The Luminary Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2016 – $$
Simple and uncomplicated, with a calm nose. Very typical of the restrained form of Kiwi savvy hailing from Martinborough. There is freshness and acidity as you would expect, and quality fruit weight . It has presence. But a little boring.
Recommended 88 points
Craggy Range Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2016 – $$
Greenish pale straw. 13% alc.
Nose of apples and limes, cut grass.
A grainy texture to the lean citrus fruit flavours. Dry. A restrained savvy.
Recommended – 88 points
Esk Valley Verdelho Hawkes Bay 2016 – $$
I haven’t tried a Verdelho since ages ago! When I saw this on sale I just had to buy.
Pale gold. 14% alc.
Aromatic with sweet tropical fruity scents. Open and lifted, with notes of spice and honey and butter candy, and Golden Delicious apples.
To taste – sweet and ripe on entry, a citrus edge throughout the mid-palate, spicy and with a long finish. Unctuous and mouth-filling, textural and bold, with bountiful flavours of apples, mangoes and mandarines.
Recommended – 88 points
From the Cellar: Villa Maria Private Bin Dry Riesling Marlborough 2012 – $
Pale gold colour. 12.5% alc. This was VM’s 50th anniversary vintage.
I saw a citrus bite to the nose, some mellowness from wood ageing, and notes of apple, honey and sugar confectionery.
A mouthwatering lime + lemon attack in the mouth. Dry, and a great structure, intensity and freshness for their value/basement tier wine. A mandarin and green apple skin finish, lingering.
Astrolabe Valleys Riesling Wairau Valley Marlborough 2014 – $
On Spring special at Regional Wines…this took a while to settle down after opening…a somewhat aggressive dry style of Riesling…
11.5% alc. Pale greenish straw colour.
Dry, lean and austere. Lots of citrus notes, & apples… a premonition of lip-puckering flavours ahoy …with perhaps the occasional wince…
This wine had lots of character. Very assertive, and not so much built for ‘easy drinking’. Some will love this. It took me a few bottles over a couple of weeks to understand it and not freak out too much. Decant, and let it stand for a while. The acid starts to soften, and the fruit shows through. It has an expressive nose from the get-go, which helps a lot.
A hot day’s aperitif, or to accompany sweet seafood and you won’t go wrong.
From the Cellar: Peregrine Saddleback Pinot Noir Central Otago 2011 – $
Bright pinot ruby. 13.5% alc. The second wine of Peregrine Wines.
Moderate intensity, a floral bouquet. Soft, with spice, pepper, and some savoury and herbal characteristics. This wine really needed decanting. Splashing helped, but it looked much better the next day.
To drink, the wine showed ripe red fruits, direct and simple. There was balance in the acids, and silky tannins. Good concentration. A long finish.
As I wrote earlier, this wine showed far more attractive on the second night. The age would have helped – it was softer, and the flavours and aromas emerged with more varietal intensity. The first night it had looked like the kind of red cordial that I hate so much about second-label Pinot Noirs. I know it isn’t something that noted producers want to achieve, but I see it all the time – a lack of finesse, grace and complexity straight out of the glass.
Second labels are bought for immediate drinking, not overnight decanting.
Woven Stone Pinot Gris Ohau 2014 – $$
From one of my fav local producers. Brilliant gold colour. 14% alc.
Aromatic with sweet pears, manuka honey, and golden delicious apples. Lovely.
There were apples in the mouth also, and mandarin peel. A lively and well-formed wine. Balanced acid and lightly itchy spice. Salty through the mid-palate, some pepper, with an intriguing oyster shell iodine finish. A good Gris, this.
From the Cellar: E Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2010 – $$
Following an immersive tasting of 2007 Chateauneuf de Pape’s, I arrived home with a taste for another Rhone. I don’t have anything of the power or depth as a CdP, but I do have a few of these kicking around…
Deep dark red. 14% alc. 49% Syrah, 48% Grenache, 3% Mourvèdre. Average vine age 35 years. 3.5M bottles produced of this vintage.
The bouquet is soft and floral as you would expect, some savoury and underbrush notes, with a hint of green herb.
On drinking I tasted medium-ripe red fruit – cherries, raspberries – with chocolate and vanilla. A sweet entry. Good balance of acid, with a nice tannic structure. The dry extract is not as intense as the CdPs, not being as ripe or full. I saw it as crusty on the back palate, and with a drying finish backing off. Pleasant easy style of red, a classic of its type, needs another few years to develop some secondary characters.
Off Topic: d’Arenberg Stump Jump Shiraz McLaren Vale 2012 – $$
It’s a new month. The year is moving on, but winter is still lagging behind, much to the chagrin of us skiers (the season was meant to start on Mt Ruapehu on the 2nd…). No matter what is happening on Game of Thrones…
And, in honour of the upcoming Game of Rhones celebration, and to take the edge off my working week, I chose a value wine from one of the featured producers – d’Arenberg.
D’Arenberg write on the label that their name pays homage to a significant South Australian invention – the Stump Jump plough, designed to ride over stumps and roots saving time and energy. It is rumoured that the inventor of the plough had poor eyesight and required regular tests to ensure he could still operate machinery. The design of this label is inspired by an optometrist’s eyechart and serves as a makeshift sobriety test. If you can hold the bottle at arm’s length and still read the front label, you can enjoy another glass.
Deep dark ruby colour. 14.4% alc.
Attractive leafy nose, savoury notes, warm enticing black cherries and vanilla. It has a Rhone-like presence.
In the mouth, the wine is full bodied, with nutty black fruits & chewy tannins. It shows juicy acidity on the finish, hot and tannic at the death. Good length. This is drinking really well after four years.
Off Topic: Louis Bernard Cotes du Rhone 2013 – $$
Dark purple plum. 12.5% alc.
My nose is full of cold and I can hardly smell a thing, but this wine tastes pretty good – soft, ripe and fruity. Good density and balance. A nip of tannin. There are savoury aromas there as well, but I shouldn’t trust the olfactory equipment too much tonight…
We are off to Fiji in the morning for a few days in the sun, and life is swell! 88 points