From the Cellar: Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay Marlborough 2013 – $$
Golden colour. 14% alc. From the lauded ’13 vintage. I like this dependable value producer’s wines very much, and the Latitiude is a step up in quality of fruit from the standard offering, but not greatly more expensive when on special.
Strongly aromatic – apricot, melon and peach, bags of oak, mealy ‘buzz’. A heavy style of Chardonnay.
Golden fruit entry, with a rich and creamy texture in the mouth. Good acid line. Shows fruit sweetness and ripeness through the mid-palate. Heavy finish. Strong oaking dominates. Overall impression is opulence and density, with a surprisingly striking lean mineral quality on the finish obscured somewhat by the heavy oak styling.
Although bruised by the oak, this wine is still a remarkable value wine from a remarkable vintage.
Highly Recommended 91 points.
From the Cellar: Hans Herzog Mistral Marlborough 2013 – $$$
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 – $$$+
In the world of wine there are many famous ‘bumps’ in the landscape from which superlative wines are produced. You can think of the Pomerol plateau from which Petrus hails, or the hill of Corton. There is the grand cru hill bearing Les Clos in Chablis, the hillsides of Barolo in Piedmont, and even NZ’s own Te Mata peak. But few are more famous than the hill of Hermitage on the left bank of the Rhône river in France. And on that hill, there are few more famous vineyards than Les Bessards.
I was fortunate to secure a bottle for the Pool Room, and it proved yet again why I drink old wine.
Dark carmine colour, browning on rim. 14% alc.
Gorgeous developed bouquet. Dark fruits, oak and vanilla. All soft and sensual and savoury. I could sniff this wine all night.
To drink the wine was deliciously smooth and rich and full of ripe fruit. There was engaging heat at the back, and it showed perfect fruit weight. There was acid and supple tannins in perfect balance. A superb food wine, and so rewarding as an aperitif.
I double-decanted this wine, and it hit the ground running. Superb.
Exceptional 99 points.
Off Topic: E Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2013 – $
14% alc. Dark ruby.
This is the world’s foremost high-volume quality red wine. Here is this year’s vintage release, eagerly anticipated:
Earthy, spicy note. Dark red plums. Fresh.
Supple ripe dark red fruit flavours, medium tannins, grippy spicy finish. Zippy and spirited. Luscious mouthfeel. Strong, long. Quite striking.
This wine will last another 10+ years easy. Drinking so well now.
Highly Recommended 90 Points
From The Cellar: Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$$
I keep banging on about this favourite wine. Vintage to vintage, one of NZ’s finest. Full stop.
14% alc. Greenish straw colour.
An absolutely lovely and unique nose. That’ll be the barrel ferment, in part. Bouquet of orange citrus blossom, gooseberry, and broken tomato vine. Pure and very elegant and refined. Distinctive aroma. So fragrant. Divine.
Smooth, dense and mouthfilling to drink. Such a fantastic expression of NZ Savignon Blanc – complex, layered, and delicious. There is softness and texture from the barrel ferment, generous flavours of golden stonefruit, a touch of tomato sauce. Citrus acid on the finish. A luscious wine, long and long.
I expect to recall this as one of the finest wines I have tasted this year.
Outstanding 98 Points
Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay Kumeu 2016 – $$$
Being the third KR Chardonnay I have tasted these past weeks, this is the flagship Estate-level blended wine, a step up from the Villages wine I enjoy and consider excellent value. Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay is drawn from six different vineyard sites in the Kumeu Region.
14% alc. Pale gold colour.
Restrained mealy and composed. Aromas of white peach and apple.
Rich and stylish on tasting. Crisp and fresh, acid prevails over fruit. Not as elegant or dense as the Coddington, nor as lively and personable as the Villages. Stuck in the middle. Will it age? Appears to have the boldness and structure to do so for another 3 years. Let’s see then…
Recommended 88 Points
Off Topic: Yann Chave Hermitage Rhone 2003- $$$+
Deep ruby crimson colour. 14 % alc.
Smokey on the nose, funky, soapy, dusty, redolent of wooden-floored halls and dry grass. So much going on! It continued opening up gloriously in the glass – all tertiary character, developed dark fruit, dried blackcurrant, pink roses, lavender and pencil lead. Such exotic gorgeousness!
Opens with still primary fruit in the mouth, flavours of dark cherries, and lovely acid balance. Fine tannins. Huge length. Fat, rich and opulent, and a pure, mimeral seam throughout. A profound Rhone, just amazing.
Exceptional 98 points
From the Cellar: Te Mata Estate Elston Chardonnay 2013 – $$$
From the great Hawkes Bay vintage. 14% alc. Bright gold colour.
Perfumed. Scents of butterscotch, apricots, citrus fruit, spice, hints of menthol and peppermint, honey and white roses.
Warm and rich attack, with a smooth mouthfeel through the middle. Great balance between acid and secondary fruit. Flavours of orange and orange peel oil. Long finish, crunchy with it; lively and mouthwatering.
A fine and complex wine, sophisticated, Burgundian. I really wish i had another bottle somewhere.
Outstanding 95 Points
Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay Kumeu 2015 – $$$
14% alc. Pale gold colour.
Clear, clean yet complex citrus on the nose, layered and sweet. Stonefruit. Fine and elegant.
The bouquet translates to fresh and crisp sweet citrus flavours, racey acidity, mouthwatering. Ripe peach and lemon sharpness, a brusque finish. Very moreish. Very long, with alcohol heat producing tingling in my gums.
This is a good food wine, and a great aperitif.
BTW this is the best photo that the Prisma app has produced for me so far. Do you agree?
Highly Recommended 91 points
From the Cellar: Peregrine Gewurtztraminer Central Otago 2009 – $$
14% alc. Brilliant gold colour.
Geoff Kelly wrote of this wine in late 2013, “When Greg Hay was here from Peregrine, he dumbfounded us by showing what is one of the greatest gewurztraminers ever made in New Zealand, and then in the latter part of the discussion casually mentioned this 2009 was the last of the line. The vines had all been pulled out, he said, due to the low and alternate-year cropping. The wine is just beautiful, fragrant and fruit-rich, wonderful acid balance, great freshness and cellar potential, the gewurz spice building in mouth, a dryish wine. It should cellar for another eight years or so. It is essential in any cellar hoping to showcase the diversity New Zealand wines can achieve.”
So when I read this I went and bought the last two bottles on the shelves at Regional Wines…
An envelopingly aromatic and sweet bouquet: developed, warm and ripe, with sweet notes of honey and toffee, and touches of mandarin and apple.
Sweet, smooth and ripe to taste. Toffee and caramel flavours. Saline. Fine flinty texture. A long, hot and spicy finish.
So poised and balanced and memorable. A few years ahead for this wine I think – I’ll probably open the second bottle in 2019.
Outstanding 95 points