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 – $$
It was Riesling Day one day recently down at Regional Wines, and I had a chance to taste-test a lovely dry-ish Riesling from the Waitaki Valley. The wine was River-T Riesling from the 2016 vintage. I liked it and brought a bottle home.
From RW: This wine is made with grapes grown by Murray and Karen Tweed, whose vineyard is 5 kms out of Kurow; the main town in the valley. The couple hand harvested the grapes in mid-May – very late by New Zealand standards since Waitaki Valley is the last region to harvest its grapes each year. This makes it a very cool climate wine region, which just so happens to suit the late ripening Riesling grape pretty darned well. This wine is medium dry (18.3 grams per litre of residual grape sugar – not that it tastes sweet at all). It has 13% alcohol and its natural high acidity lends beautiful balance to this refreshing, crisp, light bodied, full flavoured Riesling.
13% alc. Pale straw colour.
The Waitaki Valley is New Zealand’s smallest wine region. It is better known for generating a hefty amperage of hydroelectric power from a multitude of dams spaced down the Waitaki River, and for flying gliders out of Waimarama. A cool climate you could also say – you can ski up the top end in winter. FWIW Kurow is famous for being the home town of one our our finest All Blacks – Richie McCaw.
In addition to these many attractions I am told there are some splendid grape-growing sites that face the north sun and have great soils.
This wine is leggy. Lovely aromatics. Clear and crisp aromas – melon, grapes, green apple.
Off dry to drink. Delicious and crunchily crisp. Intense fresh fruit flavours, a crisp finish. A perfect summer aperitif wine.
Recommended 89 Points
Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay Kumeu 2016 – $$$
This is Kumeu River’s single vineyard wine I generally prefer the most, right from when I first began tasting their wines. I dare say this is because this shows better when young than the more powerful cousins, Hunting Hill and Matés Vineyard Chardonnays.
13.5% alc. Light brilliant gold colour.
Like KRs usually have, a slightly reductive aroma. Fine, lightly scented, with citrus, melon, lemon, butterscotch and spice.
Crisp and fine to taste. Bold acid and golden fruit. Suppler and elegant with a crunchy punch through the mid-palate. Heat on the finish. Very approachable on one hand; this is too young, too soon, on the other…
I feel this wine is not as accomplished as the 2016 Villages blend Chardonnay I tried previously, despite the $ gulf between them
Highly Recommended 90 points
te Pā Pā Road Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $
Produced by a family-owned winery with an 800-year tangata whenua connection to the land, this mid-tier wine is made from grapes grown on the McDonald home block vineyard near the Wairau River bar in Marlborough.
13% alc. Drought-pale straw colour.
Clean clear citrus aromas of golden delicious apples, light green capsicum. Very attractive.
On tasting, a simple restrained quality sav is revealed. Not an aggressive style. Balanced fruit and acid. Quite sweet throughout the mid-palate with a sharp finish.
Delicious drinking, and v good value for the price point.
Highly Recommended 92 points
Te Kairanga Pinot Noir Martinborough 2016 – $$
Te Kairanga Wines has recently been acquired by US billionaire and multi winery vineyards investor Bill Foley. I don’t drink hardly any of this producers wines, don’t know why.
I didn’t record any notes for this wine specifically either, but I liked it. I recall good extract and fruit intensity in the wine, a nice spicy-ness, and a good savoury quality which is not always so apparent in Pinot Noir wines of this mid price point. Nice.
Recommended 88 Points
Fromm Riesling Spätlese Marlborough 2016 – $$
Joelle Thomson of Regional Wines writes of this wine:
Light and low and naturally so… this super concentrated Riesling is a wine of beauty from Marlborough’s warm days, cool nights and long growing season. Its low alcohol shows that winemaker Hatsch Kalberer intentionally stopped the fermentation well before the wine reached anything near to dryness, so it is a sweet style but, thanks to the high acidity of the Riesling grape, this wine finishes on a crisp, fresh and intensely floral note… its long succulent finish is juicy and delicious.””
8% alc. Pale green straw.
I thought it was stunning at the instore tasting so I brought a bottle home. Juicy and sweet, with such a lovely acid backbone. So so lovely. Such an Empress of wines, Riesling.
Highly Recommended 93 points