Regional Wines In-Store Mini NZ Pinot Noir Tasting – Jan 2017


Clos Henri ‘Petit Clos’ Pinot Noir Marlborough 2015 -$23.55 Juicy & approachable, with structure and depth.

Kiritea ‘ Te Hera’ Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013  -$21.65 – savoury, peppery  & aromatic. A layered, typical Wairarapa style.

Folding Hill Pinot Noir, Bendigo Central Otago 2013 -$28.95 – Elegant, wild thyme notes

Neudorf ‘Tom’s Block’ Pinot Noir Nelson 2014 -$30.25 – A quality quaffer.


Greystone Pinot Noir Waipara 2014 – $33.95 – Hand-harvested from the Omihi Vineyard. Wild yeast ferment with 15% whole bunch to add complexity.

This wine was commented at the tasting as being ‘cerebral’. If you think about anything long enough it becomes cerebral. I thought it had a velvet quality on the nose, with spice, some herbal character, and scents of red roses. So there!

Smooth mouthfeel, with a powerful and dense core of statement fruit. Elegant. It finished hot. No thinness or metallic notes, just deliciousness throughout.

Highly Recommended. 91 Points

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


Middle-Earth Albariño  Nelson 2016

Another wine style I haven’t tasted in a long while. I recall loving this variety.

A bunch of us were in Nelson riding the inaugural Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge – a 158km loop from Nelson up to Marahau in Golden bay and back. A flat gorgeous course.

In the afternoon L and I relaxed in the garden of the Free House, a craft beer and wine bar housed in an old ex-Dutch Reformed Church.

This wine was really lovely. Zesty citrus and passionfruit.

Highly Recommended – 91 points

What’s in the glass tonight January 24th – Albariño

Aronui Albarino 2014

Aronui Single Vineyard Albariño Nelson 2014 – $$

Pale straw colour, 13%.

This wine smells forward and crisp, very attractive apple & citrus.

A refreshing dry wine to drink as well. Bracing acidity, salinity, and hard white peach flavours. A grunty, strong finish. Long and mouthwatering. Perhaps a little too dry for my taste.

Good for a summer’s evening on the grass listening to an outdoor concert.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight November 9th

Blackenbrook Nelson Muscat 2011

Blackenbrook Muscat Nelson 2011 – $$

This was the second bottle I bought at the instore tasting of Blackenbrook wines hosted by proprietor Ursula Schwarzenbach. It was the last bottle in the shop, left over from last year’s tasting. I remarked to Ursula that I recalled tasting the wine a year ago and really liking it. So I had to take it when it was brought out.

The wine is produced from the Muscat Ottonel clone. I know zero about this grape variety.

Jancis Robinson sheds some light: The Muscat grape may not be thought of as one of the great international classics but its history is many times longer than that of such newcomers as Cabernet Sauvignon for example. It was almost certainly the grape variety referred to by writers in classical times as being particularly attractive to insects for its heady smell and impressive ripeness. Muscat grapes are also distinguished by, uniquely, producing wines that actually taste and smell of grapes. But, as one might expect of a grape variety known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Muscat family is particularly diverse and ramified.

[ ] the third member of the Muscat family, Muscat Ottonel, predominates in the old Hapsburg empire in eastern Europe (whereas Muscat Blanc or Tamyanka in Russian was the Muscat of choice in the old Russian empire, as ancient and long-lived Muscats of several colours from the Massandra imperial winery in Yalta attest).”

We opened this bottle as we pored over new car brochures and finalised the drinks order for my birthday party.

14%. Light Gold. Picked at 23.4 Brix.

Refreshly aromatic with essences of pears and field honey. In the mouth it was light and spicy, medium-dry, bursting with joyful ripe grape-y flavours. A real delight. It went really well with L’s stir-fry prawns. 4



What’s in the glass tonight November 8th

Blackenbrook Nelson Pinot Gris 2014

Blackenbrook Pinot Gris Nelson 2013 – $$

In the weekend I checked out an instore tasting of Blackenbrook wines hosted by proprietor Ursula Schwarzenbach. They are building a nice rep for aromatic white wines – I tried their current releases of sav blanc, gewurtz, chard, rose and pinot noir, but selected this wine for the table tonight…

Pale yellow in the glass. 14.5% and very long legged.

