What’s in the glass tonight June 12th – Chardonnay


Millton Crazy By Nature Chard 2016

Millton Crazy By Nature Shotberry Vineyard Chardonnay Gisborne 2016 – $

An organic wine from the Gisborne biodynamic vigneron. Their easy-drinking fun mid-week wine brand.

12.5% alc. Mid-gold in colour.

Soft, sweet and ripe golden stonefruit bouquet, with scents of orange and orange peel, citrus sharpness on the nose, a mineral note, and wild herbs. Distinctive aromas, funky.

Soft mouthfeel, sweet and a little flabby with the malo treatment. Lacks a little focus. Shows the ‘sore-throat’ roughness at the back of the throat that some Chardonnays exhibit. Not sure why that is. A tingly feel in the mouth. Viscous and textural, but also so light. Could have been picked earlier I think.

Recommended 85 points.

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What’s in the glass tonight November 22nd – Chenin Blanc


Millton Chenin Blanc 2007

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

What’s in the glass tonight June 7th – Chardonnay


Montana Reserve Chardonnay 2016

Montana Reserve Chardonnay Gisborne 2016 – $

I’m really confused by this volume value brand of wine. First it was named Montana. For years and years and years. Then the owners wanted to sell more wine into the States. But suffered buyer confusion about its name. Wine from Montana? They don’t make wine in Montana! So the powers-that-be switched names to Brancott, after one of the original vineyards in Marlborough. Which makes sense. And we move on. Then I see this wine in the supermarket, and they are back to selling wine under the name Montana. WTF?

Anyway, this is a simple wine. Soft ripe golden fruit, lightly aromatic, a core of ripe fruit to taste, nothing memorable, but serves as an acceptable aperitif and smoothes the days rough edges…

Commended 85 points

What’s in the glass tonight May 21st – Nebbiolo Barbera


Hihi Nebbiolo 2010 2011

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

What’s in the glass tonight May 2nd – Syrah


IMG_9098

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

What’s in the glass tonight February 27th – Marsanne Viognier


Rod McDonald One-Off 2015

Rod McDonald Wines ‘One Off’ Marsanne Viognier Gisborne 2015 – $$

A Rhone blend, and a one-off wine conceived and produced by Rod McDonald from the grapes he had at hand. As he says, “once it’s gone, it’s gone”. Indeed, that’s what I usually say when a good bottle goes west…as this one most certainly was.

Pale gold colour. 13.5% alc.

A nose of melon and peach. Perfumed and smoky. A very attractive and immersive floral scent filled the glass, which softened over time to a mellow lifted and savoury expression. Strongly oaked. Quite unique and sophisticated.

In the mouth there was a lovely balance of fruit flavours and spice. There was honey and ginger, citrus and heat. A winning combination of angular minerality and luscious fruity bawdiness.

Highly Recommended  – 91 points

What’s in the glass tonight February 3rd – Chardonnay


Februarytw-chardonnay-2013-2

Tietjen Witters TW Reserve Chardonnay Gisborne 2013 – $$

Off the Ormond Road. Pale gold colour. 13.5% alc.

Dense and layered and very aromatic, with big, buttery and oaky characters in the bouquet. Mango and apricot fruit.

It showed some development in the mouth. Rich mouthfeel with oak and full malo. Flavours of butterscotch, lemon citrus, ginger and honey. A strong spicy oak finish.  An appealing and interesting Chardonnay.

Recommended  – 87 points

What’s in the glass tonight March 28th – Chardonnay


Millton Shotberry Chardonnay 2014

Millton Crazy By Nature Shotberry Chardonnay Gisborne 2014 – $$

Millton is a biodynamic producer, and one of my favourites. I love what they do, and their Gisborne property is a jewel.

Brilliant gold colour. 13.5% alc.

A funky, woody, musky nose. Burnt caramel, cashew and ripe peach.

