From the Cellar: Stoneleigh Chardonnay Marlborough 2013 – $
This wine was part of an experiment I started in 2014. I bought a bunch of bottom-tier ‘value brand’ wines from the lauded 2013 vintage, and put them down to see how they would develop over time, and see whether the cheaper products showed cellar improvement and made for better value for money than the more prestigious hand-made ’13 offerings.
This wine was the first out of the blocks for the tranche. Brilliant gold colour. 13.5% alc.
I like the malolactic character and the oak handling of Stoneleigh Chardonnays, especially the Latitude series on the next tier up, so this would be interesting.
Gorgeous warm and rich, buttery and biscuitty golden stonefruit aromas. This wine is showing lovely development. Butterscotch and spice; elegance and intensity.
To taste there were rich flavours bursting from the glass. Caramel, oak, so textural, and with a great acid line underpinning the ripe fruit. Not at all flabby or over-exposed. Spicy finish. Just great.
The wine is nearing a peak, and is superb value for drinking over the next 2 years.
Highly Recommended 92 Points
Sileni Cellar Selection Syrah Hawkes Bay 2016 – $
Deep magenta colour. 12.5% alc. A value quaffer. L quite likes their Cabernet Franc Rosé.
This wine shows simple, soft fruit on the nose, with an itch of white pepper.
Soft ripe red plum flavours, medium tannins. Uncomplicated, and finishes long. Well-made for the price.
Commended – 84 points
From the Cellar: Churton Pinot Noir Marlborough 2011 – $
The last bottle from the cellar, alas. This has been a fabulous bargain buy.
A gorgeously soft and silky floral bouquet. Light, elegant and supple deliciousness to drink.
Highly Recommended – 91 points
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
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
Triplebank Pinot Gris Marlborough 2016 – $
Fresh off the fields, this. Another Awatere Valley wine.
Brilliant pale gold. 14% alc.
Nice fragrance, smells sweet and lifted, with notes of sweet apples and rock melon.
Fresh on attack, with sweet ripe golden fruit flavours up front. Lots of flavour, a creamy mouthfeel. Citrus line through the mid palate, and a slightly bitter finish. A nice spice catch on the back of the throat.
Triplebank Pinot Noir Marlborough 2015 – $
A new label for me. An Awatere Valley wine from the Pernod Ricard stable of brands.
Pinot ruby. 13.5% alc.
Lightly aromatic, moderately comples on the nose, sweet red cherries, lightly spiced. Hint of stalk/whole bunch.
Simple flavours, not a lot going on. Moderate ripeness and extract, what you would expect from a Pinot at this price point. A bit sharp and metallic towards the finish.
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.
Astrolabe Valleys Riesling Wairau Valley Marlborough 2014 – $
On Spring special at Regional Wines…this took a while to settle down after opening…a somewhat aggressive dry style of Riesling…
11.5% alc. Pale greenish straw colour.
Dry, lean and austere. Lots of citrus notes, & apples… a premonition of lip-puckering flavours ahoy …with perhaps the occasional wince…
This wine had lots of character. Very assertive, and not so much built for ‘easy drinking’. Some will love this. It took me a few bottles over a couple of weeks to understand it and not freak out too much. Decant, and let it stand for a while. The acid starts to soften, and the fruit shows through. It has an expressive nose from the get-go, which helps a lot.
A hot day’s aperitif, or to accompany sweet seafood and you won’t go wrong.