While we were waiting for Wellington Batucada to take the stage on the Saturday night of CubaDupa, Wellington’s best night-time street arts and music festival, L and I popped into the great wine bar Noble Rot. They serve a number of aged fine wines by the glass, protected by the Coravin system.
I enjoyed a glass of superb and savoury Greywacke Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012, and the ever-wonderful elegant Ata Rangi Martinborough Pinot Noir 2015. Delicious!
BTW Wellington Batucada was immense and fantastic, as always!
Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir Martinborough 2016 – $$
This is the value tier PN product for this producer.
Peter Richards MW in Decanter magazine included this wine in his February 2018 article “30 great New World buys under GDP30, and rated it 91 points. He wrote, “brilliant, great value example. Elegantly bittersweet, poised, spicy and engaging.”
14.2% alc. Dark carmine colour.
Aromatic, soft and fruity. Black cherries, savouriness and spice and soap.
Soft in the mouth, with dark fruits and spice evident. A soapy finish and hot. Real generous fruit weight with no bitterness or thinness on the rear palate that I see in other NZ pinots at this price point.
My only fault with this wine is that it is too alcoholic. Loses grace.
Recommended 88 Points
From Ata Rangi:
First Pinot Noir pick of #nzv2018 – old Abel on the Home Block in Martinborough Village, Wellington Wine Country
Thistle Ridge Pinot Noir Waipara 2013 – $$
This was a wine I served at my 50th a few years ago. The outlaws brought a bottle over when clearing out their house and offered it to us cos they don’t drinks reds. I was chuffed at the chance to see how this wine had developed in the interim.
Dark carmine colour, tending brick around the rim. 13.5% alc. This wine was recommended in it’s day.
A savoury, dense and luscious nose, with sandalwood, leather, dark fruits and spice. Promising.
This is holding up well in the glass. Good acidity and body. Flavours of dark red plums. Balanced, fresh, with a spicy finish, long. Very attractive.
Very good drinking now. Has enough acid and fruit weight to last longer, and will look even better 1n 2-3 years time.
Highly Recommended 93 points
A trio of top wines from Mercury Bay Estate for the cellar, bought from the winery:
Mercury Bay Estate Chardonnay Coromandel 2016 – $$ – drink now-2021.
Mercury Bay Estate Red Merc Coromandel 2014 – $$$ – drink now-2019. A Pinot Noir/Syrah blend.
Mercury Bay Estate Pinot Noir Coromandel 2014 – $$$ – drink now-2019.
When we were recently on holiday, camping at Hahei Beach, L and I enjoyed a lovely tasting at a beautiful local vineyard, Mercury Bay Estate, on a gorgeous blue sky day. Heaven.
Mercury Bay Estate is situated on the hillside above and behind the beach settlement of Cooks Beach on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula. My own family owned a bach at Cooks for many years from the mid-70’s. I grew to love the area, so it was really nice to come back after a long time away and bring my family.
The estate is owned by Simon & Veronica Ward and was formed from the vineyard established by Alex Morcom in 1996 (named Shakespeare Cliff Vineyard after the famous nearby landmark, and then later Cooks Beach Vineyard). The vineyard originally contained plantings of Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc, and has more recently expanded to include a block of Pinot Noir.
We opted for a shared tasting of wines originating from the Cooks Beach site alone to get a sense of place (some varieties are sourced from Hawkes Bay). We selected the current releases of Chardonnay, Sparkling Blush, Red Merc (Pinot/Syrah blend) and their Pinot Noir.
I have to say they were all very good. The Chardonnay had a lovely tautness and acidity to it which was attractive, the Blush was all strawberries and lusciousness; the Red Merc was showed for me the best with its intensity and complex flavours, and the Pinot Noir was surprisingly dense and savoury for what I imagine is a hot site, but maybe it is moderated by the sea breezes.
This producer is new to me, and is one to watch.
Te Kairanga Pinot Noir Martinborough 2016 – $$
Te Kairanga Wines has recently been acquired by US billionaire and multi winery vineyards investor Bill Foley. I don’t drink hardly any of this producers wines, don’t know why.
I didn’t record any notes for this wine specifically either, but I liked it. I recall good extract and fruit intensity in the wine, a nice spicy-ness, and a good savoury quality which is not always so apparent in Pinot Noir wines of this mid price point. Nice.
Recommended 88 Points
A trio of some favourite wines for laying down to sleep:
Elephant Hill Viognier Hawkes Bay 2016 – $$ – drink 2019-2021. A great producer.
Elephant Hill Syrah Hawkes Bay 2015 – $$$ – drink 2018-2020. A favourite Syrah for me. Delivers.
Palliser Estate Pinot Noir Martinborough 2016 – $$$ – drink 2019-2022. This shone at a recent cellar door tasting.
Pyramid Valley Vineyards Growers Collection Calrossie Vineyard Pinot Noir Marlborough 2015 – $$$+
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: Kiritea Te Hera Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013 – $$
Deep ruby colour. 13.5% alcohol.
Pronounced floral bouquet with dark cherries, a savoury quality, and cardboard box. It presents as a well-defined and deeply scented wine as I believe a proper Pinot should be.
Sweet entry, smooth to drink, with big fruit flavours. But not brash or simple. Bitter and crunchy on the mid palate, and a peppery finish. Solid, rewarding, primary and persistent, with good structure. I’ll keep my second bottle for another couple of years based on this showing.
Highly Recommended 92 points