From the Cellar: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay 2010 – $
This is one of my favourite New Zealand wines. It is reliable, interesting, flavoursome and great value. Amongst our best wines dollar-for-dollar. And I bought a bunch back in ’12 and have started to open them up…
Dark plum magenta. 13.5% alc.
Savoury dark fruit aromas. Vanilla and spice, pine boxwood, faded dark red roses.
Warm red fruits to taste. Soft, lots of vanillin, chocolate and licorice. Still fiery medium-grained tannins. Hot on the back palate. A long and smoky finish.
Enveloping, rewarding. A good entry-level red cellarable wine.
From the Cellar: Palliser Estate Pencarrow Pinot Noir Martinborough 2010 – $$
Back again camping at Morrison’s Bush for the annual Waitangi Day Art Weekend. Had to open the last of my Pencarrow Pinot Noir 2010’s…
This wine did spectacularly well at the Air NZ wine awards on release and with reviews. I have drunk a bit of it since, and this time the wine really lived up to its potential: ripe, soft, full; smokily floral; with depth and heft. Beautifully integrated. Long. Damn tasty.
From the Cellar: Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay Martinborough 2010 – $$$
Pale gold 13.5%.
A single-vineyard wine by the great Martinborough producer. Made from fruit off Mendoza clone vines planted in 1983 – that is old for NZ – and barrel-fermented with wild yeasts.
Smelled big, mealy and refined; with rich and toasty cashew and dried apricot aromas. Gorgeous.
Seamless and elegant to drink. I saw generous golden fruit flavours. A subtle citrus note. Cashew that gives way to almond.
This is a richly textured cru Chardonnay with a lovely crunchy bitter finish. Splendid & worth the wait!
From the Cellar: Craggy Range SV Syrah Gimblett Gravels 2010 – $$
Inky plum. 13.5%.
A Geoff Kelly recommendation and it shows. Wow. Gorgeously floral. Dark fruits and pepper intense and powerful. Smells ripe and inviting and delightful.
In the mouth it is full and so flavoursome. Lovely pepper kick at the back. Sweet round fruit at the front. Very northern Rhone. Dense Fine tannins.
This so convinces me to hold on to our Syrahs for a min 5 years each. Hopefully the mice don’t to take a liking to any more of my wine bottle labels…
From the Cellar: Framingham F-Series Old Vine Riesling Marlborough 2010 – $$$
Great Germanic-style label. Bought from the Winery. 12.5% alc
Green gold colour. Just gorgeous.
Luscious fruit ‘n phenolics, tropical fruit aromas, lychees, fresh crusty bread, and that fantastic Riesling ‘tang’. This has it all going on. On a hot arvo it can’t be beat!
In the mouth: an off-dry style of Riesling. Delicious fruit flavours: Braeburrn apples meet pineapple lemon ice blocks. A hit of citrus, refreshing and mouthwatering.
This is a simple Riesling, but still expressive. It shows off what we look for in wine – balance and structure – which in this case is the right sweetness balanced by the right acidity.
From the Cellar: Rockburn Pinot Noir Central Otago 2010 – $$
A multi-award winner. 14%. Regular pinot ruby colour. Herby, spicy and floral. Fruity with notes of wild thyme. All typical qualities of a good Central Pinot. Starting to show some mustiness and forest floor aromas and matchbox, but still red-cherry dominant.
This was a very intriguing wine. It started off somewhat languid and light, and finished dense.
Light bright fruit flavours, the expected red cherries etc. Vanilla. Fine tannins. Then it got more interesting. Developed in the glass. Became more driven, elegant and minerally. A spicy finish began to kick in. Became very structured and finished surprisingly dense. Remarkable, and most unexpected off the first sip.
From the Cellar: Villa Maria Private Bin Dry Riesling Marlborough 2010 – $
Pale yellow. 12.5% alc.
Aromatic and phenolic, biting acids, with lemon notes. Not much age complexity showing as yet.
A quite sweet attack, showing very refreshing lemon, citrus flavours. Medium length with a mouthwatering finish.
A simple wine, well made and well structured. Very more-ish
From the Cellar: Grasshopper Rock Earnscleugh Vineyard Pinot Noir Central Otago 2010 – $$
This Pinot Noir was the top wine at that Under-$30 NZ Pinot Noir tutored tasting I wrote about recently. It was then included in the Over-$30 NZ Pinot Noir tasting that followed, and showed very well in that company also.
From their website, “Grasshopper Rock is one of the world’s southern most vineyards, established in 2003 and dedicated exclusively to pinot noir.[ ] The vineyard is situated on Earnscleugh Road, across the Clutha River from Alexandra. The site enjoys high sunshine hours by day and very cool temperatures by night and is sufficiently harsh and difficult to make the vines work their hardest.”
Champion Wine of the Show Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2012
Champion Pinot Noir Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2012
Cuisine magazine Top New Zealand Pinot Noir 2012
and, now….Deep carmine blush…13.9% alc.
Bright floral aromatics – red cherries and pink roses. Hint of thyme, with some gamey savouriness and spice.
Red berry fruits on the front palate, a bright line of acid, complexity and layering on the mid-palate, and a long finish with spice. I see slight under-ripeness at the death which I guess is the quid pro quo for the florality on bouquet.
Bright and forward. A wine to think about and savour, and a very good expression of Pinot Noir at an affordable price.
From the Cellar: Kumeu River Coddington SV Chardonnay Auckland 2010 – $$$+
At a long-ago KR tasting, this was my favourite Chardonnay, from the Coddington single vineyard, so I saved up and bought a bottle. I opened it tonight to celebrate putting my old house on the market…
Pale gold. 13.5% alc.
Fine and perfumed. Oily, even.
Tertiary flavours – unctuous. Fine line of citrus throughout. Biscuity. A sharp finish with apples at the death. Superb wine at a good age. Suited the Mac Cheese dinner. too.
This was where I picked up the pieces after my separation. Thanks for the good memories, House…
From the Cellar: Ascension Vineyard The Benediction Merlot Hawkes Bay 2010 – $$$
A long while back I took L along as my date for the first time to my firms Christmas function. We flew up to Auckland and took a chartered bus ride up to Matakana. It was a great day, hot and sunny. We had a look around the local market before heading out to Ascension Vineyard for a winery tour and lunch. On the way there we took part in a wine quiz. My team won (of course 🙂 ). My prize was the selection of this bottle from the vineyard’s cellar door…
…which I opened up at the RSC Lodge on Swiss National Day (the club has had resident Swiss instructors every season since the mid-50’s).
13.5% alc. Deep crimson. This wine started life inside 70 yr-old two-inch thick Totara fermentation vats.
Tertiary on the nose. Soft black plum, Cedar. Vanilla. Wood. Great structure and grainy tannins. Dark chocolate and a spicy finish. Very long. Just fabulous.
A real shame but this producer went out of business last year or the year before. The wine business is a tough one…