What’s in the glass tonight March 24th – Pinot Noir


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From the Cellar: Greystone Pinot Noir Waipara 2012 – $$

This wine won ‘Pure Elite Gold’ at the Air NZ Wine Awards in 2013 by showing up and showing off, so I thought it might be a bit good and cellared a bottle then to try later.

Now it’s later, and now, and I see it’s a typical carmine colour, and 13.5% ABV.

On the nose it’s elegant, with floral notes of violets and herbage of thyme, savoury, lightly fruitful, luscious and brambly. Good so far…

There is a sweet attack in the mouth. Fresh acidity with bright red fruit flavours. Great body and extract, depth and length.  A raspy finish, with heat lingering at the back of the throat. A tasty one with no bad habits.

Highly recommended 91 Points

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


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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.

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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 April 24th – Riesling


Main Divide Riesling 2013

Main Divide Riesling Waipara 2013 – $$

Pale golden yellow colour. 12.5% alc.

The nose is full and expressive with aromas of mandarin orange and honey and lemon citrus. Some secondary phenolic bouquet starting to show. Some mineral character as well.

Medium sweetness on palate. Fine, soft and sweet to taste. Primary tropical fruit flavours, honey and mandarin. A finely textured wine.

90 points

What’s in the glass tonight April 4th – Riesling


Melness Riesling

Melness Riesling Waipara 2013

This wine is part of the Kahurangi Estate portfolio. Melness Wines was established in Cust, North Canterbury by the Marshall family, and named after a coastal village in the Scottish Highlands where the ancestors of the founders hale from. It was sold in 2005.

Green gold colour. 12.5%.

First thing I noticed was that lovely hit of typical Riesling phenolics on the nose, followed on by aromas of caramel, apricots, butterscotch, honeycomb and hokey-pokey. All redolent of a medium style Riesling.

Sweet, and very ‘grapey’ to taste. Flavours of mandarins and Gran Marnier came through strongly.

A wine for Riesling enthusiasts, due to it’s sweetness. This will cellar well for 10 years +.

89 points

 

What’s in the glass tonight February 5th – Riesling


Mud House Mound Riesling 2014

Mud House The Mound Vineyard Riesling Waipara 2014  – $$

Pale straw colour. 11.5% alc. Single Vineyard product.

Welcome typical varietal phenolic, volatile and lifted characters. Smells of apple, lime and Meyer lemon. & Fresh. White blossom and brioche aromas at the back.

A off dry style, the wine tastes supple, ripe & bracing. It has that lovely mouthwatering astringency that makes Riesling so delicious. It is clear on the palate, with perfect fruit weight and a bracing linear finish. Another candidate that confirms Waipara as a go-to-place for delicious good value Rieslings.

VG 4

 

What’s in the glass tonight Sept 17th


Thornbury PG 2015

Thornbury Pinot Gris Waipara 2015 – $$

Pale green-gold. 13.5%.

Pears and apples on the nose. Spicy, lifted aromatics. Quite a bold style. Nice.

Off-dry. Rich flavours of apricots and pears, fresh and sweet. Slight spicy/bitter finish – typical of PG. Once the glass warmed up I got a lovely hit of mandarin.

VG 4

What’s in the glass tonight March 20th


George Road Syrah 2012

George Road Syrah Waipara 2012

Bought by the glass at Mojo Poneke.

Pink magenta. Cool climate Syrah nose – herby, red cherries

In the mouth I tasted baking spice and aniseed, and soft ripe red stonefruit. A full bodied syrah. Lots of vanilla also – must have a seed pod hiding in the bottle. Nice drop.

From the producer’s website: The fruit for this wine was hand harvested in two separate passes from our Georges Road vineyard in Waipara. Vineyard soils are predominantly loam and gravel based. The vines are trained to a 2 cane VSP trellis with row spacing at 2.0m and vine spacing at 1.5m. A portion of the vines are at 1.0m. All the vines are of the Mass selected ‘Limmer’ clone on a mix of Riparia Gloire, 3309, 101-14 and Schwarzmann rootstocks. Each parcel of fruit was transported on the day of harvest to the winery for processing. Shoot and extensive crop thinning are employed to ensure optimum fruit quality at relatively low cropping levels of approximately 1kg per vine.

