From the Cellar: Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay Marlborough 2013 – $$
Golden colour. 14% alc. From the lauded ’13 vintage. I like this dependable value producer’s wines very much, and the Latitiude is a step up in quality of fruit from the standard offering, but not greatly more expensive when on special.
Strongly aromatic – apricot, melon and peach, bags of oak, mealy ‘buzz’. A heavy style of Chardonnay.
Golden fruit entry, with a rich and creamy texture in the mouth. Good acid line. Shows fruit sweetness and ripeness through the mid-palate. Heavy finish. Strong oaking dominates. Overall impression is opulence and density, with a surprisingly striking lean mineral quality on the finish obscured somewhat by the heavy oak styling.
Although bruised by the oak, this wine is still a remarkable value wine from a remarkable vintage.
Highly Recommended 91 points.
From the Cellar: Hans Herzog Mistral Marlborough 2013 – $$$
A classic Rhône blanc blend of Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne from the organic artisanal Marlborough vineyard of Hans Herzog, bought from their cellar door. L and I visited them during a Graperide weekend a while back, and loved so many of their wines.
Green gold colour. 14% alc.
Complex melon and honeysuckle aromas, with honey, toffee, ripe apple and almond nougat. Delish.
Rich and smooth golden fruit to taste, and mouthfilling. There was a mineral backbone also, toffee and almond notes, mandarin orange, acidity through the mid-palate, some apple-pip, and finished sweet and long.
Outstanding 96 points.
From the Cellar: Delas Les Bessards Hermitage 2003 – $$$+
In the world of wine there are many famous ‘bumps’ in the landscape from which superlative wines are produced. You can think of the Pomerol plateau from which Petrus hails, or the hill of Corton. There is the grand cru hill bearing Les Clos in Chablis, the hillsides of Barolo in Piedmont, and even NZ’s own Te Mata peak. But few are more famous than the hill of Hermitage on the left bank of the Rhône river in France. And on that hill, there are few more famous vineyards than Les Bessards.
I was fortunate to secure a bottle for the Pool Room, and it proved yet again why I drink old wine.
Dark carmine colour, browning on rim. 14% alc.
Gorgeous developed bouquet. Dark fruits, oak and vanilla. All soft and sensual and savoury. I could sniff this wine all night.
To drink the wine was deliciously smooth and rich and full of ripe fruit. There was engaging heat at the back, and it showed perfect fruit weight. There was acid and supple tannins in perfect balance. A superb food wine, and so rewarding as an aperitif.
I double-decanted this wine, and it hit the ground running. Superb.
Exceptional 99 points.
From The Cellar: Palliser Estate Chardonnay Martinborough 2013 – $$$
14% alc. Pale gold colour.
Very aromatic. Warm and rich mealy notes. Oak and bread, apricots and rock melon. Vanilla.
Sharp entry. Lean fruit to taste, fading. Steely brittleness on the mid palate, fruit flavours showing retreat of age or tunnelling. I don’t know enough about this wine to have an informed opinion. Hot finish, medium length. Attractive, still.
Tow nights later, the wine has softened and filled in, showing far more generosity of fruit than was first expressed. Shows the value of decanting!
Recommended 89 Points
From The Cellar: Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$$
I keep banging on about this favourite wine. Vintage to vintage, one of NZ’s finest. Full stop.
14% alc. Greenish straw colour.
An absolutely lovely and unique nose. That’ll be the barrel ferment, in part. Bouquet of orange citrus blossom, gooseberry, and broken tomato vine. Pure and very elegant and refined. Distinctive aroma. So fragrant. Divine.
Smooth, dense and mouthfilling to drink. Such a fantastic expression of NZ Savignon Blanc – complex, layered, and delicious. There is softness and texture from the barrel ferment, generous flavours of golden stonefruit, a touch of tomato sauce. Citrus acid on the finish. A luscious wine, long and long.
I expect to recall this as one of the finest wines I have tasted this year.
Outstanding 98 Points
From The Cellar: Spy Valley Chardonnay Waihopai Marlborough 2012 – $$
A consistently top Chardonnay from a great producer. I have been collecting and drinking these wines for a few years now. And riding out to the site on the Sunday morning following the Graperide. This example is from the stellar NZ 2013 vintage.
13.5% alc. Pale Gold colour.
Nutty almond on the nose. Mealy. Citrus notes. Complex secondary notes. Divine.
Pure fruit in the mouth. Freshness. Mealy nuttiness flavours, balanced acid, warmth, finishes long. Powerful and intense, and shows real grace. Roughness on the finish adds character.
Highly Recommended 94 Points
From the Cellar: Kiritea Te Hera Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013 – $$
Deep ruby colour. 13.5% alcohol.
Pronounced floral bouquet with dark cherries, a savoury quality, and cardboard box. It presents as a well-defined and deeply scented wine as I believe a proper Pinot should be.
Sweet entry, smooth to drink, with big fruit flavours. But not brash or simple. Bitter and crunchy on the mid palate, and a peppery finish. Solid, rewarding, primary and persistent, with good structure. I’ll keep my second bottle for another couple of years based on this showing.
Highly Recommended 92 points
From the Cellar: Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc Gisborne 2007 – $$$
From the foremost of the few producers of this varietal in New Zealand. I can’t say enough good things about Millton. One of the first wines I collected for the Pool Room.
Brilliant gold colour. 12% alc. A biodynamic wine.
Richly aromatic. Satisfyingly complex secondary and tertiary aromas have developed over the past 10 years under my roof – oranges and golden mangoes and honey, bready and unctuous, cardboard, a citrus tang. Lovely.
Sweet and lively to drink. Juicy and mouthwatering. Bright acid throughout, with golden fruit, mango and orange flavours which end on a slightly bitter biscuit finish, long and hot.
There is such youthful vigour here. There are years ahead for this wine. Wish I had more!
One of my Wines of the Year!
Outstanding 96 points
From the Cellar: Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013 – $$$
The flagship Pinot from one of Martinborough’s most experienced winemakers. I have been to many Escarpment tastings, and bought wine following each one. This bottle was one of those, liberated from the cellar to see what development there was after 5 years.
Deep ruby colour. 13.5% alc.
On the nose the wine showed heady, savoury, luscious and dense aromas. There was a subline character to the nose with scents of boxwood, soft red fruit, lanolin, licorice and dark red roses.
The palate told a shorter story: a sweet entry with a bitter finish. It seemed astringent, thin, metallic and hollow. There were red fruit there, but not enough flavour to balance the drying tannins. Finished somewhat long, but it didn’t improve on standing. The nose stayed firm however.
Had this wine “tunnelled”? I have had a couple of disappointing cellar experiences with the Escarpment wines I have bought for the Pool Room, including a Pahi tasted last year. They show so well on release. Had I opened them too early? Or are they not built for the long term? Don’t know, but I have to say I was saddened. I was hoping for this wine to be tremendous. I’ll keep the second one another couple of years and see how it fares.
Recommended 86 points
From the Cellar: Te Mata Estate Elston Chardonnay 2013 – $$$
From the great Hawkes Bay vintage. 14% alc. Bright gold colour.
Perfumed. Scents of butterscotch, apricots, citrus fruit, spice, hints of menthol and peppermint, honey and white roses.
Warm and rich attack, with a smooth mouthfeel through the middle. Great balance between acid and secondary fruit. Flavours of orange and orange peel oil. Long finish, crunchy with it; lively and mouthwatering.
A fine and complex wine, sophisticated, Burgundian. I really wish i had another bottle somewhere.
Outstanding 95 Points