Monarch Malbec Te Horo 2013 – $
This turned out to be a steal from a supermarket local to this producer, same place as i bought the Abbey Cellars Syrah.
Inky plum colour. 13% alc.
Quite perfumed, dense & fruity, savoury & spicy, and oaky. Some green vegetal character.
Sweet in the mouth on attack. A cool climate style of Malbec showing florality and some green stalk but very pleasant all the same. Good fruit weight and depth, angular and piquant. A tannic and raspy finish.
Seemed very ripe-pinot-noir-like to my palate. Off quite young vines I suspect. Would have scored higher but the wine is a bit green. Still, an impressively expressive character for the low price.
Recommended – 86 points
Abbey Cellars Eden Syrah Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$
L and I and kids headed out to a friends beach house to stay the night in the weekend. I bought this wine at an outlet on the way.
Deep carmine. 14%.
Reduction on the nose. Savoury. Oak. Black fruits. Cherries. Perfumed. Roses. A gorgeous nose, with very intriguing and complex notes.
Smoky to taste. Great fruit weight. Plums, figs, ginger & chocolate. Black and white pepper. Spicy. Complex tannins and long.
Outstanding – 95 points
Things got a little confused after this, and few more reds. At one point we were comparing an single malt out of Auckland with a Dalwhinnie. I don’t recall much more after this photo was taken. A very generous host lead me willingly astray, and the next day was pretty much a write-off…
Church Road Syrah Hawkes Bay 2014 – $
Inky carmine colour. 13.5% alc.
Michael Cooper rated this wine his best red buy for 2017. He wrote of it, “sturdy, richly flavoured, sharply priced red is not to be missed. ‘Serious’ but highly approachable, it is mouthfilling, with an array of blackcurrant, plum, spice and nut flavours, hints of black pepper and licorice, and excellent concentration, ripeness and complexity”.
I have to agree. This wine has a beautiful nose, layered, fruity and savoury in equal parts. Softness, with plums and white pepper, vanilla and chocolate. Lots going on, and ‘serious’.
The wine tasted soft and robust, with dense rich fruit, mid-weighted with medium tannin and spice. Well-built, mouth-filling and long, with unctuous umami components and a white pepper finish. The best CR base-level Syrah yet. Superb.
Highly Recommended – 92 points
Middle-Earth Albariño Nelson 2016
Another wine style I haven’t tasted in a long while. I recall loving this variety.
A bunch of us were in Nelson riding the inaugural Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge – a 158km loop from Nelson up to Marahau in Golden bay and back. A flat gorgeous course.
In the afternoon L and I relaxed in the garden of the Free House, a craft beer and wine bar housed in an old ex-Dutch Reformed Church.
This wine was really lovely. Zesty citrus and passionfruit.
Highly Recommended – 91 points
Esk Valley Verdelho Hawkes Bay 2016 – $$
I haven’t tried a Verdelho since ages ago! When I saw this on sale I just had to buy.
Pale gold. 14% alc.
Aromatic with sweet tropical fruity scents. Open and lifted, with notes of spice and honey and butter candy, and Golden Delicious apples.
To taste – sweet and ripe on entry, a citrus edge throughout the mid-palate, spicy and with a long finish. Unctuous and mouth-filling, textural and bold, with bountiful flavours of apples, mangoes and mandarines.
Recommended – 88 points
Locharburn Pinot Noir Central Otago 2013 – gift
The grapes for this wine were grown beside Lake Dunstan in the Cromwell basin from a single vineyard overlooking the Locharburn stream. It is not a label I am at all familiar with.
Dark carmine – a particularly dense-coloured Pinot. 14% alc.
It showed quite dumb the first night, but opened up beautifully graceful the second night
Soft savoury notes on the nose, I smelled dried herbs, very perfumed. There were strong fruit scents of dark cherries, touches of oak and vanilla, red roses, soap and crayon wax. Verging on being a Rhone…
A classic Cromwell Pinot Noir in the mouth. Reminds me of Wooing Tree, Beetlejuice and Mt Difficulty wines from that part of the country. Sweet, rich and ripe. Flavours of dark cherries and plums. Fine-grained tannins. Raspy and textural. Long and hot, with a spicy finish.
Not at all a shrinking violet! I loved it.
Highly Recommended – 93 points
Barossa Valley Estate Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia 2014
A gift from the outlaws on my birthday. Thanks!
Inky carmine. 14% alc.
A rich nose, with scents of dark chocolate, vanilla and oak, ripe black plums, and a brace of boxes – cigar and cardboard.
Big in the mouth, and very attractive. Rich flavours, fresh, with a deep fruit intensity, and a sweet finish.
Highly Recommended – 90 points