Sacred Hill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2017 – $
I have never been in love with this value tier of Sacred Hill wines (orange label). For several years I have found the Chardonnay wines all a bit underdone and bitter and it put me off.
However, this vintage of Savvy earned itself a Decanter Gold Medal at the 2017 Asia Wine Awards, and Winestate gave this 5 Stars, so something sincere must be going on in this bottle…
12.5% alc. Clearest pale straw colour.
Nice grassy and tomato-y and capsicum-y aromas lifting from the glass. Crispness and a sense of open space. Sharp apple.
Sharp and fresh fruit flavours to taste up front. A pleasant citrus tang. Short, bold. Agreeable fruit density.
Recommended 88 Points
te Pā Pā Road Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $
Produced by a family-owned winery with an 800-year tangata whenua connection to the land, this mid-tier wine is made from grapes grown on the McDonald home block vineyard near the Wairau River bar in Marlborough.
13% alc. Drought-pale straw colour.
Clean clear citrus aromas of golden delicious apples, light green capsicum. Very attractive.
On tasting, a simple restrained quality sav is revealed. Not an aggressive style. Balanced fruit and acid. Quite sweet throughout the mid-palate with a sharp finish.
Delicious drinking, and v good value for the price point.
Highly Recommended 92 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
Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $
Another fantastic Savvy, and cheap too!
Pale straw colour. 13% alc.
A cheery and lively nose, this wine boasted the strongest expression of passionfruit I have ever smelt in a Sauvignon Blanc. There was more to smell every time I went back to the glass: lemons, limes, green apples, hops. Remarkable.
It was crisp and full-flavoured to drink, with a dry apple pip finish.
Highly Recommended 94 points
Grove Mill Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 – $
This was a label from the past. I used to drink this wine way back when, when I thought wine like this was alright. So when I saw this bottle I thought to revisit the past, and see if it was as good a wine as I remembered.
Sinewy citrus and stonefruit aromas, acidity, ever so slightly oxidised, with some secondary characters starting to emerge.
Lively fruit and acid on palate. Flavours of butterscotch. Mouthfilling creamy malo smoothness.
Fair 82 points
Off Topic: Delas Vin de Pays OC Viognier 2015 – $
12.5% alc. Brilliant gold colour.
Lightly aromatic, with apples and oranges, lightly spiced.
Delicious in the mouth. A rich and textured mouthfeel and a long spicy finish. I noted generous citrus orange flavours.
Terrific value at $15/bottle from Moore Wilsons!
Recommended 88 points
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