Greystone Barrel-Fermented Sauvignon Blanc Waipara 2016 – $
13.5% alc. Pale straw colour.
A gorgeous textural wine. Indigenous yeasts and oak handling give this wine complexity and engagement. Perhaps not a classical NZ sav in style, but it still shows tropical fruit notes and open airs of citrus.
Sweet entry on palate, mealy, rich ripe fruit flavours. Golden goodness I say. Unmistakably a savvy, but this is sav+. I think this is fantastic, and a keeper.
A new fav.
Outstanding 95 points.
Millton Crazy By Nature Shotberry Vineyard Chardonnay Gisborne 2016 – $
An organic wine from the Gisborne biodynamic vigneron. Their easy-drinking fun mid-week wine brand.
12.5% alc. Mid-gold in colour.
Soft, sweet and ripe golden stonefruit bouquet, with scents of orange and orange peel, citrus sharpness on the nose, a mineral note, and wild herbs. Distinctive aromas, funky.
Soft mouthfeel, sweet and a little flabby with the malo treatment. Lacks a little focus. Shows the ‘sore-throat’ roughness at the back of the throat that some Chardonnays exhibit. Not sure why that is. A tingly feel in the mouth. Viscous and textural, but also so light. Could have been picked earlier I think.
Recommended 85 points.
Off Topic: Léon Perdigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2016 – $
Rough and raffish, red fruits, savoury, white pepper tickles the nose.
A simple and enjoyable Rhône rouge. Light red fruits, balanced.
Recommended 86 points.
From the Cellar: Produttori del Barbaresco Montestefano 2007 – $$$
14.5% alc. Dark carmine colour.
Gorgeously fragrant – violets, plums and prunes; savoury notes too; and boxwood and brown card.
Stunning fruit weight, texture and body in the glass. Silky tannins, then drying. Strong and spicy. Vanilla and a little oak. A hot finish.
A stunning wine and worth the wait.
Outstanding 96 points.
Off Topic: Sula Vineyards Shiraz Nashik India 2016 – $
I love tea from Assam and Darjeeling, and exclusively drink it, but Indian wine is a first for me.
Deep dark ruby. 13% alc.
Soft dark fruit aromas and minerals, white pepper, heavy spice, cinnamon, prunes and licorice.
Surprisingly lean and minerally in the mouth, with spicy plum and stewed fruit notes and a raspy tannic finish, but rough and lacking in grace and smoothness for a shiraz.
When opened the night before this wine showed more fruit and softness then, but clearly has hardened up and faded overnight.
Fair 80 points.
From the Cellar: Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay Marlborough 2013 – $$
Golden colour. 14% alc. From the lauded ’13 vintage. I like this dependable value producer’s wines very much, and the Latitiude is a step up in quality of fruit from the standard offering, but not greatly more expensive when on special.
Strongly aromatic – apricot, melon and peach, bags of oak, mealy ‘buzz’. A heavy style of Chardonnay.
Golden fruit entry, with a rich and creamy texture in the mouth. Good acid line. Shows fruit sweetness and ripeness through the mid-palate. Heavy finish. Strong oaking dominates. Overall impression is opulence and density, with a surprisingly striking lean mineral quality on the finish obscured somewhat by the heavy oak styling.
Although bruised by the oak, this wine is still a remarkable value wine from a remarkable vintage.
Highly Recommended 91 points.
A quartet of French wines for le grand sommeil:
Domaine des Espiers Gigondas 2014 – $$ – drink 2019-2024. Preferred and bought following the GK Rhône tasting.
Domaine Les Aphillanthes Rasteau 2015 2014 – $$ – drink 2020-2025. Similarly.
From the Cellar: Hans Herzog Mistral Marlborough 2013 – $$$
A classic Rhône blanc blend of Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne from the organic artisanal Marlborough vineyard of Hans Herzog, bought from their cellar door. L and I visited them during a Graperide weekend a while back, and loved so many of their wines.
Green gold colour. 14% alc.
Complex melon and honeysuckle aromas, with honey, toffee, ripe apple and almond nougat. Delish.
Rich and smooth golden fruit to taste, and mouthfilling. There was a mineral backbone also, toffee and almond notes, mandarin orange, acidity through the mid-palate, some apple-pip, and finished sweet and long.
Outstanding 96 points.
From the Cellar: Delas Les Bessards Hermitage 2003 – $$$+
In the world of wine there are many famous ‘bumps’ in the landscape from which superlative wines are produced. You can think of the Pomerol plateau from which Petrus hails, or the hill of Corton. There is the grand cru hill bearing Les Clos in Chablis, the hillsides of Barolo in Piedmont, and even NZ’s own Te Mata peak. But few are more famous than the hill of Hermitage on the left bank of the Rhône river in France. And on that hill, there are few more famous vineyards than Les Bessards.
I was fortunate to secure a bottle for the Pool Room, and it proved yet again why I drink old wine.
Dark carmine colour, browning on rim. 14% alc.
Gorgeous developed bouquet. Dark fruits, oak and vanilla. All soft and sensual and savoury. I could sniff this wine all night.
To drink the wine was deliciously smooth and rich and full of ripe fruit. There was engaging heat at the back, and it showed perfect fruit weight. There was acid and supple tannins in perfect balance. A superb food wine, and so rewarding as an aperitif.
I double-decanted this wine, and it hit the ground running. Superb.
Exceptional 99 points.