Each parcel of fruit was passed over a sorting table before being destemmed (without crushing) into small 1.5tonne open fermenters. Fermentation began naturally after an ambient soak of 3 days. The skins were regularly punched down and pumped over during ferment and the wine spent a total of 33 days cuvaison before being pressed, settled and racked to a mix of 1, 2 and 3 year old French oak. In oak the wine underwent a natural Malolactic fermentation and spent a total of 10 months in French oak barriques before being racked, blended and bottled in April the following year.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight March 7th


Pegasus Bay Riesling 2009

From the Cellar: Pegasus Bay Riesling Waipara 2009 – $$$

The Donaldson family have really made a name for themselves in making great aromatic wines in the Waipara Valley, and in particular, for their Rieslings.

This wine is a bright yellow colour. Showing some age. 11.8% alcohol.

Evocative nose, with rich Riesling characters – ripeness, tangy-ness, Turkish delight, honey, touch of Botrytis.

Not made in a mineral style. Sweet in the mouth. A sharp spritz around the edge of the palate. Lots of Manuka honey on first impression, followed by ripe peaches. A fine wine for savouring. Very very long and intense flavoursome finish.

Bought on reputation, this really lived up to the hype.

Not great with our meal of Jerk Chicken, but came into it’s own with the artisanal chocolates from Bohemein.

BTVG 4+

 

What’s in the glass tonight February 16th


Greystone PN 2012

Greystone Pinot Noir Waipara 2012 – $$$

I’m in Timaru for the night, on the way down to Twizel in South Canterbury for business. Picked this wine up to drink with a client.

This is a gorgeous pinot noir that has been attracting plenty of attention in wine shows and from critics, and did very well at the Worth Cellaring Pinot tasting I attended last year. I have a couple of bottles in the Pool Room.

Deep ruby red, almost black. 13.5%. Wonderfully fragrant aromatics – fruity and earthy. Dense and full-bodied with great fruit weight and flavours of spice and vanilla and black cherries and red roses on the front and mid-palate, with savoury characters and fine silky tannins at the finish. This a great value Pinot.

VG 4

What’s in the glass tonight October 4th


Thistle Ridge Pinot Noir 2013

Thistle Ridge Waipara Pinot Noir 2013 – $$

A Pinot Noir from Waipara. Planted on the Teviotdale Hills towards the north end of the Valley. Named for a ridge cleared of thistles and planted in vines. Of course.

This is a region most noted (to date) for its Riesling wines, so I’m interested to see how it stacks up. The wine was voted Champion Red at the recent New World Wine Awards. Given the low-ish price point for wines considered for these awards, it should be acknowledged that we are fishing in a somewhat shallow pool.

Pinot Noir is considered a tricky grape to grow and ripen here, and the resulting wine is pricier than, say, Sav Blanc to make. I suspect this encourages producers to lift their cropping levels, ripen more fruit and thus increase wine production, so to get the price down and the supply volumes up to the point where supermarket chains would be interested. As pinot quality is directly influenced by dry extract and careful ripening, it is a careful balance a volume producer must strike.

However, the judges taste blind, and this wine must have shown the goods to win. And further investigation uncovers that this wine is the ‘younger brother’ of leading Waipara producer Greystone wines, whose own Pinot Noir I rated pretty well when I tasted it a while back, and intend to buy for my own cellar. The pedigree is there.

In the glass the wine is very deep pink carmine. 12.5%. Spice and dark stonefruit on nose, with some savoury character. It took 24hrs to open up and lose a metallic aroma, which also influenced the palate, so I would recommend splashy decanting if you want to drink it in one sitting. Not a good look, to be frank. Most supermarket wines are consumed immediately following the shopping excursion, so it should have been primed and ready to go.

After a day’s rest the aroma softened markedly. Savoury and floral characters came forward. Good fruit weight showed to taste, quite sweet and rich, with ripeness galore. Smooth, not dense. A simple wine, and a good return on the $$. Could improve with a year off. 3+

I followed this up the same night with a wine that tasted like it was truly from somewhere else. A startling expression of a foreign terroir:

Plaisir De Merle Western Cape Chardonnay 2011 – $$

Plaisir de Merle Chardonnay SA 2011

I am so used to NZ Chardonnays. It was a surprise to taste my first mouthful of this South African wine from the Paarl Winelands in the Groot Drakenstein Valley. A Meursault-like nose. Rich and buttery and spicy, with toasted nuts. Yum! Not sure really how good it is cos I couldn’t get my head around it. Really cheap at $10 a bottle, so will have another go quite soon 🙂