From the Cellar: Kiritea Te Hera Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013 – $$
Deep ruby colour. 13.5% alcohol.
Pronounced floral bouquet with dark cherries, a savoury quality, and cardboard box. It presents as a well-defined and deeply scented wine as I believe a proper Pinot should be.
Sweet entry, smooth to drink, with big fruit flavours. But not brash or simple. Bitter and crunchy on the mid palate, and a peppery finish. Solid, rewarding, primary and persistent, with good structure. I’ll keep my second bottle for another couple of years based on this showing.
Highly Recommended 92 points
From the Cellar: Peregrine Pinot Noir Central Otago 2012 – $$$
In good Pinot Noir, there is that distinctive catch at the back of the throat which is so typical of the wine varietal showing sufficient extraction, a little like the feeling I get when I think I am just coming down with a cold. This wine had that…
13.5% alc. Dark dusky browning carmine colour.
A difficult wine to assess at first. It opened up quite stinky, very savoury and overblown, but this gassed off after a while. Showed delicate and dusty dark cherry fruit aromas. Sweet and lifted oak notes, with the usual Central herbal terroir character edging the bouquet with thyme. Damp earth/heaped wet leaves.
Light and sweet fruit flavours on entry, a little thin. Although this impression might be because my red wine diet has been mostly restricted to Syrah and Shiraz this winter and I have lost the taste for a lighter style of red. Refreshing acidity on the middle palate, medium tannins, and quite persistent. The catch at the back of the throat I wrote about above.
Density and presence of nose informs every mouthful. It is what I love about good Pinot.
High Recommended 92 Points
From the Cellar: Murdoch James Blue Rock Trafalgar Martinborough 2009 – $$$
L bought this bottle on our first weekend away to the Wairarapa, when we first started going out. We stayed on the first floor of Turley Red, a pub in Greytown, above the karaoke bar, with non-sound-insulated floors. While trying to sleep the first night we heard every song. We were practically in the bar with the singers…It was a GrabOne deal. We look back and laugh about it now.
Anyway, we did a vineyard crawl one day, and ended up at Murdoch James perched above the old river escarpment, east of Martinborough. I recall gorgeous gardens, and a singularly unique approach to winemaking styles, aimed at the Asian market, for Martinborough.
This wine is a blend of noble Sauvignon Blanc, and late harvest Riesling, a ‘sticky’.
13% alc. Golden colour.
Delicious, evolved, and volatile. A sticky in a big bottle. Fantastic aromas of mandarins, honey, and citrus freshness.
Very sweet on attack (natch), with fresh citrus character throughout the mid-palate, and kero energy at the finish. So good!
Highly recommended 92 points
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
Santagostino Nero d’Avola Syrah Firriata 2012
L and I went to dinner Saturday night at the fantastic Cicio Cacio Osteria in Newtown. I love the food there, and the atmosphere. They like their salt – you are warned!
I had this fantastic wine there. On special. A 50/50 Nero d’Avola/Syrah blend from Sicilia.
Opulent and perfumed and engaging. Totally delicious.
Highly Recommended – 92 points
Church Road Syrah Hawkes Bay 2014 – $
Inky carmine colour. 13.5% alc.
Michael Cooper rated this wine his best red buy for 2017. He wrote of it, “sturdy, richly flavoured, sharply priced red is not to be missed. ‘Serious’ but highly approachable, it is mouthfilling, with an array of blackcurrant, plum, spice and nut flavours, hints of black pepper and licorice, and excellent concentration, ripeness and complexity”.
I have to agree. This wine has a beautiful nose, layered, fruity and savoury in equal parts. Softness, with plums and white pepper, vanilla and chocolate. Lots going on, and ‘serious’.
The wine tasted soft and robust, with dense rich fruit, mid-weighted with medium tannin and spice. Well-built, mouth-filling and long, with unctuous umami components and a white pepper finish. The best CR base-level Syrah yet. Superb.
Highly Recommended – 92 points
Craggy Range SV Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$
I reckon that the 2014 vintage in the Bay was just as good for Chardonnay as the much-heralded 2013 vintage. And this wine is a good reference point for that claim.
Medium brilliant straw colour. 13% alc. From Te Awanga near Cape Kidnappers.
Toasty oak and mealy aromas. Ripe golden stonefruit. Good density. Elegance and lightness of touch.
Plenty of ripe fruit flavours, extract and sweetness on entry. The citrus freshness you need to see in a good modern oaked Chardonnay is balanced and provides the necessary structure on the mid-palate to avoid flabbiness and bland-ness. Good length in the finish, and no bitterness that might indicate a lack of extract. A delicious and rewarding drop.
Te Hera Estate Kiritea Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013 – $$
A find this was! Showing intense perfume, layered, with savoury characters so typical of M’bo pinots. Dark cherries, heady spic, powerful. Perfect ripeness allowing for a hint of cool climate leafiness to aid florality.
Could sniff this all day…
The promise on nose extended to the mouth. Great fruit weight and body. Robust and textural, acid through the mid-palate, with a grainy finish. Heat and length at the death.
Perhaps off young vines, as it died a little in the glass over time.
Still, fabulous, & a bargain.
From the cellar: Trinity Hill The Gimblett 2010 – $$
We are all up at the ski club for the Spring school holiday ski week. A bit of rain and snow and hail about, but it isn’t dampening the fun too much. We are waiting for a spell of better weather in the later half of the week. In the meantime, we ferry baggage loads up the hill when the chairlift isn’t running…
2010 was a sensational vintage in Hawkes Bay – a perfect summer followed by an Indian summer for autumn ripening. This wine was picked as a keeper…
A blend of five varieties – 60% merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit verdot, 3% Malbec. A melange…
14% alc. Inky carmine colour. Soft oaky vanilla on the nose, with secondary aromas of rich black fruit, plums and raisins.
A great balance of fruit, tannins and acid in the mouth. A very complete wine, and lovely drinking over both nights the bottle was open. Great structure, and long. Stood up well to the altitude as well. Yum.
Spy Valley Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 – $$
One of my favourite Chardonnays which I don’t get to drink nearly enough because it isn’t sold in my local supermarket. This latest vintage was rated in the top 5 of a Chardonnay tasting hosted by Dish Magazine earlier this year. I bought a couple for the Pool Room and another for the table…
Pale gold. 13% alc.
Mealy and refined nose. Touch of burnt match, flint. Lemon, pear & apples. Quite lovely.
Fresh and lean and intense in the mouth. Quite linear, just enough fruit to avoid being thin. Zesty citrus grapefruit. Austere and minerally, and mouthcoating. A long finish.
Overall there is a hard edge to this wine, but I say it is terrific, and will be very special in a few years time.