Greystone Barrel-Fermented Sauvignon Blanc Waipara 2016 – $
13.5% alc. Pale straw colour.
A gorgeous textural wine. Indigenous yeasts and oak handling give this wine complexity and engagement. Perhaps not a classical NZ sav in style, but it still shows tropical fruit notes and open airs of citrus.
Sweet entry on palate, mealy, rich ripe fruit flavours. Golden goodness I say. Unmistakably a savvy, but this is sav+. I think this is fantastic, and a keeper.
A new fav.
Outstanding 95 points.
Millton Crazy By Nature Shotberry Vineyard Chardonnay Gisborne 2016 – $
An organic wine from the Gisborne biodynamic vigneron. Their easy-drinking fun mid-week wine brand.
12.5% alc. Mid-gold in colour.
Soft, sweet and ripe golden stonefruit bouquet, with scents of orange and orange peel, citrus sharpness on the nose, a mineral note, and wild herbs. Distinctive aromas, funky.
Soft mouthfeel, sweet and a little flabby with the malo treatment. Lacks a little focus. Shows the ‘sore-throat’ roughness at the back of the throat that some Chardonnays exhibit. Not sure why that is. A tingly feel in the mouth. Viscous and textural, but also so light. Could have been picked earlier I think.
Recommended 85 points.
Off Topic: Léon Perdigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2016 – $
Rough and raffish, red fruits, savoury, white pepper tickles the nose.
A simple and enjoyable Rhône rouge. Light red fruits, balanced.
Recommended 86 points.
Off Topic: Sula Vineyards Shiraz Nashik India 2016 – $
I love tea from Assam and Darjeeling, and exclusively drink it, but Indian wine is a first for me.
Deep dark ruby. 13% alc.
Soft dark fruit aromas and minerals, white pepper, heavy spice, cinnamon, prunes and licorice.
Surprisingly lean and minerally in the mouth, with spicy plum and stewed fruit notes and a raspy tannic finish, but rough and lacking in grace and smoothness for a shiraz.
When opened the night before this wine showed more fruit and softness then, but clearly has hardened up and faded overnight.
Fair 80 points.
Villa Maria Dry Riesling Marlborough Bay 2016 – $
12% alc. Pale greenish straw colour.
Earlier vintages have been my “WOTY” previously.
This one is not so stellar. Sharp citrus on nose, befitting a drier style of Riesling. Aromas of crisp apple and grapes.
Fresh entry on palate, with soft-ish texture. Quite linear fruit and an acid finish. Moderate intensity. Lacking some focus and intensity. An underwhelming example this time around.
Commended 85 Points
Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir Martinborough 2016 – $$
This is the value tier PN product for this producer.
Peter Richards MW in Decanter magazine included this wine in his February 2018 article “30 great New World buys under GDP30, and rated it 91 points. He wrote, “brilliant, great value example. Elegantly bittersweet, poised, spicy and engaging.”
14.2% alc. Dark carmine colour.
Aromatic, soft and fruity. Black cherries, savouriness and spice and soap.
Soft in the mouth, with dark fruits and spice evident. A soapy finish and hot. Real generous fruit weight with no bitterness or thinness on the rear palate that I see in other NZ pinots at this price point.
My only fault with this wine is that it is too alcoholic. Loses grace.
Recommended 88 Points
Off Topic: I.Am.George Shiraz Cabernet Limestone Coast Barossa 2016 – $$
14.6% alc. Inky crimson colour.
Rich and plum-y bold dark red-black fruits. Forward. Lifted.
Intense fruity flavours – very rich. Luscious, savoury and giving. Medium-grained tannins. High and hot alcohol finish. Abso delicious drinking – front to back.
Highly Recommended 91 Points
A brace of Chardonnays from Kumeu River for the Cinderella treatment:
Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay Kumeu 2016 – $$$ – drink 2020-2022.
I may squeeze a KR Hunting Hill Chardonnay in there too if I can afford it.
Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay Kumeu 2016 – $$$
Being the third KR Chardonnay I have tasted these past weeks, this is the flagship Estate-level blended wine, a step up from the Villages wine I enjoy and consider excellent value. Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay is drawn from six different vineyard sites in the Kumeu Region.
14% alc. Pale gold colour.
Restrained mealy and composed. Aromas of white peach and apple.
Rich and stylish on tasting. Crisp and fresh, acid prevails over fruit. Not as elegant or dense as the Coddington, nor as lively and personable as the Villages. Stuck in the middle. Will it age? Appears to have the boldness and structure to do so for another 3 years. Let’s see then…
Recommended 88 Points
River-T Riesling Waitaki Valley 2016 – $$
It was Riesling Day one day recently down at Regional Wines, and I had a chance to taste-test a lovely dry-ish Riesling from the Waitaki Valley. The wine was River-T Riesling from the 2016 vintage. I liked it and brought a bottle home.
From RW: This wine is made with grapes grown by Murray and Karen Tweed, whose vineyard is 5 kms out of Kurow; the main town in the valley. The couple hand harvested the grapes in mid-May – very late by New Zealand standards since Waitaki Valley is the last region to harvest its grapes each year. This makes it a very cool climate wine region, which just so happens to suit the late ripening Riesling grape pretty darned well. This wine is medium dry (18.3 grams per litre of residual grape sugar – not that it tastes sweet at all). It has 13% alcohol and its natural high acidity lends beautiful balance to this refreshing, crisp, light bodied, full flavoured Riesling.
13% alc. Pale straw colour.
The Waitaki Valley is New Zealand’s smallest wine region. It is better known for generating a hefty amperage of hydroelectric power from a multitude of dams spaced down the Waitaki River, and for flying gliders out of Waimarama. A cool climate you could also say – you can ski up the top end in winter. FWIW Kurow is famous for being the home town of one our our finest All Blacks – Richie McCaw.
In addition to these many attractions I am told there are some splendid grape-growing sites that face the north sun and have great soils.
This wine is leggy. Lovely aromatics. Clear and crisp aromas – melon, grapes, green apple.
Off dry to drink. Delicious and crunchily crisp. Intense fresh fruit flavours, a crisp finish. A perfect summer aperitif wine.
Recommended 89 Points