What’s in the glass tonight April 16th – Chardonnay


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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

What’s in the glass tonight March 12th – Riesling


VM CS Riesling 2007

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Riesling Marlborough 2007 – $

One of my favourite wines from one of my favourite producers. Enough said.

Pale green straw colour. 11.5% alc.

Clear and crisp and expansive aromas of citrus and apple. So open, so appealing!

So much life in the mouth! Crisp citrus and crunchy green apples. Austere and of-minerals on attack. Sweet through the mid-palate. A long finish. Still so zingy and fresh. Aging slowly under scfrewcap. There is another 10 years in this wine. Pity I don’t have another.

Highly Recommended 94 Points

What’s in the glass tonight October 25th – Riesling


villa-maria-pb-dry-riesling-2012

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Private Bin Dry Riesling Marlborough 2012 – $

Pale gold colour. 12.5% alc. This was VM’s 50th anniversary vintage.

I saw a citrus bite to the nose, some mellowness from wood ageing, and notes of apple, honey and sugar confectionery.

A mouthwatering lime + lemon attack in the mouth. Dry, and a great structure, intensity and freshness for their value/basement tier wine. A mandarin and green apple skin finish, lingering.

Very attractive.

88 points

What’s in the glass tonight September 2nd – Merlot


Villa Maria CS Organic Merlot 2014

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Organic Merlot Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$

This wine was awarded a gold medal at the recent 2016 Bragato Wine Awards. Geoff Kelly highly praised the previous vintage, which I never managed to hunt down to taste, so when this appeared in the shops I defo wanted to give it a go.

The fruit was sourced from the certified organic Joseph Soler vineyard in Hawkes Bay.

Inky scarlet colour. 13% alc.

Soft taut savoury dark fruit on the nose. Dense, with cedar and boxwood and cardboard. Smells sweet with vanilla.

Soft fruit in the mouth. Ripe enough. Good fruit weight and depth. Fine tannins. Enough acid to keep things interesting. Other thoughts – warmth, elegance, studied ripeness. I suspect not as ripe as the lauded ’13.

Far too young now, this will look really good from another 3-4 years in bottle, benefitting from the time for the flavours to develop and marry up together. Ideally wait until 2024 and appreciate its class.

90 points

Four Syrahs


 

Bilancia Syrah 2010

From the Cellar: Bilancia Syrah Hawkes Bay 2010 – $$$

This is from one of New Zealand’s reference Syrah producers. Their La Collina Syrah is lauded, but like Trinity Hills Homage and Missions Huchet, out of my price range. This is the first wine of theirs I have tried – I bought it for the Pool Room on reputation alone.

Deep deep scarlet colour, tending brick.

At first it was closed and somewhat dumb on the nose, a fail mark against my presentation. Then after a short time it showed soft and fragrant , and built on, with vanilla and dark berries. A beguiling savoury secondary bouquet emerged. A tickle of pepper. Lovely to inhale.

With some standing, it tasted soft & supple, with Rhone characters. Ripe fruit, and restrained. Fine tannins, a hint of green stalk, but that is not a negative here – it adds to grace. Strong white pepper on the finish. Long and involving, this is a terrific, terrific wine, and worth careful consideration. 97 points.

 

Forrest tasting 2016 2

Forrest Syrah John Forrest Collection Gimblett Gravels 2013 – $$$

Tasted instore. This wine is from Dr Forrest’s premium collection. Single vineyard site on the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay. Hand harvested. Aged before release.

Deep carmine colour,  13.5% alc. A gorgeous nose – a rich bouquet, floral with dark boysenberry and plum fruit, black pepper, some oak and vanilla. Simply superb.

To taste: fresh, vibrant ripe dark stonefruit flavours, juicy texture, supple tannins to finish. Young, needs time to soften and knit together the component parts. A great NZ Syrah. 95 points

 

VM CS Syrah 2014

Villa Maria CS Syrah Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$.

Inky black scarlet, 13.5% alc. Light bouquet, cool climate fruit aromas –  blackberries; the usual box wood top notes and light spice. Straightforward flavours, not overly ripe or lush, black pepper, blackberry nose carrying through on palate, drying tannins, licorice on the finish. 88 points

 

3 Roads Syrah Hawkes Bay 2015

From the vineyard of my mate GW, as seen at his ‘release tasting’ last weekend. The wine was made by Tim Turvey at Clearview.

Bright deep scarlet colour. Cut with 15% Merlot. Soft and with bright floral notes.  Less spice and depth and pepper than the ‘14. Needs another year or two to integrate and show the style better. As for the ’14, it is well on the way. Needs two years more to open out and become lusher.  Both too soon to rate appreciably.

Thanks for the invite!

What’s in the glass tonight February 11th – Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon


Villa Maria CS Merlot Cab Sav 2010

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay 2010  – $

This is one of my favourite New Zealand wines. It is reliable, interesting, flavoursome and great value. Amongst our best wines dollar-for-dollar. And I bought a bunch back in ’12 and have started to open them up…

Dark plum magenta. 13.5% alc.

Savoury dark fruit aromas. Vanilla and spice, pine boxwood, faded dark red roses.

Warm red fruits to taste. Soft, lots of vanillin, chocolate and licorice. Still fiery medium-grained tannins. Hot on the back palate. A long and smoky finish.

Enveloping, rewarding. A good entry-level red cellarable wine.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight January 15th – Chardonnay


Villa Maria CS Chardonnay 2010

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Chardonnay Marlborough 2011 – $$

Pale Gold colour. 13.5% alc.

A big nose. Cashew, honey, peach, pear. Warmth that cloaks a backbone of citrus. Poised, Refined.

In the mouth, I see lean golden fruit and citrus flavours. The wine is linear and long, graceful and powerful. There are nutty, crunchy characters on the mid-palate and a strong line of acidity at the finish.

The nose shows some great development in a short time. There isn’t enough fruit weight or overall acidity to make this a very long-lived example, but it does what it does when it did very well. (smiley face!)

VG 4

What’s in the glass tonight November 1st – a Dry Riesling


Villa Maria Dry Riesling 2010

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Private Bin Dry Riesling Marlborough 2010 – $

Pale yellow. 12.5% alc.

Aromatic and phenolic, biting acids, with lemon notes. Not much age complexity showing as yet.

A quite sweet attack, showing very refreshing lemon, citrus flavours. Medium length with a mouthwatering finish.

A simple wine, well made and well structured. Very more-ish

VG 4

What’s in the glass tonight Sept 15th


VM Merlot Malbec 2011

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot Malbec Hawkes Bay 2011 – $

This bottle was really cheap at P&S. I added it to my monthly Pool Room selection back in the day. Should have Walked On By…

Deep scarlet colour. 12.5%.

Slight vegetal nose, indicates unripeness, with grass notes. Some soft red plum fruit aromas.

Red fruits in the mouth; a bit thin, light. Fine tannins, not much structure, no boldness. Malbec typicity does show, but not enough. A cooking wine.

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