Bell Bird Bay Cabernet Merlot Hawkes Bay 2011 – $
Raymond Chan writes in his review of this wine, “70% Merlot, 13% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bridge Pa Triangle district”
Deep ruby colour. 13% alc.
Depp fruit aromas, softness, oak, vanilla, somewhat secondary.
The merlot component imbues softness and luscious dark fruits on palate, with structure from the cabernet components. Slight herbiness. Harmonious.
This wine harbours no faults from age or storage which I have found is rare with aged wines at this price point. A great aged example in this case.
Recommended 86 Points
From the Cellar: Hihi Nebbiolo Barbera Gisborne 2010/2011 – $$
There is an MS Barolo tasting approaching, so I thought to open a NZ Nebbiolo from my cellar, and get an early run at the variety. Not that I was expecting a wine of the quality that will be tasted with the Society, nevertheless I was still looking forward to seeing how a year in the cellar has affected it since I lasted tasted a bottle.
14% alc. Deep dusty carmine. The colour is right.
Light dusty florals on the nose,a savoury note, dark fruits, smells hot, no trace of tar.
Cheery sweet entry on the palate, juicy fruit, medium body, a tannic edge, and not a long finish. An intriguing blend, this. Tending towards green, and with less body, intensity and fullness that I was hoping for. I recall that this vintage in Gisborne was wet and cold, and the finished wine shows this.
Nevertheless, it is a wine to keep an eye out for, and I remain hopeful to try one from a warmer vintage if a bottle ever becomes available. I am watching the producer’s website, and waiting…
In the meantime, I have one more bottle left, which I will keep the full ten years. And we’ll see how that looks then.
Commended 85 points
From the Cellar: Santa Cristina Chianti Superiore 2011 – $$$
Dark plum red colour, tending tawny. 13% alc.
A bouquet that is rich and opulent and savoury. Scents of dates, cardboard and spice, and fusty dark fruits.
In the mouth the wine tastes rich, ripe and full. Concentrated fruit, quite chewy. A delicious spicy finish, with a tannic rasp at the back of my throat, and drying. Very long.
Highly Recommended 91 Points
From the Cellar: Villa Maria Keltern Vineyard Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2011 – $$$
Pale gold colour. 13.5 % alc. Single vineyard wine. I have been fortunate to have drunk a few vintages of this great wine.
This version smells delightfully aromatic. Poised and elegant. Light meal. Lean and restrained. A lovely nose.
An off-dry attack in the mouth. Fresh crunchy acidity throughout. Attractive austere mineral character. Long and incredibly powerful. Lemon finish. Long and long. Sooo good.
A real show wine, this. A cellar-door show-stopper, and a wine that rewards cellaring. One of the best wines I have had this year so far.
Outstanding 97 Points
Alexander Dusty Road Pinot Noir Martinborough 2011 – $$
Tawny carmine colour. 13.5 % alc.
A heady bouquet – floral and savoury. Dark red fruits and spice, and a scent of honeysuckle.
Bright acid on the front of the palate. Lashings of vanilla. A touch thin and austere. A metallic edge leading to a bitter and hot and spicy finish. An acceptable pinot for the age and price, redeemed by its nose.
Recommended 86 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
From the Cellar: Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2011 – $$$
Pale greenish gold. 13.5% alc.
This is consistently one of NZ’s finest wines, for the past half-dozen vintages at least. It is hard to approach tasting this wine dispassionately…
Sweet on the nose, aromatic and complex, with tropical notes of apples, gooseberries and ginger.
Flavours of ginger on the palate, apples and citrus. An excellent lightness of touch, a Hawkes Bay savvy that is softening agreeably, with oak complexity. Lots of fruit. Really splendid.
From the Cellar: Felton Road Block 3 Pinot Noir Central Otago 2011 – $$$+
Another wine from one of New Zealand’s vinous rock stars.
Deep pinot ruby. 14% alc. Leggy.
Gorgeous perfumed nose. Savoury and hot, with brambly black cherries, herbs and thyme. Showing a deep intensity of bold fruit.
To drink the wine started sweet on attack, and was savoury through the mid-palate, and a herbal note towards the end. Ripe, finely textured, well balanced. Hot finish.
This is a very fine, yet grunty, pinot. Wants another five years to really exhibit its class. Shame I haven’t got another bottle..
Felton Road Block 3
From the Cellar: Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2011 – $$$+
Oak fermented, with wild yeasts, this is one of NZ’s vinous rock stars – an icon, a unique wine, a sensory delight. I love it.
Pale gold. 13.5% alc.
Great refinement and complexity on nose. An aromatic delight with notes of citrus and golden fruit.
There was a lovely texture, depth to the wine in the mouth. It was expressive and distinctive – it spoke of place and winemaking craft. There was the sweetness of perfect ripe fruit. It lacked the assertive grassy-capsicum-ness of its stablemate, a relief. Exceptionally long for a savvy.
Escarpment Chardonnay Martinborough 2011 – $$
L and I stayed the night at the Martinborough Hotel to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. We didn’t get there until mid-afternoon, but managed to fit in a cheeky 50km ride out towards Lake Ferry and back via Kahutara Rd before dinner at Pinnochio Restaurant just off the main square. Very nice it was as well. They ran out of the dessert that L was keen on, so we shared a dessert and sticky back at the hotel.
This wine I chose as an aperitif before dinner…
Pale straw. 13.5%
Refined bouquet. Elegant. Some mealy aromas. Citrus dominant.
Lean & austere, somewhat sharp with citrus & minerals. Crisp, fresh and short. No where near as warm and full as the 2012 we drank a month ago…
Not destined to be a favourite, and somewhat fragile, as the flavours did not survive the trip back into town the next day.