50th anniversary vintage.
I saw a citrus bite to the nose, some mellowness from wood ageing, and notes of apple, honey and sugar confectionery.
A mouthwatering lime + lemon attack in the mouth. Dry, and a great structure, intensity and freshness for their value/basement tier wine. A mandarin and green apple skin finish, lingering.