From the Cellar: Hihi Nebbiolo Barbera Gisborne 2010/2011 – $$
There is an MS Barolo tasting approaching, so I thought to open a NZ Nebbiolo from my cellar, and get an early run at the variety. Not that I was expecting a wine of the quality that will be tasted with the Society, nevertheless I was still looking forward to seeing how a year in the cellar has affected it since I lasted tasted a bottle.
14% alc. Deep dusty carmine. The colour is right.
Light dusty florals on the nose,a savoury note, dark fruits, smells hot, no trace of tar.
Cheery sweet entry on the palate, juicy fruit, medium body, a tannic edge, and not a long finish. An intriguing blend, this. Tending towards green, and with less body, intensity and fullness that I was hoping for. I recall that this vintage in Gisborne was wet and cold, and the finished wine shows this.
Nevertheless, it is a wine to keep an eye out for, and I remain hopeful to try one from a warmer vintage if a bottle ever becomes available. I am watching the producer’s website, and waiting…
In the meantime, I have one more bottle left, which I will keep the full ten years. And we’ll see how that looks then.
Commended 85 points
From the Cellar: Millton Clos Ste Anne The Crucible Syrah Gisborne 2009 – $$$
As I have said many, many times – biodynamic Millton Vineyard is one of my favourite producers. James and Annie possess one of the most beautiful vineyard sites in one of the most special parts of New Zealand (disclosure: a branch of my family immigrated into NZ through Gisborne two centuries ago, and I love the place, so I’m biased). And they treat their land so well and with so much respect through their viticultural stewardship. To open one of their wines is always a treat and an occasion to savour.
Now, having talked up the wine incredibly….
Inky red black colour, slightly browning at the rim. 14.5% alc. Whole berry in the maceration, with some Viognier in the blend.
Floral, spicy and perfumed nose. Lifted. Soft rich black fruit, and white pepper.
In the mouth there was an absolute abundance of sweet rich black fruit, with perfect ripeness and weight. Apparent oak and vanilla, but it didn’t detract. Smooth and deep, with notes of port and raisin and dark chocolate. Balanced acid, fruit and tannin. A long peppery finish. Superb, just delicious.
Outstanding 97 points
From the Cellar: Santa Cristina Chianti Superiore 2011 – $$$
Dark plum red colour, tending tawny. 13% alc.
A bouquet that is rich and opulent and savoury. Scents of dates, cardboard and spice, and fusty dark fruits.
In the mouth the wine tastes rich, ripe and full. Concentrated fruit, quite chewy. A delicious spicy finish, with a tannic rasp at the back of my throat, and drying. Very long.
Highly Recommended 91 Points
From the Cellar: Villa Maria Keltern Vineyard Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2011 – $$$
Pale gold colour. 13.5 % alc. Single vineyard wine. I have been fortunate to have drunk a few vintages of this great wine.
This version smells delightfully aromatic. Poised and elegant. Light meal. Lean and restrained. A lovely nose.
An off-dry attack in the mouth. Fresh crunchy acidity throughout. Attractive austere mineral character. Long and incredibly powerful. Lemon finish. Long and long. Sooo good.
A real show wine, this. A cellar-door show-stopper, and a wine that rewards cellaring. One of the best wines I have had this year so far.
Outstanding 97 Points
From the Cellar: Greystone Pinot Noir Waipara 2012 – $$
This wine won ‘Pure Elite Gold’ at the Air NZ Wine Awards in 2013 by showing up and showing off, so I thought it might be a bit good and cellared a bottle then to try later.
Now it’s later, and now, and I see it’s a typical carmine colour, and 13.5% ABV.
On the nose it’s elegant, with floral notes of violets and herbage of thyme, savoury, lightly fruitful, luscious and brambly. Good so far…
There is a sweet attack in the mouth. Fresh acidity with bright red fruit flavours. Great body and extract, depth and length. A raspy finish, with heat lingering at the back of the throat. A tasty one with no bad habits.
Highly recommended 91 Points
From the Cellar: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Riesling Marlborough 2007 – $
One of my favourite wines from one of my favourite producers. Enough said.
Pale green straw colour. 11.5% alc.
Clear and crisp and expansive aromas of citrus and apple. So open, so appealing!
So much life in the mouth! Crisp citrus and crunchy green apples. Austere and of-minerals on attack. Sweet through the mid-palate. A long finish. Still so zingy and fresh. Aging slowly under scfrewcap. There is another 10 years in this wine. Pity I don’t have another.
Highly Recommended 94 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
From the Cellar: Mudhouse Pinot Noir Central Otago 2012 – $$$
Dark carmine. 12.5% alc.
This was recommended to me a while back by some writer, so I bought a brace for the Pool Room. Opening time…!
I saw a savoury and spicy note under a carpet of herb. Dark fruit, showing depth and intensity of bouquet, with cardboard and boiled lolly.
In the mouth the wine was full and rich. Ripe black cherries carried through to the end with no bitterness or loss of extract. Heat on the back palate. Just lovely.
Highly Recommended – 90 points
From the Cellar: Churton Pinot Noir Marlborough 2011 – $
The last bottle from the cellar, alas. This has been a fabulous bargain buy.
A gorgeously soft and silky floral bouquet. Light, elegant and supple deliciousness to drink.
Highly Recommended – 91 points
From the Cellar: Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2011 – $$$
Pale greenish gold. 13.5% alc.
This is consistently one of NZ’s finest wines, for the past half-dozen vintages at least. It is hard to approach tasting this wine dispassionately…
Sweet on the nose, aromatic and complex, with tropical notes of apples, gooseberries and ginger.
Flavours of ginger on the palate, apples and citrus. An excellent lightness of touch, a Hawkes Bay savvy that is softening agreeably, with oak complexity. Lots of fruit. Really splendid.