From The Cellar: Palliser Estate Chardonnay Martinborough 2013 – $$$
14% alc. Pale gold colour.
Very aromatic. Warm and rich mealy notes. Oak and bread, apricots and rock melon. Vanilla.
Sharp entry. Lean fruit to taste, fading. Steely brittleness on the mid palate, fruit flavours showing retreat of age or tunnelling. I don’t know enough about this wine to have an informed opinion. Hot finish, medium length. Attractive, still.
Tow nights later, the wine has softened and filled in, showing far more generosity of fruit than was first expressed. Shows the value of decanting!
Recommended 89 Points
From The Cellar: Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$$
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
Thistle Ridge Pinot Noir Waipara 2013 – $$
This was a wine I served at my 50th a few years ago. The outlaws brought a bottle over when clearing out their house and offered it to us cos they don’t drinks reds. I was chuffed at the chance to see how this wine had developed in the interim.
Dark carmine colour, tending brick around the rim. 13.5% alc. This wine was recommended in it’s day.
A savoury, dense and luscious nose, with sandalwood, leather, dark fruits and spice. Promising.
This is holding up well in the glass. Good acidity and body. Flavours of dark red plums. Balanced, fresh, with a spicy finish, long. Very attractive.
Very good drinking now. Has enough acid and fruit weight to last longer, and will look even better 1n 2-3 years time.
Highly Recommended 93 points
From the Cellar: Kiritea Te Hera Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013 – $$
Deep ruby colour. 13.5% alcohol.
Pronounced floral bouquet with dark cherries, a savoury quality, and cardboard box. It presents as a well-defined and deeply scented wine as I believe a proper Pinot should be.
Sweet entry, smooth to drink, with big fruit flavours. But not brash or simple. Bitter and crunchy on the mid palate, and a peppery finish. Solid, rewarding, primary and persistent, with good structure. I’ll keep my second bottle for another couple of years based on this showing.
Highly Recommended 92 points
From the Cellar: Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013 – $$$
The flagship Pinot from one of Martinborough’s most experienced winemakers. I have been to many Escarpment tastings, and bought wine following each one. This bottle was one of those, liberated from the cellar to see what development there was after 5 years.
Deep ruby colour. 13.5% alc.
On the nose the wine showed heady, savoury, luscious and dense aromas. There was a subline character to the nose with scents of boxwood, soft red fruit, lanolin, licorice and dark red roses.
The palate told a shorter story: a sweet entry with a bitter finish. It seemed astringent, thin, metallic and hollow. There were red fruit there, but not enough flavour to balance the drying tannins. Finished somewhat long, but it didn’t improve on standing. The nose stayed firm however.
Had this wine “tunnelled”? I have had a couple of disappointing cellar experiences with the Escarpment wines I have bought for the Pool Room, including a Pahi tasted last year. They show so well on release. Had I opened them too early? Or are they not built for the long term? Don’t know, but I have to say I was saddened. I was hoping for this wine to be tremendous. I’ll keep the second one another couple of years and see how it fares.
Recommended 86 points
From the Cellar: Te Mata Estate Elston Chardonnay 2013 – $$$
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
Off Topic: Cave de Tain Crozes Hermitage Grand Classique Marsanne 2013 – $$$
13% alc. Golden colour.
What a shame. This wine was oxidised, and betrayed the light and aromatic fruit flavours the Marsanne grape should show. And a real shame for a special-occasion bottle costing over $30.
L called this one of my “stinky French whites”. Ugh.
Looking past the aroma, I saw thin fruit (natch), light nutty and biscuit flavours, less white peach than overripe/rotten apple. Slightly cooked. I emailed the wineseller and got a considered reply, and an offer of replacement, so all good there.
Church Road McDonald Series Merlot Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$
14.5% alc. Deep carmine colour.
From the celebrated 2013 vintage in the Bay. Tasted over two nights.
First impression: complex and leafy on the nose, odd for a good year, brusqueness and drying tannin on palate, but with potential to age, the shortness on palate perhaps indicating the wine has stalled, with another 2-3 years needed to kick on to a stage when it will begin drinking really well.
Second look after a day open: dark fruits, roses, cedar and vanilla. Soft and aromatic. Unctuous and delicious in the mouth with rich flavours of dark plums, dark red roses, and tobacco to match bouquet. Balanced. Drying tannins offset by fresh acidity, and enveloped by the typical varietal softness of Merlot.
Highly Recommended 90 points
Off Topic: Domaine Faiveley Rully Les Villeranges Cote Chalonnaise 2013 – $$$+
L and I went up to Auckland to see Sigur Ros, one of my favourite bands. The light show was amazing and made up a little for the their lack of emotion and engagement with the audience. They didn’t play my two favourite tunes either – Samskeyti and Von – but what they did play was layered and dense and crafted…a tick for the bucket list…
On the Saturday night we went to eat at White & Wongs, an Asian fusion restaurant at the edge of Viaduct Basin. The food was abso delicious. We started with a glass of Moet, then shared a bottle of Dom. Faiveley Rully Les Villeranges 2013. It was flinty and austere and restrained and lean.
Recommended 88 points
Off Topic: Sebastiani Zinfandel Sonoma County 2013 – $$
Nice to pull a cork every now and then…
14.6% alc. Inky ruby. This may be a monster….
Sumptuous and rich bouquet, with strong aromas of black fruit, vanilla and cedar…
..and a mouthful of the stuff shows it’s packed with flavour – luscious dark fruits, plums, prunes – and with a really hot finish. Spicy through the mid palate, and finished very fleshy, and scratchy.
A showstopping, car-crash of a wine, this. Too much alcohol. It may have suited the beef stroganoff we ate for dinner, but it’s no good as an aperitif. A firestarter maybe, not a fireside drinker…
Too bad. An earlier vintage really impressed me up the skifield three years ago. Perhaps the high altitude dulled my senses? The grunty and forward fruit flavours really showed well up there in the cold.
However, I still mark this wine Highly Recommended and score it 90 points, as I reckon you gotta give a belter like this it’s due. But this wine would be even better if it were a point and a bit less alcoholic!
A drought wine?
Highly recommended 90 points