Somewhat angular at first look, then opens out to balanced fruit and acid. Flavours of autumn-fall apricots and warm nuts. Strong fruit through the mid palate, leading to a strong  bitter finish. It resonates.

92 points

 

What’s in the glass tonight March 10th – Nebbiolo Barbera


Hihi Nebbiolo 2010 2011

Hihi Wines Nebbiolo Gisborne 2010/2011 – $$

This is a new variety for me (if I discount the incredible 1975 Barolo I tasted a couple of years ago).

Jancis Robinson writes about Nebbiolo on her website – www.jancisrobinson.com/learn/grape-varieties/red/nebbiolo: “If Pinot Noir is the world’s most tantalising grape, Nebbiolo runs it a close second []so uniquely delicious that winemakers all over the world are enticed to give it a try.[] Nebbiolo is exceptionally finicky about where it will happily grow and ripen. The Nebbiolo heartland is the tiny Barolo region, a cluster of fog-prone hills around the village of the same []it is not only late-ripening but also early flowering, so there is no point in planting it anywhere that might suffer from spring frosts. []Perhaps the most wonderful thing about Nebbiolo is its perfume. The wine is typically intensely aromatic, developing the most extraordinarily haunting bouquet in which, variously, roses, autumn undergrowth, woodsmoke, violets and tar can often be found – together with a greater variety of other ingredients than most other grapes. On the palate, the wine is typically high in acidity and, until after many years in bottle, tannins.”

14% alc. Carmine colour, tending brick. Leggy.

This is a blend of Nebbiolo and the vigorous, tart and less flavoursome Barbera grape from the 2010 and 2011 vintages. I have no idea from the bottle or the website as to the relative percentages.

2010 was a good vintage, whereas 2011 was more variable with cooler periods and rainfall and smaller yields.

I saw a very tantalising bouquet on the nose, quite lifted and distinctive, showing cool-climate fruit, forest floor, smoke,  and some green characters. Vanilla and oak are dominant, but there is that beguiling perfume too. Perhaps faulty, but I really liked it.

On palate there a firm tannins, quite dry, with light fruit tending blackberry. There is a slight lack of fruit ripeness, so the wine is not as rich as I had expected, and bears some stalky notes. You could even say it’s a bit rough. Too bad, but not too bad – I think a rough(er) red is a lot more appealing than a soft fruit bomb any day anyway. The nose shows there is definite promise for this variety under the tutelage of Andy Nimmo, winemaker.

Nebbiolo’s are a slow maturing wine. The acidity and tannins here could hold this wine for another 5 years, if the fruit can support it. I’ve got a couple of bottles – I’ll give it a go.

I’ll give it a day to see how it softens in the bottle with some air contact.

The 2013 vintage was a cracker, and 2014 looked good too, so I’d expect a riper example to come rolling down the track in due course.

BTG 3+

After two days left alone on the bench, then wine showed remarkably well. The acidity had softened, and allowed the tannins to come forward. Good news for me wanting to keep the other two bottles in the Pool Room for a few more years.

 

What’s in the glass tonight December 3rd – Tempranillo


Hihi Temperanillo 2013

Hihi Tempranillo Gisborne 2013

It’s not often I drink a Gisborne wine, and even less often it’s a Tempranillo! And I just missed International Tempranillo Day as well.

This is an interesting boutique producer. They grow a bunch of non-standard (for NZ) grapes on their property – Semillon, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Albarino, as well as the usual Sav/Chard/Merlot/Syrah etc. I drank an Albarino of theirs a while back and loved it!

Deep carmine colour.  14% alc.

Dense nose, dark stone fruit, complex, lush, earthy, peppery. Opens out in the glass luvly.

Bright ripe fruit, good fruit weight. A fresh attack, brusque tannins follow, heat on the back palate. Long.

Very young, off young vines I expect. This could definitely do another 2-3 years sleeping-in, so the whole wine can integrate together. And another 10 years of vine age. This is a wine to watch.

VG 4