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

Straight to the Pool Room – Feb 2016


Pool Room Jan 2016

A few charming Hihi Wines for the cellar…

Hihi Nebbiolo Gisborne 2010/2011 – $$ – Drink 2017-2021. Needs time, this.

Hihi Tempranillo Gisborne 2013 – $$ – Drink 2016-2018. Yum.

Hihi Lock Stock Gisborne 2013 – $$ – A Bordeaux-style blend. Drink 2016-2023. I am interested in this…

Hihi Malbec Gisborne 2013 – $$ – Drink 2017-2021. And this one also…

 

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 was in the glass this Christmas


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This year I travelled up-country with LG to visit my folks for Christmas. My sister came down from south Auckland to join us. It was the first time all of us adults had been together at Christmastime for maybe 20 years. Wow.

As usual, I lined up a few bottles to enjoy over the period. Over the preceding year I deposited money each grocery shop into my supermarket’s Christmas Club to buy the feast food and some good wines and not break the bank doing it. I bought nothing at all ‘prestige’ this time, but grabbed a few new and interesting wines worth a look by both my reckoning and that of others.

We started the afternoon with a few glasses of bubbles. First up was my parents choice; Hihi Gizzy Fizzy NV from Gisborne. I knew nothing about this wine beforehand and even less after drinking it, cos it was cut with orange juice. A sparkling “blanc de blanc” made from chardonnay grapes. Nice to drink, but impossible to score.

Then I splashed out on Lindauer Special Brut NV – $. Heh. This wine is a cliché. Pound for pound, it should be claimed as NZ’s best wine if you allow for the volume in which it is produced, its uniformity of style, and price. The Reserve is better, but this always scores a solid 3. Dependable bargain bracing bubbliness, if a bit metallic.

Sister then brought out the Deutz NV – $$$. Methode Traditionale from Marlborough. Brioche and bubbles and elegant dryness. 3.75.

Then we got down to the serious business of the turkey and ham. For that I opened a Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Viognier 2013 – $$. Pale gold. 14%. Gorgeous aroma of apricots and bush honey. Dry and spicy in the mouth, with more apricots. Full on palate with ripe fruit, but restrained. Not as oily as other examples I have tasted, and better for it I think. If a wine can express a sense of a place like Hawkes Bay this one does. I can see the heat and rolling golden summertime hills in its flavours and texture. 3.75

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The next day over leftover Christmas ham and salad we shared a bottle of Framingham Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – $$. My parents like savs. Fruit from the Wairau Valley. 13%. Pale straw colour.  Pungent aroma of pears. Mouthfuls of grapefruit and passionfruit. Fresh, herby, slightly sweet. Wet stone minerals. 4

Along the way I also had a few bottles of Mac’s Sassy Red beer with Dad. Hoppy and bitter; proper ale, and not sweet like the childs beer this country is awash with.

What’s in the glass tonight Oct 26th


Hihi Albarino 2013

Hihi Gisborne Albarino 2013 – $$

My parents brought this bottle when they came to stay with me this Labour Weekend. I have never before tried Albarino, a varietal white wine made from a white wine grape originating from Galicia in Spain, also known as Alvarinho, and sometimes as Cainho Branco.

Wikipedia sez the grape is noted for its distinctive aroma, very similar to that of Viognier, Gewurztraminer, and Petit Manseng, suggesting apricot and peach. The wine produced is unusually light, and generally high in acidity with alcohol levels of 11.5–12.5%. Its thick skins and large number of pips can cause residual bitterness.

Hihi Wines website also sez [they are] a small boutique winery based in Ormond, Gisborne. The label was launched in 2005 with 200 cases sold in the first year. Growth has been rapid with over 2,000 cases sold in 2012.

Hihi means “rays of the sun” referencing Gisborne, the ‘first city to see the sun’ and is also the name of the Stitchbird, Notiomystis cincta, one of NZ’s rarest birds.

This is what I sez: pale greenish straw colour, 14%. Smells sweet and fruity, a combo of sav blanc and viognier. I taste bracing fresh citrus fruit, and honey sweetness. There is acidity as well as ripeness.  No bitterness here. It’s a bit like a fresh medium riesling in that regard. A light wine, well suited as an aperitif with finger food.

L sez I am not one to change gears quickly, so it is good for me to say I like this wine. And will try again.

As well as Albarino, Hihi Wines is also growing uncommon grape varieties (in NZ) such as Verdelho, Tempranillo, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Grenache, Mourvedre, Pinotage, Carmanere, and Touriga Nacional. They are someone to keep an eye on, as is this easy-drinking wine over the next 1-2 years. 3.5