What’s in the glass tonight June 22nd – Merlot Syrah Cabernets


IMG_20170622_184310_processed

Ata Rangi Celebre Martinborough 2014 – $$$

This is a long-time favourite local red for me. A bright red blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc fruit grown on the Martinborough Terrace, and matured in 20% new oak.

Deep plum purple colour. 13% alc.

Soft, round and opulent on the nose. A savoury character up front, then opens to reveals oak, plums, and spice.

Sweetness on entry, fine-grained tannins in the mid-palate, and fresh acidity on the finish. Fruit flavours are restrained, not as ripe as the ’13, and slightly leafy.

A fine, expressive wine.

Recommended 89 points

Straight to the Pool Room – June 2016


Pool Room June 2016

If I can’t buy an old example of Célèbre at auction, I’d better start laying down new examples in my cellar and get the aging process going…

Ata Rangi Célèbre Merlot Syrah Cabernet Martinborough 2013 – $$$ – Drink 2020-2023.

Some notable reviews:

Bob Campbell MW | Bob’s Wine Reviews, June 2015 | 95 points.

Merlot (55%), Syrah (35%) and Cabernet Sauvignon. Robust yet elegant red wine with dark berry fruits, violet, cedar and spice flavours. A firm backbone of fine tannins offers structure and longevity without being too much of a barrier at this early stage. The best Celebre I can recall tasting. Drink 2015-2023.

Michael Cooper  | http://www.michaelcooper.co.nz

Pronounced ‘say-lebr’, this is a blend of grape varieties – Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Robust and vibrantly fruity, it typically has impressive weight and depth of plummy, spicy, slightly herbal flavours in a complex style that matures well. There is no 2010 or 2012. The 2011 vintage (4.5*), the first since 2009, is a blend of Merlot (63 per cent), Syrah (27 per cent) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10 per cent). Richly coloured, it’s a stylish, youthful wine with fresh acidity and rich, vibrant blackcurrant, plum, spice and herb flavours, seasoned with quality oak. Showing excellent concentration and complexity, it’s already approachable, but should flourish with cellaring.

What’s in the glass tonight June 18th – Merlot Syrah Cab Sav


Ata Rangi Célèbre 2013

Ata Rangi Célèbre Martinborough 2013

Dark claret garnet. 13%

In reference to my previous post, this was one Célèbre that was NOT going to get away from me!

I chose it from the Akl Airport Duty Free Store cos it was one of the few fine wines for sale with a screw cap, as I was not sure that where we were flying to they would have a corkscrew in the hotel room…

Blend of Merlot 55% Syrah 35% balance of Cabernet Sauvignon.  From the fantastic ’13 vintage.

The Merlot provided softness and richness of black fruit. Syrah offered florality and bouquet. Cab Sav the tension and structure and weight of finish.

There was Vibrancy and expression through the roof. Sizzling acid. Spicy and plummy. Violets and wallflowers. Boysenberries and dark chocolate. The Syrah notes sang. Primary and mouthwatering.

Still too young now. This wine will live forever. It needs another 5 years alone to knit together into a legendary NZ wine.

A cracker! 95 points

Tasted from our balcony at the Fiji Sofitel Denarau. Life is good…:-)

Straight to the Pool Room 2 – May 2016


Pool Room May 2016

Various lootings from Martinborough for Below Stairs…

Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay Martinborough 2014 – $$$ – Drink 2019-2022.

Tirohana Estate Memories Pinot Gris Martinborough 2014 – $$$ – Drink 2019-2022

Poppies Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015 – $$ – Drink 2020

Stone Cutter Topaz Martinborough 2014 – $$ – Drink 2019-2021

What’s in the glass tonight May 8th, 9th – A Ramble Around Martinborough


Martinborough Rows

Two Saturdays ago L and I stayed in Martinborough for the weekend. On the recommendation of our friend LH I had booked dinner for us at Tirohana Estate on Puruatanga Road. The proprietors picked us up in their van which was mighty decent.

The restaurant was in a beautiful white-gabled colonial house on the Estate. We enjoyed an amuse bouche, homemade pate, fish and lamb shanks, petit fours for after – so rich and good! Toby our Maitre’D was friendly, attentive and knowledgeable about the estate’s wines.

