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

What’s in the glass tonight October 6th


Kirky Chardonnay 2011

From the Cellar: Kirkpatrick Estate Wines Kirky (Ian Kirkpatrick) Signature Series Reserve Chardonnay 2011 – $$$

I bought this wine at the Gisborne Wine Centre in 2012, following a tasting of this and other Gizzy Chardys. Probably the last of the bottles collected on that visit.

The backstory of this wine: Owner Simon Kirkpatrick said it was an opportune time to pay tribute to his famous uncle and All Black –  Ian Kirkpatrick – and showcase some of the best wine Gisborne and the Patutahi Plateau has to offer.

“The Rugby World Cup 2011 was an historic occasion for us all and we thought it was a great time to commemorate Ian’s contribution to the sport. He amassed 113 matches for the All Blacks, 43 as captain. and is considered one of New Zealand rugby’s all-time greats having played for the All Blacks from 1967 to 1977. He is still held in high regard for his exploits against the Springboks, Australia, France and the British and Irish Lions. For a forward, and playing in an era where only the backs were meant to score tries, his ability to beat players with strength, speed and athleticism saw him score an incredible 50 tries for the All Blacks over his 10-year career.”

I am not 100% sure what vintage this is. Probably a 2011, but it also says 2010 on the back label.

High-carat gold colour. 13.4% alc. Developed, tertiary aromas of butter and almonds. Strong wiff of phenols.

Quite a big wine in the mouth too. Round and soft. Receding fruit – golden peaches and dried apricots. My cellaring has been poor and has done the wine a disservice. It oxidised and lost freshness and charm, and really fell apart in the glass the next day. A real shame as it had tasted great in ’12.

A quality drop mis-handled by me. 3+

What’s in the glass tonight Sept 21st


Saints Chardonnay 2011

From the Cellar: Saints Chardonnay Gisborne 2011 – $

This wine is from the bottom shelf. Or near enough to it. It is not a wine you pull out to impress people. Indeed, to even write about it on my blog might encourage comments that I am slumming it. It will certainly not keep the vignerons of Corton-Charlemagne awake at night fearing another Judgement of Paris…

However, it was one of the first wines I ever wrote about on my blog. It started me on my journey of wine writing. I feel a bit sentimental about this product. It is cheap and one-dimensional, but I liked once. I have also learned that a wine has to really bad to be totally irredeemable, and it is also kinda hard to make a really bad wine (blame poor cellaring instead). With a bottle like this, all that can really be expected is perhaps a lack of expectation.

So, when I was building my cellar, with the idea of aging wines and seeing what a bit of age does, I thought, well, why don’t I lay down some $10 cheapies and see if it improves them? Would they oxidise and fall over? Or would they develop an interesting character? Not much to lose, I thought.

2011 wasn’t a great vintage in Gisborne. This bottle has slept long enough.

12.5% alc. Bright yellow; this might be the first hint of trouble ahead?

Funky nose. Bit burnt. Very tertiary bouquet. Toffee and caramel. Oxidative. Hard to pin down individual scents, but it is not unpleasant. It turned out to be a rewarding wine, as the effects of aging were well advanced and visible, but not faulty. It became somewhat of an intellectual exercise to try to figure it out whether it was any good.

It tasted fresher than it smelled. Golden apricots, some crisp acid character. Fine tannins. Long finish. It was more than ok.

This wine has been well-made despite the poor vintage. It will hold perhaps another year.

G 3