Off Topic: Olivier Leflaive Les Sétilles Bourgogne 2013 – $$$+
I bought this bottle to take to a friend’s 70th and share with L. I thought it was a bit funky at first, and perhaps faulty, but friends who have a good nose tried it and agreed that this wine was pretty good. Fine minerality, a steely austere quality, and crisp acidity. Delish!
Unfortunately L didn’t like it much. I have my eye on a Marsanne/Rousanne Northern Rhone blend for next time – she might like that better!
Highly recommended 90 points
Escarpment Riesling Martinborough 2013
This was a generous gift from MM for me being chauffeur at the recent biking weekend. Much appreciated, mate.
Brilliant pale greenish straw colour. 12% alc.
The nose was delightfully aromatic and phenolic, showing lean and crisp acidity, with a layered note of honey.
Natch, the wine was dry/off-dry, lean, and angular to taste as well. Salty, and sharp through the mid palate, with a short crisp mineral finish. I loved the mouthwatering acidity. An arresting wine, cerebral even (if I err into weinwank for a moment…J )
Very enjoyable. I liked seeing the sweetness dialled back in this white.
Highly Recommended – 90 points
Abbey Cellars Rapture Merlot Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$
Dark plum red colour. 14% alc.
A layered and chunky nose, soft ripe sweet black fruit, big on vanilla, and a bit funky. The funkiness got stronger as the wine got air.
Full and soft to drink. Medium tannins. A structural feel in the mouth, a soapy and spicy finish. I could feel the alcohol heat.
The wine then alarmingly wilted in the glass after time, and unpleasantly. I have rarely seen this. It either lacks the extract or fruit weight to sustain itself in contact with air, or it had been poorly stored. A very odd wine to work out – it opened so promising, and then fell over almost completely. A real shame.
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
Off Topic: GD Vajra Nebbiolo Langhe 2013 – $$$
Dark carmine. 13.5% alc. From a Barolo producer, tho this isn’t one of those stellar wines. Bought from a new Wgtn supplier (for me) – Truffle Imports.
Savoury and spicy, aromatic, chunky and big. Meaty and expressive, with scents of dark plums and cherries.
The wine was smooth and sweet on the palate, with ripe, rich and vivacious fruit flavours. A fresh finish. Really delightful and delicious.
Highly Recommended – 90 points
Tietjen Witters TW Reserve Chardonnay Gisborne 2013 – $$
Off the Ormond Road. Pale gold colour. 13.5% alc.
Dense and layered and very aromatic, with big, buttery and oaky characters in the bouquet. Mango and apricot fruit.
It showed some development in the mouth. Rich mouthfeel with oak and full malo. Flavours of butterscotch, lemon citrus, ginger and honey. A strong spicy oak finish. An appealing and interesting Chardonnay.
Recommended – 87 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
Abbey Cellars Eden Syrah Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$
L and I and kids headed out to a friends beach house to stay the night in the weekend. I bought this wine at an outlet on the way.
Deep carmine. 14%.
Reduction on the nose. Savoury. Oak. Black fruits. Cherries. Perfumed. Roses. A gorgeous nose, with very intriguing and complex notes.
Smoky to taste. Great fruit weight. Plums, figs, ginger & chocolate. Black and white pepper. Spicy. Complex tannins and long.
Outstanding – 95 points
Things got a little confused after this, and few more reds. At one point we were comparing an single malt out of Auckland with a Dalwhinnie. I don’t recall much more after this photo was taken. A very generous host lead me willingly astray, and the next day was pretty much a write-off…
Locharburn Pinot Noir Central Otago 2013 – gift
The grapes for this wine were grown beside Lake Dunstan in the Cromwell basin from a single vineyard overlooking the Locharburn stream. It is not a label I am at all familiar with.
Dark carmine – a particularly dense-coloured Pinot. 14% alc.
It showed quite dumb the first night, but opened up beautifully graceful the second night
Soft savoury notes on the nose, I smelled dried herbs, very perfumed. There were strong fruit scents of dark cherries, touches of oak and vanilla, red roses, soap and crayon wax. Verging on being a Rhone…
A classic Cromwell Pinot Noir in the mouth. Reminds me of Wooing Tree, Beetlejuice and Mt Difficulty wines from that part of the country. Sweet, rich and ripe. Flavours of dark cherries and plums. Fine-grained tannins. Raspy and textural. Long and hot, with a spicy finish.
Not at all a shrinking violet! I loved it.
Highly Recommended – 93 points
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!