Lovely lifted aromatics. Hints of spice, peach and stone fruit blossom.

This is a powerful Gris. Loads of flavour, fresh, and really packs a fruit punch. Peaches, pears in the mouth, along with golden delicious apples. Honey and spice tickle the back of the throat. Long. Really good. 4+

This was awarded Champion Wine in Class at the Bragato Wine Awards 2014.


What’s in the glass tonight November 7th

Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2013

Waimea Estate Chardonnay Nelson 2013 – $

This was picked up from the Realm bottlestore, where I had a spirited conversation with the friendly proprietor about the thin selection of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs on sale. This wine looked the best bet for the evening’s quaffage:

13.5%. Bright yellow gold. The label’s claims are quite florid: Aromas of jasmine, lemon meringue, and a whisper of oak draw you in and are followed on the palate by fleshy, ripe citrus and a hint of peach. Meshed together, and drawn out to a long finish by a fine minerality and a pleasing creaminess.

In my opinion: simple, and somewhat fat. You couldn’t get much more oak in it if you’d nailed a plank to the side of the glass. More of a shout that a whisper. And it’s very bold on the malo. If I’d wanted as much dairy character I’d drink yoghurt. And I didn’t see as much minerality as was claimed. I don’t know how Wine Orbit scored this 93 points.

But anyway, I’m thirsty, and it shows pleasing apricots and some tannins and it’s ok to drink. 3.

It also looked much better the following day with some of the bolder notes rubbed out by in-bottle exposure to more air.


What’s in the glass tonight October 28th

Ostler PN 2011a

Ostler Pinot Noir Waitaki 2011

I’m in Twizel in the South Island on business. Just had a delicious meal of pork belly washed down with a great glass of 8-Wired IPA beer (3+) and then a glass of Mysterious Diggings Pinot Noir Central Otago. (3+)

Back at the hotel room now with a nightcap of Ostler Pinot Noir Waitaki 2011. Smells stalky and thin. Lean fruit in the mouth. Too acidic, grasping, vegetal. Not good. 2

Spinyback PN 2012

Spinyback Waimea Pinot Noir Nelson 2012

13.5%.I had a bit better luck with this one while at Chch airport waiting to fly home the next day. Lightly aromatic. Soft ripe fruit. Not much tannin grip. Ok. 3

What’s in the glass tonight March 10th


Kahurangi Estate Heaphy Series Nelson Pinot Gris 2012

A left-over from the Housewarming. A big title for a lightly-flavoured style of wine.

But it fits.

Bright yellow gold. 13%. Attractive nose of pears, ginger and spice. Sweet white stonefruit to taste, with more ginger, light spice, and golden delicious apples.  Nice one. 3.75

What’s in the glass tonight July 12th

Blackenbrook Nelson Chardonnay 2011

Blackenbrook Nelson Chardonnay 2011 – $$

I bought this wine after a broad tasting of Blackenbrook wines with Ursula Schwarzenbach (Black brook), one of the proprietors, at Regional Wines last weekend. I really liked their Muscat and Gewurtz, but really liking does not always translate into buying. I should be more adventurous…next time.

This wine is light gold, with hints of green. 14% alcohol; made from Mendoza clone grapes; extended lees contact; 12 months in French and American oak barrels.

The nose is strong with warm biscuity aromas, white peach and green herbs. I get a big mouthful of oak and vanilla from the barrel ferment, and butter from the partial malo treatment. It’s a medium-weight wine, in a dryer style, with fresh fruit and crunchy acids (a little pseud, but I swear that describes the mouthfeel). The finish is long, and the label is elegant.

I read they use lighter weight bottles to reduce shipping costs. And it’s suitable for vegans. I didn’t think vegans had any fun, but you learn something every day.

A show/tasting wine this, it impresses up front, but on reflection, could benefit with less oak. I should have bought the Muscat. 3.5