From The Cellar: Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$$
I keep banging on about this favourite wine. Vintage to vintage, one of NZ’s finest. Full stop.
14% alc. Greenish straw colour.
An absolutely lovely and unique nose. That’ll be the barrel ferment, in part. Bouquet of orange citrus blossom, gooseberry, and broken tomato vine. Pure and very elegant and refined. Distinctive aroma. So fragrant. Divine.
Smooth, dense and mouthfilling to drink. Such a fantastic expression of NZ Savignon Blanc – complex, layered, and delicious. There is softness and texture from the barrel ferment, generous flavours of golden stonefruit, a touch of tomato sauce. Citrus acid on the finish. A luscious wine, long and long.
I expect to recall this as one of the finest wines I have tasted this year.
Outstanding 98 Points
Pyramid Valley Vineyards Growers Collection Calrossie Vineyard Pinot Noir Marlborough 2015 – $$$+
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
From the Cellar: Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc Gisborne 2007 – $$$
From the foremost of the few producers of this varietal in New Zealand. I can’t say enough good things about Millton. One of the first wines I collected for the Pool Room.
Brilliant gold colour. 12% alc. A biodynamic wine.
Richly aromatic. Satisfyingly complex secondary and tertiary aromas have developed over the past 10 years under my roof – oranges and golden mangoes and honey, bready and unctuous, cardboard, a citrus tang. Lovely.
Sweet and lively to drink. Juicy and mouthwatering. Bright acid throughout, with golden fruit, mango and orange flavours which end on a slightly bitter biscuit finish, long and hot.
There is such youthful vigour here. There are years ahead for this wine. Wish I had more!
One of my Wines of the Year!
Outstanding 96 points
Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $
The weather is turning warmer, and sunnier, and my palate cravings are in turn turning towards cool, crisp, craven Kiwi savs. To every season, turn, turn, etc.
This one should be a good’un – rated 96 points in a recent review in Decanter.
Pale straw colour. 12% alc.
Crisp apple and lemons on the nose. Green grass and crushed tomato leaf aromas, but not overbearing. Smells cool and clean.
Crisp and acidic on palate. Lively, intense zesty limes and gooseberries Lengthy, big, mouthwatering. This is a new benchmark for a value Sav. I have to agree with Decanter.
Outstanding 95 points
From the Cellar: Te Mata Estate Elston Chardonnay 2013 – $$$
From the great Hawkes Bay vintage. 14% alc. Bright gold colour.
Perfumed. Scents of butterscotch, apricots, citrus fruit, spice, hints of menthol and peppermint, honey and white roses.
Warm and rich attack, with a smooth mouthfeel through the middle. Great balance between acid and secondary fruit. Flavours of orange and orange peel oil. Long finish, crunchy with it; lively and mouthwatering.
A fine and complex wine, sophisticated, Burgundian. I really wish i had another bottle somewhere.
Outstanding 95 Points
From the Cellar: Peregrine Gewurtztraminer Central Otago 2009 – $$
14% alc. Brilliant gold colour.
Geoff Kelly wrote of this wine in late 2013, “When Greg Hay was here from Peregrine, he dumbfounded us by showing what is one of the greatest gewurztraminers ever made in New Zealand, and then in the latter part of the discussion casually mentioned this 2009 was the last of the line. The vines had all been pulled out, he said, due to the low and alternate-year cropping. The wine is just beautiful, fragrant and fruit-rich, wonderful acid balance, great freshness and cellar potential, the gewurz spice building in mouth, a dryish wine. It should cellar for another eight years or so. It is essential in any cellar hoping to showcase the diversity New Zealand wines can achieve.”
So when I read this I went and bought the last two bottles on the shelves at Regional Wines…
An envelopingly aromatic and sweet bouquet: developed, warm and ripe, with sweet notes of honey and toffee, and touches of mandarin and apple.
Sweet, smooth and ripe to taste. Toffee and caramel flavours. Saline. Fine flinty texture. A long, hot and spicy finish.
So poised and balanced and memorable. A few years ahead for this wine I think – I’ll probably open the second bottle in 2019.
Outstanding 95 points
From the Cellar: Millton Clos Ste Anne The Crucible Syrah Gisborne 2009 – $$$
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
From the Cellar: Villa Maria Keltern Vineyard Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2011 – $$$
Pale gold colour. 13.5 % alc. Single vineyard wine. I have been fortunate to have drunk a few vintages of this great wine.
This version smells delightfully aromatic. Poised and elegant. Light meal. Lean and restrained. A lovely nose.
An off-dry attack in the mouth. Fresh crunchy acidity throughout. Attractive austere mineral character. Long and incredibly powerful. Lemon finish. Long and long. Sooo good.
A real show wine, this. A cellar-door show-stopper, and a wine that rewards cellaring. One of the best wines I have had this year so far.
Outstanding 97 Points
Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2015 – $$
Greenish pale straw colour. 13.5% alc.
I can feel the heat of the Martinborough days and the cool of the nights in the fresh mandarin and lemon bouquet of this wine. It smells of summer sun-blanched grassy hills beside the Ruamahunga River. Light and lifted, with clover honey and pear.
Sweet upfront to taste, there is a restrained citrus character supported through the middle with bags of sweet ripe fruit and bags of flavour. Utterly delish this is. It gives Te Mata’s Cape Crest a good run for the money!
Outstanding – 95 points
Abbey Cellars Eden Syrah Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$
L and I and kids headed out to a friends beach house to stay the night in the weekend. I bought this wine at an outlet on the way.
Deep carmine. 14%.
Reduction on the nose. Savoury. Oak. Black fruits. Cherries. Perfumed. Roses. A gorgeous nose, with very intriguing and complex notes.
Smoky to taste. Great fruit weight. Plums, figs, ginger & chocolate. Black and white pepper. Spicy. Complex tannins and long.
Outstanding – 95 points
Things got a little confused after this, and few more reds. At one point we were comparing an single malt out of Auckland with a Dalwhinnie. I don’t recall much more after this photo was taken. A very generous host lead me willingly astray, and the next day was pretty much a write-off…