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.
Spy Valley Chardonnay Marlborough 2015 – $
In my opinion, this wine is consistently one of NZs best Chardonnays, vintage on vintage. Must be the site. I have ridden out there a few times. A lovely part of the world.
13% alc. Pale gold colour.
Mealy, golden fruit, aromatic and fine. Notes of oak, vanilla, apricot and mandarin orange and peel.
Fresh and crunchy to taste. Crispness, oak complexity, malo note on the back palate, and meal. Great structure and body. A wine for aging.
Highly Recommended 90 Points
Villa Maria Dry Riesling Marlborough Bay 2016 – $
12% alc. Pale greenish straw colour.
Earlier vintages have been my “WOTY” previously.
This one is not so stellar. Sharp citrus on nose, befitting a drier style of Riesling. Aromas of crisp apple and grapes.
Fresh entry on palate, with soft-ish texture. Quite linear fruit and an acid finish. Moderate intensity. Lacking some focus and intensity. An underwhelming example this time around.
Commended 85 Points
Sacred Hill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2017 – $
I have never been in love with this value tier of Sacred Hill wines (orange label). For several years I have found the Chardonnay wines all a bit underdone and bitter and it put me off.
However, this vintage of Savvy earned itself a Decanter Gold Medal at the 2017 Asia Wine Awards, and Winestate gave this 5 Stars, so something sincere must be going on in this bottle…
12.5% alc. Clearest pale straw colour.
Nice grassy and tomato-y and capsicum-y aromas lifting from the glass. Crispness and a sense of open space. Sharp apple.
Sharp and fresh fruit flavours to taste up front. A pleasant citrus tang. Short, bold. Agreeable fruit density.
Recommended 88 Points
From The Cellar: Spy Valley Chardonnay Waihopai Marlborough 2012 – $$
A consistently top Chardonnay from a great producer. I have been collecting and drinking these wines for a few years now. And riding out to the site on the Sunday morning following the Graperide. This example is from the stellar NZ 2013 vintage.
13.5% alc. Pale Gold colour.
Nutty almond on the nose. Mealy. Citrus notes. Complex secondary notes. Divine.
Pure fruit in the mouth. Freshness. Mealy nuttiness flavours, balanced acid, warmth, finishes long. Powerful and intense, and shows real grace. Roughness on the finish adds character.
Highly Recommended 94 Points
te Pā Pā Road Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $
Produced by a family-owned winery with an 800-year tangata whenua connection to the land, this mid-tier wine is made from grapes grown on the McDonald home block vineyard near the Wairau River bar in Marlborough.
13% alc. Drought-pale straw colour.
Clean clear citrus aromas of golden delicious apples, light green capsicum. Very attractive.
On tasting, a simple restrained quality sav is revealed. Not an aggressive style. Balanced fruit and acid. Quite sweet throughout the mid-palate with a sharp finish.
Delicious drinking, and v good value for the price point.
Highly Recommended 92 points
Allan Scott Generations Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015 – $$
Pale gold colour – warmer looking than your typical Marlborough Sav. 12.5% alc.
Prescence of oak on the nose. Open and fresh, complex and aromatic. Soft golden fruit aromas, with a hint of flint.
Sweet front on the palate. Full of flavour. Crisp complex acid mouthfeel and a fine fruit finish of apples and lemons and orange peel. A delicious example.
Highly Recommended 90 points
Pyramid Valley Vineyards Growers Collection Calrossie Vineyard Pinot Noir Marlborough 2015 – $$$+
I imagine this as an ‘entry level’ offering from a super-premium NZ producer, created from wines from selected single grower vineyards, I suppose to provide more SKUs to sell than what can be made available from the various ‘home blocks’ of Pyramid Valley. And at a much lesser cost too, (for example their two ‘home block’ pinots sell on their website for $130 per bottle), and also considering Pyramid Valley was sold to an American investor last year.
The wine: bright carmine colour, unfiltered, somewhat cloudy. 13% alcohol.
Savoury, perfumed, earthy. Deep red cherries. Great depth and intensity of aroma. Painterly. A serious example of fine Marlborough Pinot Noir.
Sweet fruit on attack. Precise and well extracted. There is good length and density, power, and crunchy finish with spice and heat at the death. I was very impressed by the character and crunch showing on the mid-palate.
Outstanding 96 points
Astrolabe Kekerengu Coast Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015 – $$
From a reference producer of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, this wine is one of their series of wines exploring sub-regional expressions of the varietal, this example from near the southern coast of Marlborough.
Pale green straw colour. 13% alc.
Grassy and green on the nose. Green capsicum and gooseberries. Apples. A lichen salinity. Ascetic and austere.
Intense and long flavours. Limes and citrus, green tomatoes. Astringent. A grassy long note. Yet still full-flavoured within the confines of the style. Liking the expression of austerity very much!
Highly Recommended 91 points