Tirohana

I had a glass of Tirohana Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2014 to start, which showed apple, pear and petrol /aftershave. Flavours of mandarin peel and Gran Marnier, light, ripe & fleshy. Not a hint of grass or capsicum to be seen. Interesting. With my lamb I had a glass of Tirohana Estate Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013.  The nose exhibited density, florality and spice. The palate was fine, with bright ripe red cherries, fine tannins, and a hottish finish. Good.

The next morning, we wanted to burn off a big cooked breakfast, so we went out for a walk. We headed for a far-away hill track, but it turned out to be a bit further that we reckoned. We had walked for over an hour from our accommodation, and we hadn’t even got to the start of it. And then the morning’s meal caught me short and in trouble. I was about to touch cloth, but luckily we saw a winery open nearby for tastings. Two birds, one stone etc!

Stone Cutter

We got a great welcome from the new owner at Stone Cutter Vineyard on Todds Road. We tried their Stone Cutter Pinot Gris 2013  and Stone Cutter Syren Pinot Gris 2013, their Stone Cutter Pinot Noir 2013 and Stone Cutter Syren Pinot Noir 2013. L tried also their Stone Cutter 2014 Topaz – a sweet blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurtztraminer – & liked & bought a bottle, along with their PG.

Poppies wine list

We had lunch at Poppies Martinborough also on Puruatanga Rd later that afternoon, after the Mothers Day rush had eased (a little). Super-enthusiast winemaker Poppy and her viticulturist husband Shayne made us so very welcome. She led us through a tasting of their wines (they had sold out of their rose & chardonnay alas) – their age-worthy Sauvignon Blanc, fruity Pinot Gris and dusky Pinot Noir wines tasted delightful in the faded-euro elegance of their tasting room.

Louise

I selected the Poppies Martinborough Dry Riesling 2015 to have with the fantastically delicious vineyard platter served on the sunny terrace. Nose of apples. Very astringent and lean and fresh, lots of green apple, needs time to ease out of a current austere & angular phase. This too was selling out as we tasted. They are keen to secure additional grapes, as their business in barnstorming along.

Ata Rangi tasting room

We finished our amble at one of Martinborough’s, and New Zealand’s, 1er cru vineyards – Ata Rangi, further along Puruatanga Road. A rustic looking tasting room, containing stunning wines. We tried their current fresh Sauvignon Blanc, ripe and simple Crimson Pinot Noir (second label), their wonderfully rich and age-worthy Celebre red blend, and the fragrant powerful Craighall Vineyard and elegant Petrie Vineyard Chardonnays. A fine way to end the afternoon!

 

What’s in the glass tonight January 31st – Chardonnay


Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay 2010 2

From the Cellar: Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay Martinborough 2010 – $$$

Pale gold 13.5%.

A single-vineyard wine by the great Martinborough producer. Made from fruit off Mendoza clone vines planted in 1983 – that is old for NZ – and barrel-fermented with wild yeasts.

Smelled big, mealy and refined; with rich and toasty cashew and dried apricot aromas. Gorgeous.

Seamless and elegant to drink. I saw generous golden fruit flavours. A subtle citrus note. Cashew that gives way to almond.

This is a richly textured cru Chardonnay with a lovely crunchy bitter finish. Splendid & worth the wait!

Outstanding 5

 

What’s in the glass tonight December 27th


Brancott Flight Sav Blanc 2014

Another tough summer’s day. Lawn mowing. Taking the kids to the beach. Drinking a medley of wines with friends in the sun.

Brancott Flight Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 – $

Practically no discernable colour. 9%. One of a number of low alcohol wines being brought to market in these sober drink/driving times. Interesting to see how this wine fares in the taste test…

..Not much bouquet. To taste it is light and bright and quite spritzy. I see citrus and green apple. No bold grassy notes as would be typical of a Marlborough sav. It is pleasant enough, but I wouldn’t choose it as my standard quaffage unless I knew I was likely to be called upon to perform an emergency heart operation while piloting a plane during an emergency landing, in an emergency-type situation that would require a wise and sober head: I like the buzz too much. Good 3

Ata Rangi Summer Rose 2014

Ata Rangi Summer Rose Wairarapa 2014

New Zealand Rosé royalty. Light cranberry colour. 13.5%. Sweet strawberry nose. Light strawberry fruit in the mouth, bitter in the middle palate, long tannic finish. An intense attack, quite robust for a rosé. Not sure how to rate this. Good 3 I guess.

