A work colleague of mine returned from a Christmas vacation at home with her family in Italy. She brought back some authentic Italian Ciambelline al vino, or bundt-style wine biscuits. I couldn’t resist a dunk.
Nice biscuits. I can’t say the same about the wine, however.
A trio of top wines from Mercury Bay Estate for the cellar, bought from the winery:
Mercury Bay Estate Chardonnay Coromandel 2016 – $$ – drink now-2021.
Mercury Bay Estate Red Merc Coromandel 2014 – $$$ – drink now-2019. A Pinot Noir/Syrah blend.
Mercury Bay Estate Pinot Noir Coromandel 2014 – $$$ – drink now-2019.
When we were recently on holiday, camping at Hahei Beach, L and I enjoyed a lovely tasting at a beautiful local vineyard, Mercury Bay Estate, on a gorgeous blue sky day. Heaven.
Mercury Bay Estate is situated on the hillside above and behind the beach settlement of Cooks Beach on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula. My own family owned a bach at Cooks for many years from the mid-70’s. I grew to love the area, so it was really nice to come back after a long time away and bring my family.
The estate is owned by Simon & Veronica Ward and was formed from the vineyard established by Alex Morcom in 1996 (named Shakespeare Cliff Vineyard after the famous nearby landmark, and then later Cooks Beach Vineyard). The vineyard originally contained plantings of Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc, and has more recently expanded to include a block of Pinot Noir.
We opted for a shared tasting of wines originating from the Cooks Beach site alone to get a sense of place (some varieties are sourced from Hawkes Bay). We selected the current releases of Chardonnay, Sparkling Blush, Red Merc (Pinot/Syrah blend) and their Pinot Noir.
I have to say they were all very good. The Chardonnay had a lovely tautness and acidity to it which was attractive, the Blush was all strawberries and lusciousness; the Red Merc was showed for me the best with its intensity and complex flavours, and the Pinot Noir was surprisingly dense and savoury for what I imagine is a hot site, but maybe it is moderated by the sea breezes.
This producer is new to me, and is one to watch.
Te Kairanga Pinot Noir Martinborough 2016 – $$
Te Kairanga Wines has recently been acquired by US billionaire and multi winery vineyards investor Bill Foley. I don’t drink hardly any of this producers wines, don’t know why.
I didn’t record any notes for this wine specifically either, but I liked it. I recall good extract and fruit intensity in the wine, a nice spicy-ness, and a good savoury quality which is not always so apparent in Pinot Noir wines of this mid price point. Nice.
Recommended 88 Points
A trio of some favourite wines for laying down to sleep:
Elephant Hill Viognier Hawkes Bay 2016 – $$ – drink 2019-2021. A great producer.
Elephant Hill Syrah Hawkes Bay 2015 – $$$ – drink 2018-2020. A favourite Syrah for me. Delivers.
Palliser Estate Pinot Noir Martinborough 2016 – $$$ – drink 2019-2022. This shone at a recent cellar door tasting.
Fromm Riesling Spätlese Marlborough 2016 – $$
Joelle Thomson of Regional Wines writes of this wine:
Light and low and naturally so… this super concentrated Riesling is a wine of beauty from Marlborough’s warm days, cool nights and long growing season. Its low alcohol shows that winemaker Hatsch Kalberer intentionally stopped the fermentation well before the wine reached anything near to dryness, so it is a sweet style but, thanks to the high acidity of the Riesling grape, this wine finishes on a crisp, fresh and intensely floral note… its long succulent finish is juicy and delicious.””
8% alc. Pale green straw.
I thought it was stunning at the instore tasting so I brought a bottle home. Juicy and sweet, with such a lovely acid backbone. So so lovely. Such an Empress of wines, Riesling.
Highly Recommended 93 points
Kumeu River Village Chardonnay Auckland 2016 – $
Light gold colour. 13.5% alc.
Lovely elegant and expressive nose. Slighlty reductive. Crisp open lifted citris aromas, light stone fruit – unripe apricot – green apple and mint.
Lively and fresh to drink. Crips acid, tingly mouthfeel, mouthewatering, mint again, and complexly layered. Slightly bitter and spicy finish.
This is a wine that really over delivers for its price. Excellent value, just delicious.
Highly Recommended 92 points