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 – $$
Joelle Thomson of Regional Wines writes of this wine:
Light and low and naturally so… this super concentrated Riesling is a wine of beauty from Marlborough’s warm days, cool nights and long growing season. Its low alcohol shows that winemaker Hatsch Kalberer intentionally stopped the fermentation well before the wine reached anything near to dryness, so it is a sweet style but, thanks to the high acidity of the Riesling grape, this wine finishes on a crisp, fresh and intensely floral note… its long succulent finish is juicy and delicious.””
8% alc. Pale green straw.
I thought it was stunning at the instore tasting so I brought a bottle home. Juicy and sweet, with such a lovely acid backbone. So so lovely. Such an Empress of wines, Riesling.
Highly Recommended 93 points
Kumeu River Village Chardonnay Auckland 2016 – $
Light gold colour. 13.5% alc.
Lovely elegant and expressive nose. Slighlty reductive. Crisp open lifted citris aromas, light stone fruit – unripe apricot – green apple and mint.
Lively and fresh to drink. Crips acid, tingly mouthfeel, mouthewatering, mint again, and complexly layered. Slightly bitter and spicy finish.
This is a wine that really over delivers for its price. Excellent value, just delicious.
Highly Recommended 92 points
Off Topic: Dom. du Vieux Prêche Sancerre Blanc ASC 2016 – $$
Greenish pale straw colour. 13.5% alc.
My first ever Sancerre Blanc. A wine from one of the two spiritual homes of New Zealand’s most famous wine export, the other being Pouilly-Fumé on the other side of the Loire.
Flat aromatically, open steely and minerally. Curry spice and celery. Lightly fruited – apples, apple pip, exotic pip fruit, balanced acidity expressed on the nose.
Lean and flat in the mouth. Minerals. Funk. None of the ‘dash and splash’ I am used to with an NZ Sauvignon Blanc. No energy or verve in this wine, seems old before it’s time, too cautious. I don’t know enough about this wine to know whether this taste impression is authentic. It can be only confirmed by other bottles. And while I am interested to learn, life is short, and I may stick with what I know and love.
Looking at this wine in isolation, it is pleasant and moreish and drinkable. Like typical old world wines it improves on standing in the glass and with food, and opens up somewhat to show more fruit flavour, but it’s still thin. Emperors clothes, I feel, for this one.
Recommended 84 points
A brace of top Chardonnays kept for a sleep-in:
Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay Martinborough 2016 – $$$ – drink now-2021. I thought this was luminous at a recent tasting
Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay Nelson 2016 – $$$+ – drink now-2021. I have ridden past the vineyard where the grapes are grown when I completed in the Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge, but I am yet to try this wine. It is reputedly one of NZs finest of the variety. Guess I will find out in a couple of years time, then.
Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $
Another fantastic Savvy, and cheap too!
Pale straw colour. 13% alc.
A cheery and lively nose, this wine boasted the strongest expression of passionfruit I have ever smelt in a Sauvignon Blanc. There was more to smell every time I went back to the glass: lemons, limes, green apples, hops. Remarkable.
It was crisp and full-flavoured to drink, with a dry apple pip finish.
Highly Recommended 94 points
A trio of notable Sauvignon Blanc wines for the cellar:
Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $ – drink now-2021. Rated as Outstanding in the Decanter 2017 review of NZ Savs.
Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2016 – $ – drink now-2021. Bought at a recent tasting of Ata Rangi wines. Outstanding.
Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $
The weather is turning warmer, and sunnier, and my palate cravings are in turn turning towards cool, crisp, craven Kiwi savs. To every season, turn, turn, etc.
This one should be a good’un – rated 96 points in a recent review in Decanter.
Pale straw colour. 12% alc.
Crisp apple and lemons on the nose. Green grass and crushed tomato leaf aromas, but not overbearing. Smells cool and clean.
Crisp and acidic on palate. Lively, intense zesty limes and gooseberries Lengthy, big, mouthwatering. This is a new benchmark for a value Sav. I have to agree with Decanter.
Outstanding 95 points