Esk Valley

Esk Valley Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2013

Pale gold. 13.5%. Rich involving bouquet of ripe warm peaches and vanilla. Buttery and rich to drink, with cooked peaches, manuka honey and vanilla on the mid palate and a brusque fnish. Managed to be both tannic and unctuous. Better Than Good 3+

What’s in the glass tonight December 13th


Boulders 2

Mini-tour of Martinborough Wines

L and I were pleased to attend the 50th birthday celebration of G, a good and generous friend of mine, and fellow cyclist, at the weekend just gone. He held it on a cool afternoon in the lovely environs of a Martinborough vineyard belonging to Nga Waka. Our kids were there, as were his, and they all had a great time running up and down the vines. The company was great, and he hired a fantastic singer/guitarist who knew all the songs, and played for hours!

We were treated to sumptuous food (whole pig on a spit! my fav cheesecake!), along with a broad selection of local wines. G knows and likes his wine…

50th wine

Over the course of a long day’s party, I got to taste the Ata Rangi Petrie Chardonnay (elegant, restrained), both Nga Waka and Three Paddles (the second label) Pinot Noirs (involving floral notes on the nose), Nga Waka Sauvignon Blanc (lovely, but alas Roger Parkinson has pulled out his vines to plant more PN), Margrain Pinot Gris, Palliser Riesling 2012 (stunning) and a rich Hawkes Bay Bordeaux blend which name escapes me. What a treat!

Thanks mate.

 

What’s in the glass tonight April 14th


20140413_172959

From the Cellar: Ata Rangi Martinborough Pinot Noir 2008 – $$$

One of the best wines from the Pool Room. I’ve been saving it for a proper occasion and nothing gets more proper than marking the time when L and I completed our first DIY project together!

i tried this wine last year at an Ata Rangi tasting and was blown away by its purity and strong expression of premium Mbo Pinot.

Almost black carmine colour. 13.5%. Dense bouquet of spice, dark cherries and wet forest. Wonderful concentration of rich fruit flavours, black currants . Perfect balance of spice notes and ripe fruit and catchy tannins. Long finish. Top drop. 

 

 

What’s in the glass tonight Oct 28th


Ata Rangi Summer Rose 2013

Ata Rangi Wairarapa Summer Rosé 2013 – $$

I think of this wine as one of our local rock stars. While I am not a huge fan of rosé, I have been drinking this version on and off for over a decade.

Years ago I remember heading over the hill to Toast Martinborough (the wine festival held each November), after telling my ex “it is never cold over there so dressing light is fine”, then standing inside a chilly marquee at Ata Rangi, wearing a T-shirt and sandals and drinking this wine while freezing southerly gales raged outside!

Moving to the present-day, I have survived three intense sessions of cycling training this weekend and was feeling pretty knackered this afternoon. L is heading over to the US for a conference next week, and I’ve been saving this bottle to drink with her before she went, as I know she likes a nice rosé.

First off, it sez Wairarapa on the label. Usually it sez Martinborough. Now, I’m a bit picky and to me Wairarapa does not mean the same as Martinborough when it comes to wine provenance. At least to me, anyway. So I had a look at their website and read that the grapes for this wine come from a variety of sites: mostly Merlot from Ata Rangi’s Di Mattina block, with a bit of Mebus Syrah from Kahu Vineyard, both in Martinborough, and a little Pinot Noir from the leased Waiora Block which is about 7kms south. I guess the spread of properties meant the producers had to put the Wairarapa appellation on the bottle.

The wine looks really appealing to the eye in the afternoon sun. L sez it is like drinking jewels and rubies. It is the most brilliant pink ruby colour. 13.5%. Lovely light nose of florals and melons. Watermelon and cranberries in the mouth, and hint of red capsicum too. Medium-dry. Doesn’t disappoint. 3.5.

Sileni Cab Franc Rose 2013

Then I was offered a glass of Sileni Hawkes Bay Cabernet Franc Rosé 2013

This was paler in colour – a light dusky pink. It was sweeter too, raspberry on nose and in mouth. Softer